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Bulls & Bears

On Saturday November 21, Brenda Buttner was joined by Gary B. Smith, Tobin Smith, Eric Bolling, Pat Dorsey and Regina Calcaterra.

$372 Billion in Tax Hikes in Senate Health Care Bill: Job Maker or Killer?

Eric Bolling, Fox Business Network: The word "tax" is mentioned 183 times in this bill. Here's the problem. Small businesses are going to get destroyed by this bill. It's going to cost them much more to do business when they have to provide health care for full-time and part-time employees. Consumers are hunkered down, so any increase in prices a business may make would only have a minimal effect on revenue. The only real option is for businesses to start laying people off. This bill will kill jobs.

Regina Calcaterra, Democratic strategist: This is going to create a tremendous amount of jobs. This is a simple supply and demand issue. Thirty million American who don't have health insurance are going to get it. It's like having 30 million Americans buy a new home, car, appliances, etc. This will create jobs because health care providers are going to have to increase their number of employees to accommodate the demand. More office space has to be rented which will help out the commercial real estate market. Building supplies come into greater demand. This will have a positive ripple effect across the economy.

Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research: I understand the new demand that'd be created by the health care bill, but I don't understand where the supply would come from. The U.S. is light by 40,000 general practitioners. With health care reform, it's estimated we'd be light 60,000 general practitioners. We know large sums of doctors are going to retire over the coming years. It seems unlikely the health care industry will be able to keep up with this huge new wave of demand that'll come with health care reform. Not to mention, this is going to become a tax nightmare, with many businesses and individuals being hit with new fees and tax rates.

Gary B. Smith, TheChartman.com: All you have to do is look at states where tax rates are high. What happens? Unemployment goes up because there’s not enough revenue. Look at New York or California. With Regina's theory, every time the government starts up a significant new program, and raises taxes to pay for it, we should see an increase in jobs. But that's just not the case. But if you look at low-tax states like Texas or South Dakota, which don't even have state income taxes, you have low unemployment rates.

Rob Stein, Astor Financial: You actually find some interesting facts if you specifically look at the corporate tax rate in various areas. In New York City, which has a high corporate tax rate, unemployment is lower than the national average. By comparison, Nevada, which has almost no corporate tax rate, has one of the highest unemployment rates. Michigan has a relatively low tax rate, yet the highest unemployment in the union. I don't think there's much correlation between state tax rates and low unemployment.

President Obama: Stimulus Errors a 'Side Issue'; D.C. Double Standard?

Eric Bolling: This is total political hypocrisy. This is not a side issue. You're talking about at least 80,000 jobs being created that don't actually exist. You're talking about $6.4 billion spent in 440 congressional districts for things that don't exist. You cannot call losing billions of taxpayer dollars and totally lacking transparency in how stimulus dollars are actually being spent a "side issue."

Regina Calcaterra: This 80,000 number is about10 percent of the jobs reported. The way jobs get reported is that local governments report and register the numbers with a federal government website. There don't seem to be any quality controls in place to check that number. That's the key to preventing errors like this—they have to figure out a more accurate way for local governments to report jobs that are created or saved.

Tobin Smith: There are guys who've run businesses in jail right now who underestimated a payroll tax, or miscalculated how much money they owed to the government. Any regular person can go to jail if they mess up tax payments. If 10 percent of the jobs created here are wrong, you know it's really more like 20 percent because that's how government programs like this have always worked. President Obama really missed an opportunity here. Instead of saying this is a side issue. He should have said we're going to kick butt, take names, and get these numbers right.

Gary B. Smith: This administration has gone after Big Pharma, Big Oil, the financial industry, etc. Remember how the CEOs of Chrysler and GM were pressured into driving from Detroit to Washington, DC? It's fine for Washington to try and dictate corporate policy and judge the private sector for certain things it does, but when the government screws up like this, it's a "side issue." I've got news for the President — it's my money you're spending! These programs or projects should be in place before they get the stimulus money. That way, it'd be far easier to keep account of how the money is being spent.

