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.
Bulls & Bears
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Mike Norman, BIZRADIO show host, and Stuart Varney, FOX Business News correspondent.
Trading Pit: War Against the War on Terror: Hurting America and Stocks?
Some are calling it a war against the War on Terror. In the last few weeks, top secret programs have been brought out in the press and the Supreme Court gave enemy prisoners at Guantanamo Bay more rights than many believe they deserve — all while we are at war. Is this hurting America and the stock market?
Mike Norman: If the war against the war results in us not being able to go after terrorists and track them down, because we are disclosing very important information, it is a danger. If the war against the war results in us pulling out of Iraq, it will be an unmitigated disaster for the U.S. Geopolitically, we will lose a lot of credibility and goodwill. It will cast us as a paper tiger that is unable to combat our mortal enemies. And it will almost certainly create an Iranian "satellite state" in the form of what is now Iraq. All of these things are worries for investors and the economy.
Pat Dorsey: If we're not going to respect the Supreme Court's decision, then there's no point in fighting any kind of war for freedom or democracy. They're upholding the law as they see it. You may or may not agree with it, but this is how the founding fathers set up our country. But, as we saw on Thursday, it has nothing to do with the market. The market is all about the Federal Reserve, not the Supreme Court.
Gary B. Smith: Anything that indirectly hurts our security hurts the market. The strength of our market depends a lot upon our security. We have the best and most liquid market in the world because we are rarely attacked on our shores. This is in part due to our war on terror. Anything that weakens our war, weakens our security, and will make our market less secure and weaker.
Scott Bleier: Every generation is faced with a challenge to our way of life. We're faced with one now. The problem is that there is a segment of the population that have gotten so spoiled with our personal freedoms—i.e. the right to privacy—that they forget we sometimes have to temporarily give up some of our freedoms in order to secure life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Confidence is what builds our markets, and if we cannot fight the war on terror, the market will lose confidence.
Stuart Varney: In my opinion, the War on Terror is being deliberately undermined for political reasons. Can you imagine the 1950s WWII generation undermining the president, foreign policy, and the war? Can you imagine Frank Sinatra speaking out against America? Could you see Jimmy Stewart objecting to all that America stands for? The current generation is not responding to the challenge the way prior generations did. People objected during Vietnam, but this time it's for political reasons, because some have such a deep hatred of the president. If this leads to undermining the war on terror, the stock market and economy will really get hurt.
Tobin Smith: Our soldiers are fighting so someone has the right to burn the flag. So judicial branch can say to executive branch, "You've overstepped your authority." You can argue technique and that liberals hate the president, but we are watching our democracy working the way it was intended. It's not pretty, but it is working, and that is what we're defending.
Who has made the best and worst calls of the year?
In January Gary B. said that Pixar would revitalize Disney (DIS) and the stock would benefit. It's done well and is up 19 percent. Gary still likes Disney because it has been in a long uptrend. He said the only time to sell the stock is if it breaks down from its uptrend line. (Disney closed on Friday at $30.00.)
Pat picked El Paso (EP) in April and since then, this oil and natural gas company is up 25 percent. He says the stock still has room to run, and thinks it's worth $18-$20. (El Paso closed on Friday at $15.00.)
Just two months ago, Scott loved Sepracor (SEPR), maker of the insomnia drug Lunesta. It sure has been no sleeper — moving up 26 percent. Scott still thinks that the stock is cheap and has more upside. (Sepracor closed on Friday at $57.14.)
Five months ago Mike predicted ethanol was going to be the new gasoline. He thought Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) would really come out a winner. He was right. The stock has shot up 35 percent. Mike says it can run a bit higher, but not much. He still owns the stock, but has pared down his position. (Archer Daniels Midland closed on Friday at $41.28.)
In April, Toby said General Motors (GM) would really start revving up for the year. It really has been a hot rod — speeding up 47 percent. Toby still likes GM and thinks the stock will go to $40. (General Motors closed on Friday at $29.79.)
Now on to the not so good calls:
Gary B's pick was the best of the worst, or the one that lost the least. In March, he said homebuilders would really start to light up and he liked the Homebuilders SPDR (XHB). However, it is down 26 percent. Gary said this was a bad call and now is not the time to buy. (Homebuilders SPDR closed on Friday at $33.98.)
Toby often throws out, "Right idea, wrong stock." In March, he liked Applied Micro Circuits. This was definitely the wrong idea because the stock is down 30 percent. Toby said he thought the stock had been beaten so badly it had to go up. He no longer likes it. (Applied Micro Circuits closed on Friday at $2.73.)
