tv The Kudlow Report CNBC September 9, 2009 7:00pm-8:00pm EDT
tonight, a special edition of the "kudlow report." in one hour, president obama will address a historic joint session of congress to lay out what he says is his new definitive plan for health care reform. we're going to bring all of that address to you live later tonight at 8:00 p.m. but after months of rebelous town hall meetings and dropping in polls, mr. obama faces an uphill fight to sell his high cost government insurance option plan. tonight, we hold our own joint session right here on cnbc. we have a distinguished group of
seven u.s. senators from both sides of the aisle that break it down for you. we're going to take a practical look at all the issues. who should be inshurd, how much will it cost? who's in charge of the system? how do we pay for it? and what is the economic and stock market impact for the health care and the rest of the free market capitalist system. fasten your seat belts, everyone. "the kudlow report" begins right now. welcome to this special edition of "the kudlow report." we have my friend melissa francis with quick results from the opec meeting regarding oil prices. hello, melissa. what do you have? >> hi, larry. the meeting just let out seconds ago. i think you can see the people leaving the meeting behind me. this is one of the ministers
surrounded by reporters. we are hearing that they are rolling over the quota. they are, in fact, making the quota unchanged. $70 a barrel was just fine, something between 70 and 73. there was no reason to change the status quo. but as you can see, ministers pouring out of this meeting. we are hearing right now, we have not seen the official statement. we don't know what other language is in there. that's breaking news for you now, larry. >> melissa francis from vienna, austria. we have a little bit of everything tonight. thank you very much, melissa. now returning to the principal theme. president obama is looking to hit the reset button on the health care debate with a rare speech to congress in about an hour. but just what does he need to say? here's senator evan bayh and judd gregg. gentlemen, thank you ever so much for coming on the program.
senator gregg, you know, i have excerpts from the speech. i don't know the entire speech, but one of the key paragraphs right at the top p. mr. obama says we have witnessed a partisan spectacle, unyielding ideological camps scoring political points. he can referring to the summer debate, senator gregg. what is your thought on that opener? >> not too constructive. in fact, here in the senate i don't think it's been a partisan spectacle at all. just the opposite. you've had really serious members of the senate working hard in the baucus-grassley group. you have a partisan bill that has 20 senators on it, ten republican, tenkrats. i happen to be a co-sponsor of that. and you have with people like evan bayh a bunch of folks who would like to get something done on both sides of the aisle. i think we're ready to go if we can get some indication from the president that bipartisan proposals make sense. >> senator bayh, i cannot report
if president obama is going to support the government public insurance option. all i have are excerpts from the speech. but i know you have been very concerned about the fiscal and spending and deficit consequences of a broad-based plan. can you tell us what you're thinking, sir? >> well,'m very concerned about the fiscal condition of the country, larry. i know my friend judd gregg shares those concerns. we're on an unsustainable path with deficits running ahead of gdp growth every year for the next ten. we can't allow this to continue. one of the tests i'm going to have for a health care proposal is does it bend the cost curve by helping to get some of these increases in premiums for individuals and businesses, and what the government is paying in terms of higher deficits down. if we can't do that, lit not be worth supporting. >> the congressional budget office has basically said no, it does not bend the cost curve
down. and the plans are variously estimated up to $1 trillion or more. one harvard economist said it could be $2 trillion over the next ten years. your thoughts? >> well, some of the original proposals in the house did increase the deficit and i was very alarmed by that. subsequent to that, larry, they've been trimmed back and i don't believe the bill that judd referred to that's coming out of the finance committee that senator baucus has attempted to do on a bipartisan basis has been scored yet, analyzed by the cbo so we don't know yet. but mack is determined. he knows if there's enough of us concerned about the deficit, if he doesn't bring out something that's deficit neutral or helps get the deficit down, the support will just not be there. i hope what we vote in the senate will be fiscally responsible. >> senator gregg, you're the leading budget expert on the budget committee. what's your take on the budget implicati implications, the fiscal imply cases and for that matter, the
tax implications? >> the issue is the cost and the addition that cost will add to our debt. we have an unsustainable situation with the growth of the federal government and the growth of the deficit and the debt. you simply can't add another $1 trillion or $2 trillion actually. the only bill passed out of the committee was scored $2 trillion. that came out of the health committee, which was formally chaired by senator kennedy and now senator harkin is taking it over. these numbers are not sustainable. you've got to have a proposal which actually reduces the rate of health care costs hopefully something that's below the rate of inflation, but at least within that range so that we can have the economy basically grow faster than the cost of health care. >> senator bayh, given our fiscal difficulties and we're barely coming out of recession is this the right time for a comprehensive health care package? or might some single bullet shots to deal with the chronically uninsured be a less
