All-Star Panel: Politics and economy ahead of the midterms

This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," November 3, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Over the past four and a half years, we have seen American businesses create more than 10 million new jobs. Over the past six months our economy has grown at the fastest pace in more than 10 years.


BRET BAIER, ANCHOR: Closing bell today, stocks today mixed, Dow lost 24, S&P 500 fell a quarter, NASDAQ gained eight. But it's been a good run for the market. You take a look at the GDP over the past three quarters and it clearly has been improving, 3.5 percent. That's just the third quarter announcement.

We're back with a new panel of colleagues from the Fox Business Network to talk about the economy, Melissa Francis, host of "Money with Melissa Francis," Stuart Varney, anchor of "Varney and Company," and Liz Claman, anchor of "Countdown to the Closing Bell." OK, Liz, how do you think this all plays in people going to the polls and how they feel about the economy?

LIZ CLAMAN, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: Well, let me just say, every poll shows people don't feel good. So President Obama joins a long list of presidents who say, why don't they see the good things I've done? And he keeps trying to articulate it and they are not hearing. Why? I don't know, Bret. I think that there are people who have President Obama fatigue. Even though we got a new number today, manufacturing, a component for production, the best we've seen since May of 2004, well before the economic crises, well before the financial world blew up. They're just not seeing it.

MELISSA FRANCIS, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK HOST: I'll tell you why they're not seeing it. Because median income has fallen while the president has been in office. You look at the stock market and you talk about the run in the stock market, that has made the divide bigger. The wealthier have gotten richer. The middle class and everyone below has fallen behind.  That's why you look at a poll, "How do you feel about economic conditions?" -- 47 percent say only fair, 33 percent say poor. Those folks know the economy isn't as strong as it should be. It's not the same kind of recovery. You wonder when they go to the polls, though, there are those people out there who think that next miracle diet is going to work.

STUART VARNEY, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK ANCHOR: I think the American people want a signal that our long national nightmare is over and that private enterprise is about to be unleashed, that the economy can grow vigorously.

BAIER: It's not growing now?

VARNEY: This calendar year it will grow around two, 2.5 percent when all the numbers are in for the whole year. Yes, it appears to be improving. This has been five years now. It appears to be improving. But you always think back to two percent growth. Let's have a signal that private enterprise is going to be unleashed and we'll get four, five percent growth consistently.

BAIER: If you were a CEO of a company and your corporate profits had been ticking up and up and up, and you've got a lot of cash there, are you looking at this administration saying they're hindering me? It depends on where you are.

CLAMAN: Some are saying that the corporate tax rate is hindering me. And you can move that directly to an administration and a Congress who all say we're for changing and lowering the corporate tax rate but they do nothing. And I'm not sure that's going to change no matter what happens with this Senate.

VARNEY: American corporations have over $2 trillion of profit that they keep overseas. They won't bring it back here because if they do, they pay 35 percent tax to the federal government and also to local governments as well. What they're looking for is a signal that maybe that tax rate will come down and that money will come back. And if it did you have a huge stimulus for the economy.

BAIER: Is there a sense that a Republican Senate could change the dynamic in the economy and change something?

FRANCIS: There is a sense of that out there for sure. But you have to look at it like money goes where it's treated best. It's not about politics. It's agnostic. It's just looking for returns. And that's why when it's treated badly here it's not spent. You talk about the money that's on corporate balance sheets, it absolutely is. But corporations don't feel confident enough about going and hiring people because they know about the taxes they're facing, they know about the health care burden, so they don't do it. They have a legal responsibility to create the best profits for their shareholders and that's that.

CLAMAN: They do, Bret. But let me just tell you, corporate earnings this quarter have done incredibly well. Earnings are coming in up 10 percent for growth. A lot of these CEOs come in and they say, you know what, Liz. It's not that bad. We're hiring depending on the business is.  No, they're hiring here in the U.S. depending. In fact, some jobs have become too expensive in China. They're bringing them back here. There are many companies that are doing that.

VARNEY: A corporate CEO wants a signal, a signal that private enterprise is back and will be treated properly and fairly. Given that signal they'll bring that money back and grow the economy.

BAIER: My signal to you, thank you very much.


BAIER: Again, it's wonderful to be here with you. Thanks, Melissa Stuart, and Liz. Don't miss them on Fox Business Network. If you're not sure where to find it in your area, just log on to That's it for the panel, but stay tuned to meet one candidate on the ballot tomorrow with an interesting background.

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