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.
ROMNEY RENEWS SUPPORT FOR INCREASE IN FEDERAL MINIMUM WAG; WILL THIS BE A DISASTER FOR THE JOB MARKET?
JONATHAN HOENIG: Well, the minimum wage Cheryl is government force, so of course it destroys jobs. It violates the rights to both employers and employees, so to act in their own self interest and you know what? Employers can offer the wage and employees can either take it or not. But they have to make that judgment, not a government bureaucrat and just like unions who force artificially high wages of course the net result is a lack of productivity, a destruction of productivity and a destruction of jobs.
WAYNE ROGERS: Well, I think theoretically, Jonathan is absolutely right, but you know the practical part of this is you've got a minimum wage, no legislature is going to turn around and say "oh we're not going to have that anymore" so, it doesn't matter. The fact that Romney is supporting a rise in it that is index to inflation isn't all that bad; it's going to happen anyway. If jobs are going to disappear, they are going to disappear. People are going to get paid under the table, look it's a free market. It's like Jonathan says, if your labor is for sale just like everything else.
JEHMU GREENE: Well, I think it's good that Governor Romney is actually saying that he cares about poor people that's one good thing, but minimum wage is clearly in all of our best interest and listening to Jonathan, he sounds like a broken record... we are not going to get rid of minimum wage, stop complaining about it Jonathan. At the end of the day, the more people make, the better consumers they are going to be. They take that money, and minimum wage workers they spend all of their additional funding. They spend it in local neighborhoods, in their communities and it boosts the economy, especially for small retail businesses. Why are you against this?
TRACY BYRNES: But that's the biggest problem, Jehmu small retail businesses are forced to pay a salary they might not necessarily be able to afford. You know, my wage is not tied to index for inflation, as a matter of fact we got job numbers yesterday that showed the hourly wage is not growing as nearly as fast as the CPI numbers are, so why then do we do this for some and not the others? Look, I think it is unfair for a company to pay a certain amount for a job that you and I don't know what it is. Companies should be able to decide who deserves what and the markets will decide whether or not it's fair.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I don't think it is a federal issue because, you look at the different economies around the country and to the point that if you raise people's wages they are going to be able to be more productive consumers, then let's just go with that and raise the minimum wage to five hundred dollars an hour based on that. That makes absolutely zero sense, what so ever. The average hour earning right now is twenty-three dollars and twenty-nine cents is up 1.9 percent year over year. The minimum wage affects very few people. Now in July 2009, when he raised it a couple of bucks, that did effect teen unemployment, so it needs to be index to something, if we are going to keep it as Wayne says, because people get around it. If you have a job that's 4 hours, and you can just sit there and pay contract laborers and say I'll give you twenty bucks to do it, this is not enforced. So, this minimum wage to me is not really that big of a deal. If you're going to raise it, than index is something, but not inflation.
AMERICAN CAR COMPANIES DRIVING UP PROFITS BECAUSE OF "NON-GREEN" VEHICLE SALES; TIME TO PUT BRAKES ON GREEN CAR PUSH?
TRACY BYRNES: Well as an owner of a big gas-hog, I have kids. I have kids that have friends. I have friends that have kids that have friends and we live in areas with snow. Cheryl, this little Volt thing does nothing for me and the consumer is saying this is what we need; stop throwing my money into an agenda that just doesn't work.
JOHN LAYFIELD: It's a huge difference and I am for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles. This is not the way to do it. I've written about this extensively on foxbusiness.com, but you look at what JD Power just said. We average $7,500 per car in government subsidies. Only 10 percent of cars are bought because of that subsidy. So, you have 10 cars, that's $75,000. Ninety percent of those cars are not bought; you only have one. That means we're subsidizing each car bought $75,000. This is as big a debacle as Cash for Clunkers. This is ridiculous government intervention.
