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CNN IN THE MONEY
Port Deal May Be A Liability For Bush Administration; Some Say Port Deal Is Good For America; Harrah's Entertainment Hurt By Katrina; Craig Barrett Of Intel Plans For The Future; Some Say Medicare Drug Plan Enrollment Is Low; Grandmother Teaches Snowboarding; Social Networking Web Site Popular; The Real I.D. Act Is High Cost
Aired February 25, 2006 - 13:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
FREDRICKA WHITFIELD, CNN ANCHOR: In New Orleans Mardi Gras parades are rolling down several streets today. Crowds are smaller than usual. It has been nearly six months how ever since Hurricane Katrina devastated the city and parts of south Mississippi and Alabama. Several towns in those states are also hosting Mardi Gras parades.
And two men have been arrested in connection with what's believed to be the largest cash robbery in British history. Thieves made off Wednesday with at least $44 million from a security depot. Three other people questioned in the probe had been released on bail.
And those are the headlines. More news as it happens. I'm Fredricka Whitfield. Now IN THE MONEY.
ANNOUNCER: From New York City, America's financial capital, this is IN THE MONEY.
JACK CAFFERTY, CNN ANCHOR: Welcome to the program. I'm Jack Cafferty. Coming up on today's edition of IN THE MONEY, bad management. We'll talk to an investment guru who says the port sale to the United Arab Emirates is a good deal. But the Bush administration has mishandled it all the way.
Plus, feeding the beast. Pulitzer prize winning columnist Thomas Friedman talks about how $60 a barrel oil is making radical Arab leaders more radical than ever.
And anybody home? Experts say the new Medicare drug benefit will help most seniors. So why are so few of them signing up for it?
Joining me today a couple of IN THE MONEY veterans, "Headline News" correspondent Jennifer Westhoven; "Fortune" Magazine editor at large Andy Serwer.
So the good news is as of late last week when we taped this thing, the United Arab Emirates out of the goodness of their hearts has offered to put off the takeover of the operational responsibility for six major American ports, so the administration, I guess, can make another effort at trying to sell this thing. Since nobody knew about it until a week ago.
The bad news is the midterm elections get ever closer, and the longer a decision is put off on this, the closer those elections come. I see this port deal as maybe the biggest political liability the Republicans have had to deal with in the five years President Bush has been in office. What do you think?
ANDY SERWER, EDITOR AT LARGE, "FORTUNE" MAGAZINE: Well, I agree with you. Before I get to my take on that, I just want to point out that rumors of the North Koreans running our nuclear facilities and the Colombians running the DEA, that's not true.
You know it is going to be interesting. I think you're right, it is going to be a hot button issue. I wonder what is the incumbent Republicans going to say to their electorate when they're campaigning. I think they should talk about the economy, if they are smart they will do that and not focus on foreign affairs. The Democrats will probably find a way to fumble the football before they get to the end zone, though.
JENNIFER WESTHOVEN, CNN ANCHOR: It is amazing though that this isn't even something that Democrats have done or gone out or done well. They still haven't really won on any issue. It is just at this point they're getting thrown this huge gift in the fact of George Bush essentially shooting his security reputation right in the foot. It's really hard to imagine that he's got the Republican leaders of both the house and senate up against him and he's threatening a veto.
CAFFERTY: It is going to be an interesting -- might be the most interesting midterm election we've had in a while. Usually they're a yawn. But this one could be good.
The controversial ports deal was a huge thing on Capitol Hill all week, even though Congress was on a break. Gee, that's a switch. Congress wasn't there. Dubai Ports World agreeing to delay its plan to take over management of six U.S. ports as the Bush administration revs up the spin machine and tries to put out what has become a firestorm of opposition.
Our first guest on IN THE MONEY call apposition to this deal "rank racist nonsense" -- his words -- and says the ports deal is actually good for America. Jim Glassman is with the American Enterprise Institute. And he joins us now to explain. Jim, welcome to the program.
JIM GLASSMAN, AMERICAN ENTERPRISE INSTITUTE: Thank you, Jack.
CAFFERTY: You're in a -- how shall we say -- a minority position on viewing this as a good thing. Why do you think this is good news for us?
GLASSMAN: Well I may be in a minority position because I think most Americans really don't know the facts here. Originally this story was presented as a country in the Middle East is going to buy America's ports, when in fact, this country's -- a company in this country is buying P & O, which has leases on ports in about 30 different cities including six in the United States. Leases on terminal space, that's all. And in New Orleans, for example, they've got only 20 percent of the terminal space. The securities going to be done by the Coast Guard and by the customs service. Nobody's selling anything. And these guys are very good at what they do. They do it in Germany, they do it in Australia, and they do it around the world. They're incredibly efficient. They handle about 3 million containers a month.
