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Bulls & Bears
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; John "Bradshaw" Layfield, Northeast Securities senior vice president; Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine senior writer; Kevin Kerr, Resource Trader Alert editor and author of "A Maniac Commodity Trader's Guide to Making a Fortune", and Chris Kofinis, WakeUpWalMart.com communications director.
Trading Pit: Which Party Does Wall Street Want in the White House?
Thursday's GOP debate means now we've heard from all the current presidential candidates on both sides of the aisle. So which party would be better for Wall Street and the economy?
John "Bradshaw" Layfield: Wall Street wants the GOP because it wants more of the same. This economy is doing fantastic! There are three things that can hurt this economy: healthcare, taxes, and energy. The Democrats so far have shown that they want more government healthcare, want to repeal the tax cuts, and still aren't going to help the energy policy. There's no doubt about it, Wall Street wants the GOP!
Adam Lashinsky: Wall Street smashed through records when Bill Clinton, the last Democratic President, was in office. Let's get real here, the market is interested capital gains tax cut. I predict that a Democratic Congress and a Democratic President will extend the capital gains tax cuts. Wall Street also cares about Sarbanes-Oxley, which was passed by a Republican Congress and a Republican President.
Gary B. Smith: I think the one candidate everyone should vote for is the libertarian, Congressman Ron Paul, R-Texas. But let's face it, that's not going to happen, so the lesser of two evils are going to be the Republicans. If you want a Mommy and Daddy state—where you give the government all your money and they spend it to take care of you—vote for the Democrats. If you want to be self-sufficient, have lower taxes, more money to spend as you choose, then vote for the Republicans. Consumer spending makes up two-thirds of our economy. If consumers have a higher tax burden, the economy is going to slow done.
Pat Dorsey: Campaign rhetoric and political reality are very different things. Candidates can make all the promises they want on the campaign trail. But once in Washington, DC, if there's a hostel Congress, things can turn out very differently. Over the past sixty-seventy years there isn't a single thread of evidence that the market performs better or worse under either party. It's completely inconclusive.
Kevin Kerr: I agree with Gary B. The bottom line is that the market is going to like it better if a Republican President is elected. We've seen in the past what happens when things change.
Scott Bleier: Forget about ancient history; forget about the Clinton regime, let's talk about the here and the now. Which party wants capital formation and investment? The Democrats want to raise taxes, want to appeal lies, and want to penalize business. Democrats penalize investments and investors. The GOP doesn't want to do that. They want to stimulate investment, which may be helping the rich, but the rich are the ones that create jobs in this country.
Wal-Mart Critics Finally Going Too Far?
Human Rights Watch, a group fighting the tragedy in Darfur, is now going after Wal-Mart.
A recent report from Human Rights Watch slams Wal-Mart, attacking the retail giant for what it calls worker abuse. Has the movement against Wal-Mart gone too far?
John "Bradshaw" Layfield: This is ridiculous and almost laughable! There is killing and destruction in Rwanda and Darfur! This is why these lunatic groups don't have any creditability whatsoever. They are attacking a company that has created more jobs than any company in the history of this country. They have lowered food inflation by one percent and have done more for the poor in this country than the government could ever do. These groups are targeting Wal-Mart because over unionization. Just because this retailer makes a lot of money and is a good company, groups want to attack them. It is completely contrary to what America stands for.
Chris Kofinis: Human Rights Watch is an incredibly prestigious organization. This is not just a business or political issue. This group sees this as a human rights issue and did in depth analysis. Human Rights Watch found that Wal-Mart does not pay its workers a decent wage, does not provide corporate health care, and does not allow collective rights. These are American values!?!? Wal-Mart pays its workers less than the poverty level. Over fifty percent of its workers don't have health care, and that's why this is a human rights issue.
Gary B. Smith: I don't think Human Rights Watch clearly analyzed Wal-Mart. It took a couple isolated incidents from 2000 and 2003, all of which Wal-Mart disputes. This is a company that gives three hundred million dollars a year in charity! At a store opening about a year ago about twenty-five thousand people applied for six hundred jobs! Wal-Mart has a lower acceptance rate than Harvard! And that's the company you want to harm? It doesn't make any sense!
Welcome to the "Bulls & Bears" Cinco de Mayo Stock Fiesta!