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IS SCRAPPING REGULATIONS THE BEST JOBS PLAN?
STEVE FORBES: Yes, we would save forests, but also we would create jobs, Gerri. The environmental protection agencies become the environmental punishment agency, scraping science to do their own political agenda, going after coal-fired power plants, exaggerating their pollution by a factor of 1,000. This is ridiculous. Well the White House, which up until now is saying that regulations help create jobs, is like the old cigarette companies saying that cigarette smoking was good for your health. Not a reliable source.
RICH KARLGAARD: Boy, you know when you travel around the country and you talk to CEOs from companies from large to small, this Boeing thing has had a really chilling effect. That is because the NLRB has said Boeing cannot build a plant in South Carolina, which is a right to work state. Now what happens is, on legislative actions at least you can kind of predict what is going to happen. When bureaucracies with hidden bureaucrats rule on things there is just no way of knowing what is going to come down the pipe and business people decide to sit on their hands and not hire.
KAI FALKENBER: They do not focus on it at all. All they do is focus on issuing more and more regulations. There is no consideration for the cost benefit of these regulations. That is the real problem there.
BILL BALDWIN: Well, we do need to get rid of them but don't expect for this to increase unemployment. The problem with regulations is not that it kills job, the big problem is that it adds to jobs. Here is an example; the EPA wasn't to dismantle the coal industry and replace it with something much less efficient. That is going to be jobs for the plant builders. The Colorado agency which regulates day care centers has a rule which dictates how many dolls you have and what color they are. That is a job for doll inspectors. The problem with regulation is totally different. It is that it destroys our standard of living and it destroys our freedom.
KYM MCNICHOLAS: Regulations have absolutely nothing to do with the job market right now. The issue is really the economy. These companies are proceeding with caution, who they have to answer to. I hear a little snickering over there in New York. But, the issue is really that these companies are trying to proceed with caution at this point, they have to answer to their share holders. Cash flow is not an issue and the argument is that regulations increase the cost to companies and ultimately they are going to have less money to spend on jobs. Well U.S. companies raked in more than $940 billion in profits since the credit crisis. They can obviously afford them. The issue is, where are they spending their money? Well they are answering to their shareholders once again. Stock buybacks, takeovers, increased dividends, those are costs they can actually justify. Increasing their expenses well they are going to get hammered by the stock market if they do not increase their revenues.
KEREN BLANKFELD: Well you know, hindsight is 20/20 and it is unbelievable to me how short people's memories are. I mean, voluntary regulation does not work and it is the reason we are in this mess to begin with.
SHOULD ADDITIONAL AID FUNDS BE OFFSET BY ADDITION SPENDING CUTS?
MIKE OZANIAN: Absolutely, Gerri, and it should start by looking right in the mirror. Let's get rid of the Department of Energy, let's get rid of the Department of Transportation and let's get rid of the Department of Education. They do absolutely no good and let's get rid of this Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative which costs us $80 billion of taxpayer money. A cost of $355,000 supposedly, per job saved or created. Those are the president's own numbers, Gerri.
STEVE FORBES: Well it shouldn't have to wait for a storm like Irene to do the cutting. It should be doing that anyway. One of the few proper functions of government is to deal with national emergencies, get that aid in. Don't tie that to spending cuts, the spending cuts should be done anyway. Mike has a whole list of them, I can add to them: The Department of Education and some other programs. In terms of emergencies, throw the money in, deal with the problem. Governor Christie is right, do it now and do it quickly.
KYM MCNICHOLAS: They can have their cake and eat it too. I mean they can provide relief and they can actually make the cuts at the same time. I mean everything should be conditioned on budget offsets elsewhere, absolutely everything. Every solid family, every solid business, every solid family business handles their expenses that way. We can't afford to just keep shelling out and shelling out and shelling out without making the cuts. We have $14 trillion in debt here in the U.S. because Congress has not safeguarded our money. We can't just issue blank checks and only to meet that with fraud and abuse in these relief efforts. New York Times actually reported, called out the FED after Hurricane Katrina for $2 billion in wasted money in relief efforts. We can't afford it.