WESTHOVEN: OK. This may be a company, but to be fair, it has ties to a country. So you can see why people are making this connection. I mean you can get why people are making that connection. And during this whole handling of this, a review that was supposed to go into place for national security purposes when a country gets control of a port like that, they're supposed to be review. That seems to have been skipped.
GLASSMAN: Well Jennifer that's not true. There was a 30-day review under a policy that was set a long time ago, revised in 1991 called CFIUS. The Treasury Department oversees it, but there are members from the Defense Department, from Homeland Security, from many other cabinet offices that participate.
Now, I don't know -- these are secret proceedings, so I don't know what happened. There is going to be hearings next week on Capitol Hill so we can find out. But generally this administration, whatever else you want to say about it, has a pretty good record at preventing terrorist acts in the United States. It's now been four- and-a-half years. And this CFIUS procedure works very well.
Plus, what is it that Dubai has done that's so terrible to the United States besides having 700 U.S. navy ships stop there in the past year, providing an air base for us to do reconnaissance flights over Afghanistan and Iraq and turning over terrorists to the CIA and to our military?
SERWER: Let me just ask you, though, Jim, isn't the president being tone deaf here --
SERWER: And showing bad political judgment? This is going to be my only veto. My only veto is going to be right here. So what do you think about that?
GLASSMAN: Andy, I completely agree with you. The groundwork was not laid for this. They certainly should have known that people like Chuck Schumer would immediately jump on this story. So yes, I think the administration frequently feels, oh, we don't have to explain anything. What we're doing is right; we're just going to go ahead with it.
They got caught short here and it is failure on their part, but I also think it is a failure on the part of people who have explained it or not explained it. I mean people like Congressman Pete King. This is ridiculous. He's a smart enough person to know that this is not the story that he has portrayed. CAFFERTY: Let me look at a little bit of the situation in the United Arab Emirates with you. Yes, they provide over flight, yes, they allow ships to dock there, they also serve as an operational and financial head quarters for the people who bombed the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
Their banking records will sustain that. Some of the hijackers came from the United Arab Emirates. They have allowed nuclear proliferation in places like North Korean and Iran to originate in that country. Why take any risk at all? Why gamble with a country that owns the company that's going to operate these terminals?
And one other thing. The security of the cargo once it comes off the ships and is put on the docks becomes the responsibility of the company that's operating that terminal. So once those containers come off the ships and are set on the docks, it's up to the United Emirates Company to provide the security there. Why gamble with this stuff? This is national security.
GLASSMAN: Right. Jack really I think the gambling -- first of all, let me just say that I think that Dubai has changed a great deal since 9/11. We've wanted Dubai to change and Dubai has changed. They're doing what we want them to do. Absolutely you're right, they didn't have such a great record before that. But they have a good record now.
Look the security in the ports has very little to do with who's unloading the ships. In almost all cases the unloading will continue to be done by American longshoremen. So that's not even going to change. The problem that America has right now -- and it's a serious, serious problem -- is that things get loaded on to ships, on to these containers around the world.
We have very little in the way of security at those ports, although Dubai has cooperated as a loading site. We have very little security. This stuff goes to the United States and it gets offloaded. We don't know what's in these containers.
So it's not the guys who are doing the offloading that's the problem. It is the guys who are doing the loading that are the problem and they are all over the world. We need much better inspection at the ports when things are loaded as well as when they're unloaded, the Coast Guard takes a look at the manifests or the customs people look at the manifests and they check out what's in there.
That is a serious problem and that's the kind of thing that Congress should be addressing, not what company happens to own the lease on the terminals where the things are unloaded. That's really irrelevant.
CAFFERTY: Well, if nothing else, it's certainly sparked an interesting national debate. It will be interesting to see how this thing works itself out. Jim nice to have you with us. Thank you. James Glassman, American Enterprise Institute.
We have to step out for a moment. When we come back on IN THE MONEY, greasing the wheels of radicalism. Thomas Friedman will be here to talk about how another few year of expensive oil will create more than just economic problems.
Plus, find out about the future of business straight from the horse's mouth. We'll talk to Intel chairman Craig Barrett in our "View from the Top" series.
Plus the party's over. Using a personal Web site is a great social tool in college, but you may want to be more careful when you're looking for a job. We'll explain that as we move forward.
