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Bulls & Bears
On Saturday November 21, Brenda Buttner was joined by Gary B. Smith, Tobin Smith, Eric Bolling, Pat Dorsey and Regina Calcaterra.
$372 Billion in Tax Hikes in Senate Health Care Bill: Job Maker or Killer?
Eric Bolling, Fox Business Network: The word "tax" is mentioned 183 times in this bill. Here's the problem. Small businesses are going to get destroyed by this bill. It's going to cost them much more to do business when they have to provide health care for full-time and part-time employees. Consumers are hunkered down, so any increase in prices a business may make would only have a minimal effect on revenue. The only real option is for businesses to start laying people off. This bill will kill jobs.
Regina Calcaterra, Democratic strategist: This is going to create a tremendous amount of jobs. This is a simple supply and demand issue. Thirty million American who don't have health insurance are going to get it. It's like having 30 million Americans buy a new home, car, appliances, etc. This will create jobs because health care providers are going to have to increase their number of employees to accommodate the demand. More office space has to be rented which will help out the commercial real estate market. Building supplies come into greater demand. This will have a positive ripple effect across the economy.
Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research: I understand the new demand that'd be created by the health care bill, but I don't understand where the supply would come from. The U.S. is light by 40,000 general practitioners. With health care reform, it's estimated we'd be light 60,000 general practitioners. We know large sums of doctors are going to retire over the coming years. It seems unlikely the health care industry will be able to keep up with this huge new wave of demand that'll come with health care reform. Not to mention, this is going to become a tax nightmare, with many businesses and individuals being hit with new fees and tax rates.
Gary B. Smith, TheChartman.com: All you have to do is look at states where tax rates are high. What happens? Unemployment goes up because there’s not enough revenue. Look at New York or California. With Regina's theory, every time the government starts up a significant new program, and raises taxes to pay for it, we should see an increase in jobs. But that's just not the case. But if you look at low-tax states like Texas or South Dakota, which don't even have state income taxes, you have low unemployment rates.
Rob Stein, Astor Financial: You actually find some interesting facts if you specifically look at the corporate tax rate in various areas. In New York City, which has a high corporate tax rate, unemployment is lower than the national average. By comparison, Nevada, which has almost no corporate tax rate, has one of the highest unemployment rates. Michigan has a relatively low tax rate, yet the highest unemployment in the union. I don't think there's much correlation between state tax rates and low unemployment.
President Obama: Stimulus Errors a 'Side Issue'; D.C. Double Standard?
Eric Bolling: This is total political hypocrisy. This is not a side issue. You're talking about at least 80,000 jobs being created that don't actually exist. You're talking about $6.4 billion spent in 440 congressional districts for things that don't exist. You cannot call losing billions of taxpayer dollars and totally lacking transparency in how stimulus dollars are actually being spent a "side issue."
Regina Calcaterra: This 80,000 number is about10 percent of the jobs reported. The way jobs get reported is that local governments report and register the numbers with a federal government website. There don't seem to be any quality controls in place to check that number. That's the key to preventing errors like this—they have to figure out a more accurate way for local governments to report jobs that are created or saved.
Tobin Smith: There are guys who've run businesses in jail right now who underestimated a payroll tax, or miscalculated how much money they owed to the government. Any regular person can go to jail if they mess up tax payments. If 10 percent of the jobs created here are wrong, you know it's really more like 20 percent because that's how government programs like this have always worked. President Obama really missed an opportunity here. Instead of saying this is a side issue. He should have said we're going to kick butt, take names, and get these numbers right.
Gary B. Smith: This administration has gone after Big Pharma, Big Oil, the financial industry, etc. Remember how the CEOs of Chrysler and GM were pressured into driving from Detroit to Washington, DC? It's fine for Washington to try and dictate corporate policy and judge the private sector for certain things it does, but when the government screws up like this, it's a "side issue." I've got news for the President — it's my money you're spending! These programs or projects should be in place before they get the stimulus money. That way, it'd be far easier to keep account of how the money is being spent.
Rob Stein: This isn't a surprise. There has always been a double standard between the government and the private sector. There should absolutely be consequences for this. But I think these are relatively isolated cases, where mistakes were made and quality controls need to be put in place.
New Clunker for Taxpayers: $23 Billion 'Cash-for-Caulkers' Plan?
Gary B. Smith: These sorts of programs drive me absolutely crazy. Why is this the government's responsibility? Is there a spot in the constitution that says the government should push homeowners to green-up their homes? Or pushing people into buying homes? The science on global warming seems pretty divided right now. And yet we're doing the same thing we've done with so many other government programs—the government takes money from one sector and moves it to another. The market isn't dictating the right place to allocate money and I think that's wrong.
Regina Calcaterra: This initiative will help keep money in small businesses, home contractors and renovators, along with the green energy sector. It'll add value to people’s home when they can't get value anywhere else.
Eric Bolling: This is all about the Nanny State mentality. This is another $23 billion dollars being spent outside of the stimulus package! I thought the stimulus was supposed to cover programs like this. Why not at least spend untapped stimulus dollars on this?