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IN FOCUS: IRS ASKING FOR MORE MONEY FOR BONUSES FOR IRS EMPLOYEES
STEVE FORBES: Talk about public be damned, talk about content for the public, here's an agency that's rogue. That's been swept under the rug. The president brazenly tells Bill O'Reilly there's not a smidgen of corruption and now they say they're going get bonuses because it will hurt morale if they don't get it? What about the morale of democracy?
BRUCE JAPSEN: It's like a payout of 1 percent. If you're looking at a pay for performance thing, i don't think it's a big deal.
Senator Orrin Hatch said he couldn't find a less deserving group of people to get a bonus. Maybe they need to look in the mirror with congress and the way they've been performing.
RICH KARLGAARD: This is a very corrupt organization. To sympathize with Bruce, this doesn't apply to the majority of people that work at the IRS. I feel sorry that they're tainted by the people who have indulged in this corruption. The corruption I'm talking about, they say it's the little things that have been looked at. Catholic organizations, republican donors, conservative journalists, the selected enforcement by the IRS are just astonishing.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Yeah, you know, but when you watch the hearings, when you see what these individuals went through, you have to say to yourself, wow, this is really striking, there's something really wrong here that these people are being punished for their views on reigning in government spending. I say give them bonuses in the form of government debt. Short-term incentives pay 5-year bonds.
MIKE OZANIAN: It's absurd that the Obama administration is agreeing to these. It's really absurd. Even if you're not against the IRS or what they did, think about this: How much more can they do? It's a really bad precedent.
RICK UNGAR: We shouldn't be rewarding government employees with bonuses in any situation. Had this scandal ever never happened i would still be here saying why are we giving bonuses to government employees? You know where the money comes from? When they leave. If they're auditors and leave and go into private practice and make a fortune because they know what they're doing. Let's not con fume the two.
WILL THE HEALTH CARE LAW CUT MIDDLE-CLASS AMERICANS' INCOME?
STEVE FORBES: What it's about, David, is that under this -- the way ObamaCare is actually being implemented is that the middle class is going to end up paying more as well. The Brookings Institute found that the bottom 20 percent will get an effective income increase of 6 percent or 7 percent but the middle class is going to be 1 percent to 3 percent poorer for it because of the higher pay, they are going have pay more premiums for what they get for insurance. It's not just the upper income, middle incomers but lower as well.
RICK UNGAR: Yeah. It's a little disturbing. The study itself notes there is a whole lot more things left to come, a lot of shoes to drop. They qualified it. Then when you take the results of the Brookings study and you match it to some of the economic studies and from the CBO study, it gets really confusing because they're directly opposed. Guys, like it or not and I know you don't. It's going to be three years until we really begin to know what worked and what didn't.
MIKE OZANIAN: Just another one of president Obama's lies when it came to ObamaCare. What we've known for a long time and is not subject to debate, is that ObamaCare is about the redistribution of wealth. The president tried to sell to the public that it was only going to be the richest people who will be redistributed. Now it's the top 4/5ths that would have money taken. That's a very, very bad thing on the overall economy.
BRUCE JAPSEN: Well, I think you point out something interesting in the fact that this has become more a part of people's income and people's total package if you will, their total package. I think in the long term, I think it's going to improve people's income because they're going have flexibility with their jobs and so forth and we're having a period right now of health inflation that's at a 50-year low the last three years and I think anybody who has private insurance has seen their wages wiped out by double digit health care cost increases.
JOHN TAMNY: No question it's going hit middle class incomes and it will because ObamaCare is big burden on businesses. There's this naïve perception that president Obama can offer all these things for free. I think what they can realized is that compassionate government is expensive being paid for by all of us.
SABRINA SCHAEFFER: ObamaCare didn't tackle one of the most serious parts of our health care system. We have a massive new program, and we see a loss of income and loss of jobs, rather than people owning and controlling those health care dollars. The other problem is we fear finding that people are finally waking up to what is income. Your income is more than your wages and when people see all of these parts on the table, they're going to be more willing to say, I want a little more of this and less of this. John's exactly right, that all of these benefits don't come out of thin air.
SHOULD EDIBLE MARIJUANA PRODUCTS BE BANNED SO THEY WON'T GET INTO THE HANDS OF CHILDREN?
RICH KARLGAARD: The two Super Bowl teams came from the pro-pot states. I know I'm sounding unhip and un-cool, but, no, this should not be legal. You wouldn't have vodka-laced Kool-Aid for sale that might confuse kids.
JOHN TAMNY: We can't expect the government be our mommy and daddy. This is something for parents to watch over. Passing laws will be expensive and won't work.
STEVE FORBES: If you want to legalize marijuana on this, fine. But don't go ahead and lace it with candy or things like that. You don't do it for nicotine. You don't do it for booze. You're not allowed to get a nicotine patch without a doctor's prescription. So there should have to be restrictions on it. Just because people disobey it from time to time, doesn't mean you should turn your back and legalize it. Parents have a hard enough job. They can't watch their kid 24 hours a day.
SABRINA SCHAEFFER: I agree with the restrictions. I go to the grocery store every week and there's candy bars masquerading themselves as yogurt. It's my job as a parent to put the good things in the basket. As the kids get older, they have to figure this out.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I think it's awful, I think it's hideous. I think it's wrong. What are we going to have next? Vodka Jello shots? It's pathetic. Philip Seymour Hoffman, it's such a terrible loss. Will we continue to lower the bar and lower the bar and accept it? The thing with pot is it's a drug and can be a gateway drug where children and young teenagers turn to harder and rougher stuff.
Shaky market this week, tell our viewers which stocks are surviving and thriving the rocky market.
MIKE OZANIAN: Vulcan Materials (VMC)
52-WEEK HIGH: $63.05
52-WEEK LOW: $45.42
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Schwab U.S. Broad Market ETF SCHB
52-WEEK HIGH: $45.17
52-WEEK LOW: $35.97