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Where Is My Recovery; Rising Gas Prices: A Threat To The Recovery; Betting On India; Communication Revolution

Aired March 31, 2012 - 13:00   ET


CHRISTINE ROMANS, HOST: Is President Obama's health care reform law on life support or is it already dead? I'm Christine Romans.

Welcome to YOUR MONEY.

ALI VELSHI, HOST: And I'm Ali Velshi in New Delhi, India.

I've been touring this great country for the last two weeks speaking to people at every socioeconomic level in this country to understand it's future, it's challenges and its opportunities and why you need to know about India, how important India is to your economic future -- Christine.

ROMANS: Thanks, Ali.

Health care reform is President Obama's signature achievement. And at the heart of the president's health care reform law is the individual mandate, the requirement that most Americans either purchase health insurance or face a financial penalty.

The individual mandate is designed to lower costs by spreading them across a larger pool of individuals, but after three days of Supreme Court arguments this week it's pretty clear that the individual mandate is in jeopardy. And that could mean an end to the entire health reform law.

Candy Crowley is CNN's Chief Political Correspondent and anchors "State of the Union." Candy, the Supreme Court is expected to announce its decision in the summer. If the court overturns this law is it a fatal blow to the president's legacy or a rallying cry for Democrats that he can ride out to a reelection in November?

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: I think it depends on which party spins it best actually. I think those are the two scenarios. Listen. In the short run I think this is a blow to the president's signature issue of his first term.

In the long run it really does depend on how it gets spun and how people perceive it. Is it a blow to President Obama or is it a blow to Republicans who by and large pushed this whole Supreme Court case and pushed it up to the high court? So, listen, we heard James Carville say I think this would be great --

ROMANS: Right. CROWLEY: -- because we can just say you don't have health insurance. Go talk to the Supreme Court. Go talk to Justice Scalia. So again the spin has already begun and I can tell you better in August or September which party is winning and trying to sort of frame this issue in a way that helps them in November.

ROMANS: We don't even have a decision yet. We'll have to wait for the decision. Then we have to wait to see how it's going to be spun. And then we wait until November to see for sure, Candy.

Sanjay Gupta is CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent. He's host of "Sanjay Gupta, M.D." And he's also a neurosurgeon too, and an author and a father. But he's here to talk about health reform.

Sanjay, 50 million Americans are without health insurance right now, the Congressional Budget Office predicting that around 30 million Americans would get coverage under the law. It was meant to provide access to health insurance to the health care system. What happens to the uninsured if this law is overturned?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well in many ways it goes back to the way that it was before which is people, depending on the reason they don't have health care insurance, if they have a preexisting condition or if they simply can't afford it, they try and find it on the open market. They're not getting it through their job obviously.

And it's a tough process. It's expensive and even more expensive if you are somebody who is already sick. But it's worth pointing out as well, Christine, that we're talking about the law in terms of it being fully implemented in 2014. There are some things that have already been implemented.

ROMANS: Right.

GUPTA: For example and no discrimination for children with preexisting conditions so they can't be charged higher premiums for health insurance. If the whole law is scrapped that would go away. And so the premiums would go up. Also a kid who is sick under the new law if the law was to pass there would be no caps, for example, on how much an insurance company would pay annually or over a lifetime.

And that's implemented right now again for children. That would also go away. There are people out there who can stay on their parents' plan as well until age 26. So that would go away. So in some ways it's not just sort of either the law doesn't happen and we go back to square one that we'd have to also scrap some of the things that have been in play over the last year.

ROMANS: Let's bring in Will Cain. He's a CNN contributor and like Sanjay he has a number of jobs. In fact he's also a lawyer. So, Will, put on your legal hat.

Last week on this show you laid out the case as to why the individual mandate is unconstitutional. It's clearly in jeopardy, but what might it mean for the rest of the law? Take a listen to Justices Scalia and Ginsburg. See if you can figure out what the court might ultimately decide?


ANTONIN SCALIA, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: My approach would say is you take the heart out of the statute the statute is gone.

RUTH BADER GINSBURG, SUPREME COURT JUSTICE: Why shouldn't we say it's a choice between a wrecking operation, which is what you are requesting, or a salvage job? And the more conservative approach would be salvage rather than throwing out everything.


ROMANS: So, Will, can the rest of the law survive if the individual mandate, which is I guess essentially the glue to whole thing, is struck down?

WILL CAIN, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: That's a very, very tough question to answer. Let me explain it this way first of all, Christine. Let me show you this.

This is a -- this shows a breakdown of the justices. And based upon their arguments where we think they might stand, at least on the constitutionality of the mandate, over here you have what is commonly described as the liberal justices. That's Justice Breyer, Justice Ginsburg, Justice Kagan and Justice Sotomayor.

