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Bulls & Bears
On Saturday December 12, Brenda Buttner was joined by Gary B. Smith, Tobin Smith, Pat Dorsey, Eric Bolling and Sarah Flowers.
President Obama: Spend More to Get Out of Recession: Right or Wrong?
Eric Bolling, Fox Business Network: Stop the spending! It's not working. This small business tax credit won't work when a company has to pay out a salary and provide health care. That tax credit doesn't provide enough hiring incentive. Also, no one knows what health care reform or cap and trade is going to cost in terms of higher taxes. But it could cause millions to lose their jobs over time. Not to mention, consumer spending is still down, people are saving much more. None of this will work.
Sarah Flowers, Democratic strategist: I do think this spending will work, because it focuses on buildings jobs for small businesses. The U.S. economy has to add 100,000 new jobs a month to keep track with population growth. We have to add 300,000 a month to manage growing deficit levels. We have to take steps to grow the economy. The only way to achieve this is through spending and encouraging small businesses to hire one person at a time.
Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research: I may be old-fashioned, but the best way to create jobs is to have private businesses invest their own capital into creating positions that are actually needed. It's a relatively new thing for us to be borrowing money from countries like China, and throwing it at some government-created job that costs $250,000 to create. I'm a small businessperson. I invest money in areas I see opportunity. A $3,000 tax credit is not nearly enough incentive for me to hire somebody, pay them $70,000 a year and give them health care benefits.
Gary B. Smith, TheChartman.com: We've never been able to spend our way out of a recession, or even the Depression. Six years after F.D.R. started the new deal, unemployment was at 20 percent. To be fair, George W. Bush was the father of the current stimulus, along with TARP. As a result, our deficit has jumped from $200 billion to almost $1.6 trillion. Unemployment is at 10 percent. I guess I'm curious as to why spending hundreds of billions of tax dollars is going to help unemployment.
Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: I think we're already out of the recession. Unemployment is a lagging indicator. There's absolutely no reason to spend more money now. We just need to wait this out.
Nineteen Percent of Federal Workers Make Over $100K; Time to Cut Their Pay?
Tobin Smith: These numbers are unbelievable. About 1,100 civilian employees at the Defense Department were paid over $100,000, now it's over 10,000 employees! Taxpayers have got to be fed up with all this. We go after the pay of bankers who pay billions in taxes, and let these guys have a pass?
Sarah Flowers: There's a big difference between making $100,000 a year and millions of dollar a year. Federal employees provide a service to the country, and they deserve a market-based, livable wage to perform that job. Most of these jobs are based in the Washington, D.C. area, and if you look at what a competitive salary is the area, it's in a fair range of the market.
Eric Bolling: This really ticks me off more than just about anything. There are 380,000 people on the federal dole making over $100,000 a year. Since the recession started, about 100,000 more in the government are making six-figure salaries. This is all happening as 7.3 million Americans have lost their jobs. This is really one of the worst things I've heard over the past year.
Gary B. Smith: This is throwing a loser on a loser. I'm not in favor of all these government workers making the big bucks. But that's not the big problem. It's the crowded highways out there, and too many government workers. There are some government workers who absolutely work hard and deserve it. But there are whole sections of the government we don't really need, such as the Department of Energy or Education, and that'd save a tremendous amount of money in government spending.
Pat Dorsey: The thing to point out is that federal workers are, on average, better educated than private sector workers. There are a much higher proportion of college degree and graduate degree jobs in the federal workforce, and they get paid more as a result. The government doesn't hire burger flippers. I don't know if they're paid too much or too little, but the point is these statistics of private sector pay versus federal government pay aren't comparable.
10 Million Reasons to Drop Health Care Reform Right Now?
Gary B. Smith: What ever happened to health insurance for everyone? I thought that was supposed to be the bottom line. I guess we have to add these 10 million private sector workers the CBO says are going to lose their insurance to the 35 million Americans who don't have insurance. This is the law of unintended consequences. This is what happens when the government intrudes in the private sector. This is the perfect way for the government to expand its power base.
Sarah Flowers: This is a misrepresentation of what the CBO said. People's health care coverage will be reclassified as they move from small business group plans to non-group plans. The net effect from health care reform is that 31 million people who currently don't have insurance are going to get it.
Tobin Smith: If you read the legislation, out-of-pocket deductibles are going to be a maximum $10,000 for a family. If I'm a private insurer, I'm going to jack my rates up because there's now a limit to what insured people have to pay. As that goes up, and I'm a small business owner, I'm going to have to cut back on insurance coverage I provide to employees. Not to mention, we've seen polls of doctors show they may not serve people who'll pay through Medicare payments.