Rob Stein: This isn't a surprise. There has always been a double standard between the government and the private sector. There should absolutely be consequences for this. But I think these are relatively isolated cases, where mistakes were made and quality controls need to be put in place.

New Clunker for Taxpayers: $23 Billion 'Cash-for-Caulkers' Plan?

Gary B. Smith: These sorts of programs drive me absolutely crazy. Why is this the government's responsibility? Is there a spot in the constitution that says the government should push homeowners to green-up their homes? Or pushing people into buying homes? The science on global warming seems pretty divided right now. And yet we're doing the same thing we've done with so many other government programs—the government takes money from one sector and moves it to another. The market isn't dictating the right place to allocate money and I think that's wrong.

Regina Calcaterra: This initiative will help keep money in small businesses, home contractors and renovators, along with the green energy sector. It'll add value to people’s home when they can't get value anywhere else.

Eric Bolling: This is all about the Nanny State mentality. This is another $23 billion dollars being spent outside of the stimulus package! I thought the stimulus was supposed to cover programs like this. Why not at least spend untapped stimulus dollars on this?

Tobin Smith: The way to do a real stimulus plan is invest money in things that lower overall costs for people or businesses. If this money is actually spent on cutting bills for consumers by lowering energy costs, the program will pay for itself in about three or four years. During the Depression, the government invested huge amounts of money in hydroelectric dams which long ago paid for themselves. This is a much better stupid idea than the really stupid idea of shoveling money to states to keep teachers on payrolls we can't afford.

Rob Stein: I do think this plan can create efficiency in the energy sector, give a boost to home contracting businesses, and the housing market. This is a better idea than most that the government has come up with recently.

Predictions

Gary B. Smith: Turkey day kicks off holiday food sales! "SWY" harvest 30 percent by December 31

Tobin Smith: Stock up on botox before "bo-tax"! "AGN" plumps up 40 percent by February

Rob Stein: 2,074 reasons to buy Adobe! "ADBE" sees 30 percent gain in 1 year

Eric Bolling: Mall Santas' swine flu scare! "WAG" runs up 50 percent in 1 year

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Cavuto on Business

On Saturday November 21, 2009 Charles Payne was in for Neil Cavuto. He was joined by Ben Stein, Dagen McDowell, Adam Lashinsky and Joe Battipaglia.

$849 Billion Health Care Bill: History Proving It Will Cost More?

Ben Stein, author, "How to Ruin the USA": I don't there has been any government program in the civilian sector that has come at or under the projected cost. This idea that we can accurately predict what health care costs are going to be in the future is like scientists who think they can predict the weather 30 years from now. Realistically, they can't. If history is any guide, health care reform will cost far more than the current projections.

Joe Battipaglia, Stifel Nicolaus: We shouldn't believe these projections at all. Government never hits the mark. All kinds of additional costs are going to come not factored in to the original projections. They're up-fronting the increased tax revenues they think they'll get, and putting off the long-term effects of fees and new expenses on businesses and individuals so it doesn't make the analysis. The first 10 years of reform look great, but disaster will strike afterward.

Adam Lashinsky, editor-at-large, Fortune Magazine: I don't believe these projections. But I think we're asking a nonsensical question. For example, if a plane is about to take off, people check the weather forecast. This is about government trying to make its best guess for the cost of reform. And the government is certainly not the only entity that's bad at forecasting costs. What alternative is there? Should we just give up on any plan for reform? Some may want that, but the majority of Americans do not.

Dagen McDowell, Fox Business Network: Historically, the government always gets these cost projections wrong. I think you're living in fantasy land if you think the government is somehow going to get this one right. We don't need to wait to figure out the government is playing fast and loose with these numbers. And when you actually count the extra amount of money the states are going to have to spend to meet their end of reform, the price tag doubles.

Do We Need New Jobs Bill on Top of $787 Billion Stimulus?

Joe Battipaglia: Very little of the stimulus has gone to the private sector. Of the money distributed so far, about one-third went to states to pay salaries. Another third went out as income to people who needed to save money and pay down debt. The last third have gone to government projects. We've squandered the national treasury. We're now at the point of deteriorating the value of the dollar—we're not good capitalists any more.