JEHMU GREENE: Hey, I grew up in Texas. I understand loving a big truck, but the reality is this is a startup business; we have to give it time; we have to find a way to reduce our dependency on foreign energy and the batteries that are being made that we're investing in. This is good for the future. How are we going to get to these sci-fi movies where cars are flying if we can't get past this electric vehicle situation? Okay, of course I'm kidding there, but at the end of the day this is just the beginning of this market and this investment will pay off. Of course it's not paying off right now and as more people start to see the value in these cars, and especially as people are being hit with high gas prices, we are going to see that turn around. It's not going to happen overnight, but we are on the right track.
JONATHAN HOENIG: Give the company nothing Cheryl. We've already given this company $50 billion and I'm sorry we've got a major loss on that investment. I'm glad the president thinks it's a success that we've only lost, I don't know, $25 billion. My clients would consider that a loss. There's nothing wrong with a big, gas-guzzling car. To Tracy's point, people use them to be productive. They use them to work, to take their kids to school, to actually live their lives and people can go green all they want, but this notion that government has to subsidize it; it's bad economics and purely for political purposes.
WAYNE ROGERS: The free market will decide. I mean, if you don't like gas-guzzlers you won't by them if the price of gas goes up. Jehmu is right in the following sense; you want to try and wean yourself off of foreign oil. I agree with that. Everybody agrees with that, but you can't do it by force. You can't do it by intimidation. You've got to do it economically; make it attractive and all of those kind of things. By the way, you left out a stat; Chrysler sold a lot more cars, but when you start with one and go up 275 percent it means you just sold 275 cars. If you add up what Ford sold, they sold 30 thousand cars in the same period of time with the Prius and some of these other cars. So there is some momentum to this thing. I don't think the government should be paying for it. I don't think you should be paying for it, nor should I be paying for it. The market will determine that.
WELFARE MONEY FOR STRIP CLUBS?
JOHN LAYFIELD: How does this become political? They're actually making this into some political type of football. You just had the Bunny Ranch in Nevada endorse Ron Paul. They call it "Pimpin' for Paul"; that's their slogan. So you may be able to use welfare checks at the bunny ranch? Where do you stop this madness? Mayor Bloomberg said he didn't want them to use sugary drinks because it's causing a health problem. The cola companies killed him. Somewhere you've got to rein these guys in in D.C. and have some type of common sense.
WAYNE ROGERS: Oh come on, it's a free market. The guy's going to spend some money watching naked girls and drinking. Gee, give us a break here. I mean, as long as you're giving away this money you can't go around restricting it like that and so oh I can't go and spend it watching girls and you know. It doesn't make him a bad guy.
TRACY BYRNES: I'm all about supporting the working girl because she's got to pay for college just like the rest of us, but if I'm handing you money so you can eat, I'm thinking that you should go to the food store and buy fruits and vegetables and go home. Otherwise, we have to stop this policy of just handing money out without limitations. I will support any industry under the sun, but if I'm handing you a check because you're telling me you can't afford food, that's what you better be doing.
JEHMU GREENE: It's clearly not political; democrats and republicans supported it and bottom line, the overwhelming majority of families receiving temporary assistance for needy families; they spend that money on food, they spend it on milk, they spend it on necessities. This is a classic misdirection for the priorities in the house and lap dances are the biggest priority they should be focused on? What about job creation? I think it is absolute ludicrous that this is what they are spending their time on, on the hill when there are so many bills, so many opportunities that the president has put forward for job creation.
JONATHAN HOENIG: You're trying to foster independence by giving people money and telling them how they can and cannot spend it and it kind of goes back to something we talked about quite a bit during the whole health care debate; he who writes the checks makes the rules. Of course, as soon as you give somebody money and then you say I'm going to tell you here's how you spend it, here's how you shouldn't. The problem isn't that they spent it on strip clubs, and I'm sure Jehmu you're right that it's a very small percentage, the problem is that we have welfare at all. Government is not a charity. If you want to help those in need you should help them yourself.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
TRACY BYRNES: Hire jobless Americans before importing more foreign workers
JOHN LAYFIELD: Pick proven champs; Giants win the Super Bowl and buy Google (goog)
WAYNE ROGERS: Las Vegas Sands (LVS) is a good bet
JONATHAN HOENIG: Greek stocks rebounding (NMM) risky but rewarding