Everything we heard from them suggests they will uphold the individual mandate, while Justices Thomas, Alito and Scalia made it sound like they will strike down the mandate. The big questions are Roberts and Kennedy. Which will they go, way they go, and not only on the issue of the mandate, but also on this issue of severability.

If the mandate is struck down will they strike down the entire 270- page bill? It's just impossible to predict right now, but did hear them say they want to seek judicial modesty. And they don't know the answer to that.

What's more modest? Is it more modest to start a clean start with clean slate, strike down the entire thing and give it back to Congress? Or is it more modest for the Supreme Court to go through the 2,700 pages and analyze what is constitutional and is not?

ROMANS: Sanjay, could I ask you how disruptive this in the medical profession for the watching and waiting and the waiting game about what's going to happen with this law, because doctors I talk to and hospitals I talk to are already implementing things to try to get ahead of new health care reform and what this new health care regime is going to look like. Now there's this huge question mark on everything.

GUPTA: Yes. I think there's it's been sort of approached with I think a fair amount of caution. Some of the things that are really specific to hospitals in terms of improving medical records for example, reducing errors, starting to share outcome data with the entire country, these are very specific things that happen within hospitals. And some of that is under the affordable care act, but I think in terms of disruptions I think people have been sort of cautiously awaiting to see how this all plays out. So I don't know how disruptive it will be. I think people really haven't implemented a lot of the changes on the physician/patient relationship yet.

ROMANS: Yes. Yes, I think you're right on that too. And some of the patient, the medical records type there's stimulus money for that too. So there was this other movement unrelated to health care reform that's also changing health care and sort of the delivery of health care in the system overall.

Candy, I want to bring you in. I guess my question to you again is about the politicization, is that the right word, of the Supreme Court. This is a very big case and rarely have you seen so much political fire and brimstone. So you have presidential candidates at the Supreme Court this week using it as a moment.

CROWLEY: Sure. But you've also had, listen, every January when the Roe v. Wade anniversary comes up, I think on the 19th, somewhere around there, you also see this outside.


CROWLEY: We saw this in Bush v. Gore in 2000. So there are these. And by and large the Supreme Court does a lot of things that changes lives, but it's these big things that always come to the fore and bring people to the steps of the courthouse.

I will tell you I think one of the political issues that you will see coming out of this is what has always been a real key issue for Republicans and in large part Democrats as well, which is we want to nominate a guy who will pick our kind of justices. Believe it or not on the campaign trail the Supreme Court is a pretty big applause getter, particularly when you're in the Republican Party because to them it's always been right to life and that kind of thing.

So I think this will sort of amp up the importance of the Supreme Court and who gets to nominate because it is right on that cusp. So if you have a very controversial ruling you're going to see a lot of talk about the nomination of the next Supreme Court justice and who should be able to do that.

ROMANS: Candy, Sanjay, Will, stay right where you are. Up next, if the Supreme Court strikes down the president's health reform law, is there a backup plan in place to help your family deal with soaring health care costs, plus Ali has travelled across India to talk to top entrepreneurs and innovators. He's going to tell us what he's learned and what you need to know.


ROMANS: Health care costs are spiraling out of control for American individuals and businesses. In 2011 the cost of health care for a family of four under an employer plan was nearly $20,000, more than double what it was in 2002. Sanjay, individual employees are being asked to shoulder a greater share of those rising costs. If the president's law is struck down is there a Plan B for limiting the burden of health care costs and rising health care costs?

GUPTA: No. I don't think there is. I've asked the same question, by the way. And to be fair, the whole notion of controlling costs as part of even this plan it was hard to parse out. No one has done a terrific job.

ROMANS: So it's about access to care. It was always about to insurance. It was not as much about lowering costs other than it spread out the burden among so many people --

GUPTA: Right.

ROMANS: -- that that should at least slow the pace of health care costs growth.

GUPTA: Exactly. And even that and if you look, if you sort of track health care costs over the last decade, we've had a slowdown in the increases year to year in health care costs, but it's still been certainly going up. And the plan didn't have a lot in terms of curbing that.

And that was one of the criticisms as well. So again I don't know with regard to whether this law goes through or it doesn't, or it goes through in part whether that will have a significant impact on costs. So it will have a significant impact on individuals as we talked about earlier.

ROMANS: It's been two years since that law was signed into, that bill was signed into law rather. And yet today only a quarter of Americans would like to see the Supreme Court leave the law unchanged. This is according to a new CNN ORC poll.

Forty-three percent would like some provisions overturned. Thirty percent want to get rid of the whole bill.

Will, health care costs are a serious problem for millions of Americans we know. If it's not the president's plan, then who is offering a solution?

