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NEW CONCERNS ABOUT JOBS AFTER VP BIDEN'S $1 TRILLION TAX COMMENT
LARRY GLAZER: Certainly for consumers who are working that have a 401K plan they may be feeling a little more confident these days, but their employers don't share that optimism at all. The reason that they don't share it is because they are worried about what's ahead, and what's ahead are future tax increases. For small business owners these are people who own dry cleaners and pave your driveway. They aren't millionaires or billionaires. They're just average working people who are very concerned about the current environment. There are a record number of people who say that this is a bad time to start a business and a bad time to hire people. That's not optimistic, that isn't confidence and that is not going to inspire jobs in this country which is exactly what we need right now.
JULIAN EPSTEIN: The job numbers are very good as they fell below eight percent. It is a good sign and vindication that the Obama recovery is working. The fact is that many businesses want to hold their fire until after the election which is reasonable because businesses know what they want to see more than anything else. They want to see the partisan in fighting stop and they want to see the parties come together to get something done for the American people. Second, the biggest thing businesses are worried about today frankly is not taxes, but a lack of consumer buying. I think that most political experts believe right now that Obama is going to win this election and he's going to win with a decisive mandate because that's the way the electoral college looks right now. If Obama wins a message will go to conservatives in congress that they will have to work with Obama. No one wants to see a change in the tax code or anyone's taxes go up in a fragile economy but at the end of the day if you don't touch the Bush tax increases for the one percent then you have to raise taxes on the middle class which is bad economics.
TOBIN SMITH: I'm always amazed that those on the left sort of miss the idea that if you drop the marginal rate down to twenty percent which is essentially what Romney is talking about then people who make income their taxes don't go down, but only in one way if they make more income. That's the incentive to make more income because you're not giving thirty-five percent of it back to the government. When we lower marginal tax rates we get more output from the people who are the output part of our society.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: There's nothing that you could do to the tax code that isn't going to hurt the job market on some level. It's great to say lower the rates and remove the reductions, let's say they remove the biggest deduction the mortgage deduction. If you're a home builder do you think you're going to hire more people if they remove the mortgage deduction and it became less favorable to buy a house? Whenever you hit the tax bracket, if you're going to bring in net new revenue to the government which I believe we need then you're going to hurt the job market. When you tax people in the middle it is equivalent to the cost of hiring someone which could lead to less hiring. It could in theory do more damage to make the tax burden shift onto the employees. However every tax increase hurts the job market on some level.
GARY B.SMITH: It's going to be harmful to job creation. A lot of this tax increase will go to the super rich or super wealthy. Most of these people are entrepreneurs and the ones who are the most successful are in that three percent entrepreneur bracket. The reason why they're successful is because they want to make a lot of money, they want to grow their business and prosper. If you put higher taxes on that I wonder if those people will have a bigger incentive to grow their business or a smaller incentive. If I knew that the government was going to take seventy percent of my income I would be sitting on the sidelines wondering if I want to continue to grow my business anymore.
HIGH GAS PRICES TRIGGERING CALLS TO TAP EMERGENCY OIL RESERVES
TOBIN SMITH: The problem is not an oil issue we have refinery issues. We've not only had disasters that hit refineries, but we also have this switch over that happens between September and October and it's not done yet. Our problem with gasoline prices is gasoline refining. We need these emergency oil reserves for when times could get really rough.
GARY B. SMITH: When we've released from these oil reserves we've changed the supply and demand equation which ultimately gas prices rely upon. We haven't released enough and we haven't released it for long enough. I don't think that we should release anything and that it's purely a political move. The best way is to attack the supply and demand equation as Governor Romney pointed out in the debate by starting to drill on private land. There are so many resources out there that we could be energy independent without going for wind and solar. Let's just release the boundless energy we have out there in places like Anwar and offshore then we might see gas prices seriously drop.
