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 TURNING UP THE PRESSURE ON COMPANIES THAT HIRE OVERSEAS
Dagen McDowell: He has to do something because the unemployment rate is still at 8.5 percent and he's had several years to do something about it and his policies and his spending haven't really changed the equation very much. So, what are you going to do? You're going to talk tough and carry the biggest stick that you can possibly carry. The President really wants a way-back machine. He wants to go back to the 1950s when we made a lot of goods in this country. He fails to acknowledge that as a growing developed nation, our worth will be in ideas and intellectual property and creating things-not necessarily making them. That's the grim reality that he will never admit.
Ben Stein: This doesn't help the investors and the investors are mostly the retirement plans of workers. The President has a fundamental confusion which is he thinks investor means billionaire. He thinks investor means someone with a silk top hat. Investor means the retirement funds of people who work on the assembly line or people who behind the counter or work at a bank. Those are the stockholders. They benefit if more jobs can be shipped overseas to allow more profits to come to stockholders here in America. We want to have as many jobs possible here in America and we want American retirees to be able to pay their bills. That's the fundamental tension. Do we help the investors which is mostly pensioners, or do we help the union bosses?
Stephane Fitch: I'm for closing the loophole. I don't think it will make much of an impact at all. The people who think tax codes are what causes jobs to go overseas are probably the same people who think baldness is caused by wearing your hat too tight.
Matt McCall: I think the President's plan will cost us jobs in America. I think the President's problem is he forgets we're in the midst of a global economy. A lot of these companies, like Caterpillar for example, get a large portion of their sales from overseas. That's fine. That's how you have to do business in this type of environment. What the President doesn't comprehend is the fact that you have to have employees overseas to continue to grow this corporation, and without them, Caterpillar would not be bringing in the profits that they just reported in the last quarter. The money that these companies are making are based in the U.S., but they're bringing money back from the foreign countries into plants and machinery here in the United States. That will create jobs here in the United States at the same time.
FED KEEPING ITS KEY INTEREST RATE NEAR 0 percent UNTIL LATE 2014
Dagen McDowell: The only thing this does is cause people to wait. If they can get the same mortgage rate a year from now they'll wait. Reverse that, you can't say that higher interest rates will be good for the housing market.
Ben Stein: There's no sense of urgency unless you want a home. But, if you want a home now is the ideal time to get a home. It's completely counterintuitive and not correct to say that low interest rates hinder home buying. We have low interest rates because there's low businesses activity. Another problem is banks won't lend. They have low interest rates, but try getting a mortgage out of a bank. They're very cautious. They make you jump through hoops. They make it very difficult to get those low interest rates.
Stephane Fitch: I think what we're seeing is an outbreak of rationality and patience. You talked earlier about the low pace of home sales. That's a sign that people are essentially happy to hang onto their homes. If they have to move, they're probably leasing them out at a very positive cash flow thanks to those low interest rates. Home sales activity is about where it was in the '90's when we had a pretty healthy housing market. I just think we have to wait this one out. I don't think low interest rates are going to lift housing much. I think higher interest rates would choke it to death.
Matt McCall: Interest rates are low. Mortgage rates are at or near historic lows, but it's not driving anybody to buy homes. By the Fed coming out and saying they're keeping interest rates low for two more years, what scares me is that things are not getting any better. They're concerned about where the economy is going. So, if I believe that and I believe that home prices are going to be lower in two years, mortgage rates are lower at the same time, what would cause me to go out and buy?
PRESIDENT RIPS WALL STREET OVER "PHONY" PROFITS, RISKY BETS
Dagen McDowell: We're all going to pay because the more he cracks down on finance and banking, the harder it is for us to be able to get a loan. Only one-fifth of Dodd Frank has been written so far. The finance industry doesn't know what it's going to be and that's going to be tough on the whole economy. If you look at the numbers, Obama was the big money maker from finance, real estate and insurance back in the 2008 election. He took in $43 million more than any other candidate. Right now, Mitt Romney is the leader and democrats are only taking in one quarter of the money that's being doled out by those industries-three quarters for Republicans.
Ben Stein: Wall Street was not playing by its own rules. They were playing by legal rules. Not one person is being indicted on mortgage fraud. They were playing by perfectly legal rules. The guy who was enforcing those rules on Wall Street was Mr. Geithner, who is now Obama's secretary of the treasury. So, if anyone should be taken to the woodshed and whipped, it should be Mr. Geithner and that's not going to happen. In the final analysis, plenty of people on Wall Street will give money to Mr. Obama because they are cultural liberals even though they are financial conservatives. But I don't know why he's saying they're playing by their own rules. They played within the law.
Stephane Fitch: I don't think Wall Street is any happier with Romney. I think he embarrassed Wall Street with this 15 percent tax rate he paid on $45 million earnings. The President kissing Wall Street's butt is not going to make the economy any better. Otherwise we would have a better economy right now if that's all it took.
Matt McCall: Why would Wall Street back an administration that really hammered them in the last three years. It hurts more than these big companies. He wants the population to think that these speeches hurt the big companies, but he's actually hurting companies that you and I have. The smaller guys out there now have to pay twice as much for regulation and compliance. That's one person that I could hire that I have to pay just to make sure my books are right because the President thinks he's going after the big guy because it's popular now to go after Wall Street.
MORE FOR YOUR MONEY STOCKS
Ben Stein: Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B)
Stephane Fitch: Intel (INTC)
Matt McCall: ISE Cloud Computer (SKYY)