CAIN: Well not very many people. And I would say this is a very legitimate criticism of Republicans. They are very good at criticizing the existing plan that's been presented by the president, and I think deserves a hefty amount of criticism. But they haven't been very good at providing an alternative solution.

I would suggest this. There's only two ways to ever exert price controls, cost controls over health care. You either allow the market through free market mechanisms that lower the prices for every other product we have in society to work its magic in the health care industry. Or you empower the government to have a large enough influence over health care to put price controls over it.

Where we sit right now is in the middle, a place that does neither. And we have seen health care costs spiral upwards for years and years. And we will continue to.

ROMANS: Candy, Rick Santorum making the case for conservatives who oppose Mitt Romney on the issue of health care, listen.


RICK SANTORUM, REPUBLICAN PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It became clear to me that we were going to make a very, very serious mistake if he got the nomination because he is uniquely disqualified to make the case against ObamaCare.


ROMANS: So Mitt Romney has been hearing about this, how he was the architect, the pre-architect of ObamaCare for so long. If the Supreme Court strikes down this law does Mitt Romney earn a free pass because conservatives have now scored their big victory?

CROWLEY: No, simply because their argument is that the president is going to say maybe the Supreme Court struck it down, but boy they had it in Massachusetts too. So, look, Mitt Romney's problems with health care are part of a larger problem about what he's for and what's he's against, what is he against? So I think those remain in place.

The -- I think the train has left the station in terms of whether or not that will stop him from becoming the nominee, but in terms of whether it will change anything for him in September should it become the nominee, I don't think it changes anything. He's still stuck with that overall perception of whether it's health care, or abortion or anything else like where does he stand. So it's part of an overall package with Romney.

ROMANS: And speaking of sort of the politics or the politicization of the Supreme Court, Will was making a really interesting point about 2016.

CAIN: Right.

ROMANS: Where we think ahead to where we are, the composition of the court, and whether a big issue like this is in the hands of a very different court. Talk to me about that.

CAIN: Right. Yes, well Candy pointed it out in our last segment that people talk about the president's power to appoint justices and how important that is. I would just offer you this. By 2016, the end of the next term for the next president of the United States, Justice Ginsburg will be 83.

Justice Scalia and Justice and Kennedy will be 80. And Justice Stephen Breyer will be 78. That's potentially four justices late in life sitting on the bench or retiring from the bench and four potential appointees.

ROMANS: And a political landscape that will be absolute. A lot of people are saying 2016 is going to be an amazingly different kind of political landscape than it is right now for a president.

I hate to, Candy, I know you're like oh, my gosh I'm too tired to even think about another political. Please let me get through this one first, but when you're talking about the Supreme Court these are the kinds of things that you're talking about.

I want to let Sanjay kind of wrap it up for us on the cost angle of this because a lot of people are asking me, doctors, and patients and other journalists. What is all this going to mean if this is overturned for my relationship with my doctor right now?

GUPTA: The interesting thing is for a lot of people it may not dramatically change things for them. And that was something President Obama talked about when he was first talking about health care is that for if have, if you're insured, if you have a physician right now that you have a relationship with, a lot of that should not change.

So I think not having the law or not having the law in its entirety for a lot of people they may not notice a lot. A lot of companies, as you mentioned, Christine, have raised their premiums in sort of anticipation of the affordable care act going through. So I don't know whether -- I doubt those premiums will sort of revert back to what they were whether they're in the form of higher co-pays, or higher fees or different insurance plans.

One thing I want to say really quick though, just to something Candy was talking about early, I interviewed Governor Romney about this a couple years ago specifically and asked him about the plan in Massachusetts and a national plan. And one of the points that I think you're going to hear from him more, and one of the points he made to me is that, look, what happened in Massachusetts in many ways very effective. Ninety-eight percent of that state is insured now.

And I think people within the medical community, patients, it's very popular. What I think he says often, and I think you'll hear more is that, look, every state is different. Massachusetts is different than Alabama, which is different than Texas. And therefore to have health care plans at a national level that impact states so differently that have different needs is part of the reason he advocates these sorts of plans being at the state level. So I don't know where that conversation goes from here, but obviously it's going to be a big discussion topic if he's a nominee.

ROMANS: All right, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Will Cain, Candy Crowley, nice to see you. Have a great weekend, everybody.

CAIN: Thank you.

GUPTA: You too.

ROMANS: Up next on YOUR MONEY, just because you're hearing the word recovery doesn't mean you're seeing one. Is the middle class missing out? And the middle class may be taking a hit in the U.S., but boy it is growing in India. Ali looks at how a growing consumer market means more opportunities for U.S. businesses in India. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROMANS: As investors rejoice millions of Americans are asking, where is my recovery? Take a look at the total number of private sector jobs versus the performance of the S&P 500 over the last ten years, looks pretty similar, right, including the big drop during the recession.

