This is a rush transcript from "Sunday Morning Futures," April 13, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
MARIA BARTIROMO, HOST: A turbulent week for health care, Wall Street and the IRS. Good morning, everyone. I'm Maria Bartiromo. This is "Sunday Morning Futures."
Former IRS official Lois Lerner held in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify. We ask and Oversight Committee member what happens next in the investigation into the tax agency's alleged targeting of conservative groups, what it means for you, your vote and your taxes.
Some of America's biggest companies are reporting first quarter earnings this upcoming week and they're far from spectacular. What is it going to take to move the needle here and abroad? I'll the chairman of one of the largest banks in the world, Axel Weber of UBS, former president of the Bundesbank.
And a shakeup in ObamaCare, Kathleen Sebelius out as HHS secretary. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn joins us live with her wish for health care reform now, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."
BARTIROMO: Good morning. New questions this morning about what happens now in the investigation into the IRS targeting scandal. After former IRS official Lois Lerner is held in contempt of Congress for refusing to testify again. Lerner claims she is exercising her Fifth Amendment right.
But my next guest says Lerner effectively waived that right when she provided an opening statement at a hearing last year. Oklahoma Congressman James Lankford is a Republican and a member of the House Oversight Committee.
And, Congressman, it's good to have you on the program today.
REP. JAMES LANKFORD, R-OKLA.: Thank you. Good to be with you.
BARTIROMO: Before we get into the nuts and bolts, let me ask you what contempt of Congress mean. What are the implications to Lois Lerner now that she is held in contempt of Congress?
Let me ask you what contempt of Congress means. What are the implications?
LANKFORD: This is a statement that goes out to an individual who refuses to comply with a congressional order. So this may be a subpoena that's been put out as happened with Eric Holder, went out through the legal proceedings that forced the production of documents. Or it would be for Lois Lerner to say you have to actually speak to Congress. You're not above the law. Every person is under the law including members of Congress, including powerful people in the IRS. We're all under the law and we're forced to be able to follow that law.
BARTIROMO: So do you think this is going to work? Did she even actually get her to start talking?
LANKFORD: I do, actually. She continues to come back and say she wants immunity. And so we've asked her why do you want immunity. When she came before Congress almost a year ago now, she made the statement, I have done nothing wrong. I have not violated any law. I have been completely truthful with Congress.
And now she comes back and says before I testify I need immunity.
So one of those two things is not true. We just need to know you need immunity on it because either you need immunity because you have broken the law, which meant you gave us a statement that was false earlier or you haven't broken a law. If so, why do you need immunity to do this?
We just want to get to the bottom of that facts. Every person that we've deposed, everywhere we have gone have all pointed back to her and her office as where this centered. So we just need to find out what actually occurred, because we've got to get this solved so this doesn't happen.
The IRS should not have power to make Americans afraid to be able to interact with their own government.
BARTIROMO: All right. We want to talk much more with you, plenty more to talk about with Oklahoma Congressman James Lankford.
But first, now that a House committee has voted to hold Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress, what are the next steps for Lerner and the IRS investigation? FOX News senior correspondent Eric Shawn joins us now with that angle.
Over to you, Eric.
ERIC SHAWN, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Good morning, Maria.
And good morning, everyone. The big question, will Lois Lerner end up behind bars? Elissa Murray (ph) said she has refused to testify twice, has been held in contempt of Congress and the Department of Justice is investigating if she did break federal laws at the IRS by illegally targeting conservative groups in a possible political targeting scheme that was aimed at President Obama's opponents.
But with Attorney General Eric Holder putting an Obama donor in charge of the Lerner probe, critics worry there may never be any charges filed against her or anyone else. So the DOJ says the pick was proper and that it is investigating the allegations.
Of course, Lerner has invoked her constitutional right against self- incrimination even though she did give that brief opening statement in May, claiming innocence, a move Republicans harshly criticized.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. TREY GOWDY, R-S.C.: Mr. Chairman, she testified I have done nothing wrong, I've broken no laws or broken no IRS rules or regulations. That's her testimony.
What I'm saying is we should have the right to cross-examine her on that testimony because I would like to ask her when you said we need a plan, who is we?
And what plan are you referring to?
When she said we need to be careful that it's not perceived as political, who is we and what are you concerned about the perception of politics for?
