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Bulls & Bears
On Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, Liz Claman was in for Brenda Buttner. Liz was joined by Gary B. Smith, Tobin Smith, Eric Bolling, Dr. Bob Froehlich and Mike Papantonio
Senator Scott Brown: Cut Taxes for All to Create Jobs; Is He Right?
ERIC BOLLING, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: If you want to spur job growth, you just have to cut taxes. The National Federation of Independent Businesses is saying to cut payroll taxes, not one of these $5,000 tax credits for every new hire. It'd be too easy to game the system with tax credits and wouldn't result in any real sustainable job growth. Make tax cuts permanent, and that's the way to bring back high employment levels.
MIKE PAPANTONIO, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: This sounds like the old trickle-down theory. Look at the tax cuts we've had, and yet we still have a major problem with unemployment. The only way to solve employment problems is to inject money into small, mom and pop type businesses. We've been trying these across the board tax cuts that primarily benefit the rich for the past eight years, and it has worked out horribly. Why continue policies that clearly don't work?
TOBIN SMITH, NBT MEDIA: Entrepreneurs are the key to job growth, and they're more aggressive when they think that they're going to be able to keep or earn more money long-term. These job creation programs are very slow in terms of created job growth. When entrepreneurs invest their own dollars to create jobs, they do it far faster and more efficiently than any involvement by the government.
DR. BOB FROEHLICH, THE HARTFORD: This isn't as complicated as some people make it seem. Across the board tax cuts strengthen the economy, and when that happens, we see tremendous job growth. This happens every time the government lowers tax rates. We have to do everything in our power to stimulate the economy. It comes down to confidence in the business cycle, and businesses having the confidence they're going to see long term growth and profits. A temporary jobs program will not have any beneficial long term effects.
GARY B. SMITH, THECHARTMAN.COM: The greatest period of growth took place from 1983 to 2007. There was low unemployment, the stock market grew tremendously, and there were relatively low tax rates. Do you want to go back to the tax rates of the 1970s? This jobs bill President Obama is putting together is Cash for Clunkers on steroids. Tax cuts go directly to decreasing costs. You shouldn't just throw money at a company that was probably going to hire somebody to begin with.
Real Health Care Problem: Government-run Care Is Already Here?
T. SMITH: D.C. and state governments are the problem here. New York said it was going to involve itself in how health care was distributed in the state to save money. Now, New York is twice as expensive as the average state in terms of delivering health care to people. California, which largely got out of the way, is one of the cheapest states to deliver health care services. When government comes in, costs go up because it's just so inefficient at managing and distributing health care.
BOLLING: The most concerning aspect of this study is that government is spending about 40 percent of every health care dollar, and at a growth rate three times faster than the private sector. Government is going to spend a greater share of the country's health care expenses than the private sector in the next few years, and that's a scary prospect considering how poorly the government spends on and manages health care.
PAPANTONIO: There's already a high level of failure by private health care providers in this country. Right now, the government should be running things because it can do it better. The health care industry has raised rates by 400 percent for small businesses. You know why? It's not being run correctly. There are plenty of examples of fraud and manipulation by private health care insurance companies that show the private sector is not well suited to be running our nation's health care system.
G. B. SMITH: Private health insurance companies make relatively very little on the dollar. Their margins are often slightly better than supermarkets. Some complain about all the outrageous profits these insurance companies are making, but it's just not true relative to the amount they have to spend.
FROEHLICH: What are we getting for the money being spent? Are we getting better life expectancy compared to other developed nations? Are we a healthy country? No. Government involvement in health care only exacerbates the problem. Medicare and Medicaid are the two things that have to be reformed before anything else, and nobody is really proposing any solutions that will truly solve the problem.
Linking Debt to National Security; Scare Tactic for Tax Hikes?
G. B. SMITH: It's amazing what government officials will do to increase government spending. This is just a way to continue to add the nation's tax burden to the so-called wealthy. You really want to lower the debt? Get rid of wasteful government sectors like the Department of Education, or dropping agricultural subsidies. It's time for the government to face the facts, batten down the hatches and start getting rid of wasteful government spending.
