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.
CALIFORNIA LAWMAKERS DENIED PAY UNTIL BUDGET IS RESOLVED: SHOULD SAME RULES APPLY TO CONGRESS?
WAYNE ROGERS: They passed Proposition 25 in California. In other words, the Legislature couldn't control themselves. They're like unruly children without adult supervision, so therefore the voters took it into their own hands and passed a proposition that said the lawmakers, until they pass a balanced budget, cannot be paid. That was a signal to them and it's a terrific idea, and by the way it's what should be done at the federal level too. We should say those lawmakers cannot be paid. So, you should pass that at the federal level and make the same thing true for both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
JONATHAN HOENIG: Well, I don't think they do it for the money. I don't think they do it for the $170,000, Wayne. They do it for the power. That's what these elected officials love. I think that's what they need to reduce. My God, I'd pay them twice as much to do half as much. That's what needs to be cut and we need politicians who understand, and you are right. It is up to the voters and they need to put politicians in office who understand that economic freedom is freedom. I mean, you laugh Wayne, but Greece isn't blowing up because of the unruly bankers, it's the politicians. Look at that chart, it's the direction we're headed.
KRYSTAL BALL: I think it sends a really important message and especially after this temper tantrum Eric Cantor threw this week and decided he'd rather engage in some chest-thumping than actually sit down and negotiate. I'm ready to cut their pay. At least it's some form of incentive.
TRACY BYRNES: Here's the thing; these guys will maneuver something or come up with something genius right around election time. Between now and then though, they screw everything up. I think Wayne's on it and Jonathan, to your point, money is power. You cut that paycheck, you cut that power. They don't have a dollar in their pocket, they're going to have issues. Think about all the perks they get. Think about all the perks that come with being down there and having a seat in the Senate or the House of Representatives; the plane, the restaurants, you name it. You cut that off man, that makes a huge difference to those guys.
JOHN LAYFIELD: Yeah, you save a lot more money by getting rid of all of them, which you can't realistically do, unfortunately, but that's what Americans want to do. Look at the latest polls. The majority of Americans don't want to re-elect President Obama; however, the majority of Americans don't want to elect any of these boring Republican candidates that are running against the President that they don't want to reelect in the first place. Look, we are going to elect the person that sucks the least one more time. We've got a great country run by absolute imbeciles who aren't qualified to run this country, that's the problem.
GOVERNMENT TAKES NEW MEASURES TO KEEP PEOPLE HEALTHY; GRAPHIC ADS ON CIGARETTES: ARE THEY DOING THIS TO MAKE THE NEW HEALTH CARE LAW AFFORDABLE?
TRACY BYRNES: Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius came out this week and said they were going to focus more on obesity, on tobacco, three-fourths of medical spending is driven by both obesity and tobacco. So, all of a sudden they are jumping to the preventative care cause. Hello! Why didn't we do this from the get-go? And you know why? Because they are realizing that Obama's health care plan is not going to be able to afford to cover these kinds of costs. So, they're going to slap labels on everything. I am an avid coffee drinker, you just wait- my coffee cup is going to have this death defying label on it someday I'm sure. It's very scary, and then you know, John Layfield's chips are going to get attacked too!
WAYNE ROGERS: It's a more fundamental question, if you can let the government tell you what you can eat, what you can do, there is no sense of individual responsibility. If you're going to say we have an equitable amount of freedom, you've got to take individual responsibility. Otherwise, just give it up and become a slave to the federal government, let them dictate everything. They're going to tell you what to eat, they're going to tell you how to live, how to sleep, all that. You got to get rid of it. Get the yoke of the federal government off your back, and vote against this kind of stuff.
JONATHAN HOENIG: This isn't about smoking, it's about freedom. This is a free country. And in a free country, adults make their own decisions. They act in their own self interests, and you know what? Some people like to smoke. Some people enjoy it. That's the problem with socialized health care. When you give the government the responsibility of paying for your health care, you give them the right to tell you how to live your life.