REP. CAROLYN MALONEY, D-N.Y.: The committee was truly interested in examining allegations of undue influence from outside the IRS, there would be an offer of immunity on the table right now for Lois Lerner, an offer of immunity so that we could ask her what, if anything, she was instructed to do by others.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SHAWN: The contempt of Congress finding can now go to the full House for a vote on a resolution that would be expected to pass. And of course this all comes two days before the April 15th tax day. You know, we all expect the IRS to treat us with honesty and fairness. And that is something critics say Lois Lerner and her powerful agency did not to some -- Maria.
BARTIROMO: All right, Eric, thank you so much.
Eric Shawn with the latest there. We are back now with Congressman Lankford, a Republican and member of the House Oversight Committee, investigating the IRS targeting scandal.
What about that, the fact that we are just a few days away from tax day here, Congressman? What should voters take away from all of this?
LANKFORD: Two things they should take away, obviously tax filing day is coming up but also tax freedom day is coming up. That's April the 21st, that you pay taxes to the government from anywhere from January the 1st until about the 21st of April. This is incredibly important to the American people that they understand their tax dollars are being spent wisely, they're being -- they're having -- that they're being collected fairly and there is alsonot some undue influence.
It should not matter to the IRS what faith you are, what political persuasion you are, what your backgrounds and preferences in any areas are, they are just collection of taxes. And what's very obvious in this situation is the IRS started actually looking into people's preferences. They started looking to their political characteristics and how they vote and what they do. And so say we're going to have one group against another group, we're going to prefer one against another, that that shouldn't be any of the IRS' business. And so we have got to be able to resolve this. That's not only a criminal activity, if that follows through, but it's also perjury to us if she actually tells us something -- tells us one thing and we find out later that's false.
BARTIROMO: Well, what about the offer of immunity? Why not just give Lois Lerner immunity so she starts talking?
Would that be helpful? And it just feels like you're climbing up really an uphill here given the fact that the oversight of this entire investigation is an Obama donor.
Are you really going to be able to get answers here?
LANKFORD: Well, May the 10th of last year, she came out and did this leaked statement where to an ABA (ph) meeting where she had someone plant a question in the audience about this investigation and then May the 14th, the inspector general came out and said, yes, there is this major investigation going on.
May the 22nd, she came before our committee -- and this was last year -- May the 22nd she comes before our committee and says I have done nothing wrong. I've not violated any laws. I've not done any -- I've not given any false statements to anyone in Congress.
As I stated before, now she says I need immunity. And we're trying to figure out what did she need immunity from? Is it from those statements? Were those statements false that she made last year? Is it immunity from something else? Is she afraid of someone else at the IRS that she feels like there will be retribution on her? We're just trying to get the answers. What are you looking for immunity for? She asked all these Tea Party groups, including in my state, to give public statements and that she told them would be released to the public.
Who are your membership? Who are your leaders? Give us the content of private conversations you had with legislators and your state legislative bodies, give us the content of all of your website information that goes only to your members and we're going to release all of that public.
She wants others to be forced to release things but she doesn't want to be able to make public statements. Something doesn't line up.
BARTIROMO: So just to be clear, are you prepared to give her immunity?
LANKFORD: We're prepared to be able to talk about immunity. We've got to find out why she's asking for immunity. Again, we come back to the same issue, why do you need immunity? If what you said was correct, then why do you need immunity? If what you said wasn't correct, you perjured yourself.
BARTIROMO: Right. Congressman, we'll certainly be watching as this develops. Thanks very much for joining us.
LANKFORD: Thank you.
BARTIROMO: We'll see you soon, Congressman James Lankford.
As we all grumble through paying our taxes this week, a battle rages in Washington over tax reform. What it could mean for you and for your money as we look ahead with the former director of the National Economic Council on "Sunday Morning Futures."
BARTIROMO: The tax deadline is Tuesday when many Americans will be writing out a check to Uncle Sam and if we heard right last week on this program, it will be a big check. So is Congress any closer to fixing what many say is the country's broken tax code?
Now one of the tax reform's fiercest warriors, GOP Congressman Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, recently announcing he will not seek reelection.
Gene Sperling is the former director of the White House National Economic Council and he joins us right now live.
Gene, it's nice to see you. Thanks for joining us.
GENE SPERLING, FORMER DIRECTOR, NEC: Well, thank you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: So we have been talking about tax reform for a long time, Gene. I want to get your take on the economy and where we are. But first let's talk tax reform for a moment.
