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Bulls & Bears
On Saturday April 10, Brenda Buttner was joined by Eric Bolling, Mike Papantonio, Tobin Smith, Gary B. Smith and Pat Dorsey.
New Push for National Sales Tax: "Toxic" Plan For Economy?
Eric Bolling, Fox Business Network: This would be an economy crusher. And yet another broken Obama campaign promise if they actually implement it. It would directly contradict President Obama's campaign promise that there would be no new taxes on anyone making under $250,000. A national sales tax would hit everyone and everything — book iPads, cars, etc. As a consumer, you're already heavily taxed, and now this. Enough!
Mike Papantonio, radio talk show host: The VAT tax is just another tool our government could potentially use to help solve our deficit problem. Countries all over the world use the VAT tax, and they've done so for decades. Unfortunately, there just aren't very many options out there for us to try and solve this deficit problem. It's critical for us to start looking for solutions to raise income for the government, and the VAT tax would be one viable way to do that.
Tobin Smith, NBT Media: A VAT tax really hurts poor people. As an example, look to when gas went up to $4.50 a gallon — it killed the economy. Now spread significant cost increases across every type of consumer product and this is going to badly hit a lot of families. A VAT tax could raise about $1.5 to $2 trillion. But where would it go? Maybe to pay down the debt, but it could just as easily go to support more spending. That money would never make it back to consumers who are the key to a robust economy.
Gary B. Smith, TheChartman.com: Just because countries in Europe impose a VAT tax doesn't mean we should do it here. VAT taxes account for a significant amount of government revenue in countries that have one. However, study and after study, from the Federal Reserve to the National Bureau of Economics, shows that higher taxes and higher government spending leads to lower economic growth and job creation.
Pat Dorsey: We tax consumption less and investment more than most developed economies. You certainly could shift this balance without increasing the overall tax burden. Paul Volcker suggested this VAT tax. He said it's something that should be looked at if we cut entitlement programs. If we did that, then there would be no need for a VAT tax. It'd be a much smarter way to go, and unfortunately nobody is really going to talk about that. No one on either side of the aisle is talking about making relatively small fixes to Social Security that would negate any need for additional taxes.
Buy Health Insurance or Lose Your Tax Refund; New D.C. Money Grab?
Eric Bolling: We're starting to find out all sorts of stuff since health care legislation was passed. Now we find out the IRS is going to be empowered with the ability to make sure we have health insurance. If you don't, they'll fine you $750 or two percent of your income. If you don't pay, they'll take it out of your tax refund. And who knows what'll happen if you don't actually get a tax refund. This is just another way for the heavy hand of the law to look over your shoulder.
Mike Papantonio: We are a nation of laws and regulations. It's what separates us from Banana Republics and anarchy. Health care reform requires people to have health insurance. And under this new law, there's no reason someone shouldn't have health insurance. If you don't have car insurance, you can't drive your car. This requirement insures slackers don't get away with not having insurance, and depending on people who do have it to foot the bill.
Gary B. Smith: We are a nation of laws, and we need to abide by the laws. The problem is this health care legislation might be the most despised law we've passed in recent memory. The effect is government going too far. Look at Massachusetts, where they're threatening insurance companies to lower their prices. These insurance companies are already nonprofits losing money, and the government is making this process even worse.
Pat Dorsey: We can argue all day long about whether there should be an insurance mandate or not. But now there is one. It's the law, and we have to deal with it. The question is who enforces or administers this mandate, and if the government feels the IRS is the best agency to do this. If you have a better agency in mind, I'm all for it, I just don't know who would be better suited for it.
Tobin Smith: The 47 percent of American households who aren't paying federal taxes are primarily the people who are benefiting from health care legislation. So how are you going to go after people's tax refunds who don't buy insurance when they don't pay any federal taxes? This whole idea falls apart, and there's just no practical way the government is going to be able to follow through with it.
Wal-Mart Cuts Prices On 10,000 Items; Will It Stimulate Economy?
Gary B. Smith: This is like 10,000 tax cuts for consumers. Leave it to a private company to get this right. Wal-Mart is one of the great wealth creators in history. Wal-Mart the company benefits, customers benefit, and the surrounding community benefits. Even the union employees at Wal-Mart benefit because Wal-Mart grows bigger and the bottom line takes in more revenue. It's a great lesson for the government to learn.
Mike Papantonio: Before we give Wal-Mart a Nobel prize, let's figure out what they're doing. They've lost the middle class market who doesn't want to shop at Wal-Mart anymore. The cuts are gimmicks. They're giving discounts on toasters, toys, not real things that affect a family's bottom line. These sales draw people into the store, but I bet when the smoke clears, this won't save people any money.
Tobin Smith: If you want more of something, you tax it less. Or in Wal-Mart's case, if you want more customers and profits, you lower prices and increase productivity. You negotiate harder. If the U.S. government understood this simple idea, we could raise more revenues and more voters would actually be happy with what their government was doing.