• With: Charles Payne, Charlie Gasparino, Ben Stein, Sandra Smith, Adam Lashinsky

    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.

    2012 CAMPAIGN SPARKING DEBATE OVER THE SIZE OF GOVERNMENT

    CHARLES PAYNE: Listen, obviously I'm biased. I own a business, I believe in business, and I believe in pro growth policy. And that's what this is-its big businesses vs. big welfare. I've seen them both up-close and personal and I can tell you that big welfare is destructive and it stops innovation. And that's all big government is by the way. Now here's the thing that really blew me away: the idea that I work hard for it, but we spend it. That's ridiculous, that's crazy. I just don't get it. By the way, I thought the democratic convention was so mean spirited and so anti American that it's hard for me to believe this country is tilting in that direction.

    CHARLIE GASPARINO: I'm fascinated by the political strategy here. And without taking a side, the democrats are out there saying we love the free market system and we just want to create this safety net just incase we have another 2008. The republicans are kind of on the flip side of that. We're a free market but we are making these cuts so just in case anything happens we will have a safety net. They're both coming out with these, sort of, interesting variations on the same thing.

    BEN STEIN: The republicans would have us spend about what Reagan was spending which was about eighteen percent. We're up to about twenty-five to twenty-six percent under President Obama. That's an amount that is just unsustainable; especially if they wanted to grow. I think Obama's speech was basically quite a conservative speech. But if you strip it down to its essentials it just says they're going to give people who vote for them lots of perks paid for by taxes on rich people; and we're going to give them something for nothing. I think that's a bad idea. As Charles Payne so aptly said, it absolutely saps and destroys personal initiative.

    SANDRA SMITH: They need to be careful because of small business owners and potential entrepreneurs that are graduating from college. Because if they listened to the speech from President Obama last night, particularly Elizabeth Warren earlier in the week demonizing business in this country, those people are going to take their ball and go home. When they're talking about over regulating, taxing them more, taking what they made-who's going to want to actually start and own a business in this country? They're just making it impossible for anybody to thrive. These policies are proving to fail on a daily basis and nobody wants to hire in this environment.

    ADAM LASHINSKY: I almost completely disagree with Sandra. We're talking politics here and we're talking about speeches. So, when I listened to President Obama's speech Thursday night I heard him say things like, we believe in capitalism, we believe in business, and what we don't believe in is unfair advantages. But the point that I'm driving towards is that there is this sense in the country. The small business people think the big businesses are out to get them. I'm not advocating that position. I think that's an effective political point for the democrats. And that's what the president was trying to accomplish politically.

    FOCUS TURNS TO PRES NOMINEES' ENERGY PLANS AMID HIGH PRICES

    BEN STEIN: What I make of it is that the President last night said, oh its great stuff, we're importing less oil, and we've got a lot more natural gas being produced. That's thanks to the oil companies and that's thanks to the natural gas companies. Yet he curses them and damns them at every opportunity he possibly can. I'm just stunned at his hostility to the oil companies. Obviously that plays well with his flag burning and his constitution tearing base. But, that does not play well with reality. The oil companies deserve thanks and praise. Not this endless cursing at them.

    SANDRA SMITH: When the oil companies are making those ridiculous amounts of money, guess what? They're also paying taxes on that income and it's going directly to Washington. They're paying more taxes than any other corporation in the United States. So a majority of their money is going to Washington. They continue to demonize the energy companies, and Ben Stein is exactly right. The reason why we have an abundant amount of oil in this country right now is because the exploration of these oil companies that have had to fight over the regulations that president Obama has put into place while he's been in office. And if there has been any sense of the failed energy policy in this country right now; it's the fact that we've been over $90 a barrel for the past several months. Oil prices are not going down anytime soon.

    ADAM LASHINSKY: People don't like the oil companies because they're dirty or because they gush profits and so on. But lets just be clear on one thing; we are having an energy boom in North America. The oil companies have been successful and they will continue to be successful despite President Obama's demonizing of them. When he says we're going to have safety regulations and we're going to try to eliminate their tax loopholes-he's not saying we don't want them to do business.

    CHARLES PAYNE: I agree with what Sandra said. But she talked about federal taxes. Take the Marcela shell-billions of dollars each of your taxes and tax revenues for Pennsylvania. The environmentalists have a lot of sway with the administration and the Atheists have a lot of sway as well. But what's coming is the war on fracking. If you think gasoline is expensive now, you better be ready to pay five, six, and seven dollars a gallon if there will be a second term.

    PLAYING THE BLAME GAME

    BEN STEIN: I think it's very embarrassing. I noticed when President Bush took office; he took office as the stock market was crashing, recession was building, terrorism gone unchecked-he did not blame his predecessor President Clinton. He just stood up and did the job in an adult way. I'm just kind of embarrassed that they're blaming President Bush. But yes, President Bush did a lot wrong. But c'mon, let's be grownups and let's get on with the job.

    SANDRA SMITH: The role of the President of the United States can easily be compared to the chief executive officer or a CEO of a publicly traded company. And if you're hired to turn around a company and four years later, you're still blaming your predecessor-you would be fired.

    CHARLIE GASPARINO: I don't agree that the president is a CEO. He has to work with congress; but definitely overdone.

    CHARLES PAYNE: Absolutely overdone. Obama acts like sometimes he was drafted for the job. He was just chilling out in his apartment and they rang the bell.

    ADAM LASINSKY: There are two separate issues here. The politics blaming Bush, fine. But then there's what the state of what the economy was-and it was bad.

    "BEAT THE BLAME" STOCKS

    CATERPILLAR (CAT)

    CHARLES PAYNE: I Love Caterpillar, good news today from China. But the bottom line, one of the best run companies in the world. Giant global footprint-this stock is going to take off.

    ADAM: I absolutely agree. I love it too. It's as good a pick as any as you can make in this situation. Of course if there's a global economic slowdown, CAT has to suffer as with everyone else. And it's certainly a possibility because it's a big risk; especially with China. But not just in one new cycle but over a period of years.

    VANGUARD HEALTH CARE (VGHCX)

    ADAM: This is one of the all-time great mutual funds. It's far exceeded the rest of the market; it changed managers recently to the current manager's deputy who's been there since 1991. This is a good trend no matter what.

    BEN STEIN: If you have to pick stocks, the healthcare sector is a good fishbowl to be fishing in.

    SPDR S&P 500 (SPY)

    BEN STEIN: I don't think you can beat the index funds over long periods of time. So I'll stick with them thank you.