Why is it so difficult to move the needle on tax reform? I think you and I would both agree that corporations need some clarity on taxes in order to spend some money hiring people.
SPERLING: Yet, it's absolutely, I mean, we do have a screwed up corporate tax system right now. Some people pay too much and some people don't pay anything at all. What we should be asking is what do we need to do best that's going to encourage more job growth here, give more certainty, do more for invest?
So I'm going to say something that is probably a little surprising which is I think in some of the corporate tax reform areas, we're not that far away from a consensus between where the White House is and where Chairman Dave Camp is.
Now what the president said last July was we could put forward a corporate tax reform that would lower our corporate rate to 28 percent, 25 percent for manufacturing, one; two, we would pay for it by getting rid of tax expenditures. Three, we would have a minimum tax on foreign earning to take away the incentive to be shifting profits all over the world.
And four, we could use the temporary funds, just the temporary funds that come from tax reform and use that for infrastructure, which would be good for the economy and jobs right now.
Chairman Camp, I don't agree and the White House doesn't agree with everything in his plan. But he actually did put forward a serious plan and he deserves credit. And there is a lot of overlap between his plan and the president's plan.
But I think the question is are people going to get serious in 2014 and work on something like that because unfortunately, when you looked at what Chairman Camp's other committee or the House Budget Committee in the House did under Chairman Ryan, they came forward with the same type of plan we saw from Romney over the summer that would bring rates down to 25 percent for individuals.
We -- excuse me -- bring the top rate down to 25 percent. Now everybody knows you can't pay for that without having to raise taxes on middle class families. The White House doesn't want to do that. I don't think most Democrats or Republicans do.
So I think if people were to look at what the president is saying and look at the serious plan put forward, by House Ways and Means Republican Chairman Dave Camp and work from there, I think that there could be room for progress.
BARTIROMO: You know, you make a lot of good points, Gene. We're going to talk later on in the program about all the first quarter earnings coming out this week. It's a big week for business this upcoming week.
And a lot of people feel that companies today are very healthy sitting on enormous amounts of cash but they're not spending that money because of this lack of clarity.
Do you think lowering the corporate tax rate as you say, part of Dave Camp's plan, as well as changing the tax around foreign earnings, will that unleash money on the part of corporations to actually hire and invest in R&D, perhaps put money in infrastructure, will that do it if we were to see lower corporate taxes and the elimination of that double taxation, where you're taxed twice because you have money overseas?
SPERLING: I think it depends if you do it right or not. I do think that right now there is a lot of uncertainty. And it -- you really have a hybrid system and it's done in the dumbest way possible.
I think what is nice about this idea of a minimum tax on foreign earnings is it takes away the incentive to go to tax havens. It takes away the incentive to have companies spend all of their time having their lawyers look for what tax haven is best to put their money in.
But it says if you pay a certain minimum tax on your foreign earnings, then you can have the freedom to move your money around in a way that works best. So it's a good compromise in that it has a minimum tax and in that way will satisfy a lot of people who are worried that companies pay too little, but at the same time with that minimum tax, you then give companies a lot of the flexibility they say would allow them to bring money back.
And you can do it in a way that is fiscally responsible. That's why it is good and important to go towards corporate tax reform. And I think if you look back 15, 20 years, this is probably the closest you have seen a Democratic president and a House Ways and Means Committee to seeing reform.
And let's -- we should jump on that. We do infrastructure invest, corporate tax reform together. And then for the small business --
BARTIROMO: But Gene --
SPERLING: -- owners, what we could do there is give them $1 million of expensing, restore some of the zero capital gains for investments they hold for five years. And I think that would be good. And if we can do immigration reform at the same time, I think we give this economy a real boost.
BARTIROMO: For sure, but Gene, let me real briefly ask you this, are we going to see anything before the midterms? Or are we just in a lame duck period right now? I mean, are all of these things that you're talking about a 2015 or 2016 affair?
SPERLING: You know, I don't think anyone should give up. First of all, if you look at housing finance reform, which would be very important for certainty, because I think the credit box is too tight. I don't think enough families who should be getting mortgages are getting mortgages.
You have seen some real bipartisan cooperation between Chairman Johnson, Senators Crapo, Warner, Corker, the White House. There is a chance that you could see a bipartisan bill move out of the Senate Banking Committee. Patent reform would help encourage innovation over litigation. There's a lot of bipartisanship there.