expensive and perhaps more appropriate way to go? >> well, a couple of things, larry. we're not going to solve the longer term deficit challenge we face unless we tackle these increases in health care costs. so you've got to do something reasonably comprehensive to get your hands around that. now, having said that, we may only be able at this moment in time, given your deficit situation be able to make a down payment toward getting to where we ultimately want to get. ultimately you can't spend what you don't have. we have to take the realities of the situation into account, even as we wish we had more to invest in this area. >> it appears that mr. obama will go large tonight. he will not go down payment. how might that impact your thinking and your vote? >> well, i have to see what the president says, larry. again, the speech is the process, all that is not irreleva irrelevant, but what i care about is the bottom line. all the original negotiating and posturing and staking out of territory, that's going to be put aside. we're going to look at specific proposals and i'm going to ask myself, does this get costs down
for individual policyholders and small businesses? does this help get the deficit down by bending the cost curve? is this something we can afford. if the answer is yes, then i think it's worth doing. if the answer is no, i don't think it would be responsible. >> senator gregg, you talked about pushing the reset button. what are your expectations about tonight's speech, what would you like to hear? >> well, i would like to hear the president say how we're going to control these costs, how we're going to keep from growing the government at a rate we simply can't afford. how can you add another $2 trillion to this size of government that's already way too large. it's already got too much debt. it's already spending too much money, it's already taxing americans at rate that's making us less productive and competitive in the world. so i would like to see the president focus a little bit on that rather than the issue of having the government take over health care through a public plan. >> all right, senator bayh, senator gregg, thank you very much, gentlemen. let's go straight ahead now. here's mark warner and we also
have tennessee republican senator bob corker. gentlemen ever so much. we appreciate it very much. we've been trying to get you for a long time. i want to ask you -- >> anytime i can be with my friend bob corker i'm happy to be on. >> that's great. maybe we can use him to lure you on more frequently. i like the sound of that very much. perhaps you heard what senator bayh and gregg had to say. they're both concerned about the country's fiscal condition. senator warner, can you expand the uninsured by a volume of 40 million to 50 million and still cut costs and lower the budget deficit? >> well, i actually put together a letter with nine other freshmen democrats urging senator baucus to raise up in his proposal, and we haven't had a chance to study at all yet the cost containment issues. and recognize that's got to be absolutely equally important to coverage.ño let's face it, right now we spend $2.5 trillion a year on health care, more than any other
country by a factor of two in terms of per capita.ño we can bring down some of theseo cost bus what we're going to have to focus on is how we change the financial incentives. and none of the legislation i've seen so far moves far enough in that direction. we've got to really move away from the whole fee for service where we compensate docs, hospitals, pharmaceutical companies based on their volume and really pay more on the basio of the outcomes. that's going to take a radical reworking of the financial ño incentives. i echo a little bit about what senator gregg and bayh said is driving down costs has to be a higher priority than what i've seen so far. >> senator warner says there are not enough financial incentives to hold down costs. are there enough real honest patient consumer competition and free market choice in this bill? some people think free markets are the way to hold down costs. >> no, as a matter of fact, one of my concerns would be -- look, i think we ought to create
exchanges and competition. the way it's being laid out in the senate finance committee, it almost turns insurance companies into utilities. one of the reasons i likes being on your show other than your charm and personality is your astute audience. i don't know how many members of your audience could go to a bank and show ten years worth of revenues and seven years worth of costs and be able to finance that. well, that's exactly what is happening in the senate finance bill. we're creating something that's going to add huge deficit. as a matter of fact, if you look out to year 11 it begins to wedge out in such ways if taxpayers saw this and citizens sue this, and i think you'll make them see it, it's really alarming. so i think we really do need to look at this in an incremental way. there are problems. issues of pre-existing kpns i would love to see cross state line competition, to have more robust competition, as you just have outlined. but we need to push the reset