PAPANTONIO: The people with the gold make all the rules. We're paying for two wars, bailing out banks, etc., that continue to add massive debt burdens to the country. We owe tremendous amounts of money to the Chinese, Japanese, Saudis and other foreign countries. We have to get this under control.
FROEHLICH: This is so simple. This is a basic scare tactic. We just need to prioritize our spending. At the top is national security related spending. At the bottom? Temporary tax credits for hiring people. This is classic scare tactics, just like when local governments tell people they'll cut fire or police services unless voters support tax hikes. Start cutting taxes, and you'll see our debt reduced long term.
T. SMITH: Factually, if the interest payment got so high on our debt where we literally wouldn't be able to pay our defense bill, then it would be a national security issue. The only thing is we're a very long way from that point. It's absolutely something to be concerned with, but it hasn't approached the point of a national security issue.
BOLLING: I actually agree our debt could become a national security issue. But you have to stop the spending! You don't keep taking on trillion dollar deficits every year. If you keep that up, then this will become a threat to our national security down the line.
G. B. SMITH: Saints and Shaw group both winners! "SHAW" builds 50 percent by year end
T. SMITH: Saints and Entergy Corp both champs! "ETR" powers up 35 percent by July
BOLLING: Colts and Eli Lilly are champs! "LLY" gets health 30 percent gain in 1 year
FROEHLICH: Saints win and so does global industry! "GLBL" pumps up 45 percent in 1 year
Cavuto on Business
On Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, Charles Payne was in for Neil Cavuto. Charles was joined by Ben Stein, Dagen McDowell, Adam Lashinsky and Matt McCall.
New Hot Jobs Are Government Jobs: Bad Sign For Our Economy?
MATT MCCALL, PENN FINANCIAL GROUP: Look at the January employment numbers. We lost 20,000 jobs, but the government created 33,000 jobs. 9,000 of those 33,000 were temporary jobs for the census. We know, long term, many government jobs aren't sustainable. But right now, we're seeing some areas of job growth because of government job growth, not from the private sector. The government should not be in the business of creating jobs.
DAGEN MCDOWELL, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Long-run, this comes down to an allocation of resources. Where is money better spent, the government or private sector? Frequently, the private sector is far more efficient at creating good, sustainable jobs. Right now, we're seeing a government power grab that's like a rolling stone gaining momentum. The fear is whether that momentum can be stopped, or whether government will just continue to grow at an accelerated rate, possibly pushing out the ability for the private sector to grow and expand.
BEN STEIN, AUTHOR, "HOW TO RUIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA": It's a myth that all government jobs aren't productive. Some are extremely productive. American soldiers certainly are productive, as are many people who work in the Defense Department. These census jobs are productive too, and they'll be around for quite some time. In recessions, the government typically adds jobs. We do have a high level of government spending, and too much of it is wasted, but we shouldn't say government job growth is absolutely a bad thing.
ADAM LASHINSKY, EDITOR-AT-LARGE, "FORTUNE MAGAZINE": We can't have it both ways. The military is in part responsible for this two-million plus growth in government sector jobs. I don't think people would see job growth in defense as a bad thing. But it's no surprise that in a recession, government jobs have actually grown, because most government sectors haven't had to cut spending, unlike many private businesses. If we hadn't had shabby regulatory oversight for so many years that helped cause the financial crisis, the private sector wouldn't be in such bad shape.
Scott Brown Is In; Why Are Dems' Backroom Deals Not Out?
MCDOWELL: Did we elect a new Congress or just one senator? Clearly Scott Brown's election sent a message. But President Obama is talking out of both sides of his mouth. He talks about having an open discussion about the misunderstandings about health care reform. The American people do get it. When you give more people health care and you tax people for it, it only drives costs up. Unfortunately, nothing is really changing here.
MCCALL: Politicians work for voters. My fear is that President Obama doesn't plan to step away from all his deeply unpopular policy initiatives. It's business as usual, and for his policies to have any chance of passing, they have to be planned and worked out behind closed doors. It just sets a bad precedent. Hopefully all this bickering helps make sure we get a better bill at the end of the day.
