Neil Cavuto was joined by Gregg Hymowitz, founder of Entrust Capital; Jim Rogers, president of JimRogers.com; and Meredith Whitney, FOX News Business Contributor; Charles Payne, CEO and Founder of Wall Street Strategies; Colonel Cowan, Fox Military Analyst; Hussein Ibish, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee.
Bring Our Troops Home?
Neil Cavuto: We got the sons. We got a rally. We get the dad and we get a new bull market? Uday and Qusay are gone and we hope soon to say the same of their Dad. But is the real key to bringing back our bull market bringing back our troops first?
Jim Rogers: It would be wonderful for the bond market if they came home. It would be wonderful for the dollar if they came home. We would save a couple of billion dollars, so it would certainly help the stock market.
Colonel Cowan: The troops aren't going to be coming home in the short run. Even with Saddam and his sons gone, there are still people coming in from outside Iraq to fight us. We're going to be in Iraq for a while.
Meredith Whitney: The current administration has a very haphazard foreign policy. I think the market is really looking at capacity and growth concerns in the long term.
Gregg Hymowitz: The bigger issue in Iraq is establishing peace and stability there. To get confidence back in the market, we need to show that we did a good job in Iraq and that we not only won the war but we also won the peace. And Jim is right, it's costing us $5 billion a day.
Jim Rogers: Plus we're getting over extended. Half the U.S. army is tied down in Iraq. We have troops all over the world.
Meredith Whitney: Right, and the policy seems haphazard. We might go into Liberia. Where will we go next? And where does this end in terms of an economic drain for the country?
Gregg Hymowitz: The other problem is we have no one to share the price with. We went in unilaterally but now we really need help. Without any help, we have to bear all the cost. It's costing our deficits to balloon to about $450 billion next year. And that weighs on the bond and equities market.
Neil Cavuto: Colonel Cowan, do you see the possibility that there is some good here. All of our panelists seem to be saying nothing has gone right.
Colonel Cowan: We're making a lot of progress in Iraq. Paul Bremer, the U.S. Administrator in Iraq, was back here last week talking about the progress we're making. The pockets of resistance are getting stronger, but that doesn't mean that they're going to go away. We need to get the Iraqis to be more involved in the reconstruction.
Meredith Whitney: The bond market is thrown into an absolute frenzy because there doesn't seem to be any thought out plan as to when we go in and when we get out.
Neil Cavuto: Wait, you're saying the bond market is reacting to our presence of troops in Iraq? I just don't buy that.
Meredith Whitney: I think the bond market is reacting to the lack of diplomatic unity in terms of our efforts abroad.
Neil Cavuto: We had a lack of unity going into this war and through this war, but interest rates were tumbling.
Meredith Whitney: Yes, but the bills keep getting higher. In the past week or two week, long term rates have backed up 100 basis points.
Neil Cavuto: I could credit that to a perception of improved economic activity.
Gregg Hymowitz: I think we'll get confidence in the equity markets once we show that we've gone into Iraq and created some stability there. But at $5 billion a month, I think it'll have an effect on the equity market.
Neil Cavuto: Colonel, if we were to leave after we get Saddam some would read into that say it's a retreat and be Vietnamesque. Do think that's true?