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CRITICS: VA REFORM BILL WILL HELP GOV'T UNION WORKERS MORE THAN VETS
STEVE FORBES: Of course, it was for the unions. It's a typical government response. Spend more money, the more you fail the more money and the bigger you get. In terms of choice for the veterans, it's severely restricted. In terms of the secretary being able to fire the restrictions in there that make it less than what it's supposed to be, the whole thing is an expensive sham. These politicians in unions are like vampires feasting on veterans. It's a disgrace.
RICK UNGAR: On the union question, I'm not sure how you say that considering the fact that the bill does give the secretary the power to fire officials that happen to be union members. I support that, by the way. I'm all for getting rid of anybody in the V.A. who is doing a bad job. As for the bill itself, there are some problems. I would never go as far as Steve has, because I think it's a step forward, but there were better ways to fix these problems.
SABRINA SCHAEFFER: This is a typical government response. It's the exact same approach we take to our public education system in this country. The problem is not a lot of resources or funds. It's a lack of a marketplace. There's no opportunity for real competition of price, competition of care and there's no outside motivating factor. So to tell a veteran who has been waiting too long that they can now go out and seek private care is like telling a parent who has had a kid in a failing school for four years that now they can lack for a private option. That's too little, too late.
MIKE OZANIAN: What they have basically done with this bill is created a new entitlement program that if scored correctly, how it was scored in the earlier version before some accounting gimmicks, it was going to cost $500 billion over the next ten years. As Sabrina pointed out, does not even address the problem.
JOHN TAMNY: We want to help the veterans. Anything that keeps them inside the V.A. is going to hurt them. We like to talk about government as soft and compassionate, but government is inefficient. So if we want to help the veterans, we should turn their benefits into dollars that they can spend on profit-motivated healthcare.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: They are saying veterans are going to end up at local community hospitals who don't know how to treat PTSD, not understanding that the veterans would have a choice. This is the problem, nearly 270 V.A. full-time workers, guess what they do? They work on union duties full-time. Their job is working for the union. These are physician's assistants and nurses. They have no standing to argue against veterans getting the choice to get better care outside the network.
LEGAL BATTLE ENSUES AS IRS IS ACCUSED OF TARGETING A PRO-ISRAEL GROUP
STEVE FORBES: This is a case of the IRS; the astonishing thing would be if it was innocent. This administration is the most anti-Israel administration since the creation of Israel. Back in 2010 notices were going out to the IRS to examine some of these organizations. It wasn't just tea party groups in the cross hairs. Pro-Israel groups were too.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I don't think the founding fathers wanted the IRS picking and choosing. I'll give you information, this is according to documents in the case, what the IRS is looking at is they were calling this group occupy territoried advocacy and then the individuals were saying that there was high risk of terrorism in Israel. So this sounds to me like bureaucratic bungling. I think they're trying to cover up incompetence.
CARRIE SHEFFIELD: This is par for the course. We learned that conservative talk show hosts, radio show hosts, they are crazies and worse than alien terrorists. I mean this is what the administration thinks. They have forgotten who is friend and who is foe. The head of Hamas has said they want to destroy America. I mean, it's bizarre how this administration forgets our heritage as staunch allies of Israel.
RICK UNGAR: If the allegations made in the complaint, and I have read the complaint and I have read the judge's decision on this, if they to turn out to be true and we have not adjudicated this yet. Let's wait and see. If it turns out to be true, what this organization is saying, yeah, it's a problem.
JOHN TAMNY: It's always bothersome when the IRS is less than neutral. It's been that way for quite some time. The founding fathers didn't want us so involved around the world like this. We talk a lot about limited government. I don't see what's limited about lobbying legislators to put our resources overseas. I'm as bothered by the lobbying group as I am by the IRS.
MIKE OZANIAN: The IRS stuff with this is a smoke screen over the big issues. The big issue here is that the Obama administration has put Hamas and Israel on equal footing, which is not the case. Hamas wants to destroy Israel. Policies have made this an issue. If he was doing what was right and being for Israel, this would not be an issue.
REPORT: BILL CLINTON MADE $21M SPEAKING OVERSEAS WHILE HIS WIFE WAS SECRETARY OF STATE
MIKE OZANIAN: We shouldn't be surprised. She was holding those secret and illegal health care meetings. We learned it with cattle futures where she deceived the public about how she made a profit there. She did it with Boeing when she was secretary of state. This shouldn't be a surprise to anybody.
RICK UNGAR: I have not counted the money from the speeches, but i know in this instance it was mostly about the foundation. I also know there was an agreement reached in writing when Hillary Clinton became secretary of state and they were all reviewed and legitimate. You can't say this if you don't have proof of it.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: If the Clintons were an S&P sector, they would rank pretty decently. Bill Clinton gave speeches in China, Russia, Egypt, these countries, people in countries like Saudi Arabia gave money to the Clinton foundation. Don't you think we should be asking questions about that?
JOHN TAMNY: Of course, it's a conflict of interest, but we're mistaking symptom for the real problem, which is big government, government that has lots of activity around the world that a lot of people support. If government were smaller, Clinton speaking fees and the Clinton initiative would be smaller.
STEVE FORBES: They shouldn't think that just because Bill will take the check and go on to his next speech. He probably doesn't even remember who he spoke to five minutes ago. So it's about the money. I don't worry about a conflict of interest. I worry about her judgment as secretary of state.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Vanguard Energy Index fund VDE
JOHN TAMNY: COSTCO (COST)