WESTHOVEN: Now from our Washington Bureau to talk about oil, Iraq and radical regimes. Thank you so much for coming to the program. First question, of course, in the news, this foiled attack on a big Saudi Arabian oil tanker facility, terminal facility, pardon me. So we're starting to wonder, you know, it didn't work this time, the Saudis apparently foiled it. But if that had happened what kind of effect would that have on the world economy and on gas prices?
THOMAS FRIEDMAN, "NEW YORK TIMES" COLUMNIST: Well, obviously it would have a very chilling effect on the oil market and certainly send gas and crude oil prices sky high. I think what you're seeing here is the al Qaeda terrorists in Saudi Arabia who have been fighting the regime there now for the last couple of years in a very intense way, we've seen a lot of terrorist attacks inside Saudi Arabia. The regime seemed to be able to turn them back; they've arrested a lot of people.
But obviously, what the terrorists are trying to do now by attacking an oil facility is take this to a new level. They haven't been able to succeed at the previous level or even when they did succeed, they didn't get the global attention they wanted. So now what they're doing is going right after an oil facility, trying to make the regime in Saudi Arabia look really vulnerable and really make a global story out of this.
SERWER: Well seeing this stuff, Tom, makes me think of that movie "Syriana." It makes it look like a reality TV show, sadly. I want to ask about our efforts in Iran and Iraq, Palestine and Egypt. How can we say at this point that we're winning the hearts and minds in Arab world? Can we begin to say that?
FRIEDMAN: Oh, I don't think you can begin to say that at all. I'm not sure the reverse is exactly true either. I mean, this administration is radioactive in the Arab Muslim world today. And, now, I don't think that George Bush or Dick Cheney have won any hearts and minds there. And it would be ludicrous to suggest otherwise.
At the same time, I do think that the democratization agenda that they've been pushing is something that's getting under the hood in that part of the world. But I don't think it's ever going to scale or really spread until we bring down the price of oil. Because as long as these oil-backed authoritarian regimes out there have $62 a barrel oil to sustain themselves, I don't think any democracy movement's really going to take root. CAFFERTY: Well the other factor, Tom, that might play into that is the clash of the Shia, Sunni, Kurdish forces in Iraq this week which boiled over into an actual attack on a holy site there. Some assessments put that country at the brink of some sort of civil war.
If that happens, is there any -- one, we don't have enough troops on the ground to deal with it over there, not anywhere near enough. What are the American options if that thing continues to escalate and, in fact, boils over into something that spreads across the country?
FRIEDMAN: Well, as you said, we do not have enough troops to prevent a civil war in Iraq. Iraq will be what Iraqis make of it. If Iraqis choose to make of it into civil war, there's no way that U.S. forces can stop that. So I think we're at a critical moment here.
Iraqis have really come to the edge of the abyss and a few have actually fallen in. I think the real question now is whether they are going to come together, Shiites Kurds, Sunnis, as you said, and say, here and no further. If they do, I think this whole event around the mosque could actually be a very important turning point in the right direction. If they don't, then we're into the beginning of the end of this democracy project there.
SERWER: Hey, Tom, lately you've been talking and writing about attacks on gasoline and gotten into it a little bit with Dick Cheney. I'm wondering does it really make sense to impose a gasoline tax when there aren't any solutions in terms of, you know, real mass produced hybrid cars out there or for not providing incentives to automakers yet or enough incentives to scientists?
FRIEDMAN: Absolutely it does because that's how you'll get the market to shift. If people have to pay the same prices for gasoline in America that they do in Europe, you know $5 for premium if not more, you will see a massive move toward plug-in hybrid vehicles and ethanol fuel vehicles. And Dick Cheney's addicted to low taxes. As long as you're addicted to low taxes, you're never going to end our addiction to oil prices.
It's a complete sham. It's a fraud. They talk tough. They talk tough about standing up against all these authoritarian countries, but we basically have a foreign policy today where we're funding both sides in war on terrorism. We fund the U.S. army, navy and air force with our tax dollars. We fund al Qaeda and authoritarian oil-backed regime there's with our energy purchases. So how tough is that?
WESTHOVEN: You got a quote where you say Americans are essentially driving our way to nukes in the Middle East in our SUVs. That's something that I think you just hit on there. A big problem when we're all paying that much for gas, $60 for oil.
But I want to talk a little bit about the way you have singled out Vice President Cheney and you just alluded to that. Can you talk a little bit about why you see the vice president as a big obstacle for America essentially doing what the president said, breaking our addiction to oil? FRIEDMAN: Well I think they are both the problem but obviously Bush has changed his tune now. He's using the bully pulpit to draw attention to our oil addiction. While the vice-president basically can't even choke out the word conservation. Basically goes around saying we've got to drill our way out of this problem. Cheney's whole argument is that basically conservation, environmentalism, oil taxes that are all liberal, that's Pinko that's girlie-man, that's tree hugging.