button. do this incrementally. be as physicians are when we come see them. do no harm. i really think with smart people like mark warner and others you have on your program, we could do something that will stand the test of time. but where we are today does not do that. >> senator warner, let's just follow up on mr. corker's idea of interstate insurance competition to keep down costs and give better choices to individuals. in the excerpts to mr. obama's speech, i just don't see any mention of that. what's your take on the interstate insurance competition. >> i think that ought to be part of the mix. we've got to make sure there's more competition. this whole debate about options and what kind of incentives to have additional competition. we ought to make sure there's more of a free market in health care. we don't have that right now. but one thing where bob and i will probably also agree, the option of doing nothing is also a financial disaster. if you look at those same budget
deficit projections, what is driving our deficit more than anything is growth in medicare and medicaid. if we do nothing, average families are going to see their insurance premiums double over the next ten years. if we do nothing we're not going to be able to have american business truly remain competitive because american business pays about $3,000 more per employee than any of our competitors in the rest of the world based on health care costs. so, you know, there may not be a perfect solution out there right now, but the notion that we can simply kick the can and ignore the need to take on health care reform would also be a financial disaster. >> mr. corker in the light of mr. warner's worries about the entitlement programs, would the government have been better off tackling the medicare deficit which some estimated to be as much as $40 trillion over the coming decades. >> there you go with one of those astute questions again.ñ the fact is that we're talking -- the finance committee is looking at taking $410
billion out of medicare to leverage a whole new entitlement. the trustees have just said that medicare is insolvent in the year 2017. the fact is that just to make sure physicians and nurses are paid the same in ten years as they are today would take $285 billion, but they're not going to deal with that. so that's exactly what we need to be doing, larry. thank you for letting me be on today. >> you're terrific to come on. mr. warner, last one. can you live with a government insurance option? >> government insurance option that doesn't change the financial incentives isn't going to get the job done. you need more competition, but what we've got to do is not only push down the financial insentives and get them aligned right in medicare and medicaid, but in private insurance as ñó well. if we can't find some savings ió $2.5 trillion, then candidly, wó all ought to be fired because we're spending way too much and not getting the quality outcomes that we deserve. >> that's a strong statement. do you think mr. obama will let the insurance option, the
government option go? or do you think he's going to insist on it tonight? >> i think he's going to let it go. i really do, but i tell you what, it's been -- it's been feeling much like a whip saw here over the last two days. i think they're gauging the public -- my sense is he'll drop it, but he may get faisty. he was that way in front of the labor unions monday. who knows what's going to happen. we're going to see in about an hour. >> senator warner, welcome again to "the kudlow report." senator corker, again, thank you for coming back on the show. coming up, our own joint session continues. we're joined by senators widen, alexander and collins. that's next up. and still to come, we have to tackle the market story. how will stock markets react if the public option gets passed or trashed. we'll ask investor robert dahl who was among the best of the best. you're watching cnbc. we are first in business worldwide. she wants to make up.
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the speech will be aired in about 40 minutes from now. here now we welcome oregon democratic senator ron widen lamar alexander and maine republican senator susan collins. you're all wonderful to come on on this great evening. thank you ever so much. i have some excerpts of the speech. you may already have the entire speech. i don't know if the government option is in the speech or not. but many people say you are thinking about compromising, and i would like to hear your take and your thoughts before mr. obama takes center stage. >> i don't support a government option. i'm convinced that we do not need that to improve the insurance market. what's more, i think the creation of a government slant would likely cause the collapse of the private market. and thus people who like the insurance that they have now could well lose it. so i don't think that's the
right way to go at all. >> ron widen, thank you for coming back on. it's great to see you again. i want to get your thoughts on choice and so forth. but let me just respond so senator collins. some studies have, in fact, shown a government insurance option might take 60 million, 70 million, 80 million people out of the private insurance sector into that option. >> rather than speculating, why not go with a proven model. what i've been in favor of is making sure all americans have good quality affordable choices like their member of congress. 15 united states senators of both political parties are behind that kind of idea. insurance companies can't discriminate against them, but most importantly, it provides choice and real competition. i don't think we ought to be spec lating about what's going to work. let's go with something proven. >> i believe you've come out in favor of interstate insurance.
