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.
EPA RUNNING WILD ON AMERICAN COMPANIES: BAD FOR JOBS IN 2012?
WAYNE ROGERS: Well, first of all, this is not about whether green is bad or whether biofuels are bad. It's about the arrogance of an agency promulgating something, as you rightfully said, something that doesn't even exist. The absurdity of this, the agencies in the federal government are so bloated with power and everything else, imagine that they are dictating to the private sector, you've got to do this. So we're going to fine you in excess of six million dollars if you don't do this, or whatever the number is. It's just outrageous.
JONATHAN HOENIG: Well the thing you've got to remember about "greens" is that they love animals, but they hate people and that's exactly who they're hurting here. I mean to Wayne's point exactly, it's absolutely absurd. It's unconscionable to pass regulations like that, that people truly can't comply with and it shows the just absolute degenerate nature of the green movement. They're goal is to punish industry, to punish folks who want to use fossil fuels to power the economy to power their lives.
SALLY KOHN: Well first of all let's start out with some context, before the Environmental Protection Agency, hundreds of thousands of children were dying in premature birth; premature deaths. Hundreds of thousands more were being affected by birth defects; we had high rates of asthma. I mean all of these things: polluted water, polluted air so we do care about people number one. So secondly, let's be clear, the McClatchy News Service did a poll of small business owners and they said their problem is not regulations hurting their business, it's lack of demand. Secondly, also to be clear, these regulations create jobs by creating innovation; by demanding new ways to invest and third, they may be costing six million dollars to the oil companies to force them to do good, but they already get billions in subsidies.
TRACY BYRNES: Look, demand might be the first complaint, regulation is the second Cheryl. Fines that we're paying that we can't turn into employees' checks; this is hurting small businesses left and right. Look, okay we needed it at a time. We don't need it now. We could ferret this stuff out. You don't think the media is going to point out that children are dying somewhere if in fact some company were killing them? We would figure this out. We don't need the government to do it. We need the capital markets. We need corporate America to figure this out on its own, not an agency that's a bloody waste of money.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I have no idea how we got on dying children when we're talking about cellulosic ethanol, but that's what happens when you don't really have context or facts you bring it down to an emotional, anecdotal argument and that is, kids are dying. We're talking about cellulosic ethanol; wood chips, switch grass, corn husks; these things biodegrade into hydrocarbons over millions of years. We're talking about the enzyme that can break these things down over just a few days. That technology is not available right now, but yet the EPA is focused on that and put this in context; eight million gallons a year is what they want. The Keystone Pipeline, which is being pushed off by the EPA and the administration will furnish 23 billion gallons a year of gas that's either going to go to China or could come to the United States. You've got to put this in context of real jobs.
U.S. HALTING O.J. IMPORTS: LATEST EXAMPLE OF INFLATION ABOUT TO RUN WILD IN 2012?
JONATHAN HOENIG: Well they (government) have a very vested interest of course and when they finally admit that inflation does show up, Cheryl, of course they'll blame the financiers, but inflation is caused by government, not only in orange juice, but across the board. It comes from the fraudulent printing of money; the expansion of the money supply, which debases the value of people's savings of their dollars and it's been going on for years now. The value of the dollar has fallen by about 20 percent in just the last 10 years alone. It hurts the poor the most and it's a terrible tax on the economy.
TRACY BYRNES: I mean, you look at my shopping list; coffee is up 26 percent; beef up 21 percent; eggs up 10; milk up seven. Look, the government pulls out of food and energy because it's very volatile if they acted, changed monetary policy every time food and energy prices changed, we'd be all over the map, but to deny that the cost of living is going up is ridiculous. Oil; gas; food all going up; that makes it that much harder for people who are not seeing wage increases to put money back into this economy and therefore stalls this economic recovery. I don't care who's laughing and I don't care who thinks that's funny. That is the truth and that's what the average American, myself included, is feeling.
