Forbes magazine editor and former presidential candidate Steve Forbes tells Newsmax that Obamacare is "ridiculous and destructive" and is imploding because it wasn't workable in the first place.
But President Barack Obama is in a "bubble" regarding the healthcare reform bill while the "rest of the country crumbles," Forbes asserts.
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He also says the immigration reform bill passed in the Senate won't fly in the House, and he favors a piecemeal approach instead.
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Forbes is president and CEO of Forbes Inc. He ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1996 and 2000, urging the adoption of a flat income tax with a single tax rate.
His latest book is "Freedom Manifesto: Why Free Markets Are Moral and Big Government Isn't."
The White House clearly sees the negative impact Obamacare's employer mandate would have had on the economy and that is why it is being delayed, many employers and healthcare experts are saying. But some employers are still saying they want to hold back on hiring and maybe cut back on hours.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Monday, Forbes offers his take on the healthcare bill.
"In terms of implementation, Obamacare is imploding because it's unworkable in the first place: the idea that people with spreadsheets in Washington can run 20 percent of the economy," he declares.
"Bad ideas or destructive ideas die a very hard death, so they still have this illusion in healthcare," Forbes said. "It's going to get worse, it's not going to get better. They're doing real harm to the medical device industry, which has been critical for improvements in the standard of healthcare in this country.
"They are hoping that maybe putting implementation off a year on the employer mandate would somehow get businesses to hire. In the real world, if you think something is going to hit you hard a year from now or a month from now, you're not going to hire when you see bad things coming down the road. So it has distorted patterns in terms of hiring, which is why in these jobs reports you see more part-time jobs being created than full-time jobs.
"It's ridiculous and destructive," Forbes said.
According to an article from Forbes.com, the union representing IRS employees is very concerned about having to join the Obamacare healthcare insurance exchanges — and the IRS is the agency in charge of running Obamacare.
"These unions worked so hard to get Obamacare passed and somehow thought they'd be exempt from it. It's quite a delight to see — if it wasn't so destructive for the rest of us in terms of healthcare.
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"You're going to see more and more union complaints. But unfortunately, the president is in such a bubble right now he ignores the whole thing and just figures somehow it's all going to work out at the end of the day and he'll have his place on Mount Rushmore.
"The details are for underlings, and he thinks grand thoughts and makes speeches while the rest of the country crumbles. So you're going to see much more carping by the unions, but it's about three years too late. They should have been concerned when this thing was being formulated in the first place."
Asked if Republicans are missing an opportunity by not providing an alternative to Obamacare, Forbes observes: "They should continue passing bills such as allowing nationwide shopping for health insurance. I don't know why they don't dust that off and pass it in the House and let Harry Reid kill it in the Senate.
"At least set the foundations on positive reforms on healthcare. That would be a major one. Equalize tax treatment in terms of healthcare. They will get something on that by year's end. Remove some of the obstacles in terms of health savings accounts and the like," he said.
"They should be putting [these changes] out there piece by piece, having votes on them so the Democrats get on the right side of these positive issues, and have the mantra [that] patients should control healthcare, not third parties and certainly not government bureaucracies."
Forbes agrees that Republicans seem more reactive instead of proactive on this issue.
"Republicans are still recovering from the debacle of November of 2012, but you're seeing, certainly on the governors' side, some governors doing very innovative things," he said.
"Just on the tax front, North Carolina, with a Republican governor, Pat McCrory, passed a fantastic tax bill — major cuts in the state income tax, cutting the corporate tax significantly. So North Carolina, which had one of the worst tax systems in the Southeast, in fact the whole East Coast, now has one of the best systems.
"So you're seeing on the governors' level some real reforms. That's where I'm looking, not to Washington."
Turning to immigration, Forbes offers his view of reform from a business perspective.
"We do need immigrants in the economy to meet the certain needs of the workforce," he says.
"Remember they had amnesty back in 1986, but they did not put in policies that allowed for work programs to meet the needs of the economy. So now, instead of 3 million illegals, we have 11 million. Just from a security viewpoint, we should know who those folks are.
"What you'll eventually see in the House, instead of trying to vote on a comprehensive bill — which will not pass — you're going to see a piece-by-piece approach and have those pieces go in conference with the Senate.
"One of the key things is to reform the current system so those who played by the rules get quick justice instead of the huge arbitrary bureaucratic delays you get today. Don't punish those who play by the rules.
"You're going to see more of a move to meet the legitimate needs of the U.S. economy. For example, this thing called H-1B visas for high technology, they're raising that from about 60,000 visas to 110,000. The industry will tell you, if you want real research done in this country and technological advances, we need 200,000 to 300,000 of these visas a year, so let's raise that number in the House ... so we meet the needs of the economy and be a place of opportunity, but know who these folks are," he said.
Instead of trying to pass one comprehensive bill, "parse it out and do it piece by piece," Forbes insists. "For example, have a green card in your diploma if you get an advanced degree in this country. We helped develop your brain power and your sense of innovation, and we'd like to have it used in this country instead of a country and a company overseas.
"Basic reforms like that would pass pretty quickly. And on contentious issues, let it have an up-and-down vote and send it to conference and if the White House is interested in getting a reform bill, one that may not be totally to its liking but one that deals with most of the problems, they'll get one."
Forbes also addresses the recent bankruptcy filing by Detroit — the largest American city ever to file.
"It's already having an effect on the [municipal] bond market, as everyone scrambles to see who actually might be in trouble," he tells Newsmax.
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"As they go through the hard process of redoing these pensions, redoing these healthcare plans, you're going to see other unions be able to say in other cities, hey we don't like to do this, look what happened in Detroit. Bond-holders got wiped out, pensioners got hit hard, healthcare benefits got slashed. Let's try to avoid that here, and you might get some serious negotiation."
"There are very positive things that can be done, especially in healthcare in the area of health-savings accounts, which would save these funds huge amounts of money, but also give patients control over healthcare. And at the end of the day, the beneficiaries would be better off," Forbes says.
"But that kind of innovative thinking is not seen yet. And in terms of a restructuring, one of the things I hope they do in Detroit, and they will with the agent appointed by [Michigan] Gov. Snyder, is put in a low tax regime. When you have a low tax regime, you get people moving [and] small business starting up — and these areas can come back to life again."
In his Newsmax interview, Forbes also says Obama is favoring "medieval technologies" over oil, gas, and coal.
And he maintains that reforms to America's "silly" corporate tax code could bring in billions of dollars of "free money."
Editor's Note: See the full Newsmax interview and excerpts:
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