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Bulls & Bears | Cavuto on Business | Forbes on FOX | Cashin' In
Bulls & Bears
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Bob Froehlich, DWS Scudder chairman of investor strategy; Tracy Byrnes, New York Post business writer; and Patricia Powell, Powell Financial Group president.
Are We Spending Enough to Protect Our Children?
The massacre at Virginia Tech. We took a unique look at the issues and concerns on a special edition of The Cost of Freedom.
First, a simple question. Do we spend enough money to protect our most precious and valuable resource: our children?
Gary B.: I think the natural reaction after a tragedy like this is to say we clearly don't spend enough. My heart goes out to all the kids and parents. This really affected me personally because I know a lot of people that go to VA Tech and are planning to do so. I think we spend enough on security. The reason is because your role and my role as a parent goes from protecting your kids to having them protect and think for themselves and become their own individual. I guess you can never protect your kids enough, but I think by the time they are in college, you've done all you can.
Bob: I think there's always going to be an issue of spending enough when a tragedy like this occurs. We're always going to second-guess whether we could have done more by spending more. The focus should be on spending more wisely because you can't just spend money for more safety. I think we have to do a much better job in terms of preparation and using technology.
Tracy: The problem is our county is reactive not proactive. It took planes to knock down two buildings before we established the Department of Homeland Security. And unfortunately, these events are not just limited to college campuses. At my kids' pre-school there was a bomb threat. Now thankfully it was just a scare, but it took that threat for the school to put in a security system. We need to be thinking ahead a little bit more.
Patricia: I think it's not possible to protect our children one hundred percent. There's that old saying, "He who protects everything, protects nothing." Clearly a little more money is going to need to be spent, but we're going to have to look at this and ask, "How do you secure a building? What does a lock down mean? What are our methods for informing people?" The answers don't have to be massively expensive, but we need to spend some money and everybody needs to have a plan.
Tobin: From a pure technology standpoint, Radio Frequency ID chips are very effective and cost a nickel. Kids already have a wristband and a cell phone. Between these two things, we could outfit every child with some type of RFID device. This could be used to allow access to a building that has an RFID reader. And it wouldn't be that expensive. An entire campus could be outfitted with these devices with the money made from one football game!
Pat: A more effective solution is not to think about the money spent on security, but to take a step back and think about the individuals who have committed these crimes. We need to find a way to be more sensitive about listening and identifying people that could potentially commit these crimes. It's more of a service issue than a money issue.
Scott: We all have a right to live. We each have certain rights, but we may have to give up certain rights to keep people safe. You can have a gun. It's protected by the Constitution. But you can't have a gun with a 30-clip unless you're in law enforcement. Rights have to be balanced.
Market's Message to America
It didn't take them long… Within hours of the Virginia Tech massacre, the "blame America" gang was in rare form with much of the chorus coming from overseas.
But Wall Street sent a very different message. As we were coming to grips with this tragedy, the Dow soared—hitting a new all-time high and within striking distance of 13,000! What message does that send?
Tobin: The message is obvious one and not so obvious. The obvious is that earning have been great. We have freedoms in this country that we cherish. Sometimes those freedoms allow a lunatic to cause grief to a lot of people. But it's also those freedoms that allow us to have this magnificent economy, those freedoms to have the ability to go out and start a business, those freedoms that allow you to move from South Korea to Virginia and start a business. That's America! We're not going to let something like this stop America, because we know what a great country we have. It's never going to be perfect, but I think that's one of the messages that Wall Street sent this week.
Gary B: America adapts. That's the message the market is sending. We are not the same country we were one hundred years ago, fifty years ago, or certainly before 9/11. We're completely different. But we're the same in that we take situations like this, we mourn, we try to address them, and then we try to move on and do the best we can. It's a message of hope.
Patricia: We have a juggernaut of an economy! The market is saying that Americans and the American economy are OK. It's recognizing that despite this tragedy, people are still getting up in the morning, going to work, and producing products and services. America is just plowing through!