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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; Eric Bolling, FOX Business Network; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Patricia Powell, Powell Financial Group, and Wayne Allyn Root, 2008 Libertarian VP candidate.
President-Elect Obama's "Jolt" for Economy; Will it Boost or Bankrupt Us?
Wayne Allyn Root, 2008 Libertarian VP candidate: Obama's economic "jolt" will bankrupt the country. The government never has the answer. When an entrepreneur like me creates a job, it costs taxpayers nothing. But when the government creates a job, through stimulus checks or starting new infrastructure projects for example, it costs taxpayers money. We're going to spend trillions of dollars for this bailout and stimulus plan and bankrupt the country. F.D.R. did a similar thing and it prolonged the great depression.
Tobin Smith, Changewave Research: We can afford the economic jolt Obama has planned. We have about $70 trillion of wealth in the U.S, even after this economic downturn. Overall, we're talking about spending a small percentage of our GDP.
Eric Bolling, FOX Business Network: We're wasting a monumental amount of money. But we're not going to bankrupt America. We'll always print more money. People continue to buy our debt. Look at what happens when we pass a stimulus package. Consumers save 80 percent of it, and spend 20 percent. Given what’s happening, people will pay down their debt instead of spending the money.
Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: The government just giving money to individual taxpayers sadly will not work. It sounds nice. Yes, the idea plays well but ultimately it's stupid. We tried six months ago. The money goes into savings and really does nothing to stimulate the economy. Where the money should be spent is to rebuild our aging infrastructure or to modernize our electricity grid. If we want to try to develop all these alternative energy sources, such as getting wind or solar power from areas where there are no people, you have to significantly invest in the electricity grid. Spending money in these areas will benefit us for decades to come. Once in a hundred year economic cyclones like the one we're experiencing require this kind of spending.
Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital: Obama's economic plan echoes of F.D.R. It's a belief that the government can take your money and spend it better, more effectively and more efficiently than you can. That's what FDR's public works program was. He took money from the private sector and decided that government knew how to spend it best. But history shows that this just doesn’t work.
Obama's "Money Dream Team"; Will Big Names Mean Big Clashes?
Wayne Allyn Root: There are too many chiefs and not enough Indians on this Obama economic team. If they disagree with one another, who's going to make the final decision? I don't understand picking a bunch of Wall Street veterans since they’ve done nothing other than move money around. They don't know how to create jobs or run a business.
Tobin Smith: Paul Volcker is the only guy who has stood in the face of the fire. The others like Tim Geithner and Larry Summers don't have the right experience for serving on this team.
Eric Bolling: I like this team. A lot of smart, experienced guys. It's Hank Paulson who has been a deer in the headlights.
Pat Dorsey: Christina Romer is a solid pick for the team. She knows more about the great depression than Ben Bernanke, and she'll be head of the Council of Economic Advisors. I think she'll be a strong voice on the team.
Gary B. Smith: Getting a bunch of brainiacs together to plan the economy doesn't work. We saw that with the Soviet Union back in the days of the Kremlin. They've spent their lives in government or academia trying to figure out how best to plan the economy, and that's going to be their whole purpose in office.
Will Holiday Shoppers Save Our Economy?
Patricia Powell, Powell Financial Group: The rumors of the demise of Christmas sales have been greatly exaggerated. There are a few reasons we're going to have relatively good sales compared to expectations. Gasoline prices are half of what they were. For people who were worried about the amount of credit they could get, this $800 billion bailout for consumer credit will ease things up. And there are all sorts of sales at stores everywhere.
Gary B. Smith: This will be the worst holiday shopping season probably in the last 40 years. People are looking at their 401(k)s, their stocks, and they are seeing them down from 30 percent-50 percent. People generally feel they can't afford to spend anything. But I'm not sure there's been a permanent psychological change here, more for just this holiday season.
Eric Bolling: Unemployment is up, people are nervous about their job security, their 401(k)s are halved. They'll wait for the sales. As we get further into the holiday season, prices will keep dropping.