This is the S&P 500. These are the number of people working, but the recovery bounce is where you see the major difference.

After hitting a low of 666 in March 2009, the S&P is hovering around 1,400 today. And though the jobs picture is improving, the gains there are modest. They actually happened a little later than the company stock market recovery, and they have been shallower, prompting Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke this week to remind everyone that the private sector remains five million jobs below its previous peak.

Rana Faroohar is assistant managing editor for "Time." Bob Herbert is senior fellow at Demos. And Stephen Moore is an editorial writer for the "Wall Street Journal."

Bob, the economy is adding jobs. We can see that from those charts. The unemployment rate is falling, no question about that. So is this a statistical jobs recovery or evidence that life is actually improving for anybody really?

BOB HERBERT, SENIOR FELLOW, DEMOS: Well there is really a recovery in jobs. We're getting a couple hundred thousand jobs, a little more a month, but two quick points.

One, we were in such a deep hole that was not really enough to help us climb out of the hole and, two, the quality of the jobs.

ROMANS: Right.

HERBERT: The quality of the jobs is not great. A lot of the jobs that are being created are part time, or low wage or whatever. So those are two of the reasons why people don't feel they're in a recovery.

ROMANS: So, Rana, let's talk more about feelings because in September just ten percent of Americans described conditions as good. This is according to a CNN ORC poll. That number has risen steadily.

Today you've got three in ten Americans who say things are going well. It's a consumer-driven economy. So can the economy recover without the consumer feeling better about things?

RANA FAROOHAR, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, "TIME": Absolutely not. And the consumer doesn't feel better because as you've already shown with your graphs, it's a two-speed recovery. Stocks are up, but those benefit mostly the wealthy.

The majority of Americans still keep their money in housing. The housing mark is not back. Meanwhile, wages have been flat throughout not only this recovery, which has taken longer than any other in history, but really since the '70s. The average working person hasn't gotten a raise in America since 1968.

ROMANS: Wow. Okay, this week I spoke with the CEO of FedEx, the founder and CEO of FedEx, Fred Smith. We were in Washington. Naturally i wanted to know what message he wanted to send our political leaders on behalf of business.


FRED SMITH, CEO, FEDEX: Well the country simply does not have an adequate growth rate to provide an increased standard of living which the --

ROMANS: The economy is not doing well enough.

SMITH: It's not doing well enough. Our growth rate has gone down from almost four percent to about two percent over the past 30 years. And that's not enough to both improve people's standards of living and provide full employment.


ROMANS: And, Stephen, Fred went on to tell me that the current policies are standing in the way of robust growth, which sounds a little bit like someone i know named Stephen Moore. So let's get specific. If we want to see the standard improve for the majority of Americans, what needs to change first?

STEPHEN MOORE, EDITORIAL WRITER, WALL STREET JOURNAL: Well, Christine, I'm not joking when I say that if I could hand pick anybody to be president of the United States it would probably be Fred Smith.

ROMANS: Really.

MOORE: This is a guy who knows how to run an operation and run it efficiently. And Fred has run FedEx amazingly well. Look, I do think the economy is recovering. I think it's doing pretty well right now.

The question is how robust and how sustainable this recovery is. I think that if I were advising President Obama that I would give him one piece of advice. Do not raise taxes in 2013.

I think that that the economy is way too fragile right now. The recovery is just too early a stage. I think --

ROMANS: Right. Are you making the assumption that he is the president in 2013?

MOORE: If he, well I'm saying --

ROMANS: Are you making an endorsement or a prognosis here?

MOORE: If he is, look, I just think it's a big mistake to be -- the economy is doing well. I worry that starting in September, October is people say, wait a minute, we're going to face this big tax tsunami starting in January, capital gains going up, dividends going up, small business tax going up. I'm not sure the economy can withstand that. And second of all, I do think we should have a much more aggressive energy policy that exploits our own natural resources.

FAROOHAR: If I can just talk on the tax issue for a minute though I think if you look historically the periods in this country where we had the greatest growth, '50s and '60s, we also had much higher tax rates. I just think that that argument doesn't wash.

And in terms of a CEO president, I would make the point that actually running a company and run a country are two different things. And in fact there's this huge bifurcation between the fortunes of companies and the fortunes of most rich nations right now. And that's the divide we're talking about.

ROMANS: Just to go back to the '50s and '60s, last time anybody got a, the American worker got a raise was 1968. I want to ask this is also at the same time concurrent with huge, rapid technological innovations that have fostered globalization.

And we see the world changing. I say this every week, right? We see the world changing, Bob, faster than American families can keep up. And Washington seems absolutely unable to get out of its four-year thought cycle to address what is a really changing reinvention of this country.

HERBERT: we have become a can't do society. When I was growing up in those early post-war decades we were a can do society. And one of the main things we did then was invest in the future of the United States and in the American people.

