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.
FEARS GROWING A D.C. DEBT DEAL WILL HAVE TAX HIKES, BUT NO SPENDING CUTS
DAGEN MCDOWELL: Back in 1990 when we last went through this... spending actually didn't get cut, it went up and taxes also went up. And what happened? You saw the economy struggle... and President Bush did not get reelected. Now the Republicans are promising no tax hikes. Well, they better stick to it, not just if they want to get reelected again in this environment but to help the economy: look at a 9.2 percent unemployment rate and an economy that can barely create jobs and this is a country that can't handle that kind of spending and tax hike.
CHARLIE GASPARINO: I think it's a useful debate that we're having right now about the size of government that's slowing down the growth of these certain entitlements-Medicare and Medicaid. I do think it is a complete cop out to start with raising taxes. I'm not against raising taxes. But that's the last thing you do. It's not the first thing because what got us into this hole is the fact that government's too big. This is the reckoning of the welfare state. Do you want this type of government, where you have to borrow to pay back old borrowings or do you want something different?
Ben Stein: We had much higher taxes in the entire period from 1941 until 2001 and we did just fine for most of that time. We can have much higher taxes, especially on very wealthy people. I don't want to raise taxes on Dagen, I don't want to raise taxes on Charles, but on people who are making a couple of million dollars a year, we can raise their taxes quite substantially.
Adam Lashinsky: Well, in fact, our government does have money. But what we need here is a one-for-one deal here. We do need to raise taxes. We do need to cut spending. Anyone who says we need one more than the other, they're being partisan or ideological. But reasonable people understand we need to do both.
GM GIVING FREE AUTO INSURANCE FOR A WHOLE YEAR TO REV UP SALES, BUT IS THIS THE SLIPPERY SLOPE OF BAILOUTS?
DAGEN MCDOWELL: These auto companies are always trying to offer perks and incentives. They're (GM) targeting a few states where sales aren't great. But watch GM's inventory of trucks. They're going right back in the direction they used to.
CHARLIE GASPARINO: It's the ultimate moral hazard. There's no consequence to your risk. I think that's the problem with banks. The problem is that there's always controversy. Banks like Goldman Sachs, when they pay people, is going to be seen through the prism of being bailed out back in 2008. So, I think that's the problem with bailing these guys out in the first place. It's always seen through the prism that this is "Government Motors."
ADAM LASHINSKY: I am shocked that we could second guess this business! That strikes me as socialism. You seem to be saying that since we own them, we should not let them do this free auto insurance plan because we think it's not a good business idea. Let them run their business. And by the way, there was a moral hazard. The equity holders of General Motors were wiped out. If they screw this up, they'll be wiped out again. This time, 25 percent of it will be us.
BEN STEIN: As taxpayers, we're on the hook for an awful lot of things. This is a sales promotion. None of us would be discussing this if they said they were going to give us $500 off on our next Chevy. It's a clever idea for selling a car. It gets first time buyers in there who are worried about affording car insurance. I think it's an excellent idea.
GOVERNMENT FOOD POLICE TRYING TO PUSH REGULATIONS ON JUNK FOOD ADS
BEN STEIN: I really have to laugh at this because I worked on this kind of case at the Federal Trade Commission in the 1970's. We were concerned then that America was going to die of junk food. America didn't die of junk food. I don't see why Tony the Tiger doesn't have the same rights to free speech that Alexander Hamilton had. It's an incredibly important thing to allow businesses to advertise their products. People are not going to die from eating Frosted Flakes. They happen to be delicious. Why shouldn't they be able to say our products are tasty and delicious? What's wrong with that?
DAGEN MCDOWELL: I can get fat off of eating shredded wheat with a big bowl of sugar and half and half, but that's my choice. And that's where regulators lose their way. It's personal responsibility.
CHARLIE GASPARINO: Do you think the people who smoke don't know it's bad for you? You've got all sorts of labeling on it. Some of this stuff is complete garbage and there is no problem with labeling it as such.
ADAM LASHINSKY: I feel that, for example, what we did with cigarettes contributed to a major decrease in smoking in the United States and the decrease in lung cancer. We have a big obesity problem in this country because of processed, garbage food like this and I see no problem whatsoever with the government telling people that.
ALL STAR STOCKS
BEN STEIN: SPDR S&P 500 (SPY)
ADAM LASHINSKY: Vanguard Health Care (VGHCX)