• With: Charles Payne, Dagen McDowell, Charles Gasparino, Ben Stein, 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

    NO SPENDING CUTS FROM D.C. DESPITE $4.6 TRILLION CB

    CHARLES PAYNE: Relative, some just kind of common sense -- Medicare, age eligibility, 100 billion-- how about just curtailing these medical malpractice lawsuits, $60 billion. The numbers are mind-boggling.

    DAGEN MCDOWELL: I love that you're talking about Honey Boo Boo. Her mother is an extreme couponer. She can do math, she knows how to save money. That's the kind of attitude that we need down in Washington - people who know how to pinch pennies and save money. Those folks in D.C. won't do it until the American people agitate them to do so. When you talk about Social Security, raising the retirement age and making tweaks to programs - most people in this country go bananas. That's why D.C. isn't doing anything.

    CHARLES GASPARINO: I think this debate is a huge distraction from the real problem.

    BEN STEIN: It isn't really that easy. If it were that easy it would have been done already. These congress people are not as stupid as you think, although Mr. Nixon did once say that most congressmen are not fit to be dog catchers, but a dog catcher actually is a pretty sad job. It isn't as easy as you think or else it would have been done.

    ADAM LASHINSKY: I would state this differently. The CBO is playing math games, which is fine. Cut one percent, this is what you get. What they're not playing are political games. Congress has to play political games. I completely disagree with what Charles said- that these people are somehow inherently as a group corrupt. I don't think that's fair, Charles. If you want to say they're not doing their jobs well, they're not making the tough political decisions- fine. That's different from corrupt. And Dagen has hit the nail on the head. We support them in these things. We don't want them to cut these programs. That's the political problem.

    REPORT: WORKERS AFRAID TO TAKE SICK DAYS OVER JOBS LOSS FEARS

    DAGEN MCDOWELL: Absolutely, unemployment is still at 7.8. I think that managers in companies far and wide do not do enough to tell people to stay at home. I think that fear is right and just. People are in deep, deep fear of getting fired.

    ADAM LAHINSKY: The real fear is for people who make money by the hour, and if they get sick, they don't get paid period, it's not even the boss they need to worry about. So this thing is an economic tragedy. Employers are doing a disservice having sick people in the office, that's going to get other people sick, obviously.

    BEN STEIN: I'm in Washington D.C. today so out where I am isn't that far away. I will tell you something about how scared people are. Last night I was watching Skyfall, the new James Bond movie, for the 10th time, great movie and one woman started coughing and everybody in the theater moved away from her. People are terrified with good reason. It's a vicious flu and people should not be going to work and spreading it. It's extremely socially irresponsible.

    CHARLES PAYNE: We've come a long way from, "Take this job and shove it." There's a joke at my company that you have to quit or be fired to take a day off. He wouldn't have because he would have been at work. No, no, listen, if you're sick, you're sick. I don't ask for doctor's notes, but you do have to be sick.

    CHARLES GASPARINO: I would love to see the margin of error on the survey.

    I mean, listen, we're generally a nation of wimps and whiners and complainers. People would sue if they got fired over taking a day off. I mean, this is a nation where people sue you for anything.

    REPORT: AIRLINES ALREADY STARTING TO HIKE FARES IN THE NEW YEAR

    CHARLES PAYNE: Anytime the news headline is out of the airlines it's not a great combo for travelers because it means higher fees.

    DAGEN MCDOWELL: Absolutely, but suck it up. It's not public transportation; it's the airline's business, thank you very much.

    CHARLES GASPARINO: Let me ask you a question (to Neil): Is there an American business that you admire? You beat up on the banks, you hate green energy jobs, and you hate the airlines.

    ADAM LASHINSKY: I'm not with Dagen on this, "We go to work to avoid our spouses' thing," but she's absolutely right, we do need to pay more to fly.

    BEN STEIN: There's sort of an easy way to test what's going on: how big are the profits at the airline? We know they're either small or nil, so they're not overcharging us at all. The stockholders are basically giving us a gift by letting us fly on these airplanes

    STOCK PICKS

    CHARLES PAYNE: Titan Machinery (TITN)

    ADAM LASHINSKY: Cooper Tire & Rubber (CTB)

    BEN STEIN: iShares MSCI Taiwan (EWT)