LASHINSKY: The people of Massachusetts spoke, but the Democrats have a very large majority in Congress right now. The problem is that Republicans still have made little to no effort to work with Democrats on creating a viable health care reform bill. Democrats are trying to get legislation passed, so of course this is business as usual. At the end of the day, President Obama will have to truly reach out to Republicans if he wants any hope of getting something passed.
STEIN: Nobody knows what's in this bill. It's been kept behind closed doors. It's a scary way to run the legislative process. I'm for expanding health care to people, but we have to take the discussion and decisions out of the back room, and have open, inclusive discussions on what should be done. Remember, this government is supposed to be based on an open democratic process, and unfortunately we haven't seen that from the Obama administration yet.
Pay Czar: $500k Salary Is Too Much; Is He Limiting Success?
STEIN: This is pure Bolshevist envy. President Obama appeared before Republicans a short time ago and actually had to say his policies aren't Bolshevist in nature. But Ken Feinberg is talking about a tenet of Bolshevist ideology. There shouldn't be limits on success. As long as it's not illegal or cheating, you should be able to earn as much money as you possibly can. This is just craziness.
MCDOWELL: The more power you give to the government, the more that's drawn away from the private sector. If I were the leader of another country, I would spend a good deal of time devising tax structures and a business environment that will lure workers and businesses away from the United States. For now, the government is going after financial companies, but I wouldn't be certain it just stops with them. Who's to say other companies that deal with the federal government won't eventually fall under this kind of regulation?
MCCALL: This is bad for capitalism, and what this country has been built on. If you're making $500,000, you worked very hard to get to that level. If the government can come put caps on success, then you reduce people's incentive to reach the highest levels of it. The fact is, many people making $500,000 or more a year help contribute a great deal to our economy, and they shouldn't be punished for it.
LASHINSKY: We shouldn't be worried people are going to uproot themselves from this country and move to Nova Scotia. We certainly need a healthy economy, but Ken Feinberg is going after companies that benefited from the TARP bailout. For better or worse, we have a tax code in this country that says if executives make more than a million dollars, then those businesses fall under a different type of tax rate. We've seen no intention by the government to start going after companies that didn't get TARP funds.
Stock Tailgating Party
MCCALL: Dolby (DLB)
LASHINSKY: Bristow (BRS)
STEIN: Vanguard Total Stock Market Index (VTSMX)
Forbes on Fox
On Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010, David Asman was joined by Steve Forbes, Rich Karlgaard, Neil Weinberg, Mike Ozanian, Quentin Hardy, Elizabeth MacDonald, Evelyn Rusli, and Kai Falkenberg.
In Focus: Will Craig Becker's Nomination to the National Labor Relations Board Help or Hurt Job Creation?
DAVID ASMAN: The unemployment rate dropping unexpectedly to below 10 percent. Twenty-thousand more folks losing their jobs in January. Now some at Forbes are warning even more will be out of work after next week; that's when Democrats are hoping to vote in a very pro-union guy to a very powerful government labor board. Hi everybody, I'm David Asman. Welcome to Forbes on Fox. Now let's go In Focus with Steve Forbes, Neil Weinberg, Elizabeth MacDonald, Mike Ozanian, and Quentin Hardy. Oz, what's this guy all about?
MIKE OZANIAN: Craig Becker would push really hard to end secret ballot. His animosity towards the private sector is well known. He would really be the Darth Vader for small businesses and job growth.
QUENTIN HARDY: We've lost 1 million union jobs since 2001 and the economy doesn't look particularly better, so I'm not sure you've got a tight relationship here, but let's look at the current system. MIT did a study: 22,000 attempts to organize, only 20 percent made it through contract between 1998 and 2005. Why is that? Employers control the process. Even if 100 percent of workers want card-check, they insist on ballot. They force workers to go to anti-union lectures. Twenty five percent of the time they fire union organizers illegally, and the penalty is they have to put up a sign. If there is a union, they can run out the clock, stall it for a year, until there's no contract for it to start again. The system is corrupt and it has to be changed.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: It's a complete misapprehension of how the legislative changes in store will hurt jobs. It says that if people want to unionize, they have to get 30 percent to form a commission, and then petition for a secret ballot, and then if they get a secret ballot, which is onerous to do under those measures, they would be forced into a government-enforced binding arbitration after three months if there was a fight over wages. This is a major intrusion into the private marketplace. Craig Becker would have a lot of effect on this bill. An independent consulting firm's study shows that if 1.5 million jobs are unionized through this bill, you can bet that 600,000 jobs will be lost.