And my argument is just the opposite, actually. Learning to conserve energy really revamping how we use fossil fuels is actually geostrategic, geopolitical, tough minded, patriotic. Green, ladies and gentlemen, is the new red, white and blue.
CAFFERTY: Yes, how many problems would go away if we didn't have to import another barrel of Middle East oil? It would go away immediately.
FRIEDMAN: Exactly Jack. This isn't just win-win, this is win, win, win, win, win. We effect climate change in a positive way, we increase out popularity in the world by taking the lead on this climate issue, we raise the tax dollars to pay down our deficit and actually have some resources to deal with some of our domestic problems.
And most of all we free ourselves from having to worry whether the difference between a good day and a bad day is whether some Saudi policeman stops a suicide bomber in Riyadh or in their oil fields. Thank you very much. I don't think that's very tough. I think it's wimpy, I think it is basically surrendering our sovereignty to other people. Not very tough at all.
SERWER: Here, here.
CAFFERTY: Good stuff, Tom. Thank you very much for joining us. Always nice to have you on IN THE MONEY.
CAFFERTY: All right. Tom Friedman, "New York Times" columnist. His latest book is called "The World is Flat."
Time now for this weeks "Look Ahead" on Tuesday two big economic reports will come out, consumer confidence and existing home sales.
Also Tuesday Apple Computer will introduce its latest and greatest product according to an invitation sent to reporters. The cryptic release asks recipients to join the company to unveil some fun new products without elaborating on what they might be.
CAFFERTY: It is always interesting when those guys unveil stuff.
On Friday bike week kicks off in Daytona, Florida. Andy will be probably be gone next week, he will be on his Harley heading south. Talk about zeroing in on a demographic, hundreds of thousands of motorcycle enthusiasts will descend on the city and just about as many marketers will be there too, trying to cash in.
Coming up after the break as IN THE MONEY continues, Hurricane Katrina had Harrah's Casinos ruling snake eyes for a time but the stock is on a way back. We will take a look at whether or not it is a good bet now.
And Blue Cross blues maybe you can afford your health care coverage now. But what will the price be when you're, say, 100?
And why are ultraconservative groups joining with the ACLU? It is all about national I.D. Cards. Both sides are furious. We'll take a look at that as well. Stick around.
SERWER: One of the businesses most hurt by Hurricane Katrina was Harrah's Entertainment. The company owns a lot of the casinos on the Gulf Coast that took a huge hit last fall. But now Harrah's says it's on the rebound.
Looking at the stock chart seems to back that up. Harrah's shares have come off the devastating free fall of September, October and have been steadily rising since November. But is it a good idea to bet on the world's biggest gaming company right now?
That makes Harrah's our stock of the week. This company really is a proxy for the growth in gaming around the world. They have 40 casinos. Most of them here in the United States. But they've got river boats, they got tracks, they got dogs, they got thoroughbreds, they're in Australia, they are in Uruguay.
Gary Loveman the CEO really knows his stuff. They started out in Jack's hometown Reno, Nevada, Jack, so you probably know a little about it.
CAFFERTY: Nineteen was it, 39. Bill Harrah was the founder of the company. When I was a kid growing up in Reno. Quick story, there is no speed limit in Nevada. There wasn't then. Once you were outside the city limits your can go as fast as you want. They'd only pull you over for reckless driving. Bill Harrah used to own a red Ferrari.
On those desert highways on Nevada he would run that thing for all it was worth. I remember driving back from Carson City towing a horse trailer one day. And I looked in the rearview mirror and I saw this little red dot, the next thing I saw him disappearing over the horizon at something around 150 miles an hour. He used to live life to the fullest.
SERWER: He had it going on and so does the company.
WESTHOVEN: Well, I have a question about that. Because Las Vegas is supposed to be sort of our capital of gaming in America. There's some signs lately that Vegas is losing a little bit oh its cool. They've built so many giant hotels, they're so fancy. There are roller coasters everywhere you look and shows. People are kind of getting a little bit of been there, done that.
SERWER: I will tell you something though, if I had a nickel for every time they told me that Las Vegas was about to die that it was being overbuilt, I'd be a very rich man. The other thing is they got a piece of the action in a lot of other different properties. They are in Indian casinos, you know to the extent that it is going to proliferate in other states, they're there. They're in AC, which is what we call in Atlantic City us players.
I'm not a player at all. Some people don't like to own gambling stocks. The stock is expensive. It carries a price earnings multiple around 20. But again I got to believe is this story going to change? Has it changed? No.
