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PRESIDENT OBAMA: AMERICAN WORKERS ARE BETTER OFF SINCE I TOOK OFFICE
STEVE FORBES: It's like the manager of the NY Mets telling fans they're headed for the World Series. Median incomes are down. Job creation still remains punk. Trickle-down economics does not work. The top 10 percent of income earners, yes, they've done well under President Obama, but the other 90 percent, they're stalled and feel they're falling behind.
RICK UNGAR: Well, look, I think the President had it right when he said that by any measure the economy has improved since he got there. I'm afraid it's a swing and a miss, though, when he says that the worker is doing better.
MIKE OZANIAN: The thing is, David, if you go back to the 1930s, the more severe the recession, the faster economic growth is in the subsequent recovery, and the key driver of that is capital formation, spending in plants and equipment. If you go back to the Reagan recovery, spending on plant and equipment was 22 percent of GDP. It's been only 17 percent in the Obama recovery. Why? High regulations, higher taxes have thwarted business investment.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: We've had Dodd Frank, we've had Obamacare, we've had the EPA. Listen, only the crank outposts of the liberal left would say this is a great recovery. I mean, this is very slow change we cannot believe in, and I can't believe what's going on. You know, this president will say time and again, "well, I inherited a terrible recession". Guess what? Three of the last six presidents inherited bad recessions. You mentioned Ronald Reagan. He inherited a double dip recession, Citigroup collapsed for the first time, and also double-digit inflation. This is the only president since Herbert Hoover who responded to an economic collapse by raising aggressively taxes.
RICH KARLGAARD: You absolutely do. That's why labor participation, you know, went to another new low of 62 percent plus. That's just abysmal. People on food stamps are now 15 percent of the population. It was 11 percent when Obama took office. Disability insurance has now climbed 40 percent under Obama. You know, Obama taking credit for this recovery off of a really low bar in January 2009 by pure coincidence is like Al Gore taking credit for the invention of the internet because he came to office as Vice President in 1993.
JOHN TAMNY: Well, you know, I think despite the unemployment number, the economy is actually growing, but what's got to be stressed is that it has little to do with President Obama's economic policies, and a great deal to do with the fact that his presidency essentially ended at the end of 2012. Economies are just individuals. When gridlock takes shape in Washington, which means politicians aren't able to put up barriers to our natural desire to achieve. There is a slight recovery going on, but it has nothing to do with policy and everything to do with a lack of policy.
MORE RESTAURANTS ADDING "OBAMACARE SURCHARGE" TO CUSTOMERS' FOOD BILLS
JOHN TAMNY: I think what's happening in California is beautiful, and I hope it leads to that sort of proposition. It's beautiful what's happening here.
RICK UNGAR: Guys, you're so missing this. I have been to many of these California restaurants. They are all expensive restaurants that cater to what? California liberals, by and large. They put the 3 percent separate. They could put it right into the menu. They put it separate. Why? Because they are using it as PR. Their customers love it. They love that they're doing this to benefit their workers. Guys, you won't see it.
STEVE FORBES: If they put it in the prices, people would accuse them of price gouging, because it's a way to get the restaurants off the hook. By the way, in San Francisco a lot of that money is not going for health care benefits. They devise formulas in a way where a lot of that money goes in the hands of the restaurant owners. So it's another way where the politicians getting it or others get it. Customer gets the shaft.
BILL BALDWIN: I wonder whether businesses really win the hearts of their customers by providing a laundry list of excuses with every bill. You know, a fuel surcharge, a universal connectivity fee, inflation surcharge; all these surcharges. Airlines like to use these things, and cell phone carriers like to use these things, but reputable businesses don't.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I'm with John Tamny. I think that's exactly right, David. That is what's going on. It's also happening in Florida and Minnesota, and it's not because people are cheerleading it. It's because they want to be transparent about why costs are going up. It's not food inflation. The other thing too is, David, I'm wondering if this will happen with fast food chains. Maybe fast food workers will wake up and see what is really happening to the overhead costs for their companies and how that could really hurt their jobs as we see protests rolling out.
BLAME GAME ERUPTS OVER NUDE CELEBRITY PHOTOS EXPOSED BY HACKERS
RICH KARLGAARD: I think this is the biggest fake scandal in the history of mankind. You have these narcissistic celebrities who are complaining that their naked pictures have been released I mean, come on. You know, I've got a bridge to sell you if you believe that one.
MIKE OZANIAN: To me, David, it's the hackers, right? They stole private property.
BILL BALDWIN: I think I will blame Apple for this.
STEVE FORBES: Mike is right. It is stolen property, and I think that we should blame appl. I mean, they act -- the pentagon, the Iranians hack our banks. This is a real problem, and while this gets publicity because these are celebrities, the fact of the matter is this is stolen property, and the hackers should be hunted down if we can.
RICK UNGAR: Well, there are two things I learned being in Hollywood. One is nobody wants the naked pictures of any of us. Maybe Lizzie. Not the rest of us. Okay? That's number one. Number two, having been in Hollywood, I can tell you that Rich is on the right track. There's no such thing as overexposure.
INFORMER: FINANCIAL "SECURITY" STOCKS
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Symantec Corporation (SYMC)
MIKE OZANIAN: EMC Corporation (EMC)