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.
JOBS ACT: ATTACK ON UNEMPLOYMENT OR A JOB CREATOR?
John Layfield: There's no doubt about it, these people want to work. They don't want to sit around and just collect unemployment benefits. The problem is the government, because of no long-term tax policy, no energy policy, has really stifled job creation. This bill may not be the answer, but it's a step in the right direction. The biggest problem that these states face is that they can't handle high unemployment long-term. Thirty-three percent of state funding comes from the federal government. That stimulus money stops next month. This is a matter of economics. These states cannot afford high unemployment benefits for a long period.
Tracy Byrnes: History has shown that states can't manage their own wallets either. I would much rather see this money go to a drop in state tax rates. Maybe a drop in state corporate tax rates as well. Get companies to hire these people, not the states. I think the more money we get out of the state's hands, the better off we all are.
Christian Dorsey: For three out of every four unemployed persons, there are no jobs available, and let's remember that we've got 40 percent, more than 40 percent of all unemployed persons have been unemployed for more than six months, which is what these federal benefits actually kick in and pay. So to actually take that money away from struggling individuals and families is in my opinion morally reprehensible, but it's also bad economics. There's no other activity that the states could use this money for that returns as much economic activity to the economy as paying out unemployment benefits. So it's bad for jobs. It's bad for economic activity. Plus, it violates the spirit of the deal that was created at the end of last year, which extended all of the Bush tax cuts for 2012.
Jonathan Hoenig: The states have already borrowed 48 billion dollars to pay out all of these benefits. The great, American successful corporations in history: the Wal-Marts; the McDonalds; the Hewlett Packard's didn't come from government programs and certainly not unemployment benefits. They didn't come from redistribution either and that's exactly what this is. Where does the government get the money to redistribute to people on unemployment benefits? From the job creators. From people that could be actually putting folks back to work. That's your bad economics. It's immoral and it's impractical as well.
Wayne Rogers: With all due respect to Jonathan and Christian, there's no guarantee that the states no more than the Federal Government. Like Tracy said, they're politicians too. They can be bribed the same way the Fed are. There's nothing that says they're going to create jobs, that they're going to take the money and redistribute it properly, that they're going to do anything any differently. I think you're both barking up a wrong tree there. I think you take the money and pay down some debt, that's what you need to do. That's one thing that everybody knows is going to work. You took the money away from the taxpayer in the first place. Give it back to them.
TAKE AWAY BIG OIL TAX BREAKS TO PAY FOR ALTERNATIVE GREEN ENERGY OR PAY DOWN THE DEBT?
Wayne Rogers: First of all, Congress has created a big problem. They did this when they allowed all of the big eight oil companies to become four. They've thrown away the anti-trust laws. These companies don't need this anymore. They are huge oil companies. What you need is competition if you're going to bring down gasoline prices. You need a lot of small oil companies. They need to take advantage of it. Now, putting that aside I have to ask this question. If you're going to give the big oil companies this kind of a tax break, why shouldn't you give someone else a tax break who is going to create green? I'm not for it. I'm for paying down the debt, but if you're going to do it for one, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.
Jonathan Hoenig: Well, you know the president's all against cronyism, unless it's his favorite projects that are the benefit of that cronyism. In this case, his favorite projects of course are green, anything green must be good. Forget the fact that none of this green energy actually works. The whole green-energy industry is only alive because of the government subsidies. At least the oil companies, the gas and fossil fuels provide a value to this country, and in terms of paying down the debt or subsidizing technology that doesn't work, pay down the debt. At least that actually helps the country and provides a benefit.
Christian Dorsey: Part of it's an accounting argument. It's all one big pot of money and whether the balance sheet says that it actually comes from reducing subsidies to oil companies vs. new spending, that's a semantic argument, but let's get to the heart of the issue here. Oil companies don't need to be subsidized through the federal tax code. They're doing quite well and I'm actually almost embarrassed that these oil companies would want to continue to receive subsidies from all of us for their industries that are immensely profitable and efficient with their profitability. Where is the American, rugged Americanism that says we're going to go it on our own. They should voluntarily decide to forego subsidies.
