Democratic Lawmaker Isn't Worried About Job Numbers

This is a rush transcript from "Your World With Neil Cavuto," April 2, 2010. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, ANCHOR: Well, the president, meanwhile, in North Carolina today, trumpeting the good jobs news, but is his new health care law about to cut it off at the pass? Three more companies reporting it is going to cost them — Verizon says close to a billion bucks, which brings the total hit to companies thus far to nearly three billion bucks.

Democratic Congressman Steve Cohen of Tennessee, though, not too, too concerned about that.

Congressman, good to have you back.

REP. STEVE COHEN D-TENN.: Good to be back with you, Neil — beautiful spring day in Memphis.

CAVUTO: But do you think it’s — this beautiful spring number is about to be disrupted by health care reality and companies saying, "We can’t pay?"

COHEN: No, I don’t think so at all. These companies like John Deere and Boeing and AT&T have had a sweetheart deal for seven years. They have been able to double-dip. They have been able to get subsidies and take tax deductions, and that double-dipping has stopped.


CAVUTO: Well, they double-dipped to save you money, right? It was granted to them because they could do it more efficiently and cheaply than the government. So we can argue whether it was double-dipping. You might be right, but that was something that was done at the behest of even Democrats and Republicans who fostered it, right?

COHEN: Well, it was a Republican Congress and it was a Republican president in 2003 that did it. I don’t know how bipartisan the vote was. I wasn’t there.


CAVUTO: It was quite bipartisan, but these guys warned about it, Congressman, as you know. In July, they were saying, you do this, we just have to let you know that’s fine; you guys want to go ahead and take the subsidy, we have to report it. So lo and behold when they did have to, the law became law, then everyone’s jumping ugly on them and saying, "Oh, boy, you’re just being political here." They were just stating fact, right?

COHEN: Well, I don’t think so. You know, I’m a stockholder of Boeing and I’m a stockholder of AT&T, and I’m not selling. Boeing is projected to make $65 billion this year, and if they have to write off $120 million on a 2013 change in the law, it’s not going to affect Boeing. Boeing’s going to do great and so is AT&T.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, the write-off ends next year.

COHEN: Stock market is almost 11,000.

CAVUTO: Right.

COHEN: The stock market’s almost 11,000. It portends the future.

CAVUTO: OK. So now you believe in the stock market? Because when I had you on one time, when the market was doing badly, you were dismissing it. Now, when it’s doing well, then it’s a great barometer.

COHEN: No, Grandpa Jake bought on — bought cash, didn’t buy on margin, made — did good.

CAVUTO: All right. Well, the president is kind of echoing a theme that you just raised with me, Congressman. This is him commenting on these trends here.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: If I didn’t make an effort now to change how we deliver health care, this country was going to go bankrupt.


CAVUTO: So without that health care move, we would have been in deep doo-doo?

COHEN: Well, the health care costs have increased 8 percent to 10 percent a year. It’s the only country in the world that’s happened. Most countries it’s 2 percent. And if that kept happening over and over, yes, it would bankrupt individuals where deductibles kept increasing and they couldn’t get insurance and medical bankruptcies, the number one cause bankruptcy cause in this country.


CAVUTO: So why are so many not buying that?

COHEN: And then the cost of Medicare and all would have increased.

CAVUTO: But why are so many not buying that, at least in the corporate community — and they’re the ones who are going to be on the front lines, right? Duke Energy’s CEO today, Jim Rogers, was saying that the new health care law, Congressman, was passed in a "Father Knows Best" fashion and will end up costing companies far more than they expect — now, this is a guy on the frontline with the numbers. He’s talking to his guys. And this, he’s saying that there is this sort of "We’ll look after you; we know what’s best" attitude from government. And he’s saying not so.

COHEN: Well, I would have to — if you read The Wall Street Journal yesterday, there were several economists who I think you’d see as reputable, conservative economists who said the economy is moving. Jobs are improving. Things are happening.

You know, health care stocks have gone up. Hospital stocks went up very well in the last — since the first of the year. And hospitals stocks...


CAVUTO: So these companies are just crying wolf?

COHEN: Well, I think it’s going to cost them a little bit of money, but I think the country’s going to be better off and I think that these companies are going to be better off, too, and I think we’re going to see a great, great economic boom in the next — the next year. Coming into 2012, I see the market getting back to 12,000, 13,000 levels.

CAVUTO: All right. But if it goes down, you’re not going to talk about the market.

COHEN: I will talk about it, but Abby Joseph and Steve Cohen both say the market’s going up.

CAVUTO: All right. Congressman, good having you. Be well.

COHEN: Thank you, Neil. Happy Easter to you.

CAVUTO: To you as well.

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