Last April, Scott was looking for good deals and said Telecom of New Zealand (NZT) had a lot of upside. Instead, it had a lot of downside, falling 30 percent. Even though this stock has been beaten down, Scott is still bullish on it. (Telecom of New Zealand closed on Friday at $19.89.)
We took a look at all of Mike's calls and found medical equipment maker, Boston Scientific (BSX), from an appearance on Cavuto on Business last February. At the time, he thought it would do well because of so many aging baby boomers. It has fallen 31 percent. Mike said he didn't see all the company's legal problems and now is bearish on the stock. (Boston Scientific closed on Friday at $16.84.)
What happened to Pat? His top stock for the year, Expedia (EXPE), was the worst of the worst so far this year. It really hasn't been flying high and fell to the ground 37 percent. Pat said Expedia better go up because he still owns a lot of it. He still finds it very cheap right now and thinks it is worth twice its current price. (Expedia closed on Friday at $14.99.)
Pat Dorsey's prediction: Forget housing worries; Home Depot (HD) gains 30 percent
Mike Norman's prediction: Big cap tech stocks rally! Nasdaq heading 15 percent higher
Gary B. Smith's prediction: My bad: "Toby Bottom" is in! SPDRs (SPY) up10 percent by 2007
Tobin Smith's prediction: I was wrong too! Microsoft (MSFT) down 15 percent
Scott Bleier's prediction: Take-Two (TTWO) ticks up 40 percent by end of this year
Cavuto on Business
Neil Cavuto was joined by Ben Stein, author of "How Successful People Win"; Charles Payne, CEO of Wall Street Strategies; Rebecca Gomez, FOX Business News correspondent; Herman Cain, radio talk show host; Tracy Byrnes, New York Post business writer; Bruce Raynor, president of UNITE HERE; Morris Reid, Democratic strategist.
Neil Cavuto: One in five Americans shops at Wal-Mart every week! And you know what else they have in common? Polls show this group tends to vote the same way too! Eighty-five percent cast ballots for President Bush in 2004. But which party will win the "Wal-Mart vote" in November? Charles?
Charles Payne: I think the Republicans are going to win. Wal-Mart shoppers are practical and value oriented people. Democrats are not going to be able to craft a message that resonates with these types of voters.
Ben Stein: Wal-Mart is an amazing store. You go through your whole life feeling the mechanic is ripping you off, the doctor is ripping you off and the dentist is ripping you off. But at Wal-Mart you feel like they're giving you a square deal. That being said, I agree with Charles. The Wal-Mart shopper is a conservative red-blooded American who likes the flag and who likes religion. The Democrats just don't know how to reach them.
Tracy Byrnes: Wal-Mart is like "Joe America." Joe America has a family. They got beat up with high electric bills. Now they have interest rates and gas prices. They might have a son or daughter overseas. They're kind of worn down. It's easy to see how they could be swayed. They need a change. They need something different to fix things.
Bruce Raynor: Wal-Mart customers are dealing with $3 a gallon plus gas. They're dealing with a minimum wage that hasn't gone up in nine years. They're dealing with a decline in high paying manufacturing jobs. The middle class, working class and poor people are the people who have changed their mind about this President. And they've changed their mind about this Congress.
Neil Cavuto: Bruce, are you a Democrat?
Bruce Raynor: I am, but I've voted for Republicans and Democrats.
Neil Cavuto: OK, so you're not a fan of this president.
Bruce Raynor: I have not been a fan of the president.
Neil Cavuto: All right. Just wanted to know where you were coming from. Herman, what do you think of that?
Herman Cain: This is not about Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart voters are like all other voters. They're going to look for the smartest candidates. And the smart candidates are not going to start changing for the demographic du jour. This is all about smart voters who are going to be the swing voters because more and more people are in fact disgusted with both parties so they're going make up their minds individually.
Rebecca Gomez: The Wal-Mart voters are indeed going to go to the Democrats this year. And it goes to what Tracy was saying. They're dealing with high gas prices and they're worried about inflation. And what can the Republicans offer them, more tax cuts? These people aren't big on tax cuts. They don't have capital gains to get a tax cut.
Charles Payne: Ironically, everything you guys are saying was in place four years ago and it didn't wash then. The economy is doing really well. People are making more money. We just came through the best housing boom in a hundred years.
