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ARE STATE AND LOCAL TAX HIKES GOING TO WHACK CONSUMERS EVEN MORE AT THE STORES?
JOHN LAYFIELD: Yes, the middle class is being taxed-out. Look at what's going on in Illinois. They raised the corporate tax rate, but they exempt the large corporations. So, the people that are having to pay it are the small and medium-sized businesses. Exactly what happens with our national tax and so politicians don't have the will to pass what California's trying to do; a 13 percent state tax. So they pass things that can get passed like a soda tax, like a cigarette tax. They don't pass a filet mignon tax, they pass a cheeseburger tax. Yes, this adversely affects the masses; middle class and lower.
WAYNE ROGERS: Well it's not a question of fair, it's a question of the local constituencies are desperate for money; states, counties, cities. You think the city of Vallejo, California went bust, they can't find money. The tobacco funds, when the states settled for the tobacco companies, all of those funds are running out too. So they're just spending more than they're taking in. It's a constant problem. The federal government does it. All governments do it. They're doing the same thing. The worst part about it though is for example this guy Dr. Ralph from the University of Chicago saying that this is a tax and he made it almost a racial thing where he said it's a form of social justice. So you tax the lower people because you're getting more sugar. It's outrageous. It's a confession to a system that has nothing to do with the liberty and has to do with "a need budget."
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: Well I agree that the sugar tax is probably a good idea. You know, the beer tax in New York doesn't really concern me all that much because when you add these things all together, they're really pennies on the dollar, and the real issue for middle class families is the fact that their incomes have not gone up over the last 10 years. In fact, they're worse off today than they were 10 years ago and if their incomes had risen as we would expect, they'd have about 8,700 more dollars per year in income and really that would make this tax conversation moot. I agree with John. This is certainly shocking to me that we spend so much time trying to figure out how to add little nickel and dime taxes to the middle class without really thinking about tax fairness overall and making sure we're taxing people at all levels accordingly, but really the true issue here Cheryl, is that incomes have not gone up and that's what's really hurting middle class families.
TRACY BYRNES: Well yeah, because that's what we spend the bulk of our money on. Look, there's an exorbitant amount of corn being planted which means nothing else is being planted right? So that means we're going to have a shortage everywhere else. So these prices are going to continue to go up and up. You're going to feel inflation at the food store for a very long time even though no one wants to admit that. I think the bigger problem is, and even if it is a penny tax, it's not being spent properly when it's collected. So don't even take a penny from me. Whether it be on my soda or my cookie. If you don't know what to do with it when you get it that is the big problem. Wayne brought it up and this is what we are down to. Government needs to figure out how to collect taxes and spend them properly. If they can't, then don't collect them.
JONATHAN HOENIG: It's going to be very difficult Cheryl and you know, the pennies add up. Actually, people talk about what's tax fairness. I'll tell you a consumption-based flat tax is actually a good idea. They treat everyone fairly and equitably. It's simple and easy to understand and most importantly it taxes consumption not production, which is of course the root of all wealth creation in this country, but the panel's hit on it. This isn't tax fairness. It's basically social engineering trying to get people to drink less sugary drinks, smoke less cigarettes and I'll tell you Cheryl, I enjoy a beer now and then and I don't think that has national implications if I enjoy a beer and I don't know, even a little early in the morning, I don't know why government's role is to protect me from making my own decisions that I think are best for my own life.
AMERICANS STILL WANT GAS GUZZLERS, SO WHY ARE TAX DOLLARS GOING TO GREEN CARS?
JONATHAN HOENIG: Well I mean Cheryl, the government's push via force for green energy and green cars has been not only delusional, but it's been destructive. You know, in the real world people actually by products that, oh I don't know, add value to their lives and despite all the subsidies, all the give-outs, all the hand-aways, they're not choosing green cars. In fact, the average Chevy dealer sells about one Volt or less a month. It's not surprising. I mean, Americans are not finding value in these products. That's why they're not choosing them and the government should get out of the business of trying to incentivize and choose one energy for individuals to choose for their own lives.
TRACY BYRNES: Jonathan hit the nail on the head. You're going to buy what you want. I don't really care what is subsidized and what is not at the end of the day. I've got a lot of kids; I need a big car. Nobody is subsidizing my big truck for some reason and you know what? You've got gas prices teetering somewhere around $4. That is not a game changer yet. I don't even care quite frankly until gas maybe hits $5 or $6. Then I'm going to go into panic mode, but until then, these little small cars are not selling. We saw it in the most recent numbers from the automakers. Big cars are. This is what the people want.
