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GOV. ROMNEY PUSHES PLAN TO OVERHAUL MASSIVE TAX CODE
STEVE FORBES: (Romney's plan) is a good one. It does two things. It increases take home pay to middle-income families; $2,000 extra in take-home pay and more importantly David, it reduces the price of doing work, being productive and taking risks. Lowering that price, lowering tax rates, that's the way to get this economy moving. Worked for Kennedy; worked for Reagan; worked in the early part of the last decade. It will work again if we allow it.
RICK UNGAR: What's a little bit distressing and concerning is that I, at this point, don't know what Governor Romney has in mind. As Steve points out, he's been saying along that he's going to be reducing taxes and then he shows up this week in Ohio and he says don't expect a huge tax cut because what he's going to be doing is lowering deductions and exemptions; great. I wonder if somebody will get around to telling me what those deductions and exemptions are that he's going to lower. He's been running for president for seemingly half a century and none of us know yet what he plans to do. I may like it, but he hasn't told me.
RICH KARLGAARD: Not only did median income fall, but economic growth is revised downward and David, we should be enjoying four percent growth, not minus two percent growth that we've had during the Obama administration. Rick, Romney may have been running for president forever, but Obama has been president for three and a half years. Look, we're not going to get the median incomes up unless we get overall economic growth up and tax simplification and regulation simplification simply has to be done and Obama takes no interest in this. In fact, Rick when was the last time you even heard President Obama talk about growth?
MARK TATGE: Look, I don't know if Obama really has a tax plan, but I don't think the problem is taxes here, I think the problem is that people don't have an income and the reason they don't have an income is because they don't have jobs. We have a demand problem in the economy, not a tax problem and cutting taxes if you have no income does not make any difference. So we need to stimulate demand. How do we stimulate demand? Well, we can go about it a variety of ways, but cutting taxes is not going to get us where we want to go.
VICTORIA BARRET: I think that's absolutely true. Business owners small and large are holding back. They're fearful that they're going to have higher taxes down the road on their own profits and also just on the cost of hiring a new person. They're fearful that those costs are going to go up in the forms of taxes and regulations. So Mark, I agree with you that it's a demand problem, but taxes are at the center of this and Romney is actually sending a message to business owners that he's looking at reducing those burdens on hiring and that's what we need. I mean, we've got higher unemployment than when Obama took office and we have a really low workforce participation rate and that's really troubling because those people are just deciding not to work and that's where you're going to get a higher and higher cost of entitlements in this country.
MIKE OZANIAN: The value of the dollar has fallen considerably under President Obama because of all the money printing he's done, but what Romney understands David, and President Obama is clueless about is the big difference between tax credits and tax rates. Cutting tax rates gives you incentive to invest in plant and equipment, which then allows you to hire people because you're going to get to keep an extra amount of money from each dollar of profit you make. Cutting tax credits does not hurt incentive because tax credits are temporary and does not encourage investment.
CRITICS SLAM STIMULUS, FEDERAL GRANTS GOING TO CHINA
MIKE OZANIAN: President Obama is being a huge hypocrite here. Here he is taking taxpayer money and throwing it over to China, then criticizing Romney for using private capital and investing it in China. Romney's doing it to make a profit; Obama's doing it for political favors. Look, what is Obama going to say about all the pensions that profit from investments in China? The S&P 500 corporations get almost half their profit from China. This shows that the president is absolutely clueless and there's a good example of why the economy is doing so bad.
MARK TATGE: Well neither side is clean here and this is really just election year table pounding. We need China as a trading partner. We don't want a trade war with China. We're very dependent on their economy and they're dependent on our economy. Mitt Romney has invested heavily in China; he's outsourced in China; he has family trusts that are in China. Both sides have done things here. If you want to call this hypocrisy, call this hypocrisy, but nobody's clean here.
