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

    Bulls & Bears

    On Saturday, February 13, Brenda Buttner was joined by Gary B. Smith, Matt McCall, Pat Dorsey, Eric Bolling and Richard Goodstein.

    Report: President Open to Middle-Class Tax Hikes; Economy Killer?

    Eric Bolling, Fox Business Network: This is not only the worst thing for the economy, but we knew for a long time that President Obama was going to have to raise taxes on everyone, not just the rich, to pay for all the things he wants to do. So here it is. If small businesses and middle-class families end up getting hit with new taxes, it will absolutely torpedo the economy. Small businesses would be hit the worst, and obviously that would have a devastating economic impact.

    Richard Goodstein, Fmr. Clinton/Gore Campaign Advisor: President Obama didn't say anything specifically about raising taxes on families that make less than $250,000. He said everything was on the table in terms of tax hikes and budget cuts. Is there anyone who doesn't agree that everything should be on the table to get deficits under control? The administration is yet to specifically say they're going to raise taxes on the middle class. In fact, the stimulus package gave the single biggest tax cut to middle class families in history.

    Gary B. Smith, TheChartman.com: The Obama administration will couch this as a shared-pain kind of thing, and we need to raise taxes in order to close our huge deficits. But time after time, throughout history, lowering taxes is what brings an economy around. JFK, Bill Clinton, George Bush, all these guys cut taxes and brought great periods of wealth. There is literally not one solid historical example that when you raise taxes, you help the economy.

    Matt McCall, Penn Financial Group: If you spend more than you have, you have to increase tax receipts or revenues in order to pay for it. Lower taxes frequently bring in greater tax receipts, and that's the sort of thing the administration should be looking at now if they want to stimulate the economy. But President Obama campaigned on not raises taxes on the middle class, but now everything is on the table. It's concerning.

    Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: The stuff that really matters has never been on the table no matter what party, no matter what politician. Defense spending, unemployment, Social Security, and Medicare are three-quarters of the budget. Until you get into and start going after those programs, you're never going to move the needle on the deficit, no matter what kind of tax cuts or tax hikes you put in place.

    Will New Jobs Bill Fast Track Social Security to Bankruptcy?

    Gary B. Smith: This makes zero sense. It's going to bankrupt Social Security. It's going to net zero new jobs, and it's going to throw $13 billion dollars down the drain. The idiocy of this administration when it comes to business and economics is profound. A business doesn't just hire somebody because the government offers you a few thousand dollars to do it. You hire people when you think the economy is getting better, or your costs are lower. This is "cash for clunkers" on steroids.

    Richard Goodstein: If there are zero new hires from this program, then it won't cost the government anything, because they wouldn't have to pay out the incentive. We can't forget that a year ago, our GDP was shrinking at 6 percent, now it's growing at 6 percent. So to say the government is helpless to help the economy is silly. It's opportunity in the economy that creates job growth. But this incentive from the government can make up that difference in margin between businesses deciding to hire a person or not. It's not a bad bet.

    Matt McCall: If I'm sitting on the fence for a hire and need that $3,000 dollars to do it, I'm not running a very good business. That $3,000 credit is only going to come once. If I'm going to hire somebody, it's going to be because I really need them to fill a role in my business, and I have the money to employ them. It really is about how businesses view the economic market. This carrot from the government won't work. And the fact that government could be taking way money from Social Security to pay for this plan is one of the dumbest moves it can make.

    Eric Bolling: I'm all for cutting budgetary spending. The original costs of the proposed jobs bill was $85 billion, then it dropped to $13 billion. Unfortunately, a major component of the $85 billion bill was $35 billion in tax cuts. And they cut that out! They left some of the things that sound good, but in the end this $13 billion isn't going to go very far, and Congress is going to realize they could have spent it on far better things.

    Pat Dorsey: Unfortunately at this point in the economic cycle, politicians feel like they need to do something about jobs. In any downturn, jobs are the last thing to recover. Jobs recover long after the general market recovers. People see Wall Street doing well while Main Street is still in bad shape. It just takes time, for demand, confidence, consumer spending, etc. to come back. That's what's really going to generate jobs.

    D.C. Snow Shutdown: What if Private Sector Did the Same?

    Matt McCall: If the private sector took a snow week, there'd be ramifications across the economy. From retail sales, to tax receipts coming into the government, even employment. The private sector shows up and innovates, and that's the thing that drives this economy. But in some ways, it's almost better for the government to have snow day. I think it spends less when its workers sit around at home and it's not able to do anything.

    Gary B. Smith: The government even screwed up the whole open/closed thing. If you had a 30 minute commute in D.C. normally, it'd be two and a half hours in the snow. Do we really suffer if the Department of Agriculture closes for a couple of days? Or the Energy Department? These guys should have stayed out for 6 months. Anybody who deals with the government knows it's an impediment to doing business efficiently. The private sector has to go out and make a living, and that's something the government doesn't really have to be concerned about.

    Richard Goodstein: We should all be bowing to federal employees. When Wall Street was spinning out of control, it was federal employees who saved our economy from depression and kept it solvent. We all have money in our pockets now that we wouldn't have had without the good work government officials can actually provide.