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As gas climbs to a new high for average price of the year, President Obama and Governor Romney are putting forth very different plans to try and curb prices
STEVE FORBES: well the whole thing underscores 2 big things. One is under this administration; the permit process for drilling in this country has gone way down, like a snail's pace. They are putting barriers in the way of fracking so that the supply side is hit. Then on the dollar, whenever you cheapen the dollar, you get expensive gasoline and oil; we should have learned that from the 1970s.
RICK UNGAR: Obviously it has a certain appearance; if you're going to tap into the strategic oil reserves a few weeks before an election because you're worried the price is going to go high, you have to ask the question, is it a political move? The truth is, what the administration has said is that they are going to wait and see what is developing out of Iran and if there is an impact happening because of Iran, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt and maybe this is something they have to do. Presidents have very little to say about the price of gas unfortunately. Doesn't matter if you a democrat or republican. Governor Romney saying we are going to do all of the above. C'mon.
RICH KARLGAARD: There's nothing wrong with it but you have to start from a point of view that it's ok to do that and when you have an ex-EPA official who went around saying we should crucify oil and gas companies then of course that official resigned, and on his resignation letter he said I know President Obama has been incredibly supportive of me and my work. When you have that kind of attitude oozing out of the administration it's no wonder speculators jump in the moment oil becomes reasonably priced and drive it back up.
JOHN TAMNY: Both sides in this debate are hopeless because both start with the presumption we have a supply problem. We don't have a supply problem at all, we have a dollar problem and that's where Rick Ungar is incorrect. Presidents can fix this. Presidents that pursue a strong dollar always have cheap oil. If we go back to a strong dollar policy oil will decline it's not supply, go back to the dollar.
MIKE OZANIAN: If there was absolutely no supply problem, then that would mean that we have unlimited energy. We don't have unlimited energy. The supply situation does send market signals. Romney's plan would create more energy, we do need more energy to increase the size of the economy and oil is the way to go.
MORGAN BRENNAN: I think this isn't a supply issue as well, I agree with john. If you look at numbers, domestic supply is up 14 percent over the last year. I think this is an issue on the refinery side. We have taxes and regulations that have made the process of refining so expensive that we have refineries closing left and right. I know of 3 in the northeast just since March. That's part of the reason we are seeing gas prices go up. That's an issue that needs to be taken care of and why I'm actually behind the Romney plan as oppose to the Obama plan.
Baker won't sell to people paying with welfare so taxpayers don't foot the bill for sweet treats
Is this good way for private market to save taxpayers from paying for what some call non-essential goods? Yes? No? Why?
JOHN TAMNY: The right to free association is a basic American right and I like that this baker is refusing to do business with those she doesn't want to. As for the economy, maybe she will shame those who refuse service to actually go back into the working world, get a job, and actually contribute something to the economy, so it will have very positive long term effects I think.
RICH KARLGAARD: We desperately need a debate on welfare and food stamps. I think this is the wrong battle to pick. You don't have a complete right to free association. The civil rights laws in the 1960s means that you have to serve people you don't like if they are different than you. People on welfare will probably have a disproportionate chance of being one of those protected classes. I think it's a dangerous act, maybe a brave act, but a foolish act for this woman to take.
STEVE FORBES: As long as you are not violating civil rights laws on race, gender creed and things like that, she should be able to sell to whom she wants. If she wants to give up money to make a statement about our welfare programs, bless her. I wish she would sell those whoopee pies so she gets the money contributes to candidates who do want the kind of programs that she wants, and the think tanks to do the research to do that kind of thing. She should redirect the money, recycle it to good causes.
MIKE OZANIAN: I'm concerned that it will lead to cash payments replacing food stamps. I don't think she is going to have an impact at all but I'm really concerned because I have been telling people for years that pies and cakes and an occasional soft drink are nutritious so I'm concerned about this.
RICK UNGAR: I don't think anyone should be spending their money on tubs of lard, it's bad in general. What astounds me is that I have never seen someone who goes on TV and tells the world that her product has no value. We do have this funny little law about discriminating and you don't get to pick a class of people, in this case people on welfare and discriminate against them. You can't do it, she can't do it. I don't know where she is coming from on this.
MORGAN BRENNAN: I think that the only money that is going to be saved by something like this is the baker's money in terms of profits. There are already restrictions placed on food stamps. A look at the USDA website will show you those sugary sweets like whoopee pies fall under eligible items. I think if we are going to take up the mantle of welfare and food stamps are concerned, let's look at the more pressing topics like people spending money on tattoos, cigarettes pornography that states and governments are already starting to look at.
According to a new report, 2,362 people who earned a million dollars or more in taxable income in 2009 received unemployment benefits
MIKE OZANIAN: The millionaires should get there insurance because they have paid for it so they are just getting back what they have paid. We have 30 states in this country where the insurance trusts are underfunded which means states are borrowing money to put into the trusts so they can play the insurance. We need to privatize this market right now.
RICK UNGAR: This one really bothers me. We aren't talking about millionaires, we are talking about people who when they file their tax returns, put down that they earned a million dollars in that year, despite earning a million bucks, they still went into the unemployment office to get a check, outrageous. They didn't go to the unemployment office; they sent their drivers in to collect their check because they would have been embarrassed. It's absolutely shameful.
STEVE FORBES: If I fired myself I wouldn't go in and collect unemployment. What you pay into the system you should get out of it. If you want to reform the system, fine. If you lose the job, paid in you should be able to get out of it. I think Mike is right, we should have a system where what you put in and if you don't have the wherewithal to do it then the government steps in.
MORGAN BRENNAN: I think they shouldn't. Let's put these numbers into perspective. We are talking about people who filed $1 million or more; unemployment benefits were $21 million versus $77 billion in the year 2009, so we are talking about a very small percentage of people receiving unemployment benefits. The cost of living is relative to your income. Whether you have been laid off a $30,000 a year job or a $1 million a year job the cost of living is relative and you can see this in foreclosure numbers. We have seen a lot of millionaires who have foreclosed on houses in the last 4 years.
RICH KARLGAARD: I share Rick Ungar's outrage over this and so does a very conservative Tom Coburn who wants to end this loophole. For the time being, it is the law, and the people who are collecting unemployment benefits even though they have high incomes are following the law. It reminds me of people who take advantage of the large tax code who are accused of cheating even though they are following the law.
Informer: Long skirts are a sign of a bad economy according to the Hemline Index: hemlines are as long as they were in 1929
Informers pick stocks to get skirts short again.
MORGAN BRENNAN: CIRRUS LOGIC (CRUS)
52-WEEK HIGH: $40.00
52-WEEK LOW: $12.88
MIKE OZANIAN: Kimberly-Clark (KMB)
52-WEEK HIGH: $88.25
52-WEEK LOW: $65.11