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NEW DEBATE AS SENATE REPUBLICANS INCLUDE REPEAL OF OBAMACARE MANDATE IN GOP TAX BILL
Rich Karlgaard: Yeah, it's a smart move. I sure hope the Republicans in the Senate all line up together, including people like Susan Collins, and vote for this thing because getting rid of the individual mandate would be a great tax cut for the middle class, for small business, and particularly—you know, the people who have been really hurt lately have been millennials. Young adults are overpaying for their health care, they're also on the hook for pensions, and the U.S. debt and state municipal debt. Let's give them a break.
Bruce Japsen: I have no doubt that the idea is to get fewer people covered so they can free up money to get tax cuts for the rich. I would say you have to have some way, whether it is a penalty or even in the failed Republican repeal and replace efforts; there were ways to expand the pool and require some personal responsibility for people to have insurance. I'm an advocate for everybody to have insurance. If there are fewer people insured, we're all going to pay because these people are going to wait—whether they're young or old or whoever—they're going to wait until they get sick and they don't have the money to pay or they won't pay and then our costs will go up. That's the way it works.
John Tamny: It's always going to be expensive when government tries to create a right to market good. Now what's interesting about this is the Democrats have never been able to explain why, if ObamaCare is so great, that they needed to pass a law to force people to participate in it. Amazon doesn't need a law to bring people to its website. Coca-Cola doesn't need a law to force people to buy Coca-Cola, yet we need this individual mandate. Of course we should repeal a mandate because it's coercive and utterly unnecessary.
Bill Baldwin: Well, not having insurance is not going to make those procedures more affordable. I think we ought to keep the mandate and for the reason that Bruce alluded to, which is if you don't have insurance then people who are uninsured go into the hospital, they run up big costs, and the rest of us get stuck with the bills—that's not fair to the rest of us.
Elizabeth MacDonald: I always wonder if ObamaCare was so great, why were nearly 7 million people choosing to pay the penalty? Instead the majority's under 50k. President Obama did not like the mandate tax either. He campaigned on that, saying he was opposed to that in 2007-2008. I like how Chuck Schumer and the Democrats are arguing that: oh, Republicans are going to kick people out of ObamaCare with getting rid of the mandate. This is voluntary. They voluntarily chose to pay the penalty instead, many of them lower to middle class.
GOP LAWMAKERS TO AG SESSIONS: APPOIT SECOND SPECIAL COUNSEL TO INVESTIAGE CLINTON
Elizabeth MacDonald: We don't want any side of the political aisle being influenced by outside interests who influence the election. I just think that this anti-Trump dossier—who paid for it? The FBI, the DNC, the Clinton Campaign, the FISA wire-tapping warrants…I think we have to look into it, I think it warrants it.
Rich Karlgaard: Yeah, but even so I'm kind of against having an investigation. Look—Hillary Clinton lost. She's dead. I mean, she is dead-dead to put it in 'Princess Bride' terms. She's never coming back. That's quite a lot of punishment. I think it would be a bad precedent for U.S. presidents to start prosecuting the losers in elections. That's what they do in Third World dictatorships.
Bill Baldwin: For one thing, the Uranium One pay-to-play scandal—as scandalous as it might have been—is ancient history and I think we have to give the Clintons a pass on that one. But you're right, David, that the Putin/Fusion/FBI/DNC conspiracy is more recent if it happened and there might be a greater truth to it, so I'm kind of curious. What happened?
John Tamny: Well, it is, but I find all of this so embarrassing… that the freest, richest, greatest nation on Earth would elevate the legendarily incompetent Russians and presume that they influenced a presidential campaign, that they were pulling the strings and changing the outcome of what happened in 2016. What a laugh. Why do we demean ourselves like this? President Trump should pardon all the Republicans and pardon Hillary Clinton and move on from this embarrassing episode.
Bruce Japsen: A couple of days later—Jordan sounded kind of like a partisan hack in his statement—but I would say that a couple of days later the co-founder of Fusion GPS said that they didn't pay sources. Let's just put it this way—we don't know where Mueller is going to go with this investigation. We don't know that he's not going to look into all this. We know that the Senate Intelligence Committee is looking at the dossier; they'll look at the sourcing. You look back at the Ken Starr investigation of the Clinton—that started with a land deal and ended up that we found out that Bill Clinton was cheating on his wife and got impeached for it.
NEW FOCUS ON VISA LOTTERY PROGRAM
Rich Karlgaard: The Visa Lottery system makes a mockery out of a very serious subject. We should have an immigration policy that brings in as much skilled, educated labor as possible and even unskilled labor that is willing to do the work that Americans have clearly said that they don't wanna do. We should be strategic about who we let in to this country.
Bruce Japsen: I'm going to agree with Rich a little bit here and say that here's the deal: if Donald wants to blame anybody for this, he can blame the Republican House of Representatives because a merit-based system was in the bipartisan immigration reform that the Senate—with Marco Rubio and the Republicans, and Chuck Schumer and the Democrats—that was their deal. They had this, they were going to get rid of this in that legislation, and it died in Paul Ryan's hands.
Elizabeth MacDonald: This is such Fischer-Price immigration policy. It makes no sense to use a lottery. We don't use a lottery to hire people; we don't use a lottery in the college admission level to take people in. Rich is right, we should have a merit-based system.
John Tamny: Why would we allow the federal government to control who comes in in terms of human capital? We would recoil if the government presumed to say how many computers and what kind, or how many cars and what kind, yet the most important source of economic growth possible—human beings—we allow these people to control who comes in, who comes out. Get the federal government out of this.
Bill Baldwin: You bet, David. We should have a merit system. We should have a point-scale with points awarded for either being able to work really, really hard or having advanced degrees and under my point-system people from Mexico and China would get high scores.
PICKS TO BE 'THANKFUL' FOR!
Elizabeth MacDonald: It's a cheap one—it's Vanguard. Value index fund, has a lot of blue-chip names on the cheap.
Bill Baldwin: My market forecast is for a 3 percent real return, and I think this bland fund can eat that out.