So I'm hopeful that in some of these areas on manufacturing and others that we could get something done.
But I think it is true that the things that would make the biggest difference would be immigration reform, bringing in the skilled workers. That would bring down the deficit. That would improve growth. And a bargain, a grand bargain on jobs where we do corporate tax reform and infrastructure together. Boy, I think if we did those two together, you would see a noticeable growth in confidence and it would make it more and more clear that the United States it not only the place to start investing next year, but it is the place that everyone should be looking to make their futures in.
BARTIROMO: I like it. You're talking solutions. Gene Sperling, great to talk with you as always. Thanks so much.
SPERLING: Thank you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: We'll see you soon, Gene Sperling joining us.
A major shakeup could bring big changes to ObamaCare. Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn will talk about the next steps as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."
BARTIROMO: Welcome back, the future of ObamaCare is in question after a big shakeup this past week in the president's administration. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is resigning after a rocky launch of the Affordable Care Act.
President Obama is nominating his budget director, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, as her replacement. The announcement is coming days after the first open enrollment period for ObamaCare had closed.
Joining me right now to talk about where things go next is Congresswoman Martha Blackburn, vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
Congresswoman, good to have you on the program. Thanks for joining us.
REP. MARSHA BLACKBURN, R-TENN.: Good to be with you, Maria.
BARTIROMO: What happens next with new leadership at HHS?
BLACKBURN: Well, we're going to try to do is figure out what is inside of these numbers, the 7.5 million people, how many signed up, paid, completed the process, who got subsidies, how many are on Medicaid, how many are the young and healthy? The actuarial work needs to be done on these numbers. And we are looking forward to finding out really what we're dealing with here.
BARTIROMO: And your observation or thoughts on Kathleen Sebelius stepping down?
BLACKBURN: Well, I think it was time for her to move on. And -- pardon me. I think we're all pleased that she has moved on. The rollout was a debacle, to use her words. I think everybody realized that and she was not serving the American people well.
BARTIROMO: Unfortunately, at this moment in time, we just saw the jobs numbers come out about a week ago, 192,000 new jobs created for the last month. You would think that we were seeing stronger numbers at this point in the cycle.
Was it just a mistake to focus on health care as opposed to focus on jobs? I mean, what went wrong here?
BLACKBURN: Well, no, I don't think it's a mistake. I think what we have to realize is with employers across the country, the uncertainty that is embodied in the rollout of ObamaCare, the expectations of what health care is going to cost, what is going to happen with further delays or implementations, all of these questions are causing people to either not hire new people or try to get down under 50 employees. And that kind of uncertainty does not serve people well.
BARTIROMO: Are you looking and seeing actual evidence of companies basically cutting down employee hours, saying, look, we cannot afford to offer full health benefits so we're not going to have workers work 40 or more hours?
BLACKBURN: Oh, absolutely. I talked to so many people who have had their hours reduced and are now working two jobs because they were moved to under 30 hours. And of course moving that work week back to 40 hours is something that we in the House have sought to do.
And we think it's important to do and there is wide bipartisan support for changing that and going back to a 4-hour workweek. That has been debilitating to so many families.
I had a lady in the grocery store with her children, and she was telling me her story of being cut back. Her husband was self-employed. They got their benefits through her job. So what does she have to do? Go get a second job so she can pay these outrageous charges for her health insurance.
BARTIROMO: What are you going to be doing in terms of Secretary Burwell and looking for her to do in leading HHS going forward? Talk to us about the proceedings and what happens next in terms of her confirmation.
BLACKBURN: We're looking forward after she goes through that confirmation process. We are looking forward to having her go come and visit with us at the Energy and Commerce Committee and go through the breakdown on these numbers so that we can find out exactly what and who is enrolled in ObamaCare. What is happening with the process of the enrollment and how -- what they think is actuarially going to happen with the program.
We will not bail this program out. And we're very concerned, as are many of the participants in the insurance programs, the insurance companies, about the signees.
You know, Maria, if you have a -- if out of that 7.5 million people, if you have primarily Medicaid enrollees, primarily those with subsidies, if you have individuals who lost private insurance that are there and we have maybe only 3 million new enrollees, it's still a big group of uninsured you have to go in and look at what this is going to do to our hospitals as well as the health insurance companies.