John Layfield: Let's boil this argument down. We're talking about two billion dollars is what the Democratic plan would bring in. Our government right now is about 14 trillion. Congratulations you bunch of bozos in D.C. You somehow figured out how to pay down the debt of $2 billion. This is a dog and pony show. You're going after politically good targets in these evil oil companies and you're not doing anything for the deficit and you're not doing anything for renewable energy. Google has invested more in renewable energy, with the Atlantic Wind Quarter, which can create thousands of jobs, than our own government has. They've invested five billion dollars. Our government should be there doing that.
Tracy Byrnes: This is not about subsidies at all. This is about demonizing big oil because that's what we do. We demonize corporate America. You know what, take Google's R&D credit away they write off everything because of that. If you're going to do this, do it equitably, and let's face facts. The oil companies pay back more than 40 percent in their effective tax rate back to the government. They give 40 percent of those profits back. Don't tell me that's not true. I look at these financial statements every quarter. It is true and you know what? Pay down the debt. I don't care if it's only two billion. We have to start inching away at this thing. Wasting it on alternative energy is just going to put us into more debt.
TAX PARENTS OF FAT KIDS TO 'SLIM-DOWN' HEALTH CARE COSTS?
John Layfield: Look, we can't tax fat people just like we can't tax stupid people or this congressman would have to take out a second mortgage to pay the IRS like the rest of the people in D.C., but look, we've got an obesity problem in this country. These big, cupcake video-game playing kids become big, fat cupcake eating sedentary adults. We've got to do something about the lifestyle of these people, because obesity and diabetes is going to cost our healthcare a fortune in the long run.
Wayne Rogers: This is crazy! This is the nanny-state run wild. I mean, why not tax tall people or short people. You're going to tax fat people? That's crazy. I say let's subsidize every girl who has a 35-22-35 and a c-cup or better. Subsidize them. As long as you're going to go crazy with the nanny state, whose going to decide who's obese and who isn't? Who's tall, who's short, and who's fat? It's crazy.
Tracy Byrnes: It's disgusting, and all I could think of is, the money you're going to save by taking away people's tax breaks, these kids are going to be in therapy for the rest of their lives because they took away mommy's tax breaks. So there goes the money you're saving. It is out the window. It is ludicrous. Stay out of my house.
Christian Dorsey: He didn't look like he was kidding and he must have missed the first session of Conservative philosophy 101. He's a Republican and what he's talking about would mean an incredibly big government. To fill out your tax return you'd have to take your kid to the IRS; have them weighed; have their body fat index calculated. I mean, that's just absolutely ridiculous, but I guess on the flipside, you create this whole new industry because parents who have really fit kids would rent their children out to substitute for the parents whose kids are overweight.
Jonathan Hoenig: I don't think anything about this is good Cheryl. I think it demonstrates the point that he who pays the bills calls the shots, and of course when you make a fat kid's health and costs the public's responsibility, then the public gets to tell you whether he should go to a spin class, or cut out the bagels or sushi, or whatever. When you make individual health a public responsibility, all of a sudden the public gets to get involved with how you live your life. It's a very frightening development and as Wayne had pointed out, it's another step down the road to serfdom.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
Tracy Byrnes: Arizona is now collecting online donations to build a border fence to stop illegal immigration. Why? Well, they were waiting for the federal government to do it. They couldn't, so they're taking matters into their own hands. I love it.
John Layfield: Microsoft has not been able to create anything organically. They have not made good acquisitions over the years. They finally found a good use of all that money. That bought Skype last week and I think it's a tremendous acquisition. Hopefully they'll do more of this. I think Microsoft is a good long-term buy.
Wayne Rogers: Well I think if you want to be defensive in this market if there's a lot of risk out there and a little fright. Look at CYS. That is Cypress Stone Bridge. It's an REIT. It pays almost 19 percent in a dividend. That's a pretty hefty number. I like it and I own it.
Jonathan Hoenig: Well, people who say they're against globalization Cheryl should check out Orix. Now it's a diversified, financial services company almost like a KKR of Japan. They're launching a $200 million fund to invest in infrastructure in Texas. I own it in my fund as well and think it's a good buy at current levels.