STEVE FORBES: Two points David. One is; what Romney does is voluntary. No one's forcing him to do it; whereas when the government does it, it's forcibly taking our money, taxpayers' resources, and playing politics with it. The other thing to keep in mind is, the real issue with China is about forced transfers of technology, trade barriers, stealing our intellectual property; that's what both candidates should be focused on and not this thing about who invests more in China.
RICK UNGAR: I have no allergic reaction to Governor Romney investing in China if that's what he wants to do. I think the issue here is that he makes these investments and then he goes out on the campaign trail and trashes China. He tells us all these things he's going to get tough about when we know he's never going to do any of it. Well okay, we don't know it, but we're pretty sure it's not going to happen, but here's what the most interesting part is that when he finally releases his tax return, we see that he quickly sold off the investment that he had because he looked guilty. I mean, that's just kind of silly isn't it? It's like the kid getting caught with his hand in the cookie jar. If you feel okay about it, then don't sell it off because you're running for president.
VICTORIA BARRET: I think what's interesting here is that Obama tried to play the role of VC investor when it came to green tech and creating green jobs, and he found that you can't avoid China. In one American University study, 80 percent of the first $2 billion in stimulus went overseas to China and other countries and that's a statement on the U.S. That says that we need to do more to become competitive and of course he's not addressing that, so I think the more pressing issue is that this is a U.S. issue if you're an investor and you can't avoid China.
RICH KARLGAARD: Solyndra couldn't meet the China price and they knew it. Everybody and anybody that invested in that field knew it; the government put money in there anyway. This is kind of an outdated argument. What both of these candidates should be focusing on is all the wonderful things that can lead to this renaissance in American manufacturing; energy independence for example; robotics. You know, I feel like this China argument is yesterday's argument. Concentrate on the future and the future would look bright if one of these ninnies would talk about it.
FLIPSIDE: LOW DOWN PAYMENTS ARE GOOD FOR HOUSING MARKET
VICTORIA BARRET: This meddling is nonsensical. They want to say you have to have over 10 percent on a down payment when the national average is a little over 12 percent. So all you're going to do is hurt banks; borrowers who are great borrowers right? These are people with high credit; really nice incomes; people who banks say they should get lower than the average of 12 percent. So it's nonsensical because it really doesn't touch most of the market. You're just hurting good borrowers.
MARK TATGE: I think it's good. I don't think we learned our lesson here. Look what happened to the great meltdown in the last several years. There was lots of speculation; lots of people who were poorly qualified, could not pay the mortgages, and we ended up making mortgages to poor credits and then we bundled this and sold this in the secondary markets where there was even more speculation. When are we going to learn that there needs to be some government controls on this?
RICH KARLGAARD: Government meddling created a lot of the housing bubble. Just recall that the government forced the banks to make a lot of dodgy loans to avoid racial red-lining profiles. I don't know what kind of wisdom Mark thinks the government possesses. I suppose if the government possessed supreme wisdom than government meddling would work, but it doesn't. Everything gets politicized.
RICK UNGAR: There was a time not all that many years ago where I absolutely would have agreed with your point of view, but you know I lived in Los Angeles at the time of the great crash of the housing industry. I saw what the banks and even more so what the mortgage brokers were doing. If ever somebody made a case for why government should be regulating them, that's exactly what these people did. Now you can argue that maybe they've learned their lesson, maybe they won't do it again, but is there really any reason to expect that they won't?
STEVE FORBES: If the government had stepped aside three years ago and let this thing work itself out, we'd be having a housing boom right now. We need one and a half million new houses a year because of wear and tear and population increase. So those inventories would have been brought down very quickly. Moreover, in terms of the 10 percent, the problem is that the government ends up guaranteeing mortgages so they're in there anyway. So if you don't want 10 percent then get the government out and let the free market decide what the rate should be.
INFORMERS: STOCKS THAT WILL WIN NO MATTER WHO WINS THE ELECTION
MIKE OZANIAN: CBS has 211 affiliates and 14 owned and operated stations.
VICTORIA BARRET: SAP provides business software for manufacturing, financial and services industries.