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Tax Cuts will Raise Pay; Kaepernick Files Grievance against NFL; Lawmakers Slam Actions on Health Care; Family Finds Dog After Fire. Aired 8:30-9a ET

Aired October 16, 2017 - 08:30   ET



[08:30:22] CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It is time for "CNN Money Now." President Trump tweeting about taxes this morning, saying, quote, the Democrats only want to increase taxes and obstruct. That's all they are good at! The White House says corporate tax breaks will help workers, giving them money for pay increases. Is that how it works?

Let's bring in chief business correspondent Christine Romans.

You're going to tell us if it's true. And I'll just add one fact, companies are holding a lot of cash right now, but wages aren't going up. What gives?

CHRISTINE ROMANS, CNN CHIEF BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: Well, yes. That's right, Chris. You're absolutely right.

Well, President Trump called his tax plan a middle class miracle. Yes, it cuts the rates across the board, but the biggest cuts go to business and the wealthy. So now the White House is framing corporate tax cuts as a raise for the middle class. $4,000 more. The president's top economist issuing a report this morning with this scenario. Today companies keep profits offshore to avoid the 35 percent corporate tax rate. Trump's 20 percent corporate tax would encourage companies to bring that money back home, boosting profits.

Well, how are company profits good for workers? Well, a 1 percent profit bump should translate into a $500 raise for workers or about, you know, 4 grand over eight years.

Now, the White House view is that the tax code is so broken, it has been holding down worker wages for years. Other tax experts, not so sure. They say there's no guarantee companies will bring back overseas cash. There's no guarantee the tax savings will go to worker pay instead of shareholders.

We have seen corporate profits come back -- overseas money come back in the past, Poppy, and it's gone right to dividends and share buybacks. So would it really go to worker paychecks? We just don't know.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN ANCHOR: Right. Bush administration, as you were saying in the break, case in point. ROMANS: Yes.

HARLOW: Christine Romans, thank you so much.

Colin Kaepernick filing a grievance against the NFL owners, alleging they colluded to keep him out of the game. Does he have a case? We'll discuss, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [08:36:08] HARLOW: Colin Kaepernick filing a grievance against the NFL owners, alleging they colluded to keep him out of the game because of his protests of the national anthem.

Let's discuss all of this. Senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin is here and CNN contributor and former NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth. Looking very dapper, my friend, in that bowtie this morning.

: Thank you.

HARLOW: Nice to have you both here.

JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Thank you. Oh, you're talking about Donte.

CUOMO: You look good too, Jeff.

HARLOW: And because I gave Donte the compliment, Jeffrey --

CUOMO: Officeorial (ph).

HARLOW: Jeffrey gets the first question.

Jeffrey, this is a fascinating case.


HARLOW: This is saying that, you know, it -- that owners violated the rules of the collective bargaining agreement. They colluded against him. They didn't put him on any team. I'm not going to ask you to analyze his skills as a player. We'll get to Donte for more on that. But how strong is his case?

TOOBIN: It's a very tough case because picking quarterbacks is a very subjective process. And teams can say, we chose him because we wanted a drop back quarterback, not a running quarterback. We didn't want someone -- someone his age. The -- and collusion requires not one team rejecting Kaepernick, it requires agreements between two or more teams. And that is very difficult to prove,, even though all of us who are football fans sort of know intuitively that Kaepernick is better than a lot of the players -- the quarterbacks who have been hired. Proving that is very difficult.

CUOMO: Well, a quick follow, Jeff. What is their latitude, the teams, the league, on the ability to say -- and we measure people on a character level and we don't like what he is about. How much latitude do they have to say that and it not by default mean that it has to be political? Because they pick and don't pick guys all the time because of whether they like them or not.

TOOBIN: Correct. That's a -- that's another area that's problematic for the case that Kaepernick is bringing because they do have discretion to include character, personality. What they're not allowed to do under the collective bargaining agreement is penalize him for his politics. And that's what they're -- that seems to be what they're doing. But proving that will be very difficult.