NEIL WEINBERG: I don't think that Craig Becker, even if he gets appointed, which is now looking doubtful, will be able to torpedo the job market all by himself. For one thing, only 7.2 percent of private sector workers belong to a union right now. This is the tail; it isn't going to wag the dog.
STEVE FORBES: Well that's what happens when you don't have free markets, you use political muscle to make that come to pass. It started in the early 1960s and we've seen what it's done to the education system and other things that the government is involved in. In terms of Becker's appointment, they may not be able to push card check through Congress, but they can do a lot of things by decree, like make it easier for union organizers to come on private property. People complain about certain parts of balloting and what it takes to do it but we need a secret ballot and management must have time to make its case to workers. This might not be a good thing.
Should Airlines Get a Piece of President Obama's $3.8 Trillion Budget?
ASMAN: Sixty-five thousand and 3.8 trillion. One is the number of flights reportedly taking off over the past six years that shouldn't have because of maintenance problems. The other is the price tag for the president's new budget, which doesn't spend one dime on airplane upkeep. Neil, you say that's a deadly mistake.
WEINBERG: I think it's a deadly mistake and I think this is an industry that has been in a death spiral for a long time. If you look at American Airlines, the biggest airline if you don't include Northwest/Delta, it's worth $2 billion. That's nothing. It's a dysfunctional industry where the service is horrible, and the safety standards are horrible. I think the government should come in here and implement some sort of regulations so that we can have a more viable industry and so that safety improves and service improves.
KARLGAARD: Commercial airlines are 15 times safer on a per mile basis than driving a car. I don't know what complaint there is based on any facts about the safety of the airline industry. What the government should do is two things. One is assure people against terrorism. And the other is ensure the price of fuel through the stability of the dollar. The biggest risk to the financial stability of the airline industry is a fluctuating fuel price.
KAI FALKENBERG: I don't know that I buy the argument that flying is safer than driving. There are some airline experts who say that driving is safer on a per hour basis. I think the government should cut taxes for these airlines so they can actually make a profit. American Airlines's 9am flight from JFK to LAX makes $200 of net profit. We need to give these airlines more money so they can spend it on maintenance, other safety concerns, and pilot salaries.
FORBES: How about lowering the corporate tax rate overall from 35 percent to 25 percent or 20 percent or even 15 percent. That way you get a better economy. Airlines get more traffic and get to keep more of what they make. Rich is right about the need for a stable dollar. And how about using some of those airline taxes to update the air traffic control system. If we had a modernized system they could carry twice as many passengers as they do today.
OZANIAN: I don't want a taxpayer subsidy for airlines. That would help as much as the bailout for banks helped increase lending, which it did by 0 percent. The top six airlines have $4 billion in cash flow. They have more than enough money to invest in safety on their own. I don't want to get the government involved with another tax increase.
Flipside: President Obama Told Americans Not To "Blow A Bunch Of Cash In Vegas," But Is That Exactly What We Should Be Doing?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: You don't blow a bunch of cash in Vegas when you're trying to save for college. You prioritize. You make tough choices.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ASMAN: Whoops! He did it again! President Obama bashing Vegas. But Steve says that's a bad bet. If you want to blow some cash in Vegas, you shouldn't let President Obama stop you!
FORBES: Hey, we're the land of the free and if he wants to lecture us like a schoolmaster, how about getting his bloated budget under control? Vegas is a good place for conventions and the like. Why make it morally illegal to go there? That's increasing unemployment.
HARDY: Well he is one more citizen, and I'd like to listen to him. The guy just said if you are saving for college, don't gamble — save. That's some of the best investment advice you can get on this show or any other. It's about saving and acting correctly. If and when you have the money to go to Vegas, go and have a good time.