CAFFERTY: People always look for something for nothing. Look at the $360 some million lottery that was hit here last week. But gambling money is discretionary income. There's a lot of competition to get that dollar. The dog tracks, the racetracks. Do you buy Harrah's stock with the idea that they continue to grow the revenue when, in fact, the amount of money available for gambling overall might be limited?
WESTHOVEN: And it's going online.
SERWER: It is. That's a whole other huge area. If you like gambling, in is the blue clip company. Gary Loveman, like I said, this guy knows what he's doing. Buy the cream of the crop if you're interested in being in this business.
CAFFERTY: There you go.
SERWER: All right. Coming up on IN THE MONEY, Intel chairman Craig Barrett is moving his company into the future with a new deal and a new slogan. But is Wall Street buying it? Find out.
Plus, prescription drug prices are rising at a rapid rate. Find out if our economy can keep up with the pace.
And who says you can't teach a retiree new tricks? Right, Jennifer? This grandmother learned to love snowboarding so much she became an instructor. We'll have her story in our "Life after Work" segment.
WHITFIELD: Hello. I'm Fredricka Whitfield at the CNN Center in Atlanta. Now in the news, a ricin scare at the University of Texas at Austin. Officials say initial test on a substance found in a dorm indicates it is the potentially deadly poison, which can be used as a biological agent. A student found the powder in a roll of quarters. The FBI is now investigating.
It is party time in New Orleans. This is the last weekend before fat Tuesday. And Mardi Gras celebrations have taken over some streets in the hurricane-ravaged city. Many people there are determined not to let the storm destroy their signature event.
And France is confirming its first cases of the deadly bird flu in domestic poultry. Authorities say the H5N1 virus have been found at a turkey farm in an area where thousands of birds have recently died. The farm is now sealed off.
I'll have all the day's news at the top of the hour. Now back to more of IN THE MONEY.
SERWER: In this week's "View from the Top" segment, Craig Barrett, chairman of Intel. Under his leadership Barrett and his team have unveiled a new slogan and announced a major partnership with Apple Computer, but the company's stock is hovering near its 52-week low. What's his plan for the future? We caught up with him to find out.
SERWER (voice-over): Barrett knows Intel inside and out. He spent the past 32 years steadily rising through the ranks of the microprocessor maker. Starting off as a technology developer manager before Intel's chairman of the board last year.
CRAIG BARRETT, CHAIRMAN, INTEL: I think it takes a lot of luck, first of all, to have the opportunity. And I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity at Intel. But I think it's necessary that you in the high tech industry, you love the technology.
SERWER: Such as a product called Viiv. It is designed to simplify the process of sharing digital entertainment around the home. Barrett hopes innovations like this will give Intel the muscle to beat its 2005 revenue of $38 billion by upwards of 6 to 9 percent in 2006.
BARRETT: I think it also helps to work with a company that has a very strong culture in taking risks to bring new technology to the marketplace.
We were going to shift to using Intel processors.
SERWER: An assist from Apple Computers shouldn't hurt either.
BARRETT: We've been trying to get the Apple design for 20 years. We've gone through about four Intel CEOs knocking on Apple's door to get that. Finally Paul was able to meet a meeting of the minds with Steve Jobs.
SERWER: The result -- roughly an additional 4 percent market share for Intel. And perhaps more importantly, an alliance with one of the worlds leading consumer electronics companies.
BARRETT: Apple is very interesting. They are a great industrial design company. You look at the iPod and look at the iMacs. And we're very happy.
SERWER: Such moves are designed to help Intel update its image. It wants to be known as a company, which does more than supply products to PCs. Its new motto -- Intel, leap ahead. The old one, Intel inside was a hit, but it was getting stale.
BARRETT: We've tried to update the logo and leap ahead is really a representation of the exciting technology we try to bring into the marketplace.
SERWER: In addition to bringing cutting edge consumer products to market, Intel continues to try to bring a sense of corporate responsibility to the world.
BARRETT: During the last five years we've trained 3 million teachers. We announced that we're going to expand that and train an additional 10 million teachers over the next five years in the emerging economies and, in addition, throw in 100,000 computers to help that effort.
SERWER: In 2006, Intel will also donate some $100 million to educational activities. It sounds like a lot of money, but it's a small percentage of the company's revenue. Barrett admits the act is part charity and part good business.
BARRETT: Indirectly, it gives us some benefits, I suspect. Young children who understand the technology are potential users of our products long term.
SERWER: But whether it's for business or charity, Barrett clearly understands the importance of grooming the next generation.
BARRETT: If we're going to have peace and happy relations between countries, we need to give young people in every country an opportunity for professional development, for growth, opportunity in an adult life.