Dagen McDowell: The world is telling us we don't get to keep spending money indefinitely and just keep borrowing it from everybody else. You don’t' get a do-over with this stuff. And we're only making things worse by expanding unemployment benefits, rather than giving incentive for people to get back to work.

Ben Stein: The question is, has the stimulus worked at all? The money is going somewhere—it's not just disappearing. It's doing something for someone. What we're seeing here is the economy trying to recover from a huge shockwave that went through nearly all aspects of it. The private sector has to work this out. The hit it took was too big for the government to fix. It's something the government just can't afford to do properly.

Adam Lashinsky: The value of the stimulus was that it gave a psychological boost at a time when the economy badly needed it. The stimulus was designed to really kick-in starting in 2010. It really hasn't had a fair chance yet. What's funny is how the administration has tried to be transparent. They had a descent idea of trying to track where the money went. They just haven't done a good job of policing it. But we're beating them up for making a valid attempt to be transparent.

$124 Billion Tax Dollars for Electric Cars; Green Agenda Gone Wild?

Ben Stein: This administration and Congress remind me of the German army moving around phantom divisions at the end of World War II. The administration and Congress are just moving around phantom amounts of money that we don't have. Where's the power come from to power up an electric car? Burning coal at a power plant. This electricity doesn't appear out of thin air. And renewable sources of energy like solar or wind are still very inefficient. The administration lives in fantasy land.

Adam Lashinsky: There is always going to be unintended consequences from policy proposals like this. The private sector is already leading the way in the development of green energy technologies. The government has been incentivizing things for years. It's incentivized the oil industry for years. Tax policy encouraged home ownership, and generally it has been and is a good idea, but it got out of hand. Some good ideas go in the wrong direction, but it doesn't mean you don't try them.

Dagen McDowell: Money never comes out of thin air. We have to print it or borrow it. Spain gave heavy subsidies to solar power providers, and when the government got into financial trouble, the subsidies disappeared.

Joe Battipaglia: The green energy movement has co-oped their agenda for the Democratic party. Now it's payback time, regardless of economics or lacking efficiencies. The oil and gas industry has move out of the United States investing in foreign development projects for years. There is certainly merit in investing in green energy infrastructure, but the current agenda being pushed right now isn't the way to do it.

Go 'Green' With Stocks

Joe Battipaglia: Becton Dickinson (BDX)

Adam Lashinsky: Exxon Mobil (XOM)

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Forbes on Fox

On Saturday, November 21, 2009, David Asman was joined by Steve Forbes, Neil Weinberg, Mike Ozanian, Victoria Barret, Quentin Hardy, Mike Maiello, Evelyn Rusli, Elizabeth MacDonald, and John Rutledge.

In Focus: Will Plan Inside Senate Health Care Bill Lead to Rationing?

David Asman: The first vote on the Senate health care bill expected within hours. The promise? It will “improve” care in America. But the Forbes team found something tucked inside they say will lead to “rationing.” So who's right? Steve, you're concerned about a particular commission in the Senate bill?

Steve Forbes: It’s about payments for costly procedures, which is another form of rationing. They have this in England, a thing called NICE, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, for which they put a $45,000 price tag. If your care costs more than that, just put a tag on your toe. The state of Washington has something similar; they banned things like scoping your knees for arthritis, MRIs for breast cancer, and things like that so government can restrict health care supply. It can ration it, but it can’t increase the supply.

Neil Weinberg: You know David, I can’t help notice that people who are arguing most vociferously for the scare tactic that rationing is going to get between you and your doctor are these evil bureaucrats. These are the people who just happen to have health insurance. Why don’t we ask the 40 million people in this country who have no health insurance about rationing? They really know what rationing is. The other thing I’d say is without some sort of panel making a decision and saying this is something we can cover and this is something we can’t, where is the cost control in this system?

David Asman: E-Mac, will it cause more rationing or not?