The reason I think taxes have to go up are two-fold. One, we have those enormous budget deficits. We have to begin to get some handle on them at some point, but even more important we have to make some investments in our infrastructure, in education, in other areas, research and development. And that's where you'll get the new ideas, the innovation, new industries that will power the American future.

MOORE: Bob, interestingly enough, April 1st the United States becomes the highest corporate income tax rate country in the world. No, no, it's important.

HERBERT: Corporations are not paying that tax.

MOORE: No, no, no, no. Look, you ask anyone who is running a major corporation. And even President Obama's own economists say this is putting America at a competitive disadvantage.

HERBERT: Then why they have so many trillions? And why are they sitting on these trillions of dollars in those corporations?

MOORE: Because they are very reluctant to invest, but I just wanted to make one point now. This idea that --


MOORE: -- they are risk averse right now because of policy, but I have to say this in positive, in terms of a positive note. This idea that the American middle class has not made advances since the late 1960s is crazy. The average middle class family when you take into account all the things that we have today, forty to fifty percent better off than they were in the1960s. So this idea we haven't made economic progress I just think it's very misleading.

ROMANS: Yes. We have record -- wait, wait. So we have record rates of poverty but at least we have cell phones?

MOORE: We have access to much better health care. We have access to goods and services. Would anybody actually today want to go back to the way people lived in the 1950s?

HERBERT: No one said that at least in the society in the past half decade.

MOORE: Right.

HERBERT: I would never argue that point.

MOORE: Right.

HERBERT: But middle class families have really struggled. And one of the ways they have --

MOORE: But they're much better off than --

HERBERT: And one of the ways they have kept themselves above, or among the ways they have kept themselves above water is women have gone into the workforce, wives and mothers too.

ROMANS: Right. That's right.

HERBERT: People are working more.

MOORE: Wait, wait, just a minute.

HERBERT: People are working longer hours.

MOORE: But this is a pet peeve of mine. Do you actually think --?

HERBERT: And they took on tremendous amounts of debt.

MOORE: The idea that women weren't working in the 1950s and '60s is nuts.

HERBERT: Not to the same degree.

MOORE: They were working. They were working, 60 hours of housework.

HERBERT: You could have a middle class --

MOORE: Would you rather be doing --?

HERBERT: The middle class standard of living in the1950s and '60s on a single income if you had a middle class job. MOORE: They were working at home.

ROMANS: If I can jump in here? This is, guys, all right. This is not a gender issue.

HERBERT: So I'm talking about paid work. I'm talking about paid work. I'm not saying, and I also think it's a good idea that women went into the workforce

MOORE: Right.

HERBERT: Or so I'm not being critical of that. But I'm saying they had to do that to keep the families above water economically.

FAROOHAR: We've tried to basically cover up this downturn in incomes for the last 40 years with a number with doing and another thing. But let's put a couple facts on the table here. The labor percent of GDP in this society is at all-time lows.

And going back to your point about technological job destruction that link was broken in the '70s. That's when education stopped keeping up with technology.

ROMANS: Right.

FAROOHAR: So Bob's right infrastructure and investment and education, these are the things are going to get us out of this mess.

ROMANS: We have more time to talk about all this. You're all staying, so don't move.

All right, up next, gas prices on the rise so are hopes somebody in Washington can stop them. Are we being unrealistic?

Plus building on brics. That's brics without a "k," we're talking Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, newly emerging economies all meeting in India this week and Ali is there, too.


ROMANS: You are forgiven if your optimism about this recovery comes to a screeching halt every time you pull into the gas station to fill up your car.

Seven out of 10 Americans say rising gas prices have caused an economic hardship for them. This is according to a new CNN/ORC poll. With the national average gallon of gas passing the $3.90 mark this week, the hardship is not letting up.

Bob, can you have a strong recovery with gas prices at this level, are we just all complaining?

HERBERT: I was going to say we are all complaining, but it makes it much more difficult. The recovery is weak already as we've been saying. So if you layer increasing gas prices on top of that, it makes it much tougher. ROMANS: Everyone wants to blame, Rana. This is what is interesting is it speculators, is it oil companies, is it the government for a failed energy policy, is it us.

So let's talk about playing the blame game here. The majority of Americans now say they blame the oil companies for high gas prices by a wide margin Americans are pointing the finger at big oil instead of either political party or even Iran.

No surprise that when President Obama chose to tap into that anger, he tapped into that this week.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA: So American oil is booming. The oil industry is doing just fine. With record profits and rising production, I'm not worried about the big oil companies.


ROMANS: All right, so the president targeting oil subsidies. That's what he was talking about there. Is it the oil companies to blame? They're getting record profits and we're hurting because of it.