HARLOW: Donte, can you walk us through how good he is?

DONTE STALLWORTH, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Yes. He had a pretty good year last season. He played only in 12 out of 16 games. He threw 16 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

And -- now, the whole case with Miami and Jay Cutler being signed there, that actually made sense. I know the optics were bad on that, with a guy coming out of retirement, a guy who never really looked like he even wanted to play football at times. They brought him out of retirement instead of signing Colin Kaepernick. But that made sense specifically in that case.

But there have been other cases. And you look throughout the league where there's a number of teams that really need quarterbacks. And I think anyone -- and Aaron Rodgers said it best. Aaron Rodgers himself said it best. He specifically said that the reason why Colin Kaepernick is not on an NFL team is because of his protest. Now, who knows quarterbacks better than Aaron Rodgers. Who knows how good they are better than Aaron Rodgers. So the fact you have players across the league that understand this is that it's not his talent but the fact that he decided to peacefully protest. That is the reason why he's not on the field.

CUOMO: A couple quick things for you, Donte. One, how does that rest with players in terms of what you're hearing. You're talking to a lot of people. How do they feel about the fact that Kaepernick is not in the game maybe because of his politics?

STALLWORTH: It makes them nervous. It makes them feel that they can't speak out on controversial -- or what's at least by society termed to be controversial subjects. I have -- I've talked to a number of guys where they said, you know, I'm not making millions of dollars like everyone believes I am. But I am in a position to use my platform, but I also want to be able to take care of my family down the long run. And so the dilemma that players are dealing with on a daily basis is from a moral -- from a moral concept and then you go to a -- you know, a livelihood, your occupation. So -- and being able to take care of your family. So those two things are always going to be fitting with -- when you listen to what the players are talking about.

[08:40:16] A lot of the guys that are more financially stable, more stable on the football team itself, they feel -- they feel like they have a little more leeway.

CUOMO: Right.

STALLWORTH: And it's unfortunate that they are pushed towards that -- towards that type of thinking.

HARLOW: All right. So we've been waiting to hear from the NFL on this all night, right?

STALLWORTH: Right. Right.

HARLOW: This happened late last night. Now we are. This just came in. I'm reading it for the first time, as you're all hearing it.


TOOBIN: Wait, this is the players --

HARLOW: The NFL Players Association.

CUOMO: Yes, this is the Players Association.

TOOBIN: It's the union, yes.

HARLOW: Just to be clear, we actually still haven't heard from the NFL (INAUDIBLE).

CUOMO: Right. So this is the side -- this is the Players Association that will be carrying forward the grievance for Kaepernick.


CUOMO: They say, our union has a duty to assist Mr. Kaepernick, as we all do, and we will support him. The NFLPA has been in regular contact with Mr. Kaepernick's representatives for the past year about his options and our union agreed to follow the direction of his advisers throughout that time. We first learned through media reports today that Mr. Kaepernick filed a grievance claiming collusion through our arbitration system and is represented by his own counsel. We learned that the NFL was informed of his intention to file this grievance before today. We are scheduling a call with his advisers for early this week.

HARLOW: That's interesting. And, obviously, the big meetings here in New York this week, Jeffrey Toobin, between the NFL, the owners, players invited also.

TOOBIN: Right. And, you know, I can see why these players are really nervous, because even if he can't prove collusion, Colin Kaepernick has suffered because of his exercise of his rights to free speech. And if you are a player in a league with only two or three-year careers, as it often the case, are you going to take this kind of risk?

CUOMO: And, look, and the proof is in the silence. You know, to your point, to Donte's point, we haven't heard a lot from number seven.

HARLOW: He hasn't said a thing.

CUOMO: And there's probably a reason for that. And at some point he'll make his case.

Donte, thank you very much.

Jeffrey, as always.


CUOMO: President Trump's actions to dismantle Obamacare facing tough criticism from the left and the right. What do you say? Let's debate it, next.