BARTIROMO: Congressman, good to have you on the program. Thanks so much.
BLACKBURN: Good to be with you. Thank you so much.
BARTIROMO: We will be watching the next few weeks as that confirmation process takes place.
The IMF meetings, meanwhile, going on this weekend as we speak.
How could the European economy impact jobs here in the U.S.? And what about all that taxpayer money going to Ukraine? We will talk to Axel Weber, the chairman of the capitalized bank in Europe, the former head of the Bundesbank in Germany as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."
BARTIROMO: Thank you so much. And we are looking ahead to this upcoming week when the major banks will report earnings, Citi out on Monday; Bank of America later in the week, after mixed performances from JPMorgan and Wells Fargo on Friday.
Joining me now is someone who has been leading a global bank out of the depths of that recession back in 2008 to today where the business mix is totally different, with an emphasis on wealth management. He is the chairman of UBS, the leading global wealth manager, Mr. Axel Weber -- also the former president of the German central bank, the Bundesbank.
Axel, it is great to have you on the program.
WEBER: Maria, thanks for having me.
BARTIROMO: Thank you so much for joining us. I want to get your take on so many things, from the global economy to the new banking rules that we see being implemented and put in place right now to the business climate.
So let me open it up right there. How would you characterize the business climate today?
WEBER: I think the business climate is improving, definitely here in the United States. I do see the United States in a (inaudible) position of all the industrial countries. So things are a lot better here than they are in Europe and a lot better than in many other established economies.
BARTIROMO: Let me go to Europe for a moment. How are things in Europe and what would you say about Mario Draghi and the European Central Bank's approach to the recovery?
WEBER: So, first thing, I think Europe has come out of a recession. Growth is stabilizing. And it's come back to positive territory. We expect, this year, just below a 1 percent growth in Europe. but 1 percent is not enough growth to create jobs. And there's very little the central bank can do to create jobs. The central bank has done the right thing to stabilize the situation on financial markets, and they are now working with banks in the asset quality review to bring more transparency and credibility to the European financial system.
But what we need in Europe is reforms by governments to enhance long-term growth perspectives. And that's not happened yet.
BARTIROMO: What is it going to take, do you think, to move the needle in the U.S.?
WEBER: I think, in the U.S., you're still suffering from the fact that the data that now come out, months to months comparison, are actually not giving you a great picture. Because you had a very hard winter. It impacted on numbers over the wintertime. I think we are expecting, at the moment, a 3 percent growth in the U.S -- actually almost 3.5 percent next year, in my reading, because the shift in the energy balance, the fact that the U.S., on shale gas, will become an exporter rather than an importer of energy will help reindustrialize and help reindustrialize the United States.
BARTIROMO: Of course you made the decision, and your colleagues at UBS, to emphasize wealth management and de-emphasize things like trading or certainly fixed income trading and de-emphasize a little on the investment bank. I recognize that you have got a very vibrant investment bank, still.
But let me ask you about that. Is $2.5 trillion overall, at UBS, that's the right number, correct, $2.5 trillion?
WEBER: Right, with all the asset --
BARTIROMO: With all the asset -- exactly.
So what has happened as a result of this change that you've made? What are you seeing from your clients today in an environment where we have real disruption in the stock market?
WEBER: So clients are again gaining confidence in UBS. We are seeing that in the net new money figures. Last year we had about $58 billion net money. That's actually more than some of our competitors, number two, three and four together.
BARTIROMO: Where are you in the cost cutting effort? If you were in a baseball game, are we in the seventh inning, the ninth inning or the second inning?
WEBER: We're on track. But I would say, you know, we're in the six inning. We still have further cost cuts ahead of us. We've made some announcement of programs over the next two years in the transformation on the bank. So we're delivering on those.
BARTIROMO: Tell us about the regulatory changes, that we have seen more changes that were beginning to get implemented last week on the major banks. And they're different because you have got regulators in Switzerland; you've got regulators in the U.S. So how does this shake out?
WEBER: So basically the whole new regulation for (inaudible) banks means that they have to carry an extra safety buffer, on capital, on liquidity planning, on many areas.
BARTIROMO: Let me ask you about your discussions in the next couple of days about the Ukraine situation and the IMF package. The latest on Ukraine aid, finance ministers are pressing the U.S. to allow an increase in the financial resources of the IMF as they are saying that Ukraine needs help, $18 billion in aid. Is that what it should be? Where are you on this?