BILL BALDWIN: I don't think we should hold emergency aid hostage for some other issue having to do with cutting federal departments. And by the way I'm going to agree with Mike on those and I am going to raise him and Steve one and throw in a couple of war departments I don't like, like the Department of Agriculture or the Department of Labor, or the Department of Commerce. Let's get rid of all of those they just conflict with each other. But there is a separate issue, you can't have an emergency and then start getting into these deadline debates about which one you are going to cut when, like we did with the debt crisis. That is like saying we can't fund World War II until after we made $50 billion in cuts. No you had an emergency. You deal with the emergency, you deal with the waste later.
MORGAN BRENNAN: I love the idea of dealing with the emergency first, but there is an issue here and that is that the Disaster Relief Fund has less than $800 million in it. The White House is calling for an additional $5.2 billion and it has the potential to be a political circus. So we could offset that spending. I have a very simple proposal -- freeze foreign aid. In FY2009 we spent our obligations just for economic assistance alone, upwards of $48 billion. You can take $5.2 billion from that. Put it towards the taxpayers who are in need, who paid that money in the first place.
RICH KARLGAARD: No I think it's a political disaster for the Republicans to hold this hostage to people who are really suffering. Steve and Bill point out this is one of the handful of legitimate things a federal government can do and to tie one to the other is a mistake. There are plenty of cuts and I would add to everyone else's cuts; why does the Federal Reserve need 20,000 employees.
DON'T TRY TO CONTROL HOW THE U.N. SPENDS AMERICA'S MONEY. INSTEAD, DON'T GIVE THEM ANY MONEY TO SPEND!
MIKE OZANIAN: Gerri, the U.N. is filled with murderers, tyrants, rapists and vespots. The U.S. puts in about a billion dollars a year to fund it. Most of that money goes to funding 10,000 bureaucrats. The U.N. does little to stop genocides around the world. It was basically set up to stop World War III from happening, now they get into things like population control. Let's cut all funding from the U.N.
KEREN BLANKFELD: You know it is just not realistic. The U.N. is dysfunctional and it needs to be fixed but cutting it off isn't going to do us anything. We are part of a global world and there is no such thing as isolationism anymore.
KYM MCNICHOLAS: Oh I totally think so. I would compare the U.N. to large nonprofits such as the American Red Cross or the United Way. They are large organizations, help a lot of people worldwide, there is no doubt. But you never really know exactly where that money is going. So I prefer the Dorris Buffett method, Warren Buffett's sister, she writes a check directly to the organization she wants to support.
STEVE FORBES: Well the only way you are going to get that institution to change is to cut off the money. That is the only way you get their attention, trying to work inside with quiet diplomacy gets you absolutely nowhere. This Derman project they have which is supposed to be against racism, turned into an anti-American, anti-Semitic exercise. The Goldstone Report, another anti-Semitic piece of atrocity that they have not formally repudiated. Human rights, countries like Cuba on the human rights commission inside the United Nations, it is a forest. So to stop this stuff like the PLO using money for terrorism, the only way to get their attention is cut off the funding, clean up your act. Then you can get the money again.
BILL BALDWIN: With all due respect to Mike and Steve, I think this is a typical Tea Party tempest. It is an overreaction. Listen you get one little problem at the NPR, you get one bad interview; they want to cut off the whole organization. Nikita Khrushchev bangs his shoe on the table once; they want to defund the U.N. entirely. No I say mend it don't end it. We have to be part of some kind of a world peace effort, even if it is a clumsy one, let's fix it.
STOCKS THAT WILL WORK FOR YOU!
MORGAN BRENNAN: epsiCo (PEP)
KYM MCNICHOLAS: ymris (AMRS)
BILL BALDWIN: ES (AES)