KRYSTAL BALL: Ok, this is information. No one is saying you can't smoke, no one is saying if you want a Big Mac after the show you can't get it. It's just information to help us lead healthier lifestyles. I don't see what the problem is with that. We are literally almost the fattest nation in the world, our teen smoking rates are on the rise, this does represent three-fourths of our health care spending. Whether you like the Affordable Care Act or not, nobody can afford these health care costs, if they weren't doing something it would be negligent.
JOHN LAYFIELD: It's a waste of time! Look at most guys in college, they date some skinny girl, her momma weighs 300 lbs, and they go ahead and marry anyway. They end up with a wife that weighs 300 lbs. Guys ignore warnings all the time! Everyone does! These warnings do no good whatsoever. Look at what the government did in 2009 with the "roll your own tax", they crushed the independent grower, they crushed the small tobacco in favor of the big tobacco. The government is behind big tobacco because they are lobbyists, this is window dressing.
STATE TO RUN FAILING SCHOOLS IN DETROIT: COULD PRIVATE COMPANIES DO IT BETTER?
JONATHAN HOENIG: Well Cheryl that's the problem, they've been under government control the whole time. We have a K-12 monopoly on education in this country. That's why it's so, in my opinion, absolutely abysmal on average. You essentially have property taxes supporting unions, supporting a government-run monopoly. I'd love Detroit to become some kind of an education homestead act. Let's have Apollo, DeVry, hell Walmart, Google, let them come in and sell the schools to private companies and let's have a rebirth of education in this country.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I think it's worth a shot. Look there's some great teachers. My sister is one down in Dallas, Texas home of the World Champion Mavs by the way, but you look at our system overall. We've gone from second to thirteenth in graduation rates. There are only eight countries in the OECD that are behind us in quality of education. Are education system, despite having some great teachers, is failing as a nation. We need to try something. This is definitely worth a shot.
TRACY BYRNES: We constantly look to history to predict the future and I don't think we can do that anymore. This is a different world right now and I do think it's worth an effort. You know I am very fortunate that my kids are in a fantastic public school system, but there are so many that we are failing our children miserably, and we can't continue if we expect to compete in the global world down the road. So why not give it a shot? I mean, it can't be any worse then what we've got going on right now.
KRYSTAL BALL: As a parent, it's one of the most important decisions you can make for your child, but it's really not about public vs. private because there are excellent private schools. There are also excellent public schools. We need to focus on what works and the most important thing is teachers; making sure that parents have choice. That's something that I believe in very strongly, making sure that we have the best teachers in place. That's really critical here.
WAYNE ROGERS: Well I agree with Krystal, you're going to have good and bad schools, whether they're private or public it's immaterial. The question really is here once again parents taking responsibility for the education of their own children. They're the ones who are selecting it. They're the people who are in the school district. They're the people who can change the school board and the school boards can control this. That's what you have to do. You have to put the responsibility back on them and not let them abdicate that responsibility to the state.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
TRACY BYRNES: Alright, so California spends $105 million on a school that costs $30 million to maintain; therefore, there are no students in it. Virginia spends $105 million on a prison and there are no prisoners. This is a blatant waste of state tax dollars.
JOHN LAYFIELD: A study just came out saying that Saudi Arabia's domestic energy consumption is growing at seven percent annually. At this rate, in 20 years, they're going to have very little oil to export. That is an economic disaster. They've got to mitigate it. They're talking about building nuclear plants all over the peninsula. A great way to play this is Exelon. They've got a five percent yield.
WAYNE ROGERS: Bernanke said this week that recovery is not coming back as fast as it should. Tell me something I don't know. He's the guy who's in the job that's supposed to help us. He and Tiny Tim should go home.
JONATHAN HOENIG: Well Japanese shares have actually done quite well, despite the fact that they have underperformed for the last six months. The last two months are looking quite strong. Check out SCJ Japanese Small Caps. I own it in my fund and it's top on my list.