WEBER: Well, I think the Ukraine clearly needs help, international financial help. And I think the IMF probably is best placed to really estimate what the amount should be for at least the core projects to go ahead.
BARTIROMO: But what are the implications, Axel? I mean, we see the U.S. pressing for -- you know, threatening to impose even deeper sanctions on Russia, the G-20 focused on the economic fallout of the crisis, Europe getting 30 percent of its gas from Russia. Does Europe get hurt if we see further sanctions on Russia?
WEBER: Yes, to some degree, Europe is dependent on energy resources, including from Russia. But I think, over medium term, we can divert that. We can basically make up for that. German industry is particularly exposed to basically having good connections with Russia, and therefore the German government will look at a balanced approach in order to, yes, at the same time send the right message but to do it in a way that does not undermine the economic relationship.
BARTIROMO: All right. Let me -- let me conclude here on Asia, Japan, China and of course the emerging markets as well?
WEBER: So what are these correlated risks? There is a risk of a hard landing in China. I don't think it's a big risk but it's definitely a risk that needs attention. There is the risk that, despite fiscal and monetary stimulus, the long-term pick-up in the Japanese economy will not be what it should be and therefore this will not lead to the expected pick-up in growth and a lot of the short-term effect will simply be on the exchange rate so it will be a short-term stimulus but no long-term growth.
So what are these correlated risks? There is a risk of a hard landing in China. I don't think it's a big risk but it's definitely a risk that needs attention. There is the risk that, despite fiscal and monetary stimulus, the long term -- I think there was, again, an exaggeration. So the first victims of the U.S. discussion about tapering and tightening monetary policy was a direct fallout in an emerging market because people felt there was a parallel to the '97 Asian financial crisis or the emerging market crisis. But emerging markets have really moved on from there.
BARTIROMO: Axel Weber, great insights from you as usual. Thank you so much for joining us today.
WEBER: Thank you for having me.
BARTIROMO: Axel Weber is the chairman of UBS and a former president of the Bundesbank.
And now with a look at what's coming up on "MediaBuzz," let's check in with Howard Kurtz, top of the hour. Howie, what are you looking at today?
HOWARD KURTZ, HOST, MEDIABUZZ: Hi, Maria. I've got an extended conversation with Cheryl Atkinson about why she quit CBS, which had stopped running her investigative pieces and the pressures she faced on the Obama administration. But we're going to lead with the spinning of Kathleen Sebelius's resignation. Does it remind you of when a CEO is pushed out, and there's all this public praise, but behind the scenes executives are bad- mouthing the person?
BARTIROMO: Well, it's -- somebody had to take the fall, for sure. I will give you that.
In terms of the CBS situation, is she saying that she was getting pressure not to criticize the Obama administration, Howie?
KURTZ: She is saying that she -- that there was a dramatic change from the time she was investigating the Bush administration to the Obama administration, that she increasingly couldn't get her stories on the air, that there was a campaign from the Obama administration side against her and her bosses to keep some of these stories off the air.
KURTZ: We're talking about ObamaCare, Benghazi and other scandals.
It's very rare for a former network -- 20-year award-winning network correspondent to quit in protest and to go public with the reasons. You'll hear more of that on "Media Buzz."
BARTIROMO: All right. We'll see you at the top of the hour, Howie. Thanks so much.
Meanwhile, it's a big week ahead for business. Major companies reporting their first-quarter earnings. And as Axel Weber just mentioned, this winter was not kind to American business. Can the U.S. pick up the pace? Our panel will weigh in as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."
BARTIROMO: Welcome back. Dozens of companies releasing their first-quarter earnings report this upcoming week. And for the majority of them, so far the reports that are out so far were negative. But some -- many more big companies are poised to release their numbers this upcoming week. Can we expect any better?
We bring in our panel right now. Rich Peterson is senior director at Standard and Poor's Investment Advisory Services. Mike Mayo is a longtime bank analyst currently with CLSA. And Bob Meighan is the vice president of Turbo Tax.
Gentlemen, good to see you. Thank you so much for joining us.
What a busy week in business. You've got two major IPOs coming out on Wednesday, which I want to ask you about, economic data, housing charts, industrial production and all of these earnings.
Rich, how do the first-quarter numbers look so far and what are you expecting?
