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Bulls & Bears
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research; Eric Bolling, FOX Business Network; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com; Malia Lazu, Democratic strategist
Stocks Dive Despite Stimulus and Housing Plan; What's the Market Telling Us?
Tobin Smith, Changewave Research: The market is worried about this "Obama savior" economy. If we have a problem, we'll just borrow from people who don't like us very much, throw it at troubled homeowners and be their savior. The market actually went down before the plan was announced. There was no market pop-up. There's a reason: Treasury Secretary Geithner has had two whiffs at the bat thus far when he's needed to hit it out of the park. These small, incremental moves by the administration have to stop.
Eric Bolling, FOX Business Network: The market is testing its lows. But five years from now, are you going to want to be in the stock market? Absolutely. This is a fantastic buying opportunity. If you're retiring, it's not the best time to get in obviously, but for anyone else, this is a great time. In terms of financial stocks, Congressional financial committee members saying that the government may need to take over some banks scare the heck out of anyone willing to invest any new money in those banks.
Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital: I agree this is probably a great time to get in a buy stocks. The exception I think is that many people are afraid of this being something like 1929--the beginning of a decade or so of horrible growth where stocks do badly. But if that's not the case, then obviously this is a great time to buy. It's just that a lot of investors have dipped their toes into the market these past weeks, and then it goes down another 20 percent.
Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: It's important that the Obama administration has come out and said the banking system will remain in private hands. But the emphasis was on the "system"; it didn't rule out temporary nationalization of specific insolvent banks. Clear lines need to be drawn for the banks. If they fail certain tests, the government will step in, wipe out private shareholders, and that'll be that. We need clarity.
Obama's Housing Fix: Is Home Ownership Now an Entitlement?
Gary B. Smith: We've moved passed birthright and into government mandate. It's almost like the government is forcing people into homes. The people who have been responsible and paid their mortgages now have to pay to keeping their homes who can't afford it. These people shouldn't have been in these homes to begin with. And the idea that 9 million people are going to become homeless overnight if this program isn't implemented is ridiculous.
Malia Lazu, Democratic strategist: This isn't the people's fault; we need to fix the system. The system did not protect people from receiving mortgages they couldn't afford. Subprime mortgages were handed out like hotcakes. Barack Obama needs to help make sure we don't have 9 million people become homeless. It's a far cry from saying it's a government mandate to own a home.
Tobin Smith: If we're going to fix this system, then we need to do it correctly. We had a system that ran amok. Ultimately, we need to get the money to people who can afford to live in their homes, not those who can't. The market is taking home prices back down to affordable levels, and the government shouldn't mess with that. In any successful market economy, you have to allow for failure.
Eric Bolling: Ultimately, we can't start giving incentives to individuals and families who can't afford to pay the mortgage on a home. We can't just allow people to refinance their home every time they enter bad financial straits and may not be able to make their mortgage payments.
Pat Dorsey: This new government housing program just kicks the can down the road a bit. We have to let the market drop to a point where buyers and sellers can meet. Otherwise, the housing crisis cannot be solved. But the government subsidizing mortgages in some capacity is nothing new--it's been going on for decades.
Cap UAW Execs' Pay Before Giving Automakers More Bailout Bucks?
Eric Bolling: I find it incredible that the administration is saying sure, here's another $22 billion to the auto companies. GM is willing to lay off 49,000 employees to protect pensions and health care costs of lucky few who get to keep working there. This is a bad idea. The auto companies need to be cut off at the legs.
Tobin Smith: The auto companies shouldn't get another dime until the auto execs and UAW leadership say they'll work for a dollar until they get this whole situation worked out. It's amazing how a dollar a year sharpens the mind. These CEOs need to take some pain.
Malia Lazu: CEOs get compensated on how well they run their business. The auto industry has been driven into the ground by the current executives, and they should be held accountable for their actions. But the workers don't deserve to bear the brunt of bad management.
Pat Dorsey: There is definitely that very important question of why people like Rick Wagoner are still at the helm of these auto companies? In addition, these stifling legacy costs have to be reduced to give the auto companies any chance of surviving.