Elizabeth MacDonald: Yeah it will cause more rationing. It was an idea that was brought forward by former Congressman Tom Daschle. He wanted something called the Federal Health Board modeled after the Central Bank, the Federal Reserve. The problem is the government is responsible for half of all health care spending in this country, Medicare and Medicaid, and those costs are zooming towards 15 percent of GDP by the year 2040. But the problem is, David, who decides who gets what care? In Britain, Steve is right. They are denying care for cancer, for MS, for Leukemia treatments, for blindness, and women are being denied coverage for Pap smears in Britain and they are suing the government because they’re getting cervical cancer. That’s the issue. Who appoints these people on the board – Charlie Rangel, James Traficant, or you know William Jefferson, these corrupt politicians? Who appoints them?

Quentin Hardy: Got to bore you with some facts. Section 2 requirement 1A subsection 2: The proposal shall not include any recommendation to ration health care. OK. But I wish they would because the fact of the matter is capitalism is based on rationing. Resources are always scarce. They have to be apportioned intelligently. We actually need to figure out how to make things better and innovate. Rationing and allocation, that’s what it’s all about. We don’t do it well in this society. That’s why things cost like crazy.

David Asman: Mike, goods are scarce in socialism, but not in capitalism. The great thing about capitalism is that you have more goods created.

Mike Ozanian: Well my good buddy Quentin needs to read the dictionary. By definition you cannot have rationing where you have a pricing distribution system where the provider of insurance and that person receiving the service agree in a written contract what the cost is going to be and what the service is going to be. You can only have rationing in an ad hoc system with no written contract, which is what Obama wants.

Mike Maiello: Your private health insurance company has a commission within it with people you don’t know making decisions about what the insurance company will and will not cover, and they can get between you and your doctor. My wife had a knee injury. Her doctor said physical therapy will fix it. The insurance company disagreed. So we had to have a big argument about it. That’s rationing.

New Plans for an Internet Tax: Will It Cost More Jobs?

David Asman: The new tax plan no one’s talking about but everybody should. It's a tax that may soon show up on your phone bill. This one's supposed to help pay for all Americans to get online. But Vickie says not only will it hit you in the wallet, it’ll cost you your job.

Victoria Barret: What they’re proposing is a surcharge on cell phone bills and we’re already paying a lot for surcharges on cell phone bills, as well as, forcing Internet providers to share their networks with competitors. What this means in the end is we’re going to pay more simply for communicating. It’s a tax on communication, which is disturbing when more and more business is happening online and happening on cell phones. So businesses have to pay more just to get stuff done, they are going to end up spending less on jobs - salary increases and new hires. It really is this kind of sneaky tax that can harm jobs.

Mike Maiello: One of the best ideas from the Bush administration was that we needed universal broadband access throughout the country. We didn’t get there yet. We haven’t found a way to implement it. Now, this is a small tax that’s going to be less than, and I know when I say small tax Steve rolls his eyes, it’s going to be less than what your cell phone goes up anyway. But if you create universal broadband, as we’ve seen from localities where this has happened, you can create massive amounts of jobs. The best estimate is 1.2 million jobs nationally. That’s the most optimistic.

Steve Forbes: When you increase the cost of something and increase the tax on it, you get less of it. What they don’t realize is that free enterprise will provide universal service. Take for example television. Without any governmental help at all, within a quarter of a century after television and World War 2 in the early 1950s, virtually every home had it. There was more access with televisions then there were with telephones where you did have a government program. Look at cell phones. Twenty years ago, it was as big as a box car. They were boxy, clunky, and expensive. Today they are cheap. Millions of people have one. Poor people have them around the world, except for Cuba and North Korea.

Quentin Hardy: Well I’m sorry, but actually television has a lot of government support. If you read Bill Paley’s autobiography, he believed in radio, not television. He was dragged into it. So there is a role for government. Steve, years ago you talked about how we had to be more like Korea and have that broadband penetration. That was from the government. The issue here is, are we going to pay for it? Are we going to find a way to pay for it? Or are we just going to have another make believe “Oh we’ll just do it for free.” It doesn’t happen that way. We tried that in the Bush years and got massive deficits. This is a way to pay for something we think will create an economic good.