[08:46:08] CUOMO: All right. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are going after the president's actions on health care. By ending subsidy payments, there's an argument to be made that he is hurting the most vulnerable Americans, signing this executive order that allows, you know -- allows for these cost-sharing subsidies to no longer be paid. Is that really damaging, or is it helping? Let's discuss.

We have CNN contributor, Dr. Zeke Emanuel, one of the architects of Obamacare, and CNN senior political commentator Rick Santorum, who helped craft the Republican Graham/Cassidy bill.

It's good to have you both with us for this.


CUOMO: Rick, I know you were caught in traffic. Thank you for beating the conditions and getting to us.

The president's executive action on cost-sharing revenues, cutting them, the right move, why?

RICK SANTORUM, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Well, I think it was the right move because it actually puts a gun to the Congress' head to try to do something, to try to fix the broken system that is Obamacare today. The -- if the Democrats knew that they were going to continue to get the milk, they didn't have to buy the cow. They were going to continue to get these subsidies, even though they're illegal.

I mean it's very clear, the courts made it very clear that unless Congress appropriates this money, the president can't spend it. President Obama did. President Trump did. But President Trump finally said, no, I'm not going to do this anymore. The courts have been very clear. We can't -- I can't spend money that Congress doesn't appropriate.

So he's now put it back to the Congress saying, you want to appropriate this money, fine, but we need to reduce premiums. And that's what Republicans are saying. You talk about those who are vulnerable because they've lost these cost-sharing reductions. How about the millions of Americans who are not getting any help from the federal government on these exchanges and are going out there and buying, you know, policies that are, you know, double what they were just a few years ago. Those are the folks who are getting hurt. And that's what Republicans are looking at, trying to help them. CUOMO: All right, so let's go -- let's go point by point. But, Zeke,

for the purpose of discussion, let's leave the legality of the payments out.


CUOMO: It wasn't -- it wasn't decided yet. It was one district court that did it.


CUOMO: The appeal may now have been rendered moot by this action by the president because you don't have an underlying grievance to be held in that litigation.

So let's put that to the side and let's talk with -- about Rick's two main premises. One, that the president did the right thing because he had to force the hand of Congress. And, two, that this isn't really hurting anybody. It's helping premiums.

EMANUEL: So let's make three points. The first point is, we need to see the revoking of these cost-sharing subsidies in a long sequence in which the president is trying to undermine health insurance. He shortened the open enrollment period. He's reduced the advertising to get people to buy plans. He's trying to siphon off healthy people into these so-called association plans. And now he's eliminating the cost- sharing subsidies.

Former Senator Santorum is right that there's a group of people who have seen their premiums go up, who aren't getting subsidies. They make about $100,000 or more per household. And a small fraction of them, the healthy and the young in that category, will, in fact, get cheaper premiums. But everyone else, everyone in the exchanges and people who are buying who happen to be middle-aged or have some preexisting condition, will not get a benefit. And those people are going to see their premiums go up at least 20 percent. On average, many more people will see their premiums go up.

Let me tell you about a guy I met the other day, a cameraman, who actually had -- was born with a defect in his heart, has had three cardiac surgeries. He is going to be totally priced out of the market because of the president's actions. He's going to see his premiums skyrocket.

So the idea that this is helping and making premiums more affordable, totally untrue. And it's certainly untrue for all of us who get our premiums from our employer. This is just fake news that this is going to make premiums better. There will be a few hundred thousand people who will benefit. Most people will not benefit.

[08:50:03] CUOMO: Rick.

SANTORUM: Yes, I would say this. First off, the act of itself of not funding these CSRS, I agree with you, it's not going to make premiums lower. But the point is --

EMANUEL: All right, so we've just unmasked the president's justification. False justification.

SANTORUM: No. No, no, it's not a false justification, Zeke. What the president's doing is saying, number one, it's illegal. Number two, Congress, you have to act to lower premiums. He's done some things that will lower premiums, but the Congress needs to do more.

