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.
AMERICA'S ECONOMIC SUPERPOWER QUESTIONED AS COMPANIES GO OVERSEAS
STEVE FORBES: In one sense, Coke going to China is a very good thing in the sense that it's a good market. But here at home, Obama's taken the fizz out of free markets and Coke sees a flat future here. No wonder it's looking around the world. We have more socialism here, less socialism in China, what's the world coming to?
RICH KARLGAARD: They have been for quite some time. You go back to President Obama in the 2008 campaign when he said he would trade growth for social equity, well we're not getting much growth. But look, the opposite headline that Coke goes to China and fails would be a bigger blow to American confidence. I'm glad that our big, multinational companies like Coca-Cola, IBM and Apple are doing so well on the world stage. That's still pretty good for America.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: The thing is we have no job growth in this country. We saw a really dire trend told hold since 1999, 2.9 million workers hired by our multinationals overseas versus just 2.4 or 2.2 million created here at home, that's according to the labor department. And that is a desperate trend for our own work force at a time when we see work numbers coming really poorly. It's sort of like we're playing a Reagan film backwards right now.
VICTORIA BARRET: I'm with Rich, I think it's good news. Now we can debate whether Coke is really a U.S. company. 80 percent of their sales are coming from outside the U.S. But this is fundamentally about the stock and that's what we should focus on here. It's about demand for the stock. Coke's stock has not done great for a long time, they're nowhere near their 1998 peak, they go to China there's going to be great buzz, demand for the stock. I would be worried if Groupon was filling in Shanghai, but we're talking about an old brand.
DENNIS KNEALE: I think this is less of a statement or reflection on the current economy, no company raises money on the markets thinking about where the economy is right now. This is an indictment, however, of the regulatory system in the U.S. that has led to a vast reduction of IPOs and pushed them all overseas where the rules are a lot better.
MIKE OZANIAN: This is good news. It shows there is going to be demand for Coca-Cola shares overseas. Coca-Cola is doing this not because the economy stinks here, they're doing it to compete against PepsiCo, which is eating their lunch overseas. I think the bad news related to Coca-Cola is they are sending their factories and have been for years. The problem with that is President Obama thinks the way you have a healthy economy is by printing money. That's caused the value of the dollar to collapse. That's what we have to stop doing if we want to get more job growth in the United States.
FLIPSIDE: AUTO BAILOUTS THAT PRES IS PRAISING ARE COLOSSAL FAILURE
STEVE FORBES: Losing $15 billion, only in Washington would that be counted as a success. Jobs - what about the 100,000 jobs they eliminated among auto dealers by Fiat. Third world countries, is that what we're becoming? Where they tear up contracts, shaft the creditors and give favors to political unions. They call this a success? Argentina - yes, America - no.
QUENTIN HARDY: It's an ugly mess no question, but history has to be the argument. And here's the history - Wall Street got rich selling products it didn't understand, but in 2000 that all went away and they destroyed the world credit markets. GM and Chrysler couldn't get credit so George Bush extended $17 billion to them and that stopped Ford from going down the pipes as well, Obama extended that too. Because of those credits from the government, we saved 400,000 jobs in the auto industry. In unemployment payments alone, that would have been $6 billion a year...That's a relative better of two evils.
RICH KARLGAARD: You look at the big three, the one that stands out is Ford. Ford absolutely refutes all of your arguments, Quentin. How can argue when Ford is the one that didn't take the bailout and Ford is shining, that these bailouts had any positive effect?
MORGAN BRENNAN: There is going to be about $14 billion in losses and any loss is bad news. But success here is relative. Of the $80 billion, if $14 billion is the loss that's less than 20 percent. And that's still a heck of a lot better than the 60 percent losses that were projected two years ago.
MIKE OZANIAN: This is a total failure. Since Obama Motors went public in November its stock price has underperformed Ford, underperformed Toyota and its stock has underperformed Honda. It has gotten killed relative to its rivals. And going forward, Wall Street is placing a much better lower valuation on GM's stock. The CBO has already said $8 billion of the money that was confiscated from taxpayers to largely give to Obama's union workers is not going to be recovered.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: The U.S. taxpayer is going to lose $2 billion on the bailout of Chrysler according to the Treasury Department. Getting back to GM, GM lost money even at the height of the bubble. These bailouts would not have happened if the economy and the collapse of Wall Street did not happen. The world credit markets collapsed because of also home grown bubbles in Spain, Ireland and Germany. But getting back to the point, even GM still to this day has union retiree costs on its balance sheet that's dragging it down like a boat anchor.
NEW FEAR HEALTH CARE LAW WILL FORCE HOSPITALS TO PUSH PATIENTS OUT
STEVE FORBES: When government bureaucrats are running hospitals that's going to be worse than pressure from insurance companies. Bureaucrats are going to reward hospitals that spend less on patients. It's a disastrous thing, those words death panels are going to be coming back.
DENNIS KNEALE: Patients should be the ones to decide treatment. Democrats and republicans are demagoguing the heck out of this Medicare issue. What I don't like is when we reject out of hand any attempt to restrain costs at all in Medicare. We have to do that and I think that hospitals have these customers that need to keep coming back. Hospitals will not dare go too far in cutting services to their customers.
VICTORIA BARRET: What we have here is we are jerry-rigging a system that is fundamentally broken. And we're saying things like, we're going to look at 90 days after you enter the hospital what are the costs spent on your care, so hospitals will say, why don't you come back in 91 days? We're going to be seeing all these funky work arounds because people will try to creatively get their hospitals into these high rankings. And as a result, you will have, as Steve said, bureaucrats running health care instead of doctors, nurses, and patients.
QUENTIN HARDY: You seem to want to have people be able to shop around for their medical care that means they need to have an awareness of how these hospitals perform. And 90 days after seems to be a pretty good measure because that's how they did after their treatment. The hospitals don't like it because it means more accountability. Private hospitals that take Medicare particularly don't want it. But in a free market you do cost benefit analysis. What was the cost of the treatment - what was the benefit?
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: That's the most important question to ask. And it's not when you have these hospitals, you talk about that 90 day post op care - the hospitals are responsible for that care even if that patient goes to another doctor. Basically, how do you define efficiency, which is what the government wants?
3 STOCKS TO GIVE YOUR PROFITS A "CONFIDENCE" BOOST
MORGAN BRENNAN: COCA-COLA (KO)
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: GOOGLE (GOOG)
DENNIS KNEALE: MACY'S (M)