FOROOHAR: No, it's neither President Obama nor oil companies that are to blame. The U.S. oil companies have access to about 12 percent of world's global reserves because the rest of them are in the hands of state-owned oil companies, it's often in unpleasant countries.

Oil is set on the global market. You know, we have this idea that the president can somehow control gas prices. Gas is based on oil. Oil is based on rising demand in China, in India, in some case, speculative markets and what's going on in Iran.

ROMANS: You know, it's interesting because a lot of times what people say privately about the conversation about gas and oil and subsidies, and all that. They're like exactly what your point, there's only access to 12 percent of the world's oil.

They say, look, it's a national security imperative that American energy companies are incentivized to get as much energy as they possibly can. That kind of is a theme underlying all this, Stephen.

MOORE: Look, one thing, when the president keeps talking about raising taxes on oil companies, Christine, answer me this question. How are you going to get more -- how are you going to lower the price of gasoline if you're going to raise the tax on it?

I mean, that just as an economic concept makes no sense. But I'm really actually extremely optimistic about the U.S. energy future. I just got back from North Dakota. We don't have 12 percent of the world's reserves. We have about half of them.

I mean, North Dakota, Colorado, Pennsylvania, I mean, the natural gas, we have 200 years of natural gas. I think you're going to see over the next five or 10 years, as long as we continue to develop our resources, you're going to see America move to being an oil and natural gas exporter not an importer. How exciting is that?

FOROOHAR: You know, we can actually agree on one thing, which is that energy security future is brighter. We're actually already exporting more oil than we have since 1949. The horizons for development of reserves you're talking about are longer. So I think we have to do them in tandem with other things, developing green technologies. I mean, these are the things ultimately that will take us.

ROMANS: We have this conversation, Bob, and people say, yes, I just paid $85 to fill up. You know, they want an answer today. They want to blame somebody and want somebody in Washington who could say they can fix it.

HERBERT: It can't be fixed. What I think is going to happen going forward in the long-term is that gasoline prices as we've come to know are going to continuously gradually get higher.

I do think that we need to look at some alternatives including green energy. But most important, whatever one's views are, we need an energy policies in this country. We need a coherent energy policy and we don't have that.

ROMANS: Why do you think they are going to go down? You just said they're going to down. Gas prices are going to go down. Why?

HERBERT: Because we've seen incredible -- it's unbelievable what's going on with the fracking process, with horizontal drilling. We have access to 10 times more oil than we did just 10 years ago because of these technological breakthroughs.

ROMANS: But isn't it so much more expensive --

HERBERT: Yes, it is, but the price is going down to dramatically. I mean, they have so much natural gas in North Dakota. They burn it off at night.

ROMANS: In North Dakota, if I'm not mistaken, they have natural gas crews in North Dakota who are switching to go work on oil rigs because you're getting more money --

HERBERT: I want to make a prediction to you. In the next five, 10 years, we're going to start using natural gas to fuel our cars, because natural gas is so much cheaper.

ROMANS: We're talking the last block, he was saying, look, they're looking for their long haul trucks to do get L and G facilities along the interstate highway system. They think that's going to be something lucrative to them.

MOORE: You can't make that kind of a changeover without a coherent energy policy.

HERBERT: Yes, but you know what, we spent for every dollar of subsidies we provide to oil and gas, we provide $50 to $100 of subsidies to wind and solar, which only provide 2 percent of our electricity.

MOORE: Should we give up?


FOROOHAR: I'm going to say we should stop talking about taxes into companies. We should start talking frankly about a higher consumption tax on gasoline itself because we've been paying below rates of countries like Europe for a long time. We have the idea gas should be cheap.

MOORE: Gasoline even more expensive.

ROMANS: Energy companies, they love to point out that you, out of your pocket, paid in federal taxes and state taxes than actually paid in what their profit is at the end of the game.

Guys, we got to leave it there. Thank you so much to Stephen Moore, editorial writer, Bob Herbert, senior fellow at Demos and Rana Foroohar, assistant managing editor for "Time."

"Time's" cover story this week, by the way, is the truth about oil. Up next, which U.S. industry is eyeing India as the next big thing? Ali is there with that answer. He's going to tell us why other businesses should be watching closely, too. You don't want to miss this.


VELSHI: I'm Ali Velshi in New Delhi. I've been traveling around India for the last couple of weeks, trying to get an understanding of this economy, which seems to be moving at quite a phase.

Economic growth plus 6 percent expected for 2012, but that's a pull back and it has a lot of people concerned. India had some big challenges and some big opportunities.

And I'm joined now by Simon Denyer, he is the India Bureau Chief for the "Washington Post." Good to see you.

Let's help our audience understand what's going on in this massive country that has really been growing at this remarkable phase that we would give anything for in the west.

