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MAJORITY OF AMERICANS WANT OBAMACARE REPEALED AS WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCES ANOTHER FIX
JOHN LAYFIELD: None of these guys have been in business. We've got one of the most unfriendly administrations to business in our history. They continue to overpromise and under-deliver on everything, from "you can keep your doctor, you can keep your plan"-we're going to have fewer people on January 1 of 2014 covered by insurance that were covered in 2013. President Obama says that millions have enrolled-a million have enrolled, actually-but if you count with the expanded Medicaid they're trying to pass on to the states, which they can't afford, there's a reason that 35 of 50 states have opted out of these government- run exchanges. They simply can't afford it. It's time to cut our losses and actually do something about health care instead of just putting a mandate that the majority of Americans do not want.
SASCHA BURNS: It's not almost gutted. There are a lot of provisions that are there that are working for a great majority of the Americans people. The reality is if we had a functioning government, then maybe delaying the individual mandate for a year might make sense. Unfortunately, when you have the political climate that we do, you don't have congress and the administration working together making technical corrections bills to change things that don't work. At the end of the day, it is going to be a huge success and it's going to improve the lives of Americans, it's going to improve the health care system, and it is going to reduce costs. Doesn't look like it now, but it is going to happen.
TRACY BYRNES: Unfortunately we need to get back to square one with this. You hate the notion of repealing it because it cost us so much to get to this point, Brenda, but we're consistently trying to put a square peg in a round hole. It's not working, and we're not going to be able to pay for this. The whole thing with millennial carrying the weight financially is going to backfire, if it hasn't started already. People are not benefitting from it when they don't have any health care, to John's point. So to wait this out for 5 years, even 10 years before we start to see any benefits, Brenda-you're going to cripple the country in the process.
GARY B. SMITH: I think we'd see another rise in the stock market, at least, like we saw back in the internet days. It would be a joyous occasion. It would be the fed continuing to taper every single day. Sascha made a good point, but I think she got it slightly wrong. She said "if we had a functioning government." First of all, we have a functioning government. This has pretty much been totally on the side of the democrats. Second of all, it doesn't matter if it's Democrats or Republicans. A functioning government, even if it's the greatest government in the world, doesn't do central planning that well. I mean they do central planning, but that doesn't address what this needs in the free market. Look, this was originally supposed to solve getting more people health insurance and we're not going to achieve that goal. It was built on the platform of having the young supplement this with premiums for the old. That's not going to happen. And you talk, Brenda about 21 times to change-I thought this was the law. I thought Obama said that this was the law of the land. Not to mention the constitutionality of it. Look, people are totally confused. I had my policy cancelled. Can I renew it? Do I get another one? At this point, Brenda, I look at this stuff at this stuff every day-I have no idea, and if I have no idea most of America has no idea either.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: Republican Mitt Romney had a pretty good health plan for the state of Massachusetts-it actually works pretty well. It's similar, but there are subtle differences that maybe need to be fixed at the margins. I will say the individual mandate is the smartest thing about that plan. It's the cornerstone of the Mitt Romney plan. I don't know why that's getting pushed off. That's working. We talked about companies, what they would do if they made a mistake like this-let's come back to that. When they launched new Coke-it think it was in the 80s-it was a bomb. The old Coke was better so they had to pull it and all of the ads were in the garbage. They lost all that money because classic Coke was better than new Coke. Is the old health care system better than this? I don't think so. There's a lot of problems with that that haven't been resolved that if we go back to, with great cost, would not go away: the pre-existing conditions, people using an emergency room as their personal place to not pay bills for doctors. So if we're not going to fix those things then we shouldn't go back to that. Does that mean this thing's great and we've just got to wait for the website to work? No, it's going to need some tweaks. The government has too much of a roll in the center of it, in the website, but the actual mandate, and getting people with pre-existing conditions on some sort of subsidized plan is not a bad idea.
HOLIDAY SHOPPERS HIT WITH CREDIT AND DEBIT CARD SCARE
TRACY BYRNES: 40 million people. You have the attorney generals of some big states now coming down and trying to figure out what the heck happened. I mean a lot of people are using their credit cards because not many people have cash for this Christmas season. They were going to charge their way right through it. This is another black eye for the retailers, unfortunately-between the weather in the Northeast last weekend, we've had a bunch of shootings in the malls in our area lately-why would anyone go out and shop? My guess is a lot of people are going to think twice about getting out there.
GARY B. SMITH: I think this is going to have zero impact, to be honest with you. I think the shoppers go out there and shop regardless. This is a country where 25 percent of the people out there don't even have anti-virus on their laptops. They use the same darn password for every application and website they use, and their password is probably their birthday or their dog's name or something. People talk a good game-"oh my God, I'm concerned! I hope somebody sues!" you know what they do after that conversation? They get in their car and they drive to Target to get their Christmas gifts. This will have zero impact. Maybe Target will claim it has an impact if their sales and revenues don't meet expectations. I don't think it's going to have an impact.