SERWER: Despite its new leap a head slogan, Wall Street is taking a closer look at Intel shares before it follows. The chipmaker announced weaker than expected fourth quarter earnings last month and a stock tank. And things aren't looking up. The chipmaker stock was down graded by two different analysts this week alone, both cited growing competition and pricing pressure in chip markets. So many challenges lie ahead for Barrett.
Lots more to come here on IN THE MONEY. Up next, the cost of care. A new report out this week says it's outpacing the growth of the economy. Find out if the government's got plans to keep up with it.
And extreme retirement. This grandmother has found life after work on the slopes of Vermont. Her story is coming up.
CAFFERTY: Here's something to think about. Within ten years, $1 out of every $5 spent in this country will go toward health care. That's according to a report out from the centers for Medicare and Medicaid services this week. The new Bush Medicare drug plan meant to take some of the sting out of the costs of medicine for seniors is just six weeks old now. Our next guest says enrollment in it is very low. Dean Baker's a macro economist and co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, which is Washington-based think tank.
Dean, nice to have you with us.
DEAN BAKER, CO-DIRECTOR, CENTER FOR ECONOMIC AND POLICY RESEARCH: Thanks for having me on.
CAFFERTY: Why aren't they rushing to sign up for this thing if it's such a good deal?
BAKER: Well there is two things about it. One is that it's extremely complicated. You are asking a lot of people who are older, they're over 65 by definition, they're not used to playing around with the web, they have bad eyesight, memory problems, you are asking them to make complex choices.
The second thing for many people it is not a terribly good deal. They have to sit there and really figure out whether they'd benefit by signing up or not. It is not a very good deal for many seniors.
SERWER: Dean, after all these year, all these decades, this plan Hillary Clinton going back before her we've been trying to fix our national health care system. We haven't made any progress at all. Meanwhile the cost of health care is supposed to explode. Why can't we fix this?
BAKER: I think it's basically the political interests involved, the insurance industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the doctors, they're too powerful. We're the only country that has this problem. We pay twice as much as they do in Canada, in Germany and France and they get better health care.
They live longer than we do. That's the incredible scandal. We keep paying more and more. We are that has cost growing like this and we don't live as long as they do in these other countries. So we're paying a lot more and getting worse care because everyone's scared of the powerful interests here.
WESTHOVEN: Can I just go to the president's plan on health savings accounts? I want to talk about that for just a moment. That's supposed to help people afford health care, but it doesn't really do anything about addressing the high cost of health care. What do you think the government should be doing about that?
BAKER: Well, we clearly need an overhaul of our health care system. It is basically just broken. The president's plan on health savings accounts is giving tax breaks that would go to high-end people. These are not the people who have problems with paying health care. It does almost nothing about the costs because the costs aren't people going for doctor's visiting; the costs are for intensive care, very sick people the last six months of life. His plan will not affect that at all. We really have to talk about overhauling the health care system. Simply put, Medicare, the public run sector is far and away the most efficient it seems to me. Let's build on that. Why don't we open up Medicare for everyone? A very simple thing that could drastically reduce costs and get us on the path to national health care insurance.
CAFFERTY: So answer your own question, why don't we?
BAKER: Again, you have very powerful political interests. Propose that tomorrow and see what the insurance companies do, see what the pharmaceutical companies do. You'll see a very quick, very strong reaction.
CAFFERTY: To what degree, and I hate to do this, but I think it's a point. To what degrees do the voters in this country get what they deserve? They keep re-electing these morons who are in bed with the pharmaceutical companies who are in bed with the insurance companies. They keep sending them back for term after term after term. I mean -- what are you going to wind up with at the end of the day?
BAKER: Let me point the finger in the other direction. No one knows -- people don't realize that we have a very inferior health care system. They keep hearing politicians say that we have the best health care system in the world.
They don't realize that, no, if you look at every other country, Germany, Canada, England, France I don't care who you pick, they have longer life expectancies than we do and they pay half the cost. That is something that most people don't even know, so they don't realize that we can do better. We're not that much stupider than people in France are. I really don't believe that.
SERWER: Well, Dean, I've got to differ with you on one point. We have the best health care system in the world if you happen to be a millionaire and have a net worth of $5 million or up, no question about that.
BAKER: Maybe at the very top end, maybe for a very tiny segment of the population.
SERWER: I mean how can we make people aware, you know who is subsidizing drug cost around the world are the uninsured. So think about this the uninsured people in America are subsidizing drug costs for people in Canada and Belgium and all around the world. I mean it is a crime. So how can we raise awareness in this country about how things are not working? Why can't we get that out there?
