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HEALTH PREMIUMS TO SKYROCKET BECAUSE OF THE HEALTH CARE LAW?
TRACY BYRNES: It's getting bad already. The unintended consequences are out of control Cheryl. Look, people are going to get laid off. We're hearing that already because companies just don't want to pay for health care. If you have a job, your hours might get cut to part-time or consultant. You know my brother just got hired as a consultant because nobody wants to pay health care anymore and of course there's the premium angle of it. Here at NewsCorp our premiums are going up because it is getting more expensive. Everything is going to be affected by this and we've been saying it since the day Pelosi said she had to go read the darn thing.
WAYNE ROGERS: Well it's going to be that way because health care costs are rising everywhere. It's a universal problem and the thing is that people are going to try to find ways to get around this in the sense that it's going to cost them more, and if they can find ways they'll do it. You've got two thousand, two hundred pages of regulation that you're right, nobody has read; the people who are administering it haven't read it. They're beginning to read it. We don't know what the ultimate cost is going to be. There's going to be taxes that come out of this; all kinds of other things that happen. In the meantime, if you hire over, and this is what is considered a small business, 50 people or less, you are subject to one thing. If you're hiring more than 50 people you're subject to something else. If those people work 30 hours a week, they're going to come under Obamacare. If they work 28 hours or even 29 hours a week, they do not. So what you're going to have is people cutting back time, so instead of people working a 40 hour work week, they'll have more people working a 28 hour week. It's just crazy. There's going to be all kinds of fallout from this that we don't know yet.
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: Well in a lot of cases, what you're talking about are restaurants and the food service industry. This is what they've been doing for a decade or more. So to all of a sudden link this to Obamacare is really disingenuous. You can't blame something they've already been doing. So they're blaming something that hasn't yet happened on something that they've already been doing and let's take a look at real-world experience. Let's not speculate. Massachusetts very much resembles what Obamacare is, and since Romneycare was instituted in Massachusetts; employers covering their employees with health insurance has gone up from 70 percent to 80 percent. So we can take a real life example instead of just wild speculation, and see that there is absolutely no reason why employers can't cover their employees with health care.
JOHN LAYFIELD: This is real life and this is not wild speculation. This guy (owner of Denny's restaurants in Florida) said it cost him an extra $5,000 per employee, per year and he says if I have to cover all of my employees, that's about $175,000 per restaurant. He says a lot of his restaurants don't make $175,000. So here's a guy who literally cannot afford Obamacare and what he's saying is I'm going to have to cut guys back to 28 hours. So that means people are going to have to get a second job because they can't afford to live on just 28 hours a week of pay. This is real life situations in these companies and the problem we have is, just like Tracy said, we had no health care reform. All we had was insurance reform sticking more people into a broken system.
JONATHAN HOENIG: Walmart, Papa John's, Denny's; I mean the result of Obamacare Cheryl, is destruction. That was his goal in Obamacare; not to fix health care. It was to destroy the last remaining vestiges of an actual free health care system in this country. Obama talked openly about his advocacy for single-payer. Of course we're seeing that play out now in practice, where every private option is literally snuffed out of existence. I'm more worried even about the health care itself Cheryl. It's not only that we're seeing health care options go away; we're seeing doctors leave the practice of medicine in massive scale. Health care in this country is about to be as good as the post office and the DMV. Stay healthy.
FORGET 'THE FISCAL CLIFF,' ARE WE ABOUT TO GO OVER 'THE CLIMATE CLIFF?'
WAYNE ROGERS: Well he's a politician not a climatologist. It's like asking Barney Frank to be an expert on banks although he wrote a banking bill. It's idiotic. They're complicating this unnecessarily. They've got a problem already. You're talking about the Fiscal Cliff, which has to do with taxes; it has to do with income; it has to do with things that have nothing to do with the climate whatsoever. So to inject this into that is to make it unnecessarily complicated, and if they did, somebody's got to pay for it somewhere and they've got to figure out some way to do it. This is just making a mess out of something that's already too difficult to solve.
