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NEW WORRIES FOR ECONOMY AS PRICE SPIKES CONTINUE TO SLAM CONSUMERS
JOHN LAYFIELD: We are seeing some good things with this economy; we're seeing jobs increase. But on the other side we're seeing the lowest labor force participation rate in over 36 years. And you can explain the GDP number in the first quarter but you can't explain it a way for June. In June you only saw a .2 percent retail increase and the average person is starting to feel this pinch. The risk to me is if this price inflation gets worse because we have no way to deal with it with low interest rates from the fed.
TRACY BYRNES: Look, Corporations are a business; they have a bottom line. There's no way they're going to eat these increases. So it's tough between that, taxes, regulations, etc., all being passed on to us, the consumer, I give some companies credit for just admitting to raising prices because a lot of companies are trying to fool you. You open a bag of Lay's potato chip and the bag is half full. So you're getting less stuff even though you're paying the same price. I actually think it's worse; I'd rather just hear it for what it is.
JESSICA EHRLICH: The middle class is continuing to get pinched here. I think it was also very interesting in terms of the retail sales we saw in June that actually at stores like Costco and Old Navy, where prices are cheaper, were doing much better. I think we're going to see that again as we have the new back to school selling season, which is huge for retail. It'll be very interesting to see what those numbers are as well because we haven't seen this increase in wages and it's really just squeezing the American consumer and the American family.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: In some ways we're lucky. If we did see wage inflation that's what would probably cause the Federal Reserve to stop the loose money policy, which would actually cause a recession. So in some ways, this news is not as bad as it sounds. If you see bad news like Microsoft laying off some people, their whole company is falling apart slowly so they then have to lay off people. If emerging markets are getting rich, that's not a bad economic indicator; it just means the world is getting richer. That is a good economic indicator. Most of this food stuff you can tie to the weather, that's who we should blame not the Federal Reserve.
GARY B. SMITH: I think the economy has problems. The unemployment numbers and housing problems are pillars of that. But prices are really not my concern. We've mentioned hamburgers and what real people do is just not eat hamburgers then. They buy pork or they buy chicken. Chipotle prices have gone up which is great so then people go to Taco Bell. We live in a nation that has become so flexible and so willing to turn on a dime.
NEW CALLS TO INSTALL ANTI-MISSILE SYSTEMS ON ALL PASSENGER JETS
JONAS MAX FERRIS: It certainly could deflect terrorist grade shoulder missile type attacks. And if that does work and it costs some money than those are things that theoretically have to be mandated. Just like putting the doors on airplanes, they are expensive and some if it costs taxpayers money. Airbags are not cost-defective when it boils down to it. They save a few thousand lives and they're a great cost. You don't want to throw money in the garbage to save a small amount of cost but it's an uneconomic decision to make a safety choice.
GARY B SMITH: No, the government should not tell airlines they need these things. I don't even agree the government should mandate airbags, I think that should be the customer's choice. So I think that should be up for the airlines and customer to decide.
TRACY BYRNES: The government's only job is really to keep us safe and if something like this could do that why not investigate the cost of it and see if it's worth it. I think taxpayers would agree that even if the ticket prices went up a slight amount it might be worth it at the end of the day.
JESSICA EHRLICH: I agree and disagree. Definitely in terms of having the mandated regulation I think that needs to happen. It should definitely be considered for international flights. A cost-benefit analysis should be in terms of what this is going to do for struggling airlines we have in our industry currently and what could a phase in progress be on this at least in international flights to start with. I would hate to see a time when this is a concern for people on domestic flights.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I remember when we first started hearing about the Israeli airlines and the extra security like the secure cockpit door and the guards. We now have air marshals and that door secured in our own planes. The one thing I would disagree with is if it is a government mandate, I don't believe the government should pay for it.
HONDURAN PRESIDENT CALLING FOR U.S. AID TO STOP EXODUS TO AMERICA
GARY B SMITH: In theory it is a brilliant plan, you get to the root of the problem and you stop it before it becomes a problem. In practicality it's dumb. What normally happens when we give money like this to foreign governments is one a few things. It gets stolen; it's fraudulently used, or pads the pocket of government officials. We've seen this time and time again. I'm sure it'll appeal to the liberals out there but if you want to secure the border, secure the border and then think about aid later.
JESSICA EHRLICH: I think the root of it is definitely in a good place because they're dealing with a lot of the horrible issues from the drug cartels and increased violence going on in these countries. Certainly we've spent enough time and billions of dollars trying to do similar stability programs in Iraq and the Middle East but this is in our own backyard. But I think currently the President's plan has $300 million to go to the State Dept. to actually do this sort of work. Let the World Bank and their organization step in and do what they're supposed to be doing.
TRACY BYRNES: No this does not make any sense to me and it actually cracks me up that these countries have the audacity to even present plans like this to our President.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I'm with Gary B; it's an absolutely horrible idea in practicality. Every president since Raegan has said the same thing; secure the border and deal with those that are here. We've spent hundreds of billions of dollars securing borders in the Middle East. Some of the poorest towns in America are along that border. Don't take a thousand national guards and activate them, take our own soldiers because they are the best in the world. Relocating those bases along our border rejuvenates those towns and secures it easily.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: The Marshall Plan was about freeing up trade and we have a trade problem with the cocaine business of these gangs. Without them it'd have to become legal I think to put the gangs out of business to make their country safe so their kids don't have to come here to live.
GARY B SMITH: FIND "COMFORT" WITH KRAFT (KRFT) UP 20 percent BY 2015
JOHN LAYFIELD: FIND "SAFETY" WITH QUANTA (PWR) BUILDS UP 20 percent IN 1 YR
JONAS MAX FERRIS: SECURE YOURSELF WITH BONDS (BLV) UP 5 percent IN 1 YR