i believe you've also come out in favor of giving the individual consumer, patient or family the tax breaks for choice and competition. if that's a case, do you expect to hear that from mr. obama tonight. >> i'm certainly hoping, larry, the words we will hear repeatedly tonight are choice and competition. if you change the tax code so as to encourage markets, most middle class people will get a tax cut. under the bill i'm interested in, the typical middle class person would get a credit or a deduction of just under $18,000. the typical family spends about $13,000 on a basic health care package. under my proposal if you shop for health care, if you use the marketplace you're going to get a tax cut. >> you've heard senator collins and senator widen. mr. obama is going to speak in just a little while. what is your own thinking on this. are you open to some sort of compromise at this stage in the game? >> well, of course i am.
i think president obama i would say respectfully should listen to the american people, listen to senator collins and listen to ron widen. they have the only bipartisan piece of legislation which is a frame work. i'm co-sponsor of it. doesn't add a penny to the debt. doesn't have a government option. actually reduces the government programs. gives people money to buy their own insurance. senator collins is making a very important point. if you tell the employers of america, if you give the government you won't have to provide insurance, millions will drop their insurance and they're going straight to the government option. the president doesn't toll you that. >> do you think majority members of the u.s. senate agree with your point of view? because people are tallying up the votes right now. there's a thing running up at the top of the drudge report that the votes are not there for the government option. you have expressed your view.
it's not dissimilar to mr. widen or ms. collins. do you think that's where centrist thinking is in the u.s. senate right now? >> my thinking would be the centrist thinking would be to start over. to listen to the american people, start over, focus first on cost and use a frame work like the widen-bennett bill or to start going step by step on some things we can agree on to reearn the trust of the american people. for example, we could agree on a small business health insurance plan to allow small businesses to pool their insurance and provide their workers benefits. >> i want to ask you about this quote. if you lose your job or change your job, you will be able to get coverage. now, he doesn't say you'll be able to get the same coverage. he says you'll be able to get coverage.
>> i think he's talking about an exchange where people with pre-existing conditions could still get coverage without wor rig ability losing it. that concept is not a bad concept, but the problem, as senator alexander has explained is the proposals that have been put forth would cause a lot of people to lose their health insurance and drive up the costs for others. for example, senator baucus's proposals and others that i've seen would allow only four or five different kinds of plans to be offered. that could well drive up the cost of insurance for people who now have high deductible plans for example. >> and how do we get around the, you know, poor health, pre-existing conditions? how do insurance companies pay for that and still stay in business, senator collins?
>> well, that is a key question. becaif you let people be uninsured until they need insurance, you create adverse selection. the whole system doesn't work because it's based on spreading risk. that's why these insurance forms, which are important to make sure that we do have to be accompanied with some sort of proposal to require people to take responsibility for being insured. they can't wait until they're sick in order to get insurance. but if you're going to do that, you clearly need to provide tax credits to help low income people. that's why a focus on cost is so important. at the center of this is the need for cost contain. and to avoid exploding our budget deficit beyond what it already is.
>> i would like our other distinguished panelists to weigh in. i think the issue of pre-existing conditions and ill health and so forth is a huge issue for the american people. how can we pay for it and execute it satisfactorily, sir? >> you have to declare it illegal to dis-chrcriminate wit people from day one. you have to make sure people go into big risk pools. when you have these large risk pool, the way moefbs congress do, you can spread the cost and risk. you also hold administrative costs down. you know, right now, the small business person often spends 20%, 25% of their health insurance dollars just on administration. so we've got a proven model. what i'm hoping in the days ahead, and i hope they can help us round up some votes for our proposal. it is the only bipartisan proposal. if we can't do that, i'm going
to be taking market-oriented principles into the senate finance committee, based on the ideas we're talking about here today of choice and competition. that's how i think you drive premiums down. that's how you get the best deal for the consumer. frankly, those principles are principles that win support across the political spectrum. >> senator alexander, i'll give you the last word. on the issue of the risky pools for preconditions and the generic issue, which i think is troubling. millions and millions of americans, we saw it during this summer. if you're going to expand the volume of uninsured, if to we're going to eliminate the preconditions and expand the risk pools, if we're going to expand coverage with a new entitlement, how do we pay for it during a time of exceedingly difficult financial conditions in this country? >> it's very hard to pay for it.