BAKER: Well, I think the key thing is just making these comparisons. When I've had occasion to talk about this in public and I tell people that we're spending twice as much, in fact more than that, it is close to three times as much for the average other rich countries. I'm not talking about Uganda. The other countries we compare ourselves to -- people are shocked. They usually don't even believe me. I often carry the data with me, so I can say you know here is a credible source. They will tell you that. People have to know that and they have to know that, no, they're not all waiting in lines all the time. Sometimes they don't. But in general they're not. They get good care; they live longer than we do. They have to know the basic facts. Then you can say how do we get from here to there? They manage to deal with the problem there. All those countries have problems with health care. It is a problem everywhere in the world, but it is nothing like the problem it is in the United States.
WESTHOVEN: Dean, thank you very much.
BAKER: Thanks for having me on.
WESTHOVEN: This week's "Life after Work" segment is about pursuing your passion. Chickie Rosenberg is a 65-year-old grandmother who cuts up the slopes and in retirement she's become one of Killington Mountain's top snowboard instructors. She specializes in getting women to learn snowboarding.
WESTHOVEN (voice-over): In the early '90s teenage snowboarders started shredding the slopes at Killington Resort in Vermont and Chickie Rosenberg decided it was time to try it out.
CHICKIE ROSENBERG, SNOWBOARD INSTRUCTOR: I switched because I felt it was safer for me in terms of injury. And once I got on the snowboard, it was just much more fun. Woo!
WESTHOVEN: Chickie left her job as an English teacher when her daughter was born and bought her first snowboard for her 50th birthday. She started training and 16 years later is one of Killington's top instructors.
ROSENBERG: Stay on your toes and pick up a little speed. Once I got involved snowboarding was all really wanted to do. So I stopped doing everything and just taught snowboarding.
WESTHOVEN: Now 65, Chickie says the age difference doesn't matter in the teen snowboarding culture.
ROSENBERG: I was always a counterculture person myself. And I've always related well to teenage kids. The snowboard instructors they're all the kids and they're all my buddies.
WESTHOVEN: You might not expect a grandmother of two out on the slopes teaching fearlessness and the thrills of snowboarding.
ROSENBERG: Come across the hill.
I had these two girls and they had a bad morning and they were terrified. They had the best afternoon. And that's a wonderful thing. That's a gift. It's a wonderful thing to be able to teach and to be able to make a happy day for somebody.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thank you. ROSENBERG: The most important thing I teach people is to have confidence in themselves. That's really what I give them.
WESTHOVEN: In next week's "Life after Work" we'll visit a colonial city in central Mexico, now home to a group of American baby boomers who went south of the border for retirement.
Coming up, life's a party, but you don't need your potential employer to know exactly how you're celebrating. Find out why you might want to scale back that personal profile on the web.
And while you're logged on drop us a line tell us what you think, the address is INTHEMONEY@CNN.com.
SERWER: In this week's "Brainstorm" how much information is too much information? Social networking Web sites like Myspace.com, Facebook.com and Friendster.com are extremely popular with college students. Millions and millions of users log on every day to meet new people or connect with old friends.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You go online and you create a profile and you can load pictures or, you know, your birthday or where you're from.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is kind of like your life on the Internet. Because people that maybe don't know you will peek at who you are.
SERWER (voice-over): For the most part this information is harmless, but there are some exceptions.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Some people embarrass themselves. They put things that they probably should never be posted online because it can come back to bite you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are pictures of people drinking. I mean there's stuff that's there that you know happens in college, but now we can actually see it.
SERWER: Like all sites on the Web, there's always concern about who can see the information. Students thinking about a future job, beware.
TRUDY STEINFELD, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: We actually have been advising students here at New York University for months now that, when you start using these sites, you have to be aware, especially if you're in the job market, somebody could, in fact, get on to these sites and find out information about you.
Employers haven't told us that they are actively looking at these pages, but I know from sharing information with my colleagues across the United States, that students are telling us anecdotally that in interviews employers have brought up to them, oh, I visited your page.
As people that are in decision-making positions are starting to have grown up with some of these sites, they are more comfortable. To them it's just business as usual. It's just routine. Why wouldn't I Google somebody? Why wouldn't I look at their page?
SERWER: How do students feel about a potential employer looking at these Web sites?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: At first when I heard people were doing things like that, I was caught off guard. I would think that's going a little far in their investigation. But at the same time it's public information, so you're the one posting it, you should be aware of the consequences.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would probably make it a little more politically correct, I guess. There's a crazy side of me. Maybe I wouldn't want to show my employers. That's the only thing I might change.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wouldn't be concerned if a potential employer saw my profile because I don't have anything on there that I'm ashamed of or wouldn't want anyone to see.
