Bulls & Bears

Hold onto your wallet as Washington gets to work?

From spending bill to health care fight, should taxpayers be worried?

 

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This week, a new spending bill was passed with bipartisan support. Some are even saying that the Democrats got the better parts of the deal in a Republican-controlled Congress. Others say it will help add jobs with more spending on defense and border security. Additionally, the House voted to pass their version of a health care bill with only one vote to spare

Jonas Max Ferris: Unlike the spending bill, the health care bill only passed through the House. Obamacare has a lot of problems but it was relatively paid for by higher taxes which is not the case for the House health care bill. There is probably going to be a higher deficit than if we just let Obamacare alone.

Gary B. Smith: This spending bill has everything that Trump wanted to cut. The Clintons must be extremely happy. Several politicians got their own pork bills so all of the special interests are happy as well. It is very sad. All of this stuff sounds good, I get it but we are out of money!

John Layfield: This is a bipartisan issue. Under Bush and Obama, the national debt has both doubled. All of these guys spend way too much money. All they care about is getting reelected.

Emily Jashinsky: Conservatives like myself have spent the Bush and Obama years talking about the national debt and how it was the civil rights issue of our time for us and the next generation of Americans. This administration had a chance to put a dent into that national debt but with this spending bill did not. It's disappointing to say the least.

Jessica Tarlov: It was a good week for Democrats at least when it came to the spending bill. Also, Planned Parenthood and sanctuary cities were also saved with this spending bill. Additionally, there was funding for the NIH which should be a bipartisan issue. All in all, it was a great, bipartisan bill.

News this week that the Obama administration expanded NSA wire intercepts, this as Susan Rice declined to testify to Congress about her unmasking contacts from the Trump campaign

Jonas Max Ferris: This would seem to be more of an issue if Trump lost. If she legally was allowed to do it and clearly didn't do anything before the election to destroy the Trump campaign, why should she voluntarily want to get asked about Benghazi and anything else grand standing politicians think up? I think Americans need to understand exactly how all this intelligence / privacy slippage works since 2001 and how we got to a situation where Susan Rice can legally do what she did. Included in this would be what we've gained from allowing these privacy lapses and why say talking to somebody in Russia about business gets recorded/tracked and sent to various intelligence agencies but talking to somebody in Switzerland about evading massive amounts of taxes doesn't get passed on to the IRS. Why is national security so important to deserve special powers but not national financial solvency. If they are in fact cool with it and how it has evolved and the safety benefits then we don't really need to know the specifics on any one case if it was legal. Bottom line American deserves answers from their elected government officials about this security breaching state.

Gary B. Smith: Susan Rice requested information on the Trump transition team, but this is really small potatoes. The bigger question is why can the NSA request information on American citizens? There has to be some oversight! Something is broken. This is the bigger issue.

John Layfield: The NSA has been spying on American citizens who have been doing nothing wrong, and that is terrible. The Senate is trying to figure out what is going on with Susan Rice

Emily Jashinsky: Rice issued a weak excuse saying that she didn't get enough time to process the request which is laughable because she was on many different Sunday shows to talk about the unmasking.

Jessica Tarlov: I think this is important and we are actually going to hear from more important actors in this including Sally Yates next week so I'll be glad to see what comes out of it.

On Thursday, the House overwhelmingly voted for new sanctions on North Korea

Jonas Max Ferris: North Korea isn't Russia. You can't put the heat on by stopping importation of goods. They are already being heavily restricted. It may just make them more pro dear leader Kim. Trump got heat for it but I'm sort of curious what happens if we meet with him and act like he's not a crazy fat dictator. Can it hurt? It would be great if sanctions led to regime change but it appears it leads to even worse off conditions for North Koreans yet no possibility of revolt. Is it possible if they were allowed to have real jobs making stuff for the US and the perception we were not going to kill Kim (or we would have done it) that they would turn on the dictator? Are we too easy an enemy to keep the regime in power.

Gary B. Smith: The United States and the world have been doing sanction on North Korea for 60 years. The only sanctions that do work is freezing their off shore accounts (access to money) and that we have not done.

John Layfield: Yes on sanctions-we had N Korea almost crippled in the mid-2000s due to sanctions but let them off the hook.

Emily Jashinsky: These sanctions chip away at money North Korea uses on its missile program. Like Ed Royce said, the tighter we can squeeze his purse, the harder it will be them to even get their missiles off the ground. They need money to be a threat, so let's take their money away. More of this is needed. That's why the vote was almost unanimous.

Jessica Tarlov: I'm all for new sanctions on North Korea and getting definitive commitments from the Chinese on what they're going to do. We've seen how effective sanctions have been in Iran and it's well worth it.

Predictions

Gary B Smith: No clue what happens in France. But, I love what's happening to the French ETF: buy EWQ: up 20 percent in 6 months.

John Layfield: Yum brands-Kentucky home of KFC and world's greatest military leader Col Sanders all from Kentucky. Up 20 percent in a year.

Jonas Max Ferris: I don't know much about sports or if horse racing is even a sport - I don't have a horse in that race - but the derby is good for whisky consumption growth in America. Brown-Forman Corp Class B (BF.B) or (BF-B) up 15 percent in one year.