SASCHA BURNS: I think that it's bad for target, absolutely. I mean if you were their competitor you couldn't plan it better from Black Friday till now with the biggest shopping days before Christmas we have left. I'm with Gary B.; I don't think it affects anyone else. I'm also curious-do you mean I shouldn't use my birthday as my pin? Or my dog's name? I didn't know that was a problem.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: The problem is the Target IT department guy was using his dog's name as the password. That's how the leak happened. It wasn't some guy on the Target website. I actually disagree with Gary. I actually think it's a slight boost for the economy. I don't like saying that breaking windows is good for the economy, but what happens when your card is hacked? I mean my card has been hacked so many times. When someone took my HSPC card they went on a spending spree at Best Buy. That's what the hackers are going to do; they're going to buy stuff, and who's got to foot the bill? Does the consumer foot the bill? No, they don't care, that's why they use their dog as their password. Visa, Mastercard, AMEX, the issuing banks-they're going to get hosed on this. They're going to have to reimburse all of those bad charges. But that money is going to get spent.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I actually use Jonas' dog's name for my password, but that's the craziest thing I have ever heard-that this is going to be good. I feel sorry for Target. This is the second-biggest security breach in history. 47 percent of security fraud happens in the United States, despite only 24 percent of credit card spending. It's because we have not gone to a chip-card type system. I'm with Gary B. and Sascha. I don't think this greatly affects the Christmas season. We're actually flat from last year, despite projections that we were going to be about 10 percent lower. I think sales are down a little bit this year, but I don't think it has anything to do with this. I think we're just seeing a slow Christmas season.
NEW STUDY: PAY KIDS TO EAT HEALTHY FOODS IN SCHOOL
GARY B. SMITH: I think it's a great idea. In fact, I've put together a list of all the other things the government should pay kids to do. I think they should be paid to cross only at intersections. I think they should be paid not to be a bully. I think they should paid to respect their teachers, getting up on time, feeding their pets, being kind to strangers. You know the list goes on and on the things we should pay kids for because really that's what it boils down to. The parents totally out of the picture, the kids should only be paid to do good things. This is totally insane.
TRACY BYRNES: Bribery gets you everywhere, Gary. I will bribe my kids to do just about anything. And it's not forever, it's a little starting point. The government made this mess, so you either dump the food in the garbage, or you come up with a little bit of a creative way to fix it, that's what they're saying. So let's pay these kids a little nickel here, a nickel there and maybe they'll put it towards a good cause. Maybe at the end of the day they'll all donate it to a new basketball court or something. There's a reason that teachers put stickers on every test that you do well. There's a reason my daughter gets sent to the prize box when she does something great. They like that stuff. I say pay them.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I'm sorry, I completely disagree with Tracy. We have a massive problem with obesity and diabetes. We have a problem with school food, also. A lot of this school food is just inedible, but it's a matter of cost. I read in a children's program here in Bermuda it's costly to give them healthy food, but to pay them to do the right thing? I'm with Gary B. Tell these fat kids to get off the sofa and quit playing their stupid video games and go outside and do something. We don't have phys-ed anymore in schools. We should put them in phys-ed instead of trying to force them to eat something they don't want.
SASCHA BURNS: I am all about bribery, just like Tracy. I don't want to hand a kid actual cash, even if it's just a nickel or a penny, but give them stickers, give them extra recess, let them lead the class to the lunch line, let the money go, like Tracy said, to building something. I don't have a problem with an incentive. I don't want to hand them money though.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: I will say I think it's going to take cash, I don't think it will take stickers. I will say if you give them a big enough allowance they'll never leave, collecting allowances at 40 and 50 years old. I also will say that we're already on the hook for these health care costs. The government picks up everyone's health care tab at 65, through insurance we pick up everybody's health care costs. If a third of the country smoked in bed my fire insurance costs would go up, I think everybody could agree with that. So we've got to cut those costs. And this is nothing-and integrated benefit says it's a half a trillion dollars a year just to companies in productivity and insurance costs because of unhealthy behavior. So if we can spend the money, I think it's a little Bloomberg-esque, and bribe people to be healthy, it might cost less than that costs, which we already have, and then maybe it makes sense.
TRACY BYRNES: DUCK DYNASTY CONTROVERSY WILL BRING EVEN BIGGER RATINGS!
JOHN LAYFIELD: IT'S ALL ABOUT CONVENIENCE! (CST) DELIVERS A 25 percent GAIN IN 1 YR
GARY B. SMITH: FORGET VEGGIES, EAT JUNK FOOD! BUY (PEP) FOR A 25 percent GAIN IN 2014
JONAS MAX FERRIS: EATING HEALTHY WILL KEEP YOU HEALTHY! (FDP) HARVESTS A 20 percent PROFIT IN 1 YR