For many, many years, it's slowing down, but it's strong. What's your sense of what's happening in India?

SIMON DENYER, INDIA BUREAU CHIEF, WASHINGTON POST: Look, I mean, the long-term picture in India is still really, really good. I just traveled to Gudra. I saw huge investments by Ford. GM are expanding. They are betting on the inevitability of long-term --

VELSHI: That's what we've been hearing about. A lot of people saying in the long run this place is going to work.

DENYER: Right, the middle class is coming up. The middle class is going to want cars. They are getting to that tipping point of income levels all over the country where they going to start demanding cars. What that means for the roads I don't know.

VELSHI: That's useful to know. In this country, there a whole lot of two-wheelers and three-wheelers. That's what most people get around on and they're theoretically moving into cars.

DENYER: Right, and Ford and GM are getting into that a bit late to the party, but they're investing a lot of money because they see India as a great opportunity for the long-term.

VELSHI: And the flip side is you meet all these Indian industrialists who say we need greater FDI. They all say FDI in this country, foreign direct investment. It sounds obvious, right, country of consumers. Why don't they have more foreign direct investment?

DENYER: Well, one reason, is the Indian government keeps changing the rules. I mean, the latest budget, they changed the tax rules that's going to hit companies like Voda Phone had a tax deal. It's a retrospective taxation.

VELSHI: Taxing them on something that happened years ago.

DENYER: Right and not only that any American company that's done any merger in the last six years is going to have to explain themselves to the Indian tax that pay taxes somewhere in the world.

VELSHI: And some of that is indicative. You worked here before. Some of that is indicative of what we know as the Indian bureaucracy. It is a reason why it's easier to do business in other countries because you need a lot of permits here.

There's still some corruption here, but there are a lot of companies who must be saying, it's worth it. For 1.3 billion people, 1.3 billion customers, some of whom have to come up with the economy.

DENYER: Right, I mean, the American companies that came in the first wave of economic reforms here. People like Kellogg's, Coke, Pepsi, KFC, McDonald's, they have done very well.

But it's the second generation that we're looking for now. There's a trillion dollars on the table of Indian investment in infrastructure that the government is committed to make. U.S. companies are pretty much nowhere in that infrastructure.

VELSHI: Why not? Why is it you're seeing that there are investments from countries, from companies in other countries, but not so much U.S.

DENYER: I mean, who's building the metro? Japan is building the metro. One reason for that -- a fantastic metro system and one reason for that, a lot of these infrastructure investments is public-private partnership.

American companies to deal with the Indian government, that's a tall order. That's a difficult thing. Japanese companies, they have had a long history of dealing in public-private partnerships with their state. It may be more difficult to deal with the Indian government, but at least they're coming --

VELSHI: There's a familiarity.

DENYER: There's a familiarity.

VELSI: That's a term that is used elsewhere in the world, public- private partnership, which is just not that commonly used in America.

DENYER: Right.

VELSHI: Business is business and government is government.

DENYER: Well, here government is everywhere. I mean, business thrives when government isn't there, but that middle ground where government is involved, where there are rules and regulations, I mean, look at Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart thought it was coming in with a sure fire investment in India. The Indian government had been preparing the ground for years, talking about it for years, we're going to allow foreign direct investment in retail.

Wal-Mart was ready to open supermarkets all over India. The prime minister announced the decision and then almost immediately the coalition -- its own coalition said they were uncomfortable with it and he had to stand up and reverse the decision.

VELSHI: And part of that is there is a coalition government in this country where voting has become fractured over the years. There isn't one party that is leading. They have to make deals with other parties so it makes it more complicated.

Simon, thank you for joining us and explaining this a little bit to our viewers. We're going to continue this discussion on India.

One of the things we talk about in the United States is how innovation can lift an economy up. When we come back, I'm going to talk to a guy central to innovation in India. You're watching a special edition of YOUR MONEY from New Delhi.


VELSHI: Welcome back to a special edition of YOUR MONEY. Christine is in New York. I am in New Delhi. I spent the last couple of weeks touring around India speaking to as you just saw journalists. I've been speaking to merchants.

I've been speaking to students, entrepreneurs, innovators and people from government about what this country faces, the challenges and the opportunities.

And I have come upon a man who falls into couple of those categories. Sam Pitroda is an innovator. He's an inventor and at the moment, he is in the government. He has a cabinet rank. He is a special adviser to the prime minister of India and he's one of a rare breed who had bridged that gap between industry and politics.

It's something that has become an area of great difficulty in India right now. It seems that at times government and business are at odds with each other. Tell me, for our audience out there, we have a country with greater than 6 percent economic growth.

You spend half your time in America. What America would give for 6 percent growth and yet I have people telling me, this is tragic. This is very difficult for India. Explain this to me.

