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EPA OFFICIAL SAYS EPA "PHILOSOPHY" IS TO "CRUCIFY" OIL/GAS CO'S - IS THIS ATTITUDE WHY PRICES ARE HIGH?
JONATHAN HOENIG: Well that's the EPA's goal Cheryl. That's the green movement's goal is to raise gas prices to make it harder and harder for man to actually use the earth to his benefit. I mean their goal is really to hurt mankind. So of course they put all these types of bans on drilling, on exploration. They put these ridiculous mandates on algae, making it hard for Exxon to actually get permits and it's essentially a crucification as the EPA official put it. Not toward, oh I don't know, militant Islam, our enemies, but actual productive American companies. It's a shame and it's why gas prices are going up.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I think this is part of it. Look, the reason gas prices are high because China went from four million barrels a day to nine million barrels a day in the past decade and we're stuck at 86 million barrels total capacity in the entire globe right now. As far as the United States, yes, this hurts significantly. From 2010 until now, oil production is down. The government has said it's up, the government has said it's down, but the energy administration information, by the U.S. government, says it is down and one of the reasons is because of this. You have 200 thousand jobs waiting on fracking regulation in Ohio. The EPA needs to be told by the President, listen; I don't care if you hate these guys. Make a ruling, make a ruling that's fair and stick with it so we can go ahead and create jobs in this country.
JULIAN EPSTEIN: Well I think we're going to find, let's just look at the basic facts here. First of all, this was a low level EPA official. Secondly, he was talking about going after polluters; people who break the law. Third, the point here I think is that gas production and oil production is at a seven year high right now. The Obama Administration has licensed over 400 new permits for rigs. We have more rigs operating in the United States than anywhere else in the world right now. The Obama Administration has opened up millions of acres for exploration. They've approved of dozens of pipelines, including part of the Keystone Pipeline. We've had more gas production than we've had in the last seven years. Gas prices have gone down for three weeks in a row right now and the fact that gas prices are going up, as we've discussed on this show before, has nothing to do with the laws of supply and demand. We see as demand goes down, supply goes up of gas and oil. Prices are still going up because of the manipulation of the markets. This isn't an arguable opinion anymore.
TRACY BYRNES: Oh, so many things Cheryl. First of all, as a Roman Catholic if I hear the word crucification again I'm going to blow my head off okay? Don't use it. Second of all, there's no one breaking laws here. These oil companies are doing what they're supposed to do. Now look, I don't know if I'm with Jonathan saying that the EPA wants to destroy mankind and all of that kind of stuff, but I do know that all of their attention is misguided. Oil companies are not the reason for high gas prices. You know what the reason is? And John Layfield says it every week on this show; we have no energy plan. We have no energy policy. We are completely out there and as a result we are reliant on the nutters like Iran to jack up our gas prices whenever they feel like it.
WAYNE ROGERS: No, I mean why does he say it in the first place? Of course it's not enough. I mean, when you hire people like that they're supposed to be working for the people and this guy's not working for the people. He's working for himself and he's working for his little bureau. He's a little bureaucratic moron that's what he is. Look, you mention Keystone. Why hasn't the President approved the total Keystone? Everybody is behind it. Unions want it it's going to create jobs. He talks about job creation and doing all of that and yet he will not approve this. Why? Because it's a political act. It has nothing to do with the economy. He doesn't care. He's not doing this for this he's going to approve this after he gets elected when he thinks he does. That's all this has to do with. So it's stupid. It's against what the people are doing. It's against what he's supposed to be doing as the President of the United States.
EEOC MAKING IT HARDER FOR EMPLOYERS TO NOT HIRE JOB APPLICANTS WITH A CRIMINAL RECORD
TRACY BYRNES: Because Cheryl, apparently arrest without a conviction, that's okay now. That is okay now and that makes you a fine, law-abiding citizen. This is ridiculous. The government should not be telling any company who they should and should not hire and you know what? If I don't want to hire you because you got in trouble, that is my business, my discretion. I should have the right to choose who comes in my front door as a business owner.
WAYNE ROGERS: Absolutely John Layfield, we want him here. We don't want him going somewhere else to look for work. The problem with this is, let me ask you a question, for example, would the TSA a government agency, would they not do a background check and find out whether he's a terrorist or not. Is this going to stop people from doing that? Suppose I want to, as a child molester, apply for a job as a teacher in a three-year-old class. I mean, this is ridiculous. You've come to the point where the government is going to interfere with itself and then say, okay you can't do a background check for these people because it's going to disclose something and by the way, suppose it does. Suppose I hire somebody and I didn't do the criminal background check. I hired this person. This person turns out to commit something against one of my customers. I get sued and because I didn't do the criminal background check, I am liable.
