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WHITE HOUSE TO STATES: EXPAND MEDICAID PROGRAM OR LOSE FEDERAL FUNDING
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: It is coercive. Under the law basically you're going to see half of the uninsured possibly going in through Medicaid. Now the states administer Medicaid and the deal is from the federal government with the health care law that we will match 100 percent of your costs with that Medicaid expansion, but that's going to gradually go down if you don't do what we like, we're going to remove some of that federal funding and the problem is states are potentially going to have to foot the bill. That means cops, firemen, teachers, education and transportation projects could get cut.
MARK TATGE: Well that's one justice's opinion and the fact is that this is a federal program, it was passed by congress and it's at no cost to the states for three years. After that it's only 90 percent of the cost. So I don't think this is a states' rights issue and the idea here is to reduce health care costs and it's going to reduce health care costs by picking up the bill for the uninsured for uncompensated care, which is now built into the system. Health care costs are already starting to fall because of Obamacare.
RICH KARLGAARD: Well not only is this coercion and not only is Justice Roberts right about that, but what happens when you federalize everything is you take away the ability of 50 states to conduct their own experiments and that should really slow down the pace of innovation. So more and more you see the difference between Democrats and Republicans today as what should be in national hands and what should be in state and local hands and state and local you know, look at the success that governors are having around the country in reducing governments in the way that the federal government is not. I am all for the state and local governments having sovereignty on this issue.
RICK UNGAR: It was a state program, but the governor who made it happen seems to be doing everything possible to make us forget that. He also wrote an op-ed not two years ago where he suggested that we apply it federally, so we can do this all day long, but getting to this question, not only is it not blackmail, there are about 30 million Americans out there who are praying that somebody will get their red-state governors, who are using this a political tool, to back this up. These people need this coverage. The governors who are using this to score political points and denying these people something that the health care bill specifically intended to give them, that was the point.
JOHN TAMNY: I mean this turns the vision of the founding fathers on their head. They wrote a document that basically severely restrained the powers of the federal government so that most policy making could occur in the states per Rich's point. That's where the innovation would occur. With this, basically the federal government has way too much money, dictating what states do with money taken from the states. It gets things exactly backwards and it is blackmail.
VICTORIA BARRET: Well I agree it's blackmail. It certainly looks that way and the larger issue simply is that this level of spending coming out of the federal government on health care is unsustainable. In 1960, we were paying 10 percent of our federal dollars to health care spending; today it's 25 percent. In 10 years it's projected to be 33 percent. It is unsustainable. We don't have the money to do it and it's eating up our budgets. We need to be trying other solutions where we're putting competition into these markets instead of just throwing taxpayer dollars at the problem.
CBO: SOCIAL SECURITY TRUST FUNDS WILL GO BUST BY 2034
RICH KARLGAARD: Governor Romney has the idea right. Look, when FDR proposed Social Security in the 1930s, the average American lived to be about mid-60s. Now it's the high 70s. Moreover, we have the biggest bulge ever, the "Baby Boomers", just going into Social Security now. So the idea that we can't follow the President's own Simpson-Bowles commission and raise the retirement age only two years I think is ridiculous.
JOHN TAMNY: I'll have to respectfully disagree with Rich here. There's a dirty little secret about Social Security that we have no legal right to those accounts that we're paying into and then it's the idea that the government can then say we will give you what we want, when we want is offensive. I think the better answer here is for individuals who want out of this system who aren't congenially socialists and want to own their retirement, they should be allowed out and in doing so, no longer be a liability on the federal government for a system that is cratering under its own weight.
MARK TATGE: Well I hate to say this but I do support raising the age and I think that it is inevitable that we will have to do that for the solvency of the system. I also support something that Mitt Romney probably doesn't support and it imposing a means test. I don't think Warren Buffet or Mitt Romney need to collect social security and I don't think that it should be part of the system. We ought to have a means test to add this and that would add greatly to solvency of the system.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: The courts did rule in 1960 that congress can put its mitts on social security, your money, and it did. It started doing that big time in the 1960s. Here is the problem, I would say yes to maybe means testing, but if you are going to do that and raise the retirement age you have to make sure you have the anti discrimination law in effect for those people who are going to have to work until age 70 to get their full social security benefits. You better have those in place to protect the elderly workers. Also, mean testing for congress. They get to retire at age 50 after 20 years of service with 80 percent of their pay. I would say mean test those guys too who are doing the spending of our social security money and getting a crack at it.
VICTORIA BARRET: We see these great commercials about going fishing on retirement, but most people want to work longer, they don't want to go fishing, we are Americans right? We are hard working. Our whole system is rigged to get you off the path. We are certainly talking about discrimination against old age workers but also the fact that if you continue to work beyond the social security age all that money that you are putting into the system, in terms of payroll tax, is not going to come back to you. We are dissenting people to work essentially. We have to raise the age; we should index it to life expectancy going forward.
RICK UNGAR: I do want to save social security, they are both part right, but not in its entirety. Yes, we do have to raise the age, yes we do have to peg it to longevity there is just no getting around it, it's time to stop screwing around with it. There is a second part to this. We need to remove the caps. This is the most regressive tax we have in this country. This stopping it at $110,000 - it would be better.
American Airlines' poor maintenance leading to loose seats on planes, and two emergency landings
MORGAN BRENNAN: I think safety trumps bargain prices and without safe planes you aren't going to sell any of those tickets. I think American Airlines should consider raising their prices to bring back some of those laid-off maintenance workers that this bankruptcy thing has been causing. Flyer demand has been very robust and other airlines have already been raising their prices.
RICK UNGAR: We can raise prices or teach a mechanic how to tighten the bolt a little bit tighter. This is absolutely ridiculous. All you have to do is tighten the bolts. If these mechanics are being careless on how they do things guess what? There are some people out of work who would probably tighten the bolt a little bit tighter.
RICH KARLGAARD: The reason I fly the airlines rather than fly myself around most of the time is because the airlines are extremely safe. Let's put this into perspective, loose seats have not affected airline safety. The problem is that if you raise prices, you have got competition from Southwest to JetBlue to Virgin America and on and on who are happy to step into the place of American. This has never been a better time for a passenger to buy a ticket with all this competition, with all this internet price comparison and all these sites where you can compare on time arrival, safety and comfort and all those things.
MARK TATGE: What we have here is a situation of false competition. There really isn't competition in this market, the only way the airlines are making any money at all is reducing the number of seats and charging for non seat type things. It's really a government sponsored oligopoly. Where there is very little competition at all, so it's not going to work.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I'm going to make people crazy, I agree with everybody. I like what Mark said, I like what Rich Karlgaard is saying too. Look if airlines need to do what they got to do, they have to raise fares, and what they are going to try to do it in a market where there is a lot of cabin pressure on stock prices have not been in the upright position for airlines in a long time.
Retailers hiring more workers ahead of the holiday season, because businesses are expecting to have more shoppers and make more money.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: WASTE MANAGEMENT (WM)
MORGAN BRENNAN: AUTOZONE (AZ)