JULIAN EPSTEIN: I think everyone agrees that the answer ultimately is energy independence. Production is at its highest level that it has been in twenty years. The issue is that the strategic petroleum reserve is for when we have very unusual circumstances. So when Bush did it in 1991, it was during the Iraq invasion. Clinton did it for a specific situation in 2004. When George W. Bush did it in 2005, it was due to Katrina. When Obama did it a year ago it was because of Libya, and in each case prices went down significantly. I don't think the Obama administration will do it now because it would look too political. I do know that gas prices are starting to come down from where they had been and Romney who was blaming Obama for the increase in gas prices is not giving Obama any credit for gas prices actually going down now.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: I do think the government could actually make money trading if they hired someone to be in charge of the SPR. You could sell it at a hundred dollars a barrel and then announce that you will drill in all the public lands, drive the price down and then fill it back up. I'm just saying that it isn't the job of government and moreover it would become a political issue and it wouldn't be an issue of making money. It would turn into an issue of trying to drive prices down before an election. Therefore, save it for the Iran situation because that's what it is for. People don't like $4 gas but gas is going to get more expensive every year because there is less of it, bottom line.
LARRY GLAZER: Releasing the strategic petroleum reserve is no way of solving our nation's long term energy problems and that's really what we need to do. The issue here is infrastructure. In California prices are up twenty to thirty cents in a day yet there's no national supply disruption because we haven't built a refinery since the mid seventies, and also because of energy infrastructure that is lacking. We don't have the pipelines to transport the energy either. One more point, it's also not just the fear premium that is twenty percent because of a disastrous Middle East policy, but also we have the purchasing power of the dollar. It's no coincidence the fact that gasoline is up a hundred percent since inauguration day and the debt is up more than fifty percent. Gold is soaring through the roof and there is no coincidence that the purchasing power of the dollar is the factor in this equation and it should be addressed.
TOWN ASKED TO SLAP CITIZENS WITH TAX FOR AMBULANCE SERVICE
GARY B SMITH: Most of these cities are cash strapped and financially mismanaged so it's just another opportunity for them to put one more hand in the taxpayers' pockets. The root of this is not that they need more money but that they need to spend what they have more efficiently. They're overburdened with pensions they can't pay and they have too many government employees on their payroll. They are also badly run and are asking the taxpayer to fund government inefficiency is the wrong way to go.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: A lot of states such as California are putting through a lot of tax increases at the high end. California's proposition will bring about high taxes for million dollar earners. Other states such as New York and Connecticut have already done this as well. You also need regressive taxes along the way to counter that and it will mean charging fees for everything that these states are paying for such as roads, bridges and ambulances. I'm all for it because you can't just squeeze the same group for higher income taxes all the time. We need to broaden the base without raising the income tax at the low end.
LARRY GLAZER: I think that this is a terrible idea. It's another example of why businesses are leaving California. A number of businesses are up to a twenty-five percent. California has been ranked last for the past eight years in business competitiveness and has the third highest unemployment rate. None of this will help the citizens of California and I'm amazed at what they have put up with.
JULIAN EPSTEIN: I think it's a bad idea. In 1983 during the recession President Reagan increased aid to local and state governments. In 2003 during the recession republican president George W. Bush increased state aid to state and local governments. This is the first time that conservatives and the republicans in congress have actually chosen to starve state and local governments during a recession which has led them to ask for these taxes that encourages socially irresponsible behavior and not calling the fire department.
TOBIN SMITH: I don't think we're in a recession now, but the other issue here is that applying the actual fees that will have to be spent on this. Twenty-five percent of the phone calls made to 911 are mistakes and they are usually a wrong call. I think this will actually help get the cost down because people it will allow people to think. I would just pay per visit.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: I think these states are cutting back, you can't say that these states haven't been cutting from the budget. You also can't say that the federal government hasn't given money to states in the last few years. California has cut a lot so they have to have income taxes and everyone has to pay, you can't just be in the million dollar bracket. You have to charge for all these services that we all are using. You can't just cut these services. They're expensive there's not much else that I can tell you.
TOBIN SMITH: (JBLU)
LARRY GLAZER: (IYE)
GARY B. SMITH: (NFLX)
JONAS MAX FERRIS: (EWY)