SAM PITRODA, ADVISER TO THE PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA: I think the way we are today, India has to grow at 8 percent to 10 percent a year for the next 20 years.

VELSHI: Wow. For 20 years and now you had 6 percent-plus for many years.

PITRODA: Yes, but it's not enough. Mainly because we have three fundamental challenges, one, disparity. Disparity between rich and poor, urban, rural, educated and uneducated. Two, demography, we have 550 million young below age of 25, that the workforce for the world.

And three, growth, development. We need more colleges, more hospitals, more roads, more power plants and more homes. Everywhere you look around, we need to expand, we need to excel, and we need to grow equity so that the poorest of the poor can indeed have access to good education.

VELSHI: I know you're optimistic. And I, in the last two weeks, seen people in ranges. Almost everybody I speak to thinks that the India of the future is a very hopeful prosperous place.

PITRODA: Absolutely.

VELSHI: But lots of people are troubled about the India of the immediate future. Tell me why. What are you major challenges India faces in the immediate future and the present?

PITRODA: I think for the last year or two, we have had great deal of pressure on the system especially when it comes to decision-making.

VELSHI: Are you talking about America or are you talking about India?

PITRODA: Here in India.

VELSHI: It sounds like America.

PITRODA: Yes, we have similar problems. We have a coalition government, and coalition government has its own cumbersome. We need strong government. We need clear decision-making process, and a lot of our processes are all, at time, obsolete.

Many of these processes are designed during -- they don't make sense anymore. Essentially they were designed for command and control, and today we need processes for collaboration, cooperation, good communication. And I think -- there's a little bit of disconnect with the old and the new. Old says, status quo. New says, generational change. And I think we are going through that phase.

VELSHI: Right. And you've got -- your new is this remarkably new demographic you're talking about, a very wired country. It's a kind of unfathomable how many use mobile phones in this country. You've got broadband coming up.

PITRODA: We are a nation of connected billion. We have 900 million mobile phones. Not too long ago, we had only 2 million phones in this country.

VELSHI: Two million and --

PITRODA: It's used to take 10 years to get telephone connection. Now everybody is wired. But the first phase of the telecom revolution is ending. The next phase of broadband is about to begin.

VELSHI: You spend a lot of your time in the United States. So with the idea that my viewer is American or North American, tell me what the opportunities are in India? You've told me the challenges are. What are the opportunities?

PITRODA: Everywhere you look around. There are great opportunities in education, in health, in infrastructure. For example, we will be spending over a trillion dollars on building infrastructure in the next five years, $500 billion of that is going to come through public partnership.

So opportunities are everywhere. In telecom, we need to build huge broadband infrastructure, applications. Everywhere I look around I find major, major opportunities in India. We also don't have right kind of talent in many areas.

We need more management talent. We need more scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and at the same time, we also need more plumbers, electricians, we need more, you know, doctors, you name it.


PITRODA: And that's the challenge we have.

VELSHI: Well, Sam, good to see you. Thank you so much for being with us. I think someone is calling you away. You are a busy guy. You work in the industry. Great to see you.

PITRODA: And I hope you have a great trip.

VELSHI: We already had a great trip. Thanks so much. Sam Pitroda is an adviser to the prime minister here in India. He's an inventor, an innovator.

One of the things that we're going to be talking about next week is, it's the jobs report. I know it's Easter Friday next week, but the government is releasing its jobs report for the month of March. This has been 17 months in a row of job creation in the United States. Can we go for another month of job creation? Is the American economy getting better? I'm going to tell you a little about that when we come back. Stay with us. You're watching YOUR MONEY.


ROMANS: The story you need to be watching next week, the jobs report. More than 200,000 jobs have been added to the economy for three straight months. But with 8.7 million jobs lost as a result of the recession, we still have a really long way to go, Ali. That's going to be the big test is, whether this economy can continue to create jobs.

VELSHI: Remember March of 2009, three years ago, that's when the market bottomed out. That's was one of the worst job loss months. We at least don't have to worry about the fact that jobs were created in the United States in March.

But as you said, how many, 18 months in a row of job creation, is it strong enough to put a dent in that unemployment rate? Is it strong enough to keep Americans spending and investing and growing that economy? It's crucial and we'll be right on top of it a week from now, Christine.

ROMANS: Yes and will be really interested to see what kind of new jobs we're building. Are they jobs you can buy a house with? Send a kid to college? But some of the jobs we're creating are not the kinds of jobs we lost.

Thanks, Ali, so great to see you. Thanks for joining the conversation this week on YOUR MONEY. We're here every Saturday 1 p.m. Eastern, Sunday at 3:00. You could stay connected to us 24/7 on Twitter. My handle is @christineromans and the show is @cnnyourmoney and of course, it's always @alivelshi. Have a great weekend.