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IN FOCUS: Top Senate Democrat: GOP payroll bill will literally 'kill people'
STEVE FORBES: David, the biggest admitter of toxic admissions is the mouth of Barbara Boxer. This is absolute demagogy. This EPA rule will kill 40 to 60 thousand jobs, as many as 300,000 indirect jobs. And the fact of the matter is, the EPA has two choices and that is a low threshold, where above that threshold it is harmful or a no threshold standard. They have gone for the no threshold standard. Absolutely unnecessary for the health of this country.
RICK UNGAR: Once again the narrative, it is a great narrative, but it is simply not true. In fact I have some awesome facts. I am going to the notes quickly. University of Massachusetts Political Economy Research Institute, what do they report? Every year clean air and water rules create 300,000 new jobs in this county. According to the 2010 report to congress, clean air and water regulations between 1999 and 2009 have created $533 billion in economic benefits. What did it cost? $29 billion. This is not anywhere near a job killer. The EPA crated jobs. I got the facts. Happy to put them online at Forbes and Fox News to show it.
RICH KARLGAARD: No, I don't because American Electric Power for instance said in June that the EPA will cost them $6 billion. So these fly in the face of Rick's facts. Look, President Obama when he was running for President in 2008 said that electricity costs would skyrocket if Cap and Trade passed. His Cap and Trade didn't pass. So he is trying to legislate against coal fire plants because that is what we are talking about here with these industrial boilers, by other means. Lisa Jackson, Steven Chu, the head of the Department of Energy and President Obama are hell bent on closing down hell fired plants in this country. And this is just yet another way to try and do it.
VICTORIA BARRET: She is being a little extreme to say the least. But, have you been to China? We do not want our air to be like the air in Beijing. Have you been to Mexico? Our recycled batteries are going there and those kids are ending up with led poisoning. There is a place for environmental regulation. The EPA has its faults. It gave us Mercury filled light bulbs and you have to call a 1-800-number to figure out how to recycle them. Needless to say I have a stash of mercury light bulbs in my home. This is a case where is actually makes sense. They are going after industrial boilers that are polluting mercury and they haven't been regulated. So I am actually in favor of this and they are only going after the largest boilers so they have scaled back.
DENNIS KNEALE: Look, the EPA has decided for the first time that the carbon dioxide that we breathe out is now a toxic, hazardous substance that needs to be regulated. The EPA is out of control. Are they going to install officers inside Madison Square Garden because there is too much breathing out? The thought that EPA rules create jobs is one of the most silly, ridiculous things I have heard out of anyone on this show ever. The EPA should be killed, outright, it is a jobs killer.
KYM MCNICHOLAS: I love Rick Ungar and you are definitely on point Rick. You know, when the first ever national standard for toxic air pollutants from coal fired power plants, the U.S. Economic Policy Institute actually found that 81,000 to 100,000 jobs would actually be created with that rule alone. So if you go ahead and ease these standards or even kill the EPA we are going to lose more jobs. And to think that if you actually ease these standards it is going to stimulate the economy and stimulate and actually encourage other companies to hire more people, it is completely absurd.
Cash-strapped states pushing to hike gas tax
STEVE FORBES: Hey David, only big government politicians would say that raising the cost of going to work, raising the cost of shopping and doing your chores is good for the economy. They always have an excuse to pick your pockets. They say 'Well, inflation made the real gas tax go lower,' so they hit you with inflation which is a form of taxation, then they use that to justify raising your direct taxes. They hit you every which way. Stop guys. Stop!
RICK UNGAR: Nobody likes to pay higher prices for gas. I live in Las Angeles, so you can imagine how I feel about it. But, there is a but here, we see things that happen every time gas prices go up; usage of mass transit rises, carpooling rises, people start to focus on preserving energy. In the long run, a gas tax might be just the thing to focus our attention on getting off our reliance on foreign oil and dealing with the real problem we have.
DENNIS KNEALE: Gas has to be $8 a gallon before green alternatives finally look like they are economically viable. So let's just slap a $5 per gallon tax on it and we will solve every problem. Guys, we just had a major battle in Washington over whether to extend $20 a week in social security tax cuts, and now we would raise the gas tax. For every $1 at the pump is $100 billion in consumer spending power. You don't want to take it away. Our economy cannot afford it.
VICTORIA BARRET: I am generally in favor of a gas tax, carbon is something we do not want more of, right? So in society we should be taxing things we do not want instead of taxing things we do want. So let's not tax income, let's not tax wealth creation, but yes let's tax gas, let's tax carbon indirectly, but rather directly. That said, let's not do it right now. I do agree with Steve that now is not the time to do it and that is where Washington fails us. They do not tax us when times are good, they tax us when times are strapped and times are bad.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: What we are talking about is basically bailing out the states who have continuously plundered the so called "tax kitty" that is made off the backs of the poor and the middle class, who have to pay the gas taxes to get to work. Three years, $1 billion is what Maryland raised in hiking its gas taxes. Guess what? They redirected $370 million of that money to general fund uses to spend on whatever they want. This is the fox designing the hen houses, they want a constitutional amendment to state constitutions to avoid any votes whatsoever to have permanent increases in gas taxes and they are doing it because the government is backing electric cars. They are seeing that eclectic cars are reducing the use of gas and that they can maybe have less tax revenues coming in. These are the foxes running the henhouse. Don't trust them. Cut your spending first before you hit up poor people and middleclass taxpayers.
MIKE OZANIAN: It would certainly hurt the economic growth we've had. Look David, the Maryland governor is a big union guy, so what would this increase in revenue do? It would go into the pockets of union workers, because the municipal governments there are struggling for cash. So, this is a way to give the state more money so they can fund more government and more union jobs. I find it really hilarious that you look at the states where inflation has been going up the most, well gee, their taxes have been going up even faster over the years. So they don't look at inflation when it comes to taxes in general but only on specific things where they can line their pockets.
FLIPSIDE: Gold is falling fast and below $1,600 for the first time since October
RICH KARLGAARD: I am thrilled whenever gold goes down because when gold goes up, it is a signal that people are worried about the future and it is a signal that our currency is weakening. So when gold falls, it signals that our currency is strengthening and that worries are diminishing.
MIKE OZANIAN: It think gold falling now is a bad sign because what is happening is, the insolvent countries in Europe and the European banks are dumping gold to raise cash. So, I do not think gold strengthening is because either the Euro of the dollar is getting stronger necessarily. It is a race to the bottom and Europe is worse than us right now.
RICK UNGAR: I think they are both making sense, but I do agree with Rich. I think typically gold's falling is a sign of the dollar getting stronger, people moving their money into other investments. I think on whole, it is a good thing.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: The issue with gold is it is only as good as what the next investor is willing to pay for it. It is a play on the dollar, and the dollar is only looking better because of what is going on in Europe. Europe is such a mess. The dollar is in no way in a good, strong position right now. Mike is absolutely right, what is happening in Europe is banks over there are dumping gold to raise dollars to settle trades and for liquidity problems. Also, central banks, watch them. They may be dumping gold because they need dollars as well. They have been hoarding gold of late.
STEVE FORBES: No they shouldn't panic sadly, because the Federal Reserve will ultimately come to their rescue by another round of printing more money. Gold got ahead of itself this summer, but it is right to that people are selling gold to raise cash. That is a temporary thing. So we are not yet to a gold standard. We will after the elections of 2012.
INFORMER: Some online retailers hurting megabrands like Best Buy; What are the holiday winning stocks?
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: GOOGLE (GOOG)
DENNIS KNEALE: WALMART (WMT)
KYM MCNICHOLAS: COSTCO (COST)