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: No, Cheryl, look, I'll be the first to admit that if you need to transport lots of people like Tracy or haul some gear, tow some equipment, or go off road you're not going to be choosing a Volt or a Leaf or a Tesla for that matter, but if you're going to get these technologies incorporated in to all types of vehicles in the future, they need to be subsidized now and just to put some real numbers on it, the amount that we're subsidizing green energy in the early years amounts to about 25 percent of what we subsidized oil and gas production for example in its early years. In fact, if you add up all the money that we spend on green subsidies, it pales in comparison to what we do on an annual basis to subsidize oil and gas production. We subsidize oil and gas since 1916 and now it's profitable to the point where the big three oil companies are making 80 billion with a "B" a year. Why in the world are we subsidizing something that is generating that much profit? That makes no sense.
JOHN LAYFIELD: We either stop the subsidies or change how we subsidize. I am for the implementation of all these new technologies. The problem is we are implanting them completely wrong. The way to go about this is to talk about new fleets and say okay your new taxing fleet has to be a hybrid or alt-gas car. That's the way to get mass adoption of this policy. The problem is that this is political. You have the government playing venture capitalists with Solyndra. You have some of the best brains in the world who can't do VC. Our government can't put together a two-car parade, much less do VC. They are funding it on the wrong end and doing it the wrong way.
WAYNE ROGERS: Well the numbers are somewhat skewed. If you listen to what Ford did, Ford's demand for fuel-efficient vehicles is up 70 percent, so it's not all one way. By the way, it doesn't have to do with that, whether automobiles or not, it has to do with the fact that most of this money has been politically oriented and politicized to the extent that you have 13 companies that have received various kinds of tax incentives from the government. It has cost 2,500 jobs and over $4 billion in wasted money. That's the problem and by the way, 23 out of 27 people who got this money were bundlers or were donors to the present administration. That's a politicized thing in which they got the money and because it became a thing for the government to do. That's where it was wasted.
ICE SCANDAL: TIME TO CUT BIG GOVERNMENT TO SAVE TAXPAYERS FROM WASTE?
WAYNE ROGERS: Well you've got to cut the government down. The size alone and in and of itself breeds this kind of stuff. You've got a government that's totally out of control. The people running it are out of control. Nobody is watching the store. They don't care. If you look, Tom Coburn for example, the senator puts out a book every year about government waste. If you read that book, and it's about this thick, I mean when you read that book you realize that this thing is totally out of control. Nobody has cared; the government doesn't care; the Congress doesn't care; the people we elect do not care. You've got to do something about it. You've got to slim it down; cut it down. Cut all those budgets.
JOHN LAYFIELD: Yes, depends on how much you cut it. The problem is, Wayne is right, throw these guys in jail. Crime has a name and when these GSA guys sat before Congress they all took the fifth. Here was your chance tough guy. Here was your chance to sit there in front of the American people and explain why you stole taxpayer money and they refused to do it. That is the problem we have in this government. There is a name for someone who does this all the time and what we say is oh that's just a rounding error; oh it's not so much money, but those people end up being in charge of things like Medicare and Social Security and Defense. We have got to weed these guys out and throw the ones in jail that are stealing taxpayer money.
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: Well you know it depends on which case you're talking about. The ICE case is criminal activity and I hope that controls are improved so that this doesn't happen again, but you know Wayne, your solution to just shrink the size of the government is a whole separate conversation and will not stop the problem. Governments big and small are corrupt. You can give me tons of examples. Jonathan talks to me about Chicago where smaller governments are corrupt. That doesn't solve your problem. I lost $20 a couple of weeks ago. The solution is not to stop carrying cash, it's to take better care of it and that's the real lesson here.
TRACY BYRNES: The solution is to stop hiring idiots to run the shop. I mean, hello, has anyone seen YouTube lately? It's been around for a while. Did they think they weren't going to get caught? The arrogance of this I think is the stuff that blows my mind the most. That no one is going to catch us. In this day and age are you kidding me? This is what we do. We come out and we find the stupid things you do and thankfully we found them.
JONATHAN HOENIG: What I think we need is a blue ribbon committee Cheryl to eek out the waste, fraud and abuse in the government right? Because we've never heard that before in the last, I don't know, 100 years we hear it and I think Wayne hits the nail on the head, Christian respectfully I think you're wrong. Shrink the size of the government and you know what? The billions of dollars becomes millions of dollars and maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars and you know what, it's not so difficult. Follow the constitution. It's all there. The size of government shrinks; the fraud shrinks as well.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
TRACY BYRNES: Spirit Airlines raising carry-on bag fee from $45 to $100. Get ready for other airlines to "quietly" raise fees too
JOHN LAYFIELD: Retailers still have an appetite for Apple. Buy (AAPL)
WAYNE ROGERS: Bet on quality casinos with Las Vegas Sands (LVS)
JONATHAN HOENIG: Make money from falling gold prices with (DGZ)