SERWER: Trudy's advice, be sensitive to what's on your Web site. Steer clear of very personal information and think twice about strong political or religious statements. It is also a good idea to take advantage of a site's privacy features that allow you to control who has access to your information.
SERWER: Coming up next on IN THE MONEY, the "Fun Site of the Week" looks at why learning another language could be a matter of life and death.
And it's time to hear from you as we read some of your e-mails from the past week. You can send us an e-mail right now; to we are at INTHEMONEY@CNN.com.
CAFFERTY: So our beloved Congress passed the law last year, which requires the states to create forgery proof I.D. cards. The big opponents of that bill were privacy advocates and immigrant groups. Now the opposition is coming from people concerned about money and crime. And that's Allen Wastler's "Inside Out" for this week. Big brother is coming to your wallet.
ALLEN WASTLER, MANAGING EDITOR, MONEY.COM: Oh, yes. We were referring to morons earlier, well, they did it again. You'd love this. They tuck this one deep into an appropriations bill. It is called The Real I.D. Act. It is just basically a uniform system of identification using state driver's licenses. Good idea, right? This will cost some money, let's give the states $100 million to do this. Now the states are actually looking at the costs. And it is more like $9 billion to $13 billion. Why? Because the DMV, think about your DMV, they have the standard system.
Now, imagine ripping out that computer system, having to put one in there that has to take an image of your birth certificate, which you would need to bring with you, your Social Security papers, all this. More, more, more. That just ups the cost.
CAFFERTY: Starting to sound a little like no I.D. card left behind.
WASTLER: Basically. It is also looking like some groups estimate the cost of a driver's license at $93. Whoa. So you got that cost. Now on the tech side. For all the information they want your driver's license to have, a lot of people are saying the only way you can do that is with an RFID chip, you have to put a chip in the card. Hmm.
Already hackers have figured out how to do a swipe on you and say I've got all that personal information now. And in addition, you have privacy advocates saying, wait a minute. That means you can put a tracker at any place and ...
CAFFERTY: Why don't they just enforce the border laws and keep people who aren't supposed to be in the country out? Wouldn't that be easier?
SERWER: We should outsource this whole project to a company from Dubai.
WESTHOVEN: Why police the borders when you can just police the citizens?
CAFFERTY: What is the "Fun Site of the Week?"
WASTLER: The "Fun Site of the Week" is a lesson in the importance of clear language and communication and why it might be good to be bilingual. Check it out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May day, may day. Hello. Can you hear us? Can you hear us? Can you -- we are sinking. We are sinking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. This is the German Coast Guard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are sinking! We're sinking!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What are you sinking about?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Pretty good.
CAFFERTY: Sinking. What are you sinking about? That's good. That will work.
Time now to read some of your answers to our question of the week about whether you think your doctors have your best interests in mind when they prescribe you drugs. Well, guess what about 95 percent of you said no.
William from Las Vegas, Nevada wrote this, "Some days my doctor spends more time with drug salespeople than patient. He's even bragged to me about prizes he's received from the drug companies including a trip to Hawaii."
Linda wrote, "I'm an advanced degree nurse and I can tell you that very few doctors are in the patients rights category when it comes to prescribing drugs. While more doctors are getting convinced to prescribe more new drugs the percentage of hospital admissions for adverse drug reactions is up."
Glen in South Carolina wrote this, "Is this a trick question? Sometimes I think doctors are using their patients as human guinea pigs to test all these new drugs. I've always believed that humans would be better off going to veterinarians and animals should go to the doctors."
Here is next week's e-mail question of the week. What would it take for you to voluntarily put away more of your own money to pay for healthcare? That's assuming that you have more of your own money that you can put away some place like for health care.
Send your answers to INTHEMONEY@CNN.com or your should also visit our show page at MONEY.com/inthemoney which is where you will find the address of our "Fun Site of the Week."
What are you thinking about? Thanks for joining us for this week's edition of IN THE MONEY. My thanks to "Headline News" correspondent Jennifer Westhoven, "Fortune" Magazine's editor at large Andy Serwer. and Money.com managing editor Allen Wastler.
Before we go this weekend, we want to say good-bye to our boss Conway Cliff who has been the executive producer of this program since it began three years ago. He's been the best kind of boss because he leaves us alone for the most part.
Please whoever replaces him; take a page from his notebook. Conway it has been a blast. Thanks for all you help. We hope you will join us next week Saturday at 1:00, Sunday at 3:00. Until then enjoy the rest of your weekend.
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