JULIAN EPSTEIN: Well we do as a matter of policy when it comes to race and gender issues. Look, but there's a part of the Judeo-Christian ethic and tradition that believes in redemption; the idea that once you've paid your debt to society, you get an equal shot. So that practice as a matter of public policy will also lower the recidivist rate, but what the EEOC is doing here, many people want to say that once you've served your time you should not be discriminated against or you should not be barred from employment whatsoever. The EEOC is taking a very middle-ground position and they're not saying that an employer can't refuse someone because of past record, they're saying that a potential employee has the right to explain that it's not relevant; that they've reformed themselves; that the criminal penalty has been expunged. It's an opportunity for a person who is an ex-con to explain why it's not relevant to the job application. That's a very middle-ground position. It's not as it's being characterized elsewhere.
JOHN LAYFIELD: Look, the Judeo-Christian belief is that you should forgive, but it doesn't advocate stupidity either and if you are putting someone in accounts receivables and they have been in jail or they've been arrested or they have been accused of stealing money from their former employer, I think a person should know that, but to put anybody in front of anybody and look, we have a high recidivism rate. We also have 63 percent of the country right now in the workforce; the lowest since the 1980's. To put one group in front of another I think is insane.
JONATHAN HOENIG: Julian says it's a middle-ground. I don't know, I think this takes a hell of a lot of chutzpah to come in and say no you have to consider hiring a criminal with your own money. I think that's ballsy and I see it really as an assault on the businessman's mind Cheryl. I mean successful business-people are successful because they make smart decisions about where to invest, who to hire. I mean rules like this that stipulate you must hire this group, you must hire that group; it's an assault on a businessman's best judgment, his own brain. It's like a lobotomy for a thinking man.
APPLE "SITTING ON" BIGGER PILE OF CASH
WAYNE ROGERS: No of course not. Why would you pay taxes when you don't have to? Why would you do something that stupid? That's just dumb. As long as the tax rate is higher in the United States than it is in some other country and you make the money in that country, you're going to leave the money in that country of course. Why would you repatriate it? There's only one reason to do that and it's because you have an incentive to do so. So if you lowered the tax rate in this country, obviously you would do that. I was watching Piers Morgan the other night talking about, oh there should be some eleemosynary act that will do this and bring money back to create jobs. Crazy. You'll only do it if you're incentivized.
JOHN LAYFIELD: It depends on how much we lower it. Look, it's a very simple process. You license your technology to a low-cost jurisdiction, a low-tax jurisdiction like Ireland. Put it to a Dutch Shell company or park it in a place like Bermuda where it can grow tax-free. There's absolutely no incentive for these companies to ever bring it back and it doesn't make business sense for these companies to bring it back. We talk about two trillion dollars on companies' balance sheets that they need to spend. About a trillion of that is overseas and it's just flat not coming back until we do something with our tax code, which is the highest in the world right now.
JULIAN EPSTEIN: I don't know that it's that simple and if you listen to what Apple says, I have no problem with this, Apple's sitting on its cash because it wants to make a dividend for its share holds and it's trying to buy back a lot of its stock to drive up its stock price and I think they've got every reason to do that and I don't have a problem with it.
JONATHAN HOENIG: Actually that's not completely true. Just three months ago, towards the beginning of the year, the Apple CFO said part of the reason why they weren't bringing the cash back was because they didn't want the tax costs. So obviously taxes are a big factor and as the panel has pointed out, I mean, money goes where it's treated the best and it's not treated very well, especially on the corporate level in this country and I think it comes from, Cheryl, this collectivist notion that for some reason Apple owes its profits to the greater good. What's ironic is that they send it to the government and that funds the anti-trust attack dogs, which go after Apple itself. I don't blame them for keeping it overseas.
TRACY BYRNES: You know what Cheryl? It takes a lot more than that (lowering the corporate tax rate). We've seen this. We've tried this once before. We had a corporate tax holiday. The money came into the United States and it sat on the corporate balance sheets. Why? Because of the uncertainty in policy. We have health care costs coming up that no one knows about. No one's going to hire anybody right now and the interesting thing is that we are starting to see our American dollars hire overseas. Now that money is staying overseas and now they're hiring over there too so other countries are benefitting from it because our tax and political policies here are just out of control.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
TRACY BYRNES: Maryland looking to hike taxes on people making $75,000
JOHN LAYFIELD: Don't let health and cash "go up in smoke". Buy electronic cigarettes and Lorillard Inc. (LO)
WAYNE ROGERS: "Energize" portfolio and get great returns with Kayne Anderson Energy (KYE)
JONATHAN HOENIG: Get a rich dividend with Marine Shipper Seaspan Corporation (SSW)