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Bulls & Bears
Slew of Amendments Threaten to Spike Cost of $856 Billion Health Plan
Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research: We can't afford this. Private health care has about a 3 percent profit margin as a whole. The public plan is supposed to cost about 10 percent less, supposedly to keep health insurance companies honest because they've been ripping people off. Where's this difference going to be made up? This will turn into a Medicare-type system. The cost of this public-option has ballooned and will really end up costing somewhere in the $2 trillion range.
Marc Lamont Hill, Columbia University: We can afford this. I'm not one of those people on the left who says this program will essentially be free, or will make a lot of money. It will certainly cost a significant amount of money. But it'll be manageable. Some of it will be an increase in efficiencies. But if we can get a slight tax hike, and reassess and reorganize our health care sector, we can afford this reform.
Gary B. Smith, TheChartman.com: Here's what I don't understand. Look at a state that has universal coverage like Massachusetts. They already have rationing taking place. Wait times have doubled for a lot of specialties like OBGYN. They are 30 percent over budget. They have to raise taxes on alcohol, tobacco, and other products. Premiums in the state are rising 30 percent faster than the national average. So if these are the sorts of things that take place when you create national health care, nobody is going to want it.
Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: My main issue with the health care debate is putting coverage first, and cost savings second. It has to be the other way around, since our current system is so untenable. This is a trajectory that will eventually bankrupt the country. Until we get serious about savings, through tort reform, connecting consumers with actually paying for coverage, etc. nothing will change. We have to address the fundamental structural issues of the health care industry first.
Eric Bolling, FOX Business Network: If this public option passes, I think we'll see it end up costing far more than its projected $856 billion price tag. Of the industries the government runs, like Amtrak, the Post Office, the DMV, etc. how many are actually run well and make money? Payments to doctors are going to be cut, so who's going to want to provide extensive services to people that are getting covered by the government?
Anti-Capitalism Protests; We Asked for This?
Gary B. Smith: We asked for this. I still maintain the belief that President Obama is the most anti-capitalistic, anti-business president we've ever had. Three weeks after he took office, he said only government has the resources to jolt our economy. He thinks the government can teach the private sector lessons in efficiency. He has talked about how doctors have a businessman's mentality, or that investors in Chrysler were greedy and refused to sacrifice. In his cabinet, he doesn't have one true entrepreneur or business person. It's all academics and politicians who just don't understand business and have contempt for it.
Marc Lamont Hill: You don't need President Obama to see that global capitalism is having problems. You don't need to watch a press conference to know the poorest people in the world are suffering. You can look at a lack of universal health care, lack of living wages, sweatshop labor, all these problems that need to be fixed. These protesters at the G-20 in Pittsburgh aren't critiquing capitalism—they're critiquing unfettered capitalism.
Tobin Smith: In terms of pure math, the most successful system right now is China. I don't see any of these protesters rallying against China's economic system and about the one billion Chinese citizens who are still earning a dollar a day. Whenever you have a major recession, capitalism comes open to shots against it.
Eric Bolling: These protesters should be celebrating. Capitalism is dying. Look what's going on here. We have a President who wants free health care, to subsidize homes, give you money to guy cars cheaper. This is not free market economics. Capitalism continues to be chipped away at in this country. These G-20 protesters should be lighting fireworks.
Pat Dorsey: Capitalism is the worst economic system in the world—except for everything else we've tried. Yes, it's flawed and problematic, but we haven't figured out a better way to structure an economic system. You can blame a lot of people for a lot of mistakes that led to this recession—keeping interest rates too low for too long, overemphasizing home ownership, etc. But the basic flaw isn't within capitalism itself.
$529 Million Government Loan Helps Gore-Backed Company Build Hybrid Cars in Finland; Green Agenda Gone Wild?
Eric Bolling: This already stinks since Al Gore is behind it and he'll probably make a lot of money off of it. Of the $529 million, $170 million is for a plant in Detroit, which probably means it's going to the UAW. This money is being spent on developing an $89,000 car — how many people can actually afford that?
Marc Lamont Hill: You're fostering investment, risk and creativity. Most of the money will come to the United States. It's a good idea. I don't like the fact it's a $90,000 car, but it's a step in the right direction.
Gary B. Smith: Most people are never going to be able to afford this car. It's all part of this $80 billion green energy policy the government is trying like it did back in the 1970s. One of these days I hope the government will learn it cannot determine the direction of the market. People want an $89,000 car, that's fine — let a company start it up without government assistance.
Pat Dorsey: I don't see a problem with the fact it's an expensive car. These technologies often start in niche markets, and the price eventually comes down. But I don't think this needs public funding. Toyota was able to come up with the Prius, many people have bought it, and it didn't get a major public subsidy. I think the hope is that this technology will eventually become mass market — and that's not something we need to freak out about.