Elizabeth MacDonald: Let’s blame Bush. Makes for a nice bumper sticker. Why don’t you just blame solar flares and Mars wobbles on Bush in the process? It’s just utterly ridiculous. By the way, there is taxes on TV sets in Britain and they’ve got one network to look at, the BBC. Whoopee. That’s really a lot of fun. But Mike brings up a great point and that’s broadband. In other words, I’ve talked to broadband companies. I’ve chaired conferences with them. They don’t want to have to spend a lot of capital to invest in building out broadband. By the way, we’re behind South Korea and Japan. They don’t want to invest that capital knowing that the tax man is lurking around the corner to take away that mass market share.

David Asman: So Ozanian, we’re getting more like South Korea or North Korea?

Mike Ozanian: I think this is a moved towards North Korea for the very same reason, David. I’m actually much more Machiavellian about this. I don’t think it’s just about job loss, which it will move us towards. It’s about Obama trying to control communication and speech. We know Obama has been trying to get liberals more airtime on TV even though people don’t want to watch them. Obama wants to move back to where there are just three networks and they all pander to the left to the Democrats. He wants to push down Internet usage because that’s where a lot of the dissidents have their discussions.

Flipside: General Motors Proves Bailouts Work

David Asman: Ready for this? Some here say we just found out that bailouts are good. GM, the butt of so many “government motors” jokes, now saying it's ready to start paying back some of the billions we, the taxpayers, lent it. The automaker is even tossing around the idea of a stock IPO. Quentin says this proves the bailouts are worth it!

Quentin Hardy: In politics, we write history everyday and then promptly forget it. It is very important to remember when this bailout happened. It was a year ago. The world was coming off a cliff. The financial system was collapsing and because of that, GM couldn’t get any funding. George Bush gave it money and rescued it because it gave them a funding bridge. They were able to go on. Obama fired the CEO. The new guy seems to be doing a pretty good job. Bailouts don’t work all the time, but nothing works all the time. In this case it was a pretty smart idea.

Steve Forbes: Well, the Bush administration provided a little over $10 billion. We’re now up to almost $50 billion, so the other $40 billion I have a hard time rationalizing.

David Asman: So does the car czar. Steve Rattner says we’re not going to get back $25 billion.

Steve Forbes: No, of course not, except in Zimbabwe dollars. But in terms of GM itself, if it would have been allowed to go into Chapter 11, it would have been a much less costly reorganization. As it stands now, for each job saved at GM, it’s costing $1.5 million that could have been used to create real productive jobs. Remember, GM now is down about 38,000 workers. In 1970 David it had 395,000 workers. This is just a waste of money.

Evelyn Rusli: I have to disagree. GM’s repayment plan is far from hard evidence that it is viable in the long term or even that it will pay us back in full. The thing is, the primary goal of the bailout was actually so stabilize the auto sector, which at the time was deeply in trouble and that was actually the manufacturing backbone of the United States. Now if that went under, that would have had a domino effect on the rest of the economy. We would have seen a very severe recession.

John Rutledge: We’ve heard a lot about dominos in history and usually when we hear it, they get us in trouble. Look. Bailouts work if you want to create a poorly managed, inefficient, company with no future, run by political hacks. If you want to prevent the market from transferring resources to companies that will be more efficient and make better cars and more jobs, they work just fine.

Neil Weinberg: You know, I have to congratulate the General Motors customers here because they’re driving the most expensive cars in the world. Unfortunately, we taxpayers are paying for that. You know, to Steve’s point that each job is costing us $1.5 million dollars when you factor in all the money that the government has pumped into General Motors, these cars are costing us a fortune.

Informer: Stocks to Gobble Up

David Asman: We’re back with the stocks to be thankful for. They'll help you fill your belly and fatten your wallet:

Neil Weinberg: Hormel Foods (HRL)

Mike Ozanian: Clorox (CLX)

Victoria Barret: Salesforce.com (CRM)

John Rutledge: iShares MSCI Turkey Index (TUR)

Bulls & Bears | Cavuto on Business | Forbes on Fox | Cashin' In

Cashin' In

$55 Billion in Medicare Fraud: Proof We Don’t Need Government-Run Health Care?