SALLY KOHN: And I assume that everyone on this program will agree with me that we should index the federal minimum wage to inflation. If we're concerned that people won't have enough money in their pockets, maybe part of the solution is putting more money in people's pockets, but beyond that...Tracy I don't mean handing out money. I mean making sure that people's minimum wage is higher and better adjusted for inflation, but look, beyond that let's be clear, this is like the big boogeyman of people who have been saying on and on, oh, U.S. monetary policy is going to cause inflation. Look, the consumer price index has grown over the last few years and average of 1.5 percent period. Independent economists have agreed inflation, it just has not proven the problem that people have said it has and yet they still want to use the boogeyman because they can't find other ways to attack the monetary policy.
WAYNE ROGERS: No I'm not worried yet (about inflation) and I'll tell you why. First of all, Sally's numbers are right in the sense that inflation has not shown itself yet and you have at the same time, the federal monetary policy is keeping interest rates inordinately low; artificially as I might say and eventually, as Jonathan says, eventually that genie is going to jump out of the bottle and we will have a runaway. So, what we're saying right now is that we're holding inflation down. Inflation is there, yes, but we're just containing it for a moment. I would say within the next six months, that is half a year from now, you're going to see a big rise.
JOHN LAYFIELD: And you look at what former Fed Chief from the Kansas City Fed, Thomas Hoenig is most worried about and that is that we have no shock absorber in our system right now, because what Wayne is talking about, we have interest rates so low and monetary policy so easy, if we have any systemic shock we cannot deal with that. So you had a last week, a nuclear scientist assassinated in Iran. They're blaming Israel. If that blows up, we don't have the shock absorber to handle that because of our Fed policy and we could have inflation take off like crazy. Up until now we're starting to see it in different pockets. With this future, we've got to do something to create that gap.
PUBLIC SCHOOL TEST CONTROVERSY: PROOF WE NEED SCHOOL VOUCHERS?
TRACY BYRNES: First of all, the fact that we're investigating and that woman has not lost her job is a crying shame quite frankly and look, if no one's going to get in there and change the public school systems like so many of us want them to, give me a voucher and let me choose what I want to do. You know what? The public schools spend more money per pupil than most private schools anyway. It is actually more efficient for states to doll out money to parents and let them make their own decisions.
WAYNE ROGERS: Well, I'm not sure that that's the answer. You know, there's so much in the public school system that there is something more fundamental here and that is that I believe that the local districts, the local boards should control the schools and it's not up to the state and it's not up to the federal government to dictate that. The real problem lies with the parents themselves not taking a sufficiently strong enough interest in what is going on with their own children, their own education and that would cure it.
SALLY KOHN: I don't know where to start with this one. Look, first of all, public schools in this country were created so that the kids and the grandkids and great grandkids of slaves could get the same quality of education as everyone else and we know that when people have vouchers, that vouchers tend to be disproportionately used by well-off and white families and especially in places like the south where private schools were created to avoid segregation. So, if we care about giving a quality education to everyone, that's why we should be investing in public schools and I don't understand how one bad teacher, one bad egg, we're using that as a fig leaf to try and attack all of public education. Fix it for all kids rather than just giving some kids a leg up through vouchers.
JONATHAN HOENIG: And Cheryl, the more government's gotten involved, the worse it's become. I mean, government has a monopoly on K-12 education and Wayne; folks are forced to pay for this. Slave analogies are absolutely abhorrent. They're disgusting; the fact that, again, folks are forced. In a normal economy, in a free market, you'd get to choose where do you want to send your kid to school? How do you want to pay for it? That doesn't happen in K-12 education and that's why it's so terrible.
JOHN LAYFIELD: We continue to move down in education rankings globally. We have some great teachers out there. Our system is not working. Race to the Top and No Child Left Behind were both great programs; they were not funded. What Bloomberg wants to do is get rid of bad teachers and give merit pay for good teachers. Something different has to be done because what we're doing is not working.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
TRACY BYRNES: Coast Guard to protect ports from union and occupy protests
JOHN LAYFIELD: Tensions with Iran escalate. Get defensive with (NAT)
WAYNE ROGERS: Protect profits from inflation with (RJI)
JONATHAN HOENIG: Set sail towards great returns with shipper (NMM)