if we can't build on the widen frame work, i think we should start over. we didn't do very well with immigration and cap and trade. let's just take a few steps in the right direction. begin to control the costs. a few steps in the right direction will still get you where you want to go it just might take you a longer period of time. >> what would your first step be? >> i would give small businesses the opportunity to pool their resources and offer lower cost insurance to their employees. we have that ready to go. supported by democrats and republicans. that would be step number one. then selling insurance across state lines would be number two. three, we might be able to make illegal come pre-existing conditions and fourth, we might be able to do something about junk lawsuits that drive up costs. that would be four good steps to start with. >> all right. due to time constraint, you will have to get into the chamber. i would love to take to you for the remainder of this hour, believe me.
thank you ever so much for helping us this evening. coming up on "the kudlow report" will president obama throw a public option hail mary tonight. we don't know yet. the kperpss don't tell us. what is to come in this evening's speech? i'm racing cross country in this small sidecar, but i've still got room for the internet. with my new netbook from at&t.
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welcome back. president obama's live address to congress will air right here on cnbc just about a half-hour or so from now. from more on what we can expect from president obama during his rare speech to a joint session of congress tonight, we are joined by our chief washington correspondent john harwood who as always has the full story. john, i have excerpts but i don't have the full story. you know, i've got to ask you, what about the government public option? >> well, i think the view of the white house, larry, is that the public option, while a significant factor in providing competition for obama's plan is not at the center of his plan. most people wouldn't choose it and it's not critical. i think he also suspects correctly, the liberals won't vote for it if it doesn't have a public option because their principal concern has been
expanding access and the obama principles and the plan in the house as well as what's coming out of the finance committee is going to provide insurance and subsidies to provide that insurance for 97% of americans. so i think that is not in the end going to be a stumbling block. what the president is going to come out and do is talk about several key principles in his plan. one thing we expect him to say is if you have insurance now through your employer, you will not be required to change it, if you do not have insurance now through your employer, you'll be able to fie it through public health exchanges. that's not a public option, but simply anning ing aggregating marketplace and finally, it will be against the law for insurance companies to deny you coverage coverage. that's also a key point for liberals. he will also say i will not waste time for those who think it's better politics to kill this plan than approve it.
and i will not accept the status quo as the solution. not this time, not now. it will be interesting the reaction he gets. he's got a strong focus, as you know, on one particular senator, olympia snowe, whose name could provide the 60th vote to get past a fill buster. >> can you help me on some of the content here. i know president obama wants to expand the coverage pool. i know he's talking about universal health care. i know he's talking about individual mandates, but will he insist on 100%, john? you could be chopping off millions of people. >> no, he will not insist on 100%. remember during the campaign, president obama didn't even propose an individual mandate. it was an attack by hillary clinton who said you haven't proposed universal health care. barack obama's response during the campaign was to say the problem is if you get costs down that will remove some of the problem. he's moved.