WEINBERG: If the president is going to tell us not to gamble and not to smoke, maybe he should also say that people shouldn't shop because some people have a real problem with that. There's no end to this. It's a slippery slope. The government shouldn't be telling us how to run our lives, and certainly President Obama doesn't have a lot of room to speak.
MACDONALD: It's sort of annoying, this attitude from the president. "Don't brush your teeth with turpentine. Eat your peas." That kind of behavior. I don't think Americans want that. I agree with Steve. We're taking in $2.4 trillion in taxes and the president wants to spend $3.8 trillion. The thing is, you don't blow your kids' college tuition in Vegas — that's common sense behavior. And don't blow out the budget deficit to fix a problem. It's like drinking bourbon to cure a hangover.
KARLGAARD: We are constitutionally guaranteed the right to pursue happiness. Vegas isn't the only city that Obama has wrecked. Another one is Wichita, KS which is home of private aviation in the United States. His unfortunate remarks on that industry, from a guy who flies the nicest airplane in the world, sent Wichita's unemployment from 3 percent to over 10 percent in one year.
Informer: "Sure Bet" Stocks!
ASMAN: Our Informers say their stock picks are sure bets!
EVELYN RUSLI: Baxter (BAX)
OZANIAN: Psychiatric Solutions (PSYS)
WEINBERG: Honda Motor Corp (HMC)
Now We Find Out At Least $55 Billion in Waste From Stimulus 1: Is This Exactly Why We Don't Need Another Stimulus Bill
TRACY BYRNES, FOX BUSINESS NETWORK: Like we need a hole in the head. This is the craziest thing I've ever heard. They're forcing these guys to take the money and then they're relying on them to pass it out and use it wisely – and they're not! It's going to Argentina. This is a waste part 2. We're not spending the money they originally dished out properly, they're just going to give out more money and it's going to be wasted again. This is not the way to get jobs to people out there.
JULIA PISCITELLI, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: Hey, we all hate our money being wasted but let's be clear about this: the jobless rate has just dropped. We've gone from double digits to single digits. If you go to recovery.gov, this is a completely transparent administration about what is going on and where the money is going. So, with any large bill, you're going to be able to come up with a few things that look really bad in a one line expenditure.
WAYNE ROGERS, WAYNE ROGERS & CO.: I don't think anyone is talking about the stimulus plan being good, bad or indifferent. You're talking about the waste that goes on. If you spend $3 million to study fossils in Argentina to create five jobs and two of them are Argentine that is completely nuts! This is out of control and we have buffoons running this thing.
JONATHAN HOENIG, CAPITALISTPIG ASSET MANAGEMENT: The President's philosophy is spending is good, doesn't matter what you spend it on. If government spends money, that creates wealth. Where do jobs come from? Where does productivity come from?
JONAS MAX FERRIS, MAXFUNDS.COM: You have to have a few pot studies if the government is going to legalize it and make money off it. I'm hoping that's the path because then they'll get rid of some of these deficits. Government spending is wasteful by nature. It's kind of random and thrown around. It's not like a company where they spend money and look for profits. Regardless of what they're going to do with it it's wasteful. It's causing expensive jobs. The President didn't say it creates wealth, he thinks it creates wealth, and it does create very expensive jobs. That's why you only want government spending during a recession…not during growth periods of boom economies. That's the spending we should be bothered about.
Transportation Secretary Going After Toyota Hard: Is He Doing This To Help GM Because the Government Owns The Troubled Car Maker?
HOENIG: Let's say there was a brake problem in a Buick. Will Ray LaHood get out there and say stop buying GM? Of course not. But Toyota is in this impossible position in that the government is not only the regulator, but also their biggest competitor. These brake problems are serious but they're also very rare. Toyota has 20 million vehicles on the road, and we're talking about problems in 2,000 cars. They've taken steps to address it, and I think Ray LaHood and the government getting out there and smearing the company's reputation not only hurts the investors and drivers but the employees who happen to be right here in the US.
