FBN All-Stars on carbon emissions and the US economy

Will new regulations restrict growth?


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," June 2, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GINA MCCARTHY, EPA ADMINISTRATOR: For the sake of our families' health and for our kids' future, we have a moral obligation to act on climate. When we do, we'll turn risks of climate into business opportunity. We'll spur innovation in investment and we'll build a world leading clean energy economy.       

SEN. MITCH MCCONNELL, R-KY, SENATE MINORITY LEADER: We had negative growth in the first quarter here. Growth is a problem – joblessness is a problem. These people are trying to create a depression in my state, and it's not going to have any impact on global carbon emissions.       


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Well, the EPA with some new regulations trying to reduce carbon emissions by 30 percent by 2030. What about that and the economy. We're going to talk about the economy overall, too. Joining me are three of my colleagues from the Fox Business Network, Melissa Francis, host of "Money with Melissa Francis," Stuart Varney, anchor of "Varney and Company," and Maria Bartiromo, anchor of "Opening Bell" and "Sunday Morning Futures," and "Global Markets" editor. Thank you for being. I should thank you for having me. Maria, what do you think, the EPA and these regulations?       

MARIA BARTIROMO, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK HOST: Well, I think this represents more pressure on corporations and certainly on individuals as well. The Chamber of Commerce is out with a report on these new regulations and basically says that this will mean 225,000 fewer jobs over the next several years until 2030. It will cut GDP by more than $50 billion a year for the next several years. So this is one of those additional pressures on business that frankly, I don't know that you really want in an economy that is bumping along the bottom.

BAIER: Is it clear the economy will hurt from this?

STUART VARNEY, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK HOST: Yes, it is. And 19 states get more than half of their electricity from coal. People in those states are going to be paying more for their electricity. Manufacturing is going to be paying more for the juice which they use. It does damage America's economic interests. I think the president is prepared to abandon those states and abandon Democrats because he wants approval at the United Nations, which is going to be discussing a climate treaty next year.

BAIER: Melissa?

MELISSA FRANCIS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK HOST: You know, even the EPA itself says that it's going to cost utilities $8 billion a year. Who do you think pays for that? It's not the utilities. It's the people at home watching the program. That's who ends up paying the higher bills. And I look at the economy and where we are, the big contraction we saw in the first quarter, we are heading in the wrong direction. Now isn't the time for something like this.

BAIER: Maria, a red flag, your state of the economy thoughts?

BARTIROMO: The state of the economy is seen through the numbers. The GDP was down one percent in the last quarter. Employment should be a lot stronger than where we are right now. Unfortunately, companies are sitting on an enormous amount of cash. The corporate sector is actually doing quite well. They have $2 plus trillion in cash on the balance sheet. But they are using that money to buy back stock and to pay dividends rather than putting it toward hiring and putting it toward capital expenditures. So the truth is companies continue to have all of these unknowns, whether it's new fees from the EPA, whether it's we don't know where what our tax rate will be --

BAIER: Health care?

BARTIROMO: Health care. All of these things are really creating pressures and putting -- making them reluctant to hire.


VARNEY: It's the new normal and it's not a good new normal. Low growth, high unemployment, massive debt -- that's not good. It's a policy error.  We could reverse it by changing policies. We could set loose the engine of growth, private enterprise, but so far we are not.

BAIER: Melissa?

FRANCIS: The economy is supposed to grow at three or four percent this year. With that contraction in the first quarter we would have to blow the doors off it to get there by the end of the year. Already we're seeing in the second quarter wage growth has slowed. We are like a really bad ball club that gets out into the field the first day on opening day and shakes its fist and says wait until next year. We keep waiting for things to turn around. We keep saying --

BAIER: Is there anything positive going on? I mean, when you talk to people around the country is there --

FRANCIS: Innovation. Look at Steve Jobs legacy that he has left behind. Look at Elon Musk. He's out there every day trying to do something new, trying to inspire people. I think the feeling of innovation is still there if the government would get out of way of, especially, technology.

VARNEY: American technology rules the roost, still making headway. The problem is that American technology concentrates wealth, doesn't create a whole lot of jobs. Look at WhatsApp, a messaging service worth $19 billion has only 55 employees. That's the concentration of wealth without mass job creation. That is a problem. It's a bright spot, America leads, but not so great in terms of the overall economy.

FRANCIS: You can't turn back the tide on that. That's how innovation has already been. You look at robotics and automation. And what it means is we have to create a society that learns about math and science, that figures out how to thrive in this environment rather than holding ton manufacturing jobs that have gone away. Rather than fighting for a higher minimum wage we have to look for future employment that pays better.

BARTIROMO: So where are the jobs? The jobs are in health care, because we are living longer and because the cost of genomics has come down. So because of that we are seeing job creation there. We are seeing job creation in technology and the marriage of health care and technology because of this innovation. But broadly speaking, the best part of this economy is the corporate sector and all of that cash on the balance sheet.  Beyond that --

BAIER: I could talk with you guys for hours. I really could. Thank you so much.

FRANCIS: Why not? Sounds great. Let's do it.

BAIER: Maria, Stu, Melissa, thanks so much.

FRANCIS: Thank you.


BAIER: Appreciate it. That's it for the panel, but stay tuned for a strange swing and a miss.

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