And that's the point that, you know, Ron Johnson and Mark Meadows and a group of Republicans are going to put something on the table this week that's going to lower premiums in exchange for conservatives voting for these cost-sharing reduction payments. Those --

EMANUEL: Well --

SANTORUM: If the Democrats are serious about trying to lower premiums for the folks -- for the gentleman you just talked about, then they need to -- they need to do that.

EMANUEL: Mr. Santorum, we've been waiting -- we've been waiting seven years for a Republican proposal that will lower premiums. There's not been one Republican proposal to lower premiums that has been scored by an independent group, whether the Congressional Budget Office, Standard & Poor's, or any number of other groups that evaluate these things that has said, they have a proposal that will lower premiums.

We will wait to see it, but we have a proposal. I've given the president many ideas about lowering premiums. Go after drugs, which there's bipartisan support for. He hasn't done that. Has never submitted legislation. Change how we pay doctors and hospitals. Probably the best way of lowering premiums. They've actually reversed that in HHS under former Secretary Price. Change how we actually buy hospital beds or CPAP machines so that they -- to lower the price.

SANTORUM: OK. So, Zeke, what you're talking about is everything but what Republicans believe is -- will lower premiums, which is competition, which is choice, which is giving consumers different choices that right now they don't have --

EMANUEL: It's interesting to have them --

SANTORUM: Because Obamacare forces you to buy a lot of things that you don't want to have to pay for and drives up the cost accordingly.

CUOMO: All right --

SANTORUM: What we need to do is give consumers choices. That's what Donald Trump is trying to do.

EMANUEL: This is false -- this is false news. That's --

CUOMO: So -- guys -- a strong point, Rick, but deal with his point, Zeke.

EMANUEL: Wait a second. In 2018 -- in 2018 there was not a single county that was projected not to be a single county without health insurance. Now, as a result of his executive action and these cost- sharing subsidies, there will be many counties without an insurance plan.

CUOMO: Does competition --

EMANUEL: That is not competition, that is anti-competition. He is, in fact, undermined competition to the insurance market.

SANTORUM: You can't blame Donald Trump for the failure of Obamacare. That -- well, Donald -- look, this thing has been in a death spiral for a few years. You never met the numbers that the Congressional Budget Office said you would on coverage and --

CUOMO: All right, so, wait, let's take that proposition, Rick. Let's take that proposition.

Zeke, this is a big point. We hear it all of the time. Obamacare is in a death spiral. It's missing its numbers. It's dying.

EMANUEL: False. So, first of all, independent evaluations by Standard & Poor's, who doesn't have a dog in the political fight, by the Congressional Budget Office, and many other groups have said that the exchanges are here to stay. They're solid. They're going to go.

Now, you are going to have some problems in certain places, especially rural areas, where it's hard to put together a big network, and there aren't many consumers. That is not a death spiral.

And well-run exchanges, like the Californian -- cover California actually are doing well because they have answered all the problems Mr. Santorum has said. They have more competition. They've had larger areas. They've actually done a lot of advertising to bring people in.

If you want to actually get premiums down, keep the exchanges healthy, what you do is you pass the cost-sharing subsidies. You have reinsurance in case excess sick people come in. You heavily advertise. You increase the length of open enrollment. And you target young and healthy people to encourage them to get insurance and indicate to them how cheap the insurance is for them with subsidies.

Those will shore up the exchanges. Those will bring in insurance companies. And that will keep the prices of the premiums down.

CUOMO: All right.

EMANUEL: None of that is what the Republican Party is doing because they don't have an idea how to lower premiums (INAUDIBLE).

SANTORUM: Yes, all of those things --

CUOMO: All right, quick last -- quick last word, Rick. Quick response.

SANTORUM: OK. All of those things were being done by President Obama, prior to President Trump coming in place. And what happened? What happened is, you cite CBO. CBO is off by over 50 percent as far as the number of people insured here. The bottom line is, most of the gains of insured have not been through the exchanges. As you know, Zeke, it's been adding to the Medicaid roles, which is expanding government insurance. The bottom line is, your private sector reforms failed, failed miserably. The costs are high, unless you get subsidies. You're driving people out of the marketplace right now. It is a disaster. And Donald Trump is trying to fix it. Give him credit for at least trying.

