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.
FEARS THAT DEBT DEAL WILL HIKE TAXES BUT NOT FOLLOW THROUGH ON CUTS
Charles Payne: It's really a treacherous and very slippery slope. We saw it with Ronald Reagan and the first Bush presidency. I get worried when I hear the GOP start to talk about this. I think they're getting sucked into the public relations aspect of this-a game that they never do very well at. Also, they better be very careful not to set themselves up. Look how much money our government brings in. It's the spending aspect, particularly the entitlement part of it.
Charlie Gasparino: Herman Cain is still the leading republican right now. Why is that? There is something going on in the Republican Party. If you raise taxes and you are a republican you are dead meat. I don't think any republican can go along with tax increases right now. I think it's totally impossible. I think it's political death.
Adam Lashinsky: What's interesting is the President Bush who said 'read my lips' was the politician campaigning for office and the one who allowed taxes to be raised was the statesman. He was doing what he thought was right. I think these republicans are trying to do what they think is right and I don't think they'll take anything to the rest of the congress which doesn't include spending cuts.
Ben Stein: I think we are going to see tax hikes. It's baked into the cake. We have been behaving irresponsibly about taxes for many, many years now. There are going to have to be tax hikes. We could be the next Italy if we don't pull ourselves together very quickly.
Dagen McDowell: We're going to have tax hikes one year from now if they don't do anything to extend the Bush tax cuts. Pay Toomey and the republicans did take a deal to the democrats that would raise $250 billion in revenue. It would limit deductions, but lower tax rates even further. The democrats won't touch it. They don't want to reform the tax code. They want to raise taxes, pure and simple. They are trying to back the republicans in a corner.
Suzy Welch: Let's go back to 1982 with Ronald Reagan, who very reluctantly agreed to tax increases on businesses. He didn't want to do it, but he wanted to bring everyone to t the table and make a deal. Low and behold what happened was that tax hikes go into effect, but the spending cuts never materialize. It's a sucker punch. It's probably going to happen again. Frankly, anything this super committee could create would be sort of a Frankenstein deal anyway. The two sides are very far apart. There are two different world views, two different ideologies. Whatever they put together will be a monster. We can be sure though that we will see tax hikes and very little spending cuts.
GM STOCK STRUGGLES AS ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY OF IPO APPROACHES
Charles Payne: We should never have had these. The free market could have handled this thing. Look at the problems that they have. The stock just recently took the biggest hit since the IPO. They are losing money like crazy in Europe. They're focusing on the crews instead trucks. They have unfunded pension liability that could hit $27 billion and the stock has to hit anywhere between $65 and $130 billion before we break even.
Charlie Gasparino: Why is this good in the long term? No one has told me what they have coming in the future or what their long term prospects are. I haven't heard anybody think that GM is going to be a great company in five years.
Adam Lashinsky: It's not a normal investment, but if it were, we've made a long term investment. The fact that the stock is down from its IPO price is meaningless. It would be meaningless if you invested it in a normal IPO a year ago, which this isn't. It's down a little bit. So what? The question is, is it a good investment in America's future? You think no. I think yes. The stock being down doesn't change things.
Ben Stein: We have a company here that is one of the basic companies in the United States of America. It employs hundreds of thousands or close to that. It's an incredibly important part of our defense manufacturing establishment. We didn't buy it, as taxpayers, to speculate it in the stock. We bought it to prop up the American Industrial establishment as we were falling into a very severe recession.
Dagen McDowell: [To Charles Payne's point] That defies the most basic advice you'd give any investor; sell when the stock is down. You're going to sell into a falling market.
Suzy Welch: It's a flawed business model when you've got these pension liabilities. You've got a company that was run into the ground by for-profit guys in suits. It's not necessarily the government that's destroyed GM. The management before was not doing a great job either. If GM had been allowed to go bankrupt, then some of these pension liabilities would have been cleaned up. Instead, this is a business model that completely can't win.
MORE RETAILERS OPENING EARLIER DURING THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY
Charles Payne: It's a combination of desperation and just the way the industry is moving. We're already seeing Christmas trees up. Pretty soon, we'll be celebrating the fourth of July and decorating our Christmas tree at the same time.
Charlie Gasparino: It's being ingrained in people's heads that we are in a deep, deep recession. People may think this is worse than what it really is. They are trying to figure out ways to get people to spend because consumption is way down. That's part of it too.
Ben Stein: The statistical data says that consumption is off, but it's not off really dramatically. I don't think there's a single instance in history of people buying more because the stores open a few hours earlier. I'm not sure that even exists.
Dagen McDowell: This is a decade of one ups-manship. They are competing with online deals.
Suzy Welch: I think they're doing this because they are scared and worried. Why wouldn't they be? Aren't you scared and worried? What indicators are saying 'don't be scared and worried.'
STOCKS THAT WILL KEEP GIVING
Charles Payne: United Rentals (URI)
Ben Stein: Vanguard Total Stock (VTI)
Adam Lashinsky: American Greetings (AM)