Bruce Raynor: Real wages have not gone up since 1973.
Charles Payne: A lot of Republicans have been voted in since then.
Bruce Raynor: Americans have more retirement insecurity than ever before. Forty-six million Americans have no health insurance.
Neil Cavuto: What's your complaint on Wal-Mart specifically?
Bruce Raynor: It's a giant financial institution that pays workers $7.50 an hour. It relies upon government insurance programs to provide healthcare for most of its workers. It also has no retirement plan for most its workers.
Ben Stein: That's not so. The problems you're mentioning are not the Republicans' fault. They're the fault of world markets. Second, Wal-Mart does have a retirement plan. It's probably not as lavish as your retirement plan or my retirement plan, but it's the best plan they've ever had.
Bruce Raynor: Most Wal-Mart workers have no money saved for retirement.
Ben Stein: Most workers don't have any retirement savings anywhere.
Bruce Raynor: As a company, Wal-Mart's impact is different than its customer's political views. As a company, its impact is negative on our economy.
Ben Stein: That is so outrageous. Everywhere there's a Wal-Mart the workers get a 20 percent raise because of the amount of money they save by shopping there. Wal-Mart is an incredible force for good in this country.
Neil Cavuto: If high gases prices and some of the other problems you alluded to earlier, Rebecca, were really affecting the Wal-Mart shopper we would've seen it in Wal-Mart's sales. Thus far, we have not seen this. Maybe we're bemoaning the death of this group prematurely?
Rebecca Gomez: Good point, but once people are in the midst of deciding who they're going to vote for, it's very emotional. People are going to say "Hey these guys haven't done anything for us in the past 24 hours. Let's vote in the new guys." Again, the Republicans are keeping on these tax cuts and for low and middle-income Americans it's hard for them to see how this really benefits them.
Neil Cavuto: Herman, what do you make of that — that these people are ticked off and they're going to show it in November?
Herman Cain: Some are ticked off, but more people are smart enough not to follow what I call "group think" of the Republican party or "group think" of the Democratic party. In the end, people are going to make a local decision about the candidate who's talking about the real issues.
Neil Cavuto: Bruce, can Wal-Mart do anything right now to pick up its reputation?
Bruce Raynor: It can by raising the wages of the people who work for them. Half the Wal-Mart workers quit every year because their jobs don't pay them enough to support their families.
Neil Cavuto: Bruce, out of curiosity, have you ever shopped at a Wal-Mart?
Bruce Raynor: Yes I have.
Neil Cavuto: OK, there you go.
Head to Head
Neil Cavuto: Billionaire Warren Buffett taking it to the extreme this week — leaving money to charity tax-free. But if he had left that money to his family it would be taxed! Big time taxed! Is that fair? Herman, when I die I can leave my money to strangers tax-free if I give it to charity, but if I leave it to loved ones, they have to pay. It doesn't strike me as fair.
Herman Cain: Well, Neil that's because it's not only unfair, it's wrong. Ninety-eight percent of people who are technically millionaires in this country got there the old fashioned way. They worked for it. It is wrong to penalize a family because the first generation wants to leave something for the second generation. And it is simply wrong to force a business to sell off assets just to keep the business going.
Ben Stein: In all the years I've been doing this show this is the best question you've ever had.
Neil Cavuto: You usually hate all the questions we ask.
Ben Stein: I know. This is a brilliant philosophical question. Whoever thought of it should get a raise. The theory is if you leave it to your heirs they'll use it on roulette wheels and call girls in Las Vegas. And if you leave it to the Red Cross they'll use it for helping disaster victims. My own view of it is we shouldn't have a cut in the inheritance tax, period. We're running very large deficits. This is no time to be cutting taxes on any group, most especially the rich.
Charles Payne: Buffett brought up this idea that we're redistributing wealth. We're going to take a billion dollars from this guy and give it who? We're going to buy $900 hammers and $5,000 toilet seats with it. We're not impacting anyone's life with this. The American dream is that you go out and you work hard. People who really work hard, work hard for their children. I know my kids got me over the hump. There's no way I could've made it if I didn't have a daughter at home. I think a lot of people at home feel the same way. Let me do with my money what I want to do with it.
Neil Cavuto: I want you to adopt me.
Tracy Byrnes: A lot of it is passed on tax-free to begin with. You have the $2 million exclusion. It's going to go to $3.5 million. Hopefully it goes a little higher.