CUOMO: All right, gentlemen --

EMANUEL: No, because his policies are actually undermining the exchange, and he's not going to lower premiums.

SANTORUM: I disagree with you.

CUOMO: All right --

EMANUEL: I would like us to come back and see if in 2018 premiums go down or they go up 20 percent.

CUOMO: Done. Done. Done.

EMANUEL: If they go up 20 percent, Rick Santorum has to eat his words.

CUOMO: Done. Done.

SANTORUM: Well, fine. Well, fine, then.

CUOMO: Done.

I don't know about the eat the words part. We'll see what happens. But I'll tell you this morning, this is a good pairing. We'll do this several more times.

Fellas, thank you very much. Appreciate it.


EMANUEL: Thank you.

CUOMO: All right, what do you say, it's Monday. A little bit of "Good Stuff?" We have it for you, next.


[08:57:07] CUOMO: All right, we're going to be talking about the California wildfires, and how could there be anything good in that? Fair criticism. But listen to this story. Jack Weaver's parents were forced to flee their home because the fires quickly surrounded their house. They had to get out in an instant, and that meant leaving their beloved Bernese mountain dog, Izzy (ph). They couldn't find her. They didn't know where she was and they thought for sure that she didn't make it. Jack went to investigate the wreckage, filming the whole time. You have to see this.


JACK WEAVER: Izzy? Here, pup! Izzy's here. Izzy! Izzy! Izzy, come here, baby!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She's alive. Oh, my God!



WEAVER: Hey, baby!


CUOMO: Can you imagine looking at that.

And there's Jack Weaver, and there is Izzy. This -- I'll tell you what, boy, this really does just kind of pop up your spirit for the possible. How is the doggy doing? Tell us about that feeling of seeing that she was still there.

JACK WEAVER, REUNITED WITH DOG AFTER FIRE: It was extreme relief. She's doing great. Once we found her, we took her straight to a vet and had her completely checked out. And aside from being covered with soot and ash, she was in perfect health.

CUOMO: I mean, looking around, I know it just had to be so heartbreaking to see everything that was taken by this fire. How do you think she made it?

WEAVER: You know, she's a miracle dog. She survived cancer twice. And we don't know where she went. The vet said perhaps her thick fur helped insulate her from the fire. There was an area that was relatively unburned. Just a very small one. Perhaps she went there. But we don't really know.

CUOMO: What did it mean to you folks for you to be able to bring back part of the family?

WEAVER: It meant everything. My mom was completely devastated. And so was my dad. And my father had been injured escaping. And so everyone was feeling pretty low at that moment. And when we found her, it changed everyone's perspective. It meant everything.

CUOMO: Oh, man.

What are you guys looking at in terms of coming back from this fire?

WEAVER: It's going to be a long recovery. A long recovery for everyone, you know. The community has come together in an amazing way. It's been nice to see the good in people. People who lost everything helping others. It's going to be a long road. But seeing what I -- seeing people helping each other, I have no doubt we're going to -- we're going to be able to do it.

CUOMO: Now, we always say, when we see the worst of human -- of mother nature, we see the best of human nature.

How is the dog? Is she any different after the experience? I know in reading about it, you said she was panting. She seemed a little stressed. But she was fine. You said you got her checked out. But how about her disposition? Is she a little bit more tied to you guys?

WEAVER: You know, she -- for the first couple days, she went everywhere we went, and obviously we weren't looking to be anywhere but with her. But we've always called her nana, just like a -- in the movie "Peter Pan," because she loves kids. So she's been with our kids and just back to her old happy self. And it's been really wonderful.

[09:00:05] CUOMO: Well, we know it's early out there. Thank you for getting up. Thank you for lifting our spirits with this story. And that is a beautiful doggie. I'm glad that she's there by your side.