DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING "Cost of Freedom Recap" CONTAINS STRONG OPINIONS WHICH ARE NOT A REFLECTION OF THE OPINIONS OF FOX NEWS AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS INVESTMENT ADVICE WHEN MAKING PERSONAL INVESTMENT DECISIONS. IT IS FOX NEWS' POLICY THAT CONTRIBUTORS DISCLOSE POSITIONS THEY HOLD IN STOCKS THEY DISCUSS, THOUGH POSITIONS MAY CHANGE. READERS OF "Cost of Freedom Recap" MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN INVESTMENT DECISIONS.
WHITE HOUSE INVOKING REAGAN WHILE PUSHING MILLIONAIRES TAX
Charlie Gasparino: Clearly closing loopholes and lowering marginal tax rates is the right economic playbook, although I'm still a little bit shaken here. It's kind of like the Richard Simmons video we saw last week. Barack Obama comparing himself to Ronald Reagan is really an amazing, let's not call it a lie, but a massive stretch of the truth.
Dagen McDowell: President Obama wants to get rid of some loopholes for people and groups he does not care for and raise tax rates. That is not tax reform. Tax reform is, yes cutting loopholes, and that means closing them. That means getting rid of tax expenditures. That's going to mean people giving up some things they like, even maybe their mortgage interest deduction. However, tax reform means simplification. It means job creation. It means cutting rates dramatically. '86 tax reform, top rate went from 50 percent to 28 percent. So, for what you give up, these tax expenditure and these loopholes, you get lower rates and you get a juiced economy.
Adam Lashinsky: We don't know if we have any clear demonstration that this has ever happened, as Ben pointed out it's not exactly what President Reagan did. He raised taxes because he also raised spending dramatically. I want to point out to all of you, President Obama wasn't comparing himself to Ronald Reagan. He was pointing out that he was using a similar argument to one that President Reagan made. That's effective communicating.
Ben Stein: What an amazing thing that we have the most liberal president probably of all time evoking Ronald Reagan and saying I'm following in the spirit of Ronald Reagan. What an amazing world we live in where Ronald Reagan is an icon to the left wing. But, in fact, Ronald Reagan did raise taxes every year after 1982 and he did cut some drastic loopholes. Since I'm the only one old enough to have been a fairly high income taxpayer at that time, those loophole closings hurt a lot. But for him to be claiming that he's following generally in the footsteps of Ronald Reagan is basically comical.
UNEMPLOYMENT RATE STALLING AT 9.1 percent IN SEPTEMBER
Charlie Gasparino: I think the real scandal with Solyndra is that stimulus money went into this thing. Think about it. We were told you spend $800 billion dollars on shovel-ready jobs, we're going to get unemployment down to 8 percent, which if you follow their logic, it would have been more like 7 percent now, yet we put it into pie in the sky technologies like Solyndra. If you ask me about the scandal here, that's the scandal. Why we wasted stimulus money on pie in the sky technology.
Dagen McDowell: We should be thankful that the 300 million wasn't spent because given the way these programs have been run, wouldn't you think they would burn the money and burn the bills and call it green energy because they weren't actually using electricity or electric heat? The point is, you cannot just create jobs out of thin air. How many more times do we need to say these programs are inefficient, they are poorly run, the loan program. There were four government accountability office reports on that loan program not being efficient, not being well-run and we still wound up with a half a billion Solyndra loan.
Adam Lashinsky: I'm not an ideological guy and I think we're trying to make an ideological argument out of something that's not ideological. Here's where I agree and here's where I disagree. This should not have been crafted as a jobs program. It isn't. It's an investment in technology. We have a long history of investing in pie in the sky technology. I'll give you two examples: the space program and the internet. This could not have existed without stimulus.
Ben Stein: We have seen government trying to pick winners and pick losers and government saying what's the wave of the future since the late '50s when we were imitating the French. We thought the French had the right idea. It never ever works and it's not going to work in green jobs. Let the market decide. We already have a very well-functioning energy market where green energy works. We use it. Where fossil fuel energy works. We use that. That's working quite well. Let's stop picking on the oil companies, go back to letting the free market make these decisions. Get out of the government picking winners and losers.
NEW FAT TAX IN FRANCE TAKING AIM AT DRINKS LIKE COKE
Charlie Gasparino: I really don't care that they do that. It doesn't burn me up that much. I'm a huge ketchup fan. I put ketchup on chicken and fish. I will say this. The French have socialized medicine. If they think that ketchup is bad for you, they should be able to.
Dagen McDowell: This is the way that Europe is going. Denmark has put out a fat tax on anything that's buttery or high in fat, it's trying to tax it. If you're a socialist society, that's fine. But in America that's not going to fly. You've seen efforts to have soda taxed and it's not going to happen because people don't want the government telling them what to eat.
Adam Lashinsky: We may be over thinking this just a little bit. Ketchup is made up of tomatoes, that's true. But they add a little bit of sugar and I think that's the point of why it's generally not healthy. By the way, we put stiff regulations on cigarettes in this country long before the Europeans do. Guess what. Cigarettes aren't really good for you. These things are kind of faddish. It has to do with the culture.
Ben Stein: I think that President Reagan said that ketchup was a vegetable and you can put it in school lunchroom and count it as a vegetable so maybe we could explain that to President Sarkozy of France and explain to him that ketchup is actually a vegetable. It's almost all tomato and tomato is incredibly good for you so I don't know what the problem is. It's typical French xenophobia and snobbishness. The amount of money they'll raise from this is inconsequential and it's just a way of them thumbing their nose at us again.
MONEY FOR YOUR RETIREMENT FUNDS
Ben Stein: ishares MSCI index (EFA)
Adam Lashinsky: Vanguard Total Stock (VTSMX)