Legalize pot to pay down debt?


IN FOCUS: Now that President Obama has 4 more years, no chance to repeal the health care law

STEVE FORBES: It's going to hurt it substantially David. It's going to hit in 2013, 2014, the really bad parts no coincidence comes after the elections. Taxes are going to go up on most individuals; taxes are going hit businesses. Businesses are going to have to ask the question, are they going to dump their people on Medicare because it's going to cost them thousands and thousands more. You are going to see fewer fulltime jobs. People are going to find ways to not get caught up in Obamacare which is going to hurt fulltime employment.

RICK UNGAR: The arguments remind me of what we heard back in the 60s when FICA taxes were roughly doubled to pay for Medicare and we all survived that. You would not imagine the of calls I've had this week, people from cancer survivors, small business owners expressing their gratitude that this law is now the law of the land and is going to survive. We are going to be sitting here talking about this in 3 years and it's not going to have cost a job, jobs are going to continue to grow as businesses grow in this country, you'll see.

MIKE OZANIAN: No its not. We have to ask ourselves- Why is the unemployment higher today than when President Obama first took office? One of the reasons is because companies are not hiring. Let's look at 3 huge tax increases on business. 3.8 percent increase on investment income over $200,000- that kills small business hiring. Then you have an increase on the capital gains tax from 15 percent to 23.8 percent and almost tripling of the dividend tax. Those are huge costs on the formation of capital that typically go into new businesses or expanding existing businesses. That's why this is the slowest recovery from any recession that has lasted over 9 months since the 1930s.

MORGAN BRENNAN: This act is chalked full of landmines that are going to need to be reformed in the next few years. With that being said, even the smallest businesses actually have tax breaks off of Obamacare. Looking at the largest businesses, companies like Verizon, Excelon, they have already absorbed the cost of this reform. The fact that they are not hiring, if they aren't hiring right now doesn't have to do with Obamacare; it's has to do with the fiscal cliff. It has to with the fact they can do more with less.

VICTORIA BARRET: No, if you are a small or medium business owner, you want to know there is nothing in the way of your business growing and you hiring. Right now what this act has done is put road blocks in the way. We are taxing work; we are taxing capital in the form of dividend tax. We are going to see less hiring because of it. I want to highlight something Steve said earlier; we are going to see a lot of businesses, especially small businesses shift from full-time workers, to part time. It's such an obvious thing for them to do. That is going to exacerbate this underemployment problem that I think we have going on in this country that is not very well documented.

ELIZABETH MACDONALD: What we are talking about is the high cost of affordable care. I have read through the testimony given to the congressional small business committees. Uniformly small businesses are saying that their cost of business doing business is going up by 40 percent or higher annually. When you absorb 30 million people into the system, they aren't magically paid for out of thin air. They are paid for by businesses and workers and by tax payers. The part time work force is growing within the restaurant sector and the healthcare services sector ironically because business owners realize if we just drop them down below fulltime status, we don't have to pay the mandate tax.

Did election guarantee high gas prices are here to stay?

STEVE FORBES: There are two big things that are going to hit us on the energy front. One is the regulatory side reducing supply. The EPA is already frothing at the mouth over the opportunity to put more regulations on fracking and reduce the gas supply-natural gas which makes it easy and cheap now it's going to be expensive and rare. The Federal Reserve is going to pump out another slew of dollars which will also artificially pump the price of energy. Get used to it, higher prices at the gas pump.

ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I agree about the weaker dollar, yes oil goes up in price. I agree with Steve the bridge troll bureaucrats in DC wrecking our energy supply. I believe in the natural gas revolution started by Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter picked up on it. It's now 10 percent of our energy supply here in the United States and its growing. It's also created nearly 2 million jobs. Germany now is afraid of how powerful our natural gas industry is. So I'm hoping that will displace and relieve some of the discomfort in the gas supply chain.

VICTORIA BARRET: We are in a situation where the President doesn't want high gas prices; it makes his administration look bad. I'm not worried about him in the immediate term doing anything that is really going to spike gas prices. What will spike gas prices is turmoil in the Middle East and demand from the U.S. Consumer which isn't going to heat up. We aren't in a huge recovery mode so we are certainly not going to see large spikes in gas prices. This is one thing I am not worried about.

RICK UNGAR: Have I ever told you how smart EMAC is when her head is screwed on correctly? There is a report out this week that shows natural gas is going to triple over the next number of years. Natural Gas is a big part of the future. The Obama administration has been very supportive of it. It will keep growing. I know some environmentalist that would take serious exception to that. They have clamped down on methane conditions which are simply bad for us to breathe. Is that such a terrible thing? Yes the Obama administration in its first term put into effect some pretty important air pollution rules, and I'm glad they did it and I hope they continue to do it. Natural gas will continue to take an important position in how we develop this, I hope we move forward with green energies but the price of gas will be just fine over the next few years.

JOHN TAMNY: I think it is irrelevant. The fact remains that the world is a wash and oil. President Obama could seize all drilling in the United States yet we would all consume it at the market price. Gas prices are high because they are measured in the dollar. The dollar measure is shrinking, hence gasoline prices are high. If you want to fix this, you have to go to the source which is cheap dollar policy.

BILL BALDWIN: I can think of three reasons why gas prices are always going to be high. Number one is the administrations war on fossil fuels. Two, the gas pumps happens to be a very convenient place at which tax payers' pockets can be picked. The third thing is the ethanol atrocity. When you force food into gas tanks the gas costs more.

States voting to legalize marijuana

JOHN TAMNY: Of course we should legalize. We don't want the incompetence of government telling us what is safe and what is not safe and what we do with our private lives. There is the revenue impact which would obviously lead to higher revenues for states and the federal government. My only problem there is that we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem and it scares me to hand them more money.

STEVE FORBES: It's a bad idea. First, it's a slippery slope. Countries that have tried it find out quickly that people go into other drugs. Governments who push those kinds of substances to raise money; that's moral corruption of the highest order. It says something about the age we live in.

RICK UNGAR: Of course it should be legal. It should have been legalized a long time ago. We could use the money at the state level. It's all good.

MIKE OZANIAN: If you want to legalize it, that's fine with me. Its folly to think it is going to lower the deficit. Raising taxes on cigarettes hasn't done that. Raising taxes from gambling hasn't done that. It's a spending problem; it's just going to give the government more money to spend and more power.

BILL BALDWIN: Before we legalize dangerous drugs, let's legalize some other things. Let's legalize big cars, then tax the gasoline. Let's legalize shower heads and light bulbs that work. I'm even hopeful that at some point in New York City it becomes decriminalized to possess large sodas.

INFORMER: Americans voting for more gridlock. So which stocks do well when Congress is frozen in gridlock?

Reminder: Stock needs a market cap of $500m or more. And must trade on NYSE or Nasdaq.


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