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CRITICS: WHITE HOUSE PLAN ON POLITICAL DONATIONS WILL COST JOBS
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: In the face of it, it sounds really great, more transparency, we're all for that. I wonder too, how would it kill jobs? But you've got to listen to both democrats and republicans in Congress who are saying just that. On the House Small Business Committee they are saying that, they are saying it will intimidate small businesses from stepping forward to get federal contracts which could help create jobs. They are also saying it could cause a lot of administrative bookkeeping burdens on small businesses. Steny Hoyer is against this, Claire McCaskill is against this, the Supreme Court ruled against this, Congress has not been in support of this.
QUENTIN HARDY: It's a perfectly good idea. What's wrong with transparency in government? And the so-called lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are receiving checks from businesses and essentially doing their bidding. I like knowing that, I like being informed about what business is doing to win business with my tax dollars. I really don't see the harm.
MIKE OZANIAN: I feel like I'm watching "The Sopranos" when I look at the Obama administration. If you wanted to make all this disclosure free and open, you don't have to tie it to getting contracts, just make a law that everybody has to put their donations and publish them on a website.
NEIL WEINBERG: This would help jobs. If you want to talk about "The Sopranos" just look at Washington all on the same side of this. They all like the current model because they are all getting checks. This is how they are funding their campaigns. We have a Blagojevich type of government here, on the state and federal level. Unfortunately the only way to kill the germs is a bit of sunlight. It's exactly what we need here. We don't want a political litmus test, but we do want transparency.
MORGAN BRENNAN: Neil talks about new jobs and yes we need new jobs. We just saw an uptick 9 percent unemployment rate this past month and why are we going to make any more red tape for companies to create more jobs. That's what I want to know. You've had mass exodus of companies overseas for the past couple of decades because of red tape. You have companies expanding, like Boeing, expanding into Right to Work states because they don't want to deal with union shenanigans and the red tape there. Why would we create any more red tape on this matter?
KYM MCNICHOLAS: Absolutely, I don't agree. There isn't any red tape involved at all. It's basically just an issue of transparency. We're righting a blank check to the federal government, I think we have the right to know where that money is going. For example, in 2008 the Obama administration was the largest recipient of campaign donations from Boeing, it was 5 times that of McCain's campaign. Fast forward to 2011 and Boeing has received more than $45 billion in government contracts. I think we have a right to know.
THE FLIPSIDE: GOVERNMENT SHOULD STOP INSURING ALL HOME LOANS TO RESCUE HOUSING
MIKE OZANIAN: The government should stop insuring all home loans. What happens is when you have the higher credit rating from being insured by the government, you get to charge about half a percentage point lower on the mortgage so you're totally distorting the housing market. And then you're causing prices to increase because to get that loan what happens is homebuilders have to build affordable housing at a much lower price. They also pass that cost on to the typical middle class family looking to buy a home. It's terrible to have it federally insured.
KYM MCNICHOLAS: We shouldn't get rid of all the insurance at all. We already have a very tight lending market at this moment. Do we need to give banks even more reasons to be more reluctant to give home loans? We have more than 11 million vacant homes in the U.S. right now and if we can't get more of these homes sold and fewer people are able to buy them prices will continue to drop and we're going to hear another crash.
NEIL WEINBERG: Taxpayers should not be in the business of insuring anybody's home. If you want to buy a home, take the risk yourself. I say get rid of the mortgage interest deduction, get rid of the government's role in the mortgage business and let the market clear. That's the only answer to what we've done. The government has mucked up the system, it's time to move on.
MORGAN BRENNAN: At this rate, taxpayers are insuring their own homes if you look at the numbers. We've got home prices dropping, we've 220,000 foreclosure notices last month, we've got 28 percent of all home loans underwater right now and if the government were to pull out, as Kym mentioned, it would be a complete crash. What - are the banks going to jump in and do it? They're too busy messing up short sales and loan modifications, not lending to qualified buyers.
QUENTIN HARDY: The reality is in your little affluent part of the country, in my little affluent part of the country - $700,000 is the middle. That said, should we not insure on the downside, should we insure up to $2-3 million, they are both distorted. We do need to get rid of it. And we need to get rid of the middle-class welfare that is the mortgage interest deduction. We can't do it overnight, we can't do it over 10 years.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I think Congress is moving to get rid of insurance for the upper limit. This would put the housing market more into the tank more quickly. It would cause a second, worse double-dip depression in the recession that we already have in the housing market.
GOVERNMENT SAYS INFLATION IS NOT A BIG PROBLEM DESPITE SOARING PRICES
MIKE OZANIAN: Here's the big lie coming from the government in a word -- transitory. They keep telling us inflation is transitory. Well you know what, my life is transitory. I'm not going to be here forever either. And nothing erodes the standard of living more than inflation. And the government figures are not an accurate description of just how bad inflation is.
NEIL WEINBERG: They are not being any less honest, they are being equally dishonest like they always are. That's basically what they are doing. These numbers have not changed, the formulas are not changing, so while they may be distorted they are not any more distorted than they were before and they're not giving you an accurate picture. And for everything going up, you have housing going down, computers going down - there are things that are going down in price. It's not like everything you're buying is going up.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: The Federal Reserve focuses on a core inflation rate that knocks out food and energy. But I've got to say Neil, you can't eat a house, you can't eat a computer. That's the issue. The Bank of England and banks in Europe do focus on food and energy that's why they are hiking interest rates to get rid of inflation. Is it distorted? Yes. The Federal Reserve has been doing this for a very long time.
QUENTIN HARDY: You can't ignore realities like Friday's inflation number on a 3-month average is below the 20-year average and the 50-year average. This really isn't that bad, you're seeing a near thing... In the meantime, gasoline futures are dropping ahead of the summer driving season, that's odd. Silver has fallen by one third in the past two weeks. You're seeing many signs of prices dropping as well, you have to weigh it out in context.
KYM MCNICHOLAS: Actually 70 percent of retail gasoline stations are reporting this spring they've already seen a decline in demand and prices will start to follow. But I have to admit, I'm looking for that wage increase - wage increases are a key component to inflation and until I get a raise, I'm not going to buy into it.
STOCKS READY TO TAKE OFF ON TAKEOVER NEWS
MORGAN BRENNAN: Gilead Sciences (GILD)
KYM MCNICHOLAS: Dollar tree (DLTR)
NEIL WEINBERG: Netflix (NFLX)
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Duke Energy (DUK)