RICH PETERSON, SENIOR DIRECTOR, S&P INVESTMENT ADVISORY SERVICES: Well, Maria, first of all, thanks for having us on "Sunday Morning Futures."
BARTIROMO: Thank you.
PETERSON: Great to be here.
The fact is, you know, according to what we're seeing off the S&P (inaudible) data, currently the S&P 500 is seeing a negative 1.2 percent growth rate or retraction in earnings growth, or earnings activity for --
BARTIROMO: Negative growth?
PETERSON: Right, right.
BARTIROMO: So they're going to see a decline in profits this quarter?
PETERSON: Right, and that comes following an 8 percent gain in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Now, what was the catalyst for that decline? Well, we have a report from JPMorgan and Wells Fargo on Friday. Now, (inaudible). We're looking for a negative 9.2 percent decline in the financial sector. That will be the first decline since the fourth quarter of 2009.
PETERSON: -- energy. Energy is expected to decline 7.4 percent in terms of earnings growth, or at least decline. That would be the fourth consecutive decline in the energy sector earnings activity.
BARTIROMO: So financials and energy. I'm going to ask you about the winners in a second.
Mike Mayo, you study the banks all the time. How come the financials keep lagging? And what are you expecting from some of these big names next week like Citigroup reporting on Monday?
MIKE MAYO, BANK ANALYST, CLSA: Yeah, well, in terms of revenue growth, JPMorgan's revenues, which were reported Friday, were down 8 percent from the prior year. The industry is on pace to have the worst revenue growth in eight decades.
So when it comes to Citigroup, it's less about what's their revenue growth versus what are they doing differently? It's the opposite of the Billy Joel song, you know, we love you just the way you are. Citigroup, we don't love you just the way you are.
Referring to UBS, Citigroup needs to do a UBS, restructure, cut costs more, because, if you can't make it on the top line, the only way to get on the bottom line is to restructure.
BARTIROMO: All right. So do you think some of this negativity that Rich is talking about is priced into these stocks already or are we going to see another decline once we get bad numbers from the financials next week?
MAYO: Well, look out because this revenue pressure is not over. Mortgage originations are at the lowest levels since the 1990s. You have margin pressure. And these new regulatory requirements which you brought up with Axel earlier -- that gives the banks an incentive to downside their balance sheets, all else equal. We expect another half a trillion reduction in bank loans over the next few years just from the runoff from legacy assets from the crisis.
So, looking at the banking industry bottom up, this economy is not humming, from that standpoint.
BARTIROMO: All right. So the financials are -- are really the big lagger here. I want to ask you -- yes?
PETERSON: I was going to say, you know, conversely, investors should not be dismayed. Because the fact is, if you look how earnings start out off, they improve. Case in point, a year ago, in the first quarter of 2013, expectations were for a 1 percent gain. We made it with over a 5 percent gain.
BARTIROMO: All right. So you're saying, over the next couple of weeks, maybe there will be increases in expectations.
Bob, I've got to get to you on taxes here. Tuesday is tax day. If I haven't filed yet, it's most important that I just file for an extension, right?
BOB MEIGHAN, VP, TURBO TAX: Absolutely. And you're not alone. There's about 30 million Americans that still have to file a return or file an extension, as you suggest, and you have to do that by Tuesday night.
BARTIROMO: But you have to pay first?
MEIGHAN: That's true, yeah. Getting an extension means you get an extension of time to file but it doesn't extend the time for which you have to pay tax.
BARTIROMO: All right. So -- so that's the key. You still have to pay the money by Tuesday even if you get this extension until, what, October?
MEIGHAN: October 15th.
BARTIROMO: October 15th -- in order to do the paperwork.
All right. So much to talk about this morning with our panel. Are you giving too much to Uncle Sam? The VP of Turbo Tax knows the answer. Plenty more. We've also got two major IPOs happening Wednesday night. We'll talk about that when we come back, as we look ahead on "Sunday Morning Futures."
BARTIROMO: Welcome back.
Tax day just a few days away. So, what do you need to know to keep as much of your hard-earned money as you can? We bring our panel back. Right now, Rich Peterson, Mike Mayo and Bob Meighan.
Bob, let me ask you this, the questions that you get most going into Tuesday. I mentioned earlier, we had Barbara Rosh from Ernst & Young on the program a week ago. And she said, it doesn't matter who you are, just expect you are going to be paying much more money, you'll be writing a bigger check. Is that right?