Jonathan Hoenig, CapitalistPig Asset Management: Medicare and Medicaid are full of fraud. $55 Billion worth of waste in fraud. 12 percent Of all Medicare payments are fraudulent. If you believe somehow expanding that entitlement space, you're crazy. Every time we see the big government programs, cash for clunkers, the TARP program, you get an immense amount of fraud. As bankrupt as these programs are now, you enlarge them, you're going to bankrupt the country.

Ethan Pollack, Economic Policy Institute: I think you should focus on the advantage which is an experimental program. Essentially what they tried to do is instead of bringing people under a public plan, it was public subsidies for private plans. It turns out that that actually — you waste about 14 percent. So with the health care bill, it cuts a lot of Medicare advantage that saves about 14 cents on the dollar. I think what it shows is that the private plans have been actually — those are the ones that are providing the insurance under Medicare advantage. They've been even more inefficient than the
government-run plans.

Tracy Byrnes, Fox Business Network: These plans, I think the bigger problem here is that they're just not run well. They're run so sloppily that it's a piece of cake for the mafia to get in right now and just make oodles of money off of them. They're paying homeless people for social security numbers and collecting Medicare and Medicaid checks. It's that simple because it is that poorly run. And that is what is the foreshadow of what's to come with this potential health care bill.

Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co: Ethan, you used the word waste. There's a big difference in the word waste and the word fraud. We're talking about fraud here. The government accounting office cannot even account for the fraud. The guy said — who's running the budget says I don't have the tools to do this, yet we can waste $55 billion, $1 billion is a thousand million, and he can't produce the tools to detect it? He's got to be a moron. This is out of control. We ought to vote them all out.

Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com: If you think Medicare has fraud, the government gets ripped off as much or more than anybody. Cutting that program down a little will proportionately cut the fraud. I don't understand why you would be against cutting Medicare like some politicians are. That's where the fraud is as far as private insurance, there's a lot of fraud there, too. There's people staging car accidents every day ripping off insurance companies. However, we don't know because they don't publish the figures. A little less fraud than the government which is why mandating private insurance if you can afford it is another way. Private insurance will look after their own.

President Obama Says He's Worried That Adding to Debt Could Create Double-Dip Recession; Does He Mean It or Does His Agenda Show He Doesn’t?

Tracy Byrnes: There are so many out there I have to write them down. I'm going to read them to you. Let's start with the $787 billion stimulus. Cash for clunkers, home buyer tax credit, unemployment extension. This new job stimulus plan, I love it. He couldn't even say in that same interview it would be deficit neutral. He's concerned, sure. But his actions are not showing it. We are spending money. Then, oh we have climate change down the pike, too. So much for saving money. We are thinking about today. I get it. A lot of people are out of work. They want to go back to work. They want jobs. Let's focus on jobs. Let's help these people get jobs. Let's take a break from all of this other stuff because all we're doing is putting our poor children, our grandchildren in debt forever. They're going to be sending their entire paychecks back to the U.S. Government because federal income taxes will be well over 50 percent by the time my poor kids start working.

Ethan Pollack: I don't know what the previous guest was talking about with climate change because climate change brings in revenue. There's essentially three drivers that are going to be driving the deficit in both the short, medium and long term. One is the recession. It's had a huge impact on the deficit. Most of the deficit right now is because of revenue drops and the automatic stabilizer increases. So Obama's done a good job of being proactive on that and trying to bring the economy back to a level where we can actually have fiscal balance. The second thing is health care we've got health care increases. There's no way we get our long-term deficits under control unless we start bending that curve. And the CBO recently said that this recent Senate bill actually does that to a certain extent. Third thing is the culture.

Jonathan Hoenig: At the end of the day, Cheryl, talk is cheap. The president spent more than nine months than Bill Clinton did in eight years. We have a deficit of $1.4 trillion. Where is the money going? Not to police, not to courts, not to actual proper responsibilities of government but to social problems. The president does have a lot of big ideas. There's not a social ill for a big ticket government program whether it's education, health, climate change or anything else. There is no bill. There is no check that he won't pay for with tax dollars.