he's now acknowledging that there will be some people that fall through the cracks. they just think that number will be fairly small. >> we're going to talk to you in the ensuing hour or two. do you think that president obama and his senior staff are in a compromising mood? how do you read that? there's some stringent language in the excerpts of the speech, but you're suggesting a little milder, softer tone. >> i think they're in a compromising mood, but they recognize the compromise is going to likely come between the house and the senate. i think the excerpt that i just read about not wasting time with people who want to kill the bill, i think the white house has made the judgment that they do want to kill this bill and so the compromises are mostly going to be made with the exception of snowe perhaps susan collins as well. the colleague from maine are going to be made within the democratic party. >> all right, susan collins, just on this program a few
moments ago did not sound at all optimistic that she can support it. but i don't want to predict the outcome. john harwood is going to be with us all evening. thank you, john for your preliminary talks. coming up, robert reich and the cato institute's michael tanner are ready to debate key aspects of the plan. will the president's health care hail mary include a public option? and what else can this nation afford it at this time in our fastball crisis? we are "the kudlow report." we await president obama's historic speech. um bill--
k today. welcome back. join meg now, we have cnbc contributor and former labor secretary robert reich, the author of the great book "supercapitalism." we're also joined by cato institute's senior fellow michael tanner. michael tanner from what you can gather, is there real free market consumer choice and competition for consumers and patients in this obama program? >> well, absolutely not. in fact, it moved in exactly the other way. at every step along the way,
this constrains choice. this specific packet of minimum benefits everyone should have. it mandates that businesses provide health insurance and a specific minimum benefits package. it creates a public option that is going to squeeze out private insurance plans, and in many cases lead to no choices at all. it's going to create insurance regulations that will drive up insurance for young and healthy people. this is something american people are going to pay more for and get less. consumers are 70% of the economy and they are the key. if mike tanner is right, how can we hold down health care costs. >> well, if mike tanner is right, you're absolutely right, we're not going to be able to hold down costs, but i haven't seen the plan yet. i don't think mr. tanner has
seen the plan either. i'm very eager to find out exactly what's in the plan. the big news, and i heard it from susan collins tonight was that you've got to have, number one, insurers barred from barring people from pre-existing kpns number two, in order to make that work you've got to have everybody in, and susan collins, senator collins was very, very specific about that. and number three, if everybody is in, then presumably you've got to have some sort of subsidy for people who are very poor or lower middle claz or even some of the middle class who can other wise not afford it. there's enormous consensus around that. i heard susan collins in favor of all of that. with regard to mr. tanner's worries about how much choice, that has to do with the public option. big question about what we're going to hear tonight and number two, we haven't heard anything from the president about how he's going to pay for all of us
this. i'm going to be reasoning very carefully. if everyone who was uninsured, even transitory uninsured, how does that affect the cost structu structure? is that going to break the bank? a lot of people this summer in various forms are just so worried that america is going bankrupt. >> there's nothing hugely expensive about costs. it would give us the highest marginal tax rates in the world. >> bob reich, i want to ask you straight up, would a government insurance option lower cost or increase cost?
>> if you have a public plan option and if private plans have got to compete i think that's going to lower cost. why shouldn't people have the freedom to choose a public insurance plan if they want to? freedom of choice, i like that phrase. >> well, i certainly like your rhetoric and use of that phrase. lord knows, mike tanner, last one. this system seems rigged to me. government runs the system. big business is the supplier. insurance runs the system. and big insurance runs the system. i don't see what the role of the consumer and the individual and the patient is. >> oh, come on. >> mike tanner, sometimes these big government solution just tilt the playing field. >> sure. if all we want is more competition, why don't we let people buy insurance across state lines. we don't need a new giant government insurance program. we just need to give consumers choice. that's out there. >> listen, let me respond to that. i think it's a pretty good idea.
the problem is that insurance is now regulated at the state level. >> i want interstate reforms, but you're going to come back later in the show, robert reich and we're going to explore more of these things. mike tanner, thank you ever, ever so much. next up, how will markets react if the public option gets passed or trashed? the trillion dollar man, one of our favorites, robert dahl is going to tell you where to put your money when we return. by the way, stock market up four straight days. new yearly high for stocks. and a new yearly low for the dollar. we'll get the first scoop. goodwrench... we roll out the blue carpet for drivers of these great gm brands. we can do the small things, the big things,
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ace correspondent on this story. he's got the tape and the breaking news. what can you tell us? >> hi, larry, 2005 and the securities exchange commission is looking at his investors. madoff and the fund company get on the phone ahead of time to get their stories straight and the first words out of bernie madoff's mouth pretty well set the tone. listen. >> obviously, first of all, this conversation never took place, okay? . >> we obtained this from the massachusetts secretary of state's office which just settled a complaint against greenwich group, settling for $8 million. he tells them, whatever you do, don't tell the sec you have anything in writing. >> the best thing to do is not get involved that you sent written instructions. anytime you say you have something in writing they ask for it. >> okay. >> the next thing to do is to say it's a phone call. >> not that bernie madoff is
worried, he says. he knows how these sec guys work. >> it's a fishing expedition. >> right. >> that's what they do, okay. so they typically, you know, we run through this all the time. the guys come in to do books and rorsds examination and they call it -- you know, they ask you a zillion different questions and we look at them and laugh and say are you guys writing a book? >> well, the tactic worked. and again and again it's one of several investigations that they botched. three year s to the date of the that conversation, madoff pled guilty. >> great reporting. i have a million yeses but time is just too tight. we appreciate your report very much this evening. coming up, we have bob dole on the markets. stocks hit a yearly high. the dollar hit a yearly low. and by the way, we're going to talk to him about the health care story. what is the stock market impact? and stay with us.
