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    Bulls & Bears | Cavuto on Business | Forbes on Fox | Cashin' In

    Bulls & Bears

    On Saturday January 2, Brenda Buttner was joined by Gary B. Smith, Tobin Smith, Pat Dorsey, Eric Bolling and Julia Piscitelli.

    New Terror Threats Show Government Spending Priorities Are Wrong?

    Eric Bolling, Fox Business Network: Let's stop spending money on all these huge, bloated government projects and programs, like the stimulus and health care. We spent $200 million to upgrade the Department of Homeland Security's headquarters. How many thousands of Air Marshalls would that have hired? The government's spending priorities are totally out of whack.

    Julia Piscitelli, Democratic strategist: You could spend $10 trillion dollars on security in the U.S. and that wouldn't have stopped a man with a bomb on him from boarding a plane in Amsterdam. What our agencies need is a better means to communicate and exchange intelligence and information to better help protect the U.S. There's just no way you can put security in every country and every plane Americans fly on.

    Tobin Smith, NBT Media: The main reason we've had such problems is that the FBI, CIA, etc. all have unconnected systems where they don't talk and communicate properly with one another. But the main thing that can and should be done is going after the hundreds of billions in various federal pork projects. Just cutting down on those projects and diverting the money toward airline security would make a huge difference. We'd have the safest airplanes in the sky—all we have to do is follow the model Israel uses.

    Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital: It seems pretty obvious that we're misspending money here. We spend $78 billion a year alone on the Department of Education. Yet we haven't seen any measurable improvement in public schools in about 35 years. We spend $20 billion on farm subsidies. If we wanted to solve the problem of airline terrorism, we could. We need to look to the Israeli model. Every person on board is interviewed and checked. Beefing up airline security that way is where we should re-orient our priorities and spending.

    Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: There's no question we could be spending money better on things like millimeter wave radar and better information technology. And it's clear what missteps took place to cause the incident. But there's no amount of money that's going to make us 100 percent secure if you want to live in a free and open society. There are certain costs and risks to living in the kind of country we do, and as a result incidents like this will happen.

    First 2010 Taxpayer Outrage: $871K Spent per Home Bailout!

    Tobin Smith: The government can't get anything right with these programs. "Cash for clunkers" was supposed to cost $4,500 per car, but in reality ended up costing $20,000 per car. There was the $8,000 tax credit to buy a new home. But when you factored in how many homes would be bought anyway, it turned out to be $60,000. The government always comes in with this idea that it's going to save the day, but it ends up costing 5 to 10 times more than it would have cost for the private sector to deal with the issue. When will they learn?

    Julia Piscitelli: We have to remember the government gave money to the subsidiaries of the largest banks in the country, and they've been dragging their feet on getting it done. Banks are not holding up their end of the bargain when it comes to this deal. And they're just not doing that. They're taking the money and not doing their part to help out homeowners.

    Gary B. Smith: The government shouldn't be involved in any of this, the housing market, giving money to banks, etc. The government's history of getting involved with the housing sector is a complete failure. A major reason we got into this subprime housing crisis was because Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac pushed giving housing loans and monstrously low rates to people who couldn't afford it. And here we are again, giving $870,000 per home for this housing bailout.

    Eric Bolling: The problem here is that the government is paying the company mitigating the mortgage and the mortgage servicer $1,000 for each transaction for three years. Banks have every incentive to charge late fees, legal fees, throw every kind of cost or expenditure into getting the mortgage done. The big issue here is that this program isn't doing anything. What's all this money gone to other than fraud and corruption?

    Pat Dorsey: In many cases, these foreclosure mitigation plans basically try to keep someone in a home who shouldn't be there in the first place. Some were chasing the real estate bubble, some people were duped into loans, and those people deserve a little bit of our pity. The problem is you can't know the difference between someone who was being greedy and someone who basically got tricked into buying a home. There's no good solution to this mess. The only thing to do is let the housing market bottom out and clear itself.

    2009 Scoreboard

    Best Picks:

    Gary B.'s Best '09 Pick: CBS Corporation (CBS). Up 209 percent since picked on 3/28/2009

    Tobin's Best '09 Pick: J. Crew (JCG). Up 197 percent since picked on 4/04/2009