Wayne Rogers: You don't realize this. I'm asking everybody to educate yourself for this. Go to the usfederalbudget.com and look it up. 73 percent of the budget is already out the door. That's committed to various welfare programs, Social Security, interests. Eventually this eats up all of the budget. So all of these things that you want to do that are good, you can't do anymore. The office of the budget management predicts that by 2015, the United States will be broke. We're getting there very quickly. If we don't do something about it you're going to have massive run away inflation, destroy the middle class. When you destroy the middle class, you destroy freedom in the United States.

Jonas Max Ferris: A lot of cops — the bankruptcy states got federal government. The double-dip issue, I hope the President continues to do opposite of what he said he was doing, which is I think is fluff for the press. When you have — you will get a double-dip recession, a recession after a current recession if you try to pay off a deficit during a recession. You want to deal with the issue during the next boom. That's where the weakness is in the strategy. How are they going to pay off the deficit in five, 10 years. Not this year or next year while we're in a slow economy. I don't see any strategy for the future deficits. The big thing that would cause a recession in 10 years is that we can't buy our way out of it. That's the real risk.

States Consider Tax on College Students: 'Failing Grade' for the Future Job Market?

Tracy Byrnes: This is a sign of desperation. Why are we picking on these poor kids? They can't afford to go to school to begin with. We want working entrepreneurs? We're not going to get it if you keep raising costs. It's either, one, passed on to the parent who can't pay it and the kid has to work at McDonald's, or, two, the student says I'm not even dealing, I'm going straight to McDonald's. What does that do for the future?

Jonas Max Ferris: Those kids should be lucky the Pittsburgh amusement tax will not apply to their schools. School is overrated as its role in the job market. Do rising tuition costs, if a tax even raises tuition, it's debatable, lead to lower jobs? The Soviet Union would have had really low unemployment rate because school is basically free there. I don't think the fact that Carnegie Melon is $40,000 a year in tuition hurts the job market if it goes up to $40,500. I don't think it's that relevant in the nation's job market. We already spend too much time in school. Maybe this will discourage over-schooling.

Wayne Rogers: Well, Jonas, I don't know how in the world you can come up and say taxing education is a good thing, that there's too much schooling. There can never be too much schooling. There can never be too much education. An educated public is what you need to vote properly. The problem now that we have stupid people who are electing stupid people to Congress. I wish all of the Congressmen a good Happy Turkey because that's what they are, for Thanksgiving.

Jonathan Hoenig: That's so funny, Wayne. No such thing as too much education. What if it's Warren Churchill who's your teacher? There's some examples where education isn't such a good thing. That's I think Jonas is on to something here. We subsidize education, we distort the market.

Ethan Pollack: This is close to my heart because I went to UCLA. I think, look, this is not because the mayor is, you know, has a cold heart or anything like that. He's a young guy himself. It wasn't that long ago that he was a college student. This is a sign of desperation. I surprisingly agree with Cheryl on this one. This is a sign of desperation. We have state and local governments that are in a huge fiscal hole that's mainly the cause of the recession. Mainly because property tax — because, you know, revenue taxes have gone down. So what we need to do both on the federal level, mainly on the federal level is focus on getting the economy back on track. That will increase tax revenue and make sure that none of these cuts have to happen in the first place.

What Do I Need to Know?

Wayne Rogers: Your taxes are going up. That's one thing. If you go to recovery.Com, you'll find out that the federal government cannot even account for how they are spending money to create jobs. They have given money to Congressional districts that do not even exist. And they are wasting your money. And they're going to waste it again with a new job bill.

Tracy Byrnes: I love gift cards. Hint, hint. But they have expirations on them. The amount decreases it's you don't use them fast enough. Federal reserve came out Monday saying it was going to potentially put rules on these things saying you have five years to use them, take away the fees. This is great for the consumer. Rotten for the companies because they can't book that revenue if you use that gift card.

Jonas Max Ferris: Windows 7 is much, much better than XP and Vista. People are lining up to buy it even in the recession. I'm going with Microsoft (MSFT).

Jonathan Hoenig: All the platinum in the history of this world would fit into the average living room. Gold is hot. Think platinum could get even hotter. Buy (PGM).