we're going to walk through mr. obama's speech. "kudlow report." lots going on on a very exciting early september evening. wall street to washington and back. welcome to progressive. how may i help you? i'm looking for a deal on car insurance. i think i might have a coupon in here. there's an easier way. we've got the "name your price" option. you do? follow me. you tell us how much you want to pay, and we'll build you a policy that fits your budget. and i still get great coverage? uh-huh.
be there. this is a huge moment in the young obama presidency. meanwhile, tonight's big market moving question could well be the hot button public option. will it get passed or trashed? what's the impact on the stock market? joining me, my great friend, robert dahl. one of the best investment advisers in the united states. he's the chief global investment officer at blackrock. before i get to this big public option question for health care, i just want to note for the record, get your very quick take. number one, all time, the best high in stocks in almost a year. s&p 500 up four days in a row. an 11-month high. and at the same time, the u.s. dollar is at a yearly low. >> you know has dollar goes down
the profit translation is a good thing. so profits will be better than expected because of the declining dollar. there are other negatives as people are seeking more risk. they shun dollars and buy other like stocks. your point, and i think it's a very important point i want to hear it. the lower dollar, the s&p 500 to take that. that's an 11-month high. foreign source profits and revenues? that's huge. >> about 40%. still a huge number. the s&p 500 is not a huge index, it's a global index as you point out. >> the fed beige book was good?
>> that's exactly right. we could debate the face of that, but the market is climbing a wall of worry, it's climbing a wall of skepticism and that's why the path of least resistance is still to the upside. >> we started the month of september with a september swoon idea. now we've had four days of advance. is this still a good time to be in or buy? >> i'm a big believer you've got to be a little aushs, so do your dollar cost averaging, as boring as that sounds. we'll get a pullback at some point, but there are too many people waiting for it at this precise moment. and so the market will fool most of us as you know. >> i want to ask you what you make of the president's speech tonight. >> for starters, president obama wants a health care bill he can sign. what kind of bill can he sign? any kind of bill. he just wants to get it through
so he can check the box and say i did health care. would he prefer this and not that? of course. we can debate the fine details but he wants to get the process moving. he will talk about the public option, i believe, in his speech tonight. but he will settle far bill that does not have it. whatever the bill is, he'll sign it. >> your thoungts the potential impact? let's go with the thought on the public option. i happen to agree with you, we'll see when he gives his formal speech. how does that affect drug companies and the hospital companies? >> by and large, i think the health care sector does better without the public option as most people would agree. my view is that tles. >> so much uncertainty around this that health care stocks in general have been punished too hard. the risk reward is more interesting.
>> you're not a seller on the public option resurfacing? it may lose anyway. we don't know that. >> exactly. i think he'll clearly resurface it tonight. i think -- look, if onlies you trade around when the public option looks like it's going to happen and the stocks get trashed i think you add to it. >> there's more photographs that looks like vice president biden and ms. pelosi in the red suit. that's john thune and john boehner. mr. thune is the third-ranking republican in the senate. we are, of course, awaiting president obama's entrance into the chamber.
inside those walls, obama is going to have to make a fish or cut bait. the town halls have been very difficult. minute ace way, he will try to mount his comeback. he has a reset button in favor of health care reform. some of our senatorial guests tonight have a reset button far complete shift in health care reform. all right, who are we going to bring in now. let's shift over. do we have bob dole who's going to stay with us? also betsy mccoy, top player on health policy and david goodfriend, former clinton white house official and co-host of sirius radio's left jab. hello, everybody. let me go to mr. harwood first. have you learned any more about the speech itself? >> i think the seech comes at a good time