PISCITELLI: GM is not being protected by the administration. The reality is, GM was the number one car company, and Toyota overtook them by increasing their production. Now when you increase productivity, you create problems and that is what they're being faced with. The real competition for everyone is Ford, who has made some good cars and is overtaking everyone else, including GM.
FERRIS: If this happened with GM, it wouldn't have been such a media event. Toyota is like Tiger Woods, and that's why everyone cares. "Toyota was perfect and now it went bad". Do you know how many recalls Ford and GM have had over the years? And that's why all these politicians are stepping up to comment on it. If you think these politicians care about the profitability of government entities, we wouldn't be running such deficits all the time. They didn't say "drive your Toyota to the nearest GM dealership and trade it in on a new government program." That's not what's going on. They're just trying to get in the limelight.
ROGERS: I think the problem is nobody knows yet, and Ray LaHood shot his mouth off without knowing whether or not this thing is a crisis of whether it's the pedal itself or the software—they don't really know yet. And he should have had a full investigation before he shot his mouth off. And he shouldn't be the one doing this; he should be the person pouring water on the fire, and instead he's creating the fire.
BYRNES: That's the motto of the administration: shoot now, point later. The accelerator pedal that caused these problems was manufactured here in the U.S. so we've been very careful at who we've been pointing the finger at, because it could very well be a problem we created here. I don't think Toyota has handled it properly.
States Are Avoiding The Word "Taxes" While Lawmakers Are Avoiding the Word "Stimulus": What Has Americans More Outraged; Government Spending or Government Lies?
ROGERS: I don't know if we should be more outraged. I don't know how more outraged we can be. The government lies to us all the time. They tell us lies over and over again. A pig with lipstick is still a pig—it doesn't matter. These are people who are incapable of telling the truth. God knows they're spending more and more, and as Jack Kennedy once said, "Ask not what your government can do for you, but ask what you can do for your government." And by golly, no one in the Congress is doing that.
PISCITELLI: The truth is if people were telling the truth of what they were doing, George Bush the First would have been re-elected when he said no new taxes, and then got caught in that lie. He should have just said he was raising taxes, or called them fees. Mitt Romney raised taxes by $300 million by calling them fees in Massachusetts. This is not new, and calling taxes "fees" is not new.
BYRNES: So what's better? To stand on the podium on inauguration day and say you won't raise my taxes but meanwhile you throw "fees" and "surtaxes" at me until I have no money left? Is that better? Is that truthful? And the thing that bothers me the most is people think we're too stupid to parcel through this and understand exactly what they're doing. That's the part that angers me the most about this.
HOENIG: Fees and penalties are taxes. They're just a fancier name for taxes. I think what most people are outraged about the most is the notion that you money is published, because we're all in it together. Whether it's for healthcare, for education or whatever else, folks do feel it. Whether it's a tax for tattoos in Michigan or phone lines in Virginia, at the end of the day it's just my money going to bureaucrats. I don't think it's fair or right.
FERRIS: Loosely defined, it's all taxes. But at the end of the day I'd like to think taxes were tied to income. People get more mad when they cut spending in these states that are doing tax increases because they're broke! And they're not going to cut spending aggressively enough on schools and roads that cost them enough.
What Do I Need To Know?
BRYNES: Apparently $4 billion in the Presidents 3.4 trillion-dollar budget for 2011 was set aside for organizations like ACORN and others that do similar things. Are you kidding me? We just talked about how our money is being inappropriately spent. Here's a perfect example.
FERRIS: So when the SEC agents weren't investing in Bernie Madoff they were doing a little porn surfing at work and with their Freedom of Information Act. It's very difficult for a government worker to surf porn at work so I would recommend going with cellular internet access at work through a company like Verizon (VZ) which provides wireless cellular internet access to anyone, including government porn surfers.
ROGERS: The Financial Reform Hearings with Chris Dodd is bogus. It's all going to happen again because you can't reform it with regulation; you have to do it with legislation. The Congress has to break up big banks. They can't control them.
HOENIG: We've been talking a lot about Japan, and there's more to it then Toyota, and another we've mentioned before is Sony (SNE). They're a massive company with interests in media and finance and music and all the rest. It's quietly moved to new highs, outperformed in the U.S. markets.