JOHN LAYFIELD: We hate these guys. Look, unfortunately for the environmental movement, Al Gore was sprayed with human repellent at some time during his life, and while he actually has some good ideas, this is not one of them. This is just going to be passed along to the consumer. This is going to be passed along to the companies. This is just a penalty for being a fossil fuel company. Look, if the production tax credit, which encourages -- it's not a subsidy it's a credit - for infrastructure and renewable energy; if it's not extended you're going to see renewable energy and infrastructure go down 70 to 80 percent. Al Gore is fighting the wrong fight here and this is a dumb fight to pick.
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: I think Al Gore is right about the policy of the carbon tax, but wrong about the timing. We do need a carbon tax because right now, the price of carbon fuels does not account for cost; pollution, health care, and otherwise. That's a market failure. That's a market distortion. You need to fix that, but a well-designed carbon tax has to be revenue-neutral. It's got to be offset with reductions and payroll taxes, which really is not a part of our current fiscal discussion and so he's right about the policy, but really wrong about the timing.
JONATHAN HOENIG: Cheryl, what about man in all of this? What about man's life? I mean honestly, I don't want to liken the former Vice President to a cult leader; he's not Jim Jones or David Koresh, but he's advocating suicide in all of this. We need carbon to live. Carbon powers every element of our world and in fact the more carbon that we've burned, the longer and better man's life has become and the less and less climate-related deaths we've had the more carbon we've burned. So taxing carbon is like taxing breathing, or taxing blood. It would have a suicidal effect on not only business, but mankind in general.
TRACY BYRNES: I want to know if Al Gore has a television at home. Has he been watching what we've been talking about for the last year and a half? We don't have time for a carbon tax right now. We have a lot of other things to talk about and most people, as we've said before, can't find their way to the bathroom these days. You want to complicate it with a carbon tax that nobody even knows what it is half the time? He's nuts. Tell him to go back to the internet.
PAY NOW TO STORM-PROOF POWER LINES TO SAVE MONEY AND AVOID LOSS OF POWER MESS IN THE FUTURE?
TRACY BYRNES: Cheryl, the system was fixed with bubblegum and duct tape this most recent time just to get the power back on. It is so fragile. The next cool breeze that comes down my block, I will be without power again for a week. You know what? When they created this grid, they did not anticipate the amount of power we would be needing today and not even talking about getting electric cars on line. My goodness, stop kicking the can down the road with everything we do in this country. Fix it now; if not for me, for the sake of my grandchildren. They don't need this.
JONATHAN HOENIG: They (the electric companies) would (pass this on to the consumer). If you really wanted to make a change here, let's privatize some of those countries like Long Island Power Tracy, I'm guessing that may be where you reside; New York Power. Let's privatize them. If the money's going to be spent and funded by private entities in the marketplace, or even better, get rid of some of the laws that prevent price gouging in the marketplace, which keeps power out of these emergency situations. There are a lot better and smarter ideas other than just going on a spending orgy over what was a terrible loss of life, but I think ultimately much more of an inconvenience for the economy at large.
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: Undergrounding lines; investing in the smart grid. Right now, we lose $20 billion at least per year when there are power outages and we have technology that's built on a 19th century platform and we didn't get to be one of the most advanced countries in the world by thinking small. We need to bring the kind of ethos that we brought to the interstate highway system and commit money over decades to getting this fixed. Tracy's absolutely right.
JOHN LAYFIELD: There's no doubt about it. We have no energy policy so we don't know how things like a carbon tax fit into what we're trying to do. We have no long-term grid policy either. What Christian is saying is correct. Ask a politician what's the grid going to look like when it's 2050? They have zero idea. So when we have things like this, we bubblegum and duct tape on and just kind of patch things back together. We have got to fix this grid and we have got to get to a smart grid with a DCED long connection behind it. We're not getting there.
WAYNE ROGERS: I think there's a fairly simple solution. It's got to be paid for somehow; just have a plebiscite; have the people vote for it. Say we want to vote on this; we want to put this underground. We don't want to have to do this again and we'll pay the price for it and we'll do it.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
TRACY BYRNES: New regulations could lead to pilot shortages, higher fares.
JOHN LAYFIELD: Take profits if (NFLX) gets taken over.
WAYNE ROGERS: If you're sick of unhealthy market, then buy (DVA).
JONATHAN HOENIG: Bet against "junk market" and junk bonds with (SJB).