MEIGHAN: That's correct. And for those people who have waited they're generally the ones that are going to have to pay Uncle Sam. are going to have to pay Uncle Sam. And it will become, I think it will be a sticker shock in that there are additional taxes this year starting with the Investment tax, or what's called the Medicare tax, that's 3.8 percent.
Those additional taxes, I don't think people have taken into account. So come Tuesday, most people are going to be writing a check and it's for an amount larger than they expected.
BARTIROMO: All right, that's tax day. What about the rest of the week, you guys, on earnings? I want to get back to earnings in a moment, but there are two big IPOs happening. They are going to be priced, I guessed Wednesday night. Weibo, which is the microblogging site of China. And Saber.
What do you think about the IPOs?
MAYO: Well, you know, it is a banner year for IPOs. And we've raised over $17 billion this year more to comparable time a year ago. The question is performance. Many companies have really retreated substantially from their opening dates, case in point, a company like Case Light, which is Health care data provider, up 130 percent on the first day. The stock is off 60 percent from its first day trade.
BARTIROMO: That's why I feel like we could have predicted that we were going to get a big selloff in stock prices last week, becuase the IPOs weren't working and that has to be a big indicator of market demand.
MAYO: Well, I think the question, also too, is you have many issues to look at. There's like 88 issues that have been priced this year. So -- and many companies are unprofitable. You know, some will have different accounting methods regarding deferred revenue. Software companies booking dollars today that may not come out later.
BARTIROMO: We throw away all the measures and we're looking at new measures again like we were in the .Com we were looking at clicks to the website.
In terms of these deals, these are important for the financials, Mike. I know we talked about Citi earlier. What about the rest of the banking sector. What does it look like next week?
MAYO: This is a huge week for bank earnings -- Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley all the way on down. I think by the end of the week you're going to see the 3 Ms -- markets, mortgages and margins, all under pressure. And at the end of this week you're going to say, wow, these banks really aren't growing that quickly. And this is symbolic of what I call the big brother banking environment that we are in.
BARTIROMO: It's government.
MAYO: Government regulation is making the banks pillars of strength and stability but it is not making them engines for economic growth.
BARTIROMO: Yeah. Bob, did you want to jump in there?
MEIGHAN: Listen, as I look to next week, I am just thinking, you know, make sure you get your checklist out, get organized, think about going online where there is plenty of free tax preparation software available. And you can get it done in, you know, as many as 30 minutes for many people.
BARTIROMO: A lot of people do it on their own, right. You said 45 million Americans have done their taxes DIY -- do it yourself.
MEIGHAN: Do it yourself. And actually, yes, they're taking share from the franchises, which is a monumental shift this year..
BARTIROMO: All right, let's take a short break, then I want to ask all of you the one most important thing you are watching for this upcoming weekend in business. Still ahead, what to watch for the week again on Sunday Morning Futures.
BARTIROMO: And we're back with our panel. What is the one big thing to watch for next week? Rich Peterson.
PETERSON: On Wednesday, Janet Yellen speaks to the Economic Club in New York, which you'll be in attendance to, Maria. Look forward to what she says about the economy, about monetary policy.
BARTIROMO: All right, Janet Yellen on the calendar.
Mike, what's your one thing?
MAYO: Citigroup's earnings tomorrow and the annual meeting a week later. Has Citi gotten the memo from 16 years of poor performance from investigators and regulators that business as usual doesn't cut it? That's more important than their earnings.
BARTIROMO: And you said to me recently simplify on Citi -- simplify.
Bob, your one thing.
MEIGHAN: Our horizon is the three days leading up to the 15th so it is all hands on deck for us to accommodate the millions of returns and extensions that are going to be filed right up until Tuesday night.
BARTIROMO: And there are going to be big checks?
MEIGHAN: Big checks coming for many of those people.
BARTIROMO: And there are going to also be lots of extensions, because you said how many have not sent in their filings yet?
MEIGHAN: About 30 million. We believe about 10 million of those will file the extension.
BARTIROMO: All right. And for me, my one thing, I guess I'm going to be watching those IPOs to see if IPO window is beginning to close. That could indicate further weakness for the market.
That'll do it for "Sunday Morning Futures" today. Thanks for being with us. I'll see you next week. I'm Maria Bartiromo.
"MediaBuzz" with Howie Kurtz is coming your way next.
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