Neil Cavuto: Morris, here was my question. When I saw Bill Gates and Warren Buffett devote all this money to charity, if they love the government so much, why didn't they pour that money into the government? They didn't because they know they're better at allocating their money than the government is, right?
Morris Reid: I think they want to make sure it gets to the right people. Their foundation is doing great and it's hitting the streets.
Neil Cavuto: So don't you think there's something to the argument that we are over taxed in general. We still have waste in the society, so much so that the two richest guys on the planet say this is not a good use of our money.
Morris Reid: Well, they're also not for rolling back the taxes. I think they want to do this their own way. These guys have a lot of wherewithal. They've paid a lot of money into the Federal Treasury already. And they just want to go a different course. I applaud them. Other people should follow their example.
More for Your Money
Neil Cavuto: The best stocks to own for the final six months of the year? Time to get more for your money. Charles, what do you like?
Charles Payne: I like Bausch & Lomb (BOL). Anyone who owns contact lenses knows the story here. They had some problems but ironically it might have been some of the users not taking care of the contact lenses. The stock is good. I will add the caveat that it's high risk. Bausch & Lomb closed Friday at $49.04
Tracy Byrnes: You are the smartest man I know, and I don't get it. There's no growth estimates here. They're negative. And it came down to hygiene for these people. They weren't being clean. I'd go to Johnson & Johnson instead.
Neil Cavuto: OK, Herman what do you like?
Herman Cain: I believe that pharmaceuticals are a very profitable industry. I like GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). They're one of the leaders in cancer drug treatments. They're going to be around a long time. And so they're a good bet for the second half of the year. GlaxoSmithKline closed Friday at $55.80
Charles Payne: Herman, you're absolutely right about everything you have to say except that this was a better play for the first six months of the year. They had great news last week with the cancer drug for the young girls. But I think it's made a big move already.
Neil Cavuto: Tracy, what do you like?
Tracy Byrnes: I like Whole Foods Market (WFMI). If you bought this stock five years ago, it's now up 400 percent. People are willing to pay a premium for good healthy food. Internally, I also like that there's upper management caps and stock option incentives. It's a well-run company. Whole Foods Market closed Friday at $64.64
Neil Cavuto: Well, Herman made his fortune in pizza. What's his view?
Herman Cain: Tracy, unfortunately with a fifty-five-price earnings ratio they've already been rewarded for their unique niche. I have a problem with a company who stops selling lobsters because they think it's inhumane. I don't trust the direction that they're going into.
Tracy Byrnes: Try the granola.
Neil Cavuto: Leave the lobster alone and try the granola. Ben, what do you like?
Ben Stein: Well, first of all lobsters do feel real pain. I think it would be good if they killed them in a more humane way. But second, I like the SPDRs, the S&P Index Fund (SPY). It's way below the 15-year moving average on a price-to-earnings basis. It's way below the 15-year average on a price-to-sales or price-to-book basis. SPDRs closed Friday at $127.14
Neil Cavuto: By they way Ben, how would you kill a lobster?
Ben Stein: I wouldn't kill them. I don't eat traif.
Charles Payne: Everything that has been said is right.
Neil Cavuto: Even about the lobster?
Charles Payne: I don't know about the lobster. I don't know how any of us would know if they feel pain or not. But anyway, here's the deal. You have to buy individual stocks. Even if the S&P is up, it's only fractional.
FOX on the Spots
Charles: Dem supporter buys Univision; bad news for GOP!
Ben: Karl Rove and GOP beat the Dems on social issues again!
Herman: Congress split after elections; good for stocks!
Rebecca: Google scores again with online pay system, "GBuy"
Neil Cavuto: Nearly five years after 9/11 we seem to have forgotten 9/11: a Gitmo decision that treats terrorists by Geneva Convention rules, The New York Times reveals secret terror financing details. Sadly, we're setting ourselves up for bad stuff because we continue to make bad decisions on evil.
Forbes on FOX
In Focus: Is The New York Times the No. 1 Enemy of the Stock Market?
Mike Ozanian, senior editor: The New York Times has essentially been exposed as an arm of Al-Qaeda. But I do think that there is some good that comes of this. Now any future Presidential candidate or big politician that the New York Times pushes will have no credibility. Even moderates in this country know what the Times did was reprehensible.
Lea Goldman, associate editor: This is absurd. Since 2004 the President has been using every opportunity he could to talk about how we needed to choke the financing of terrorist organizations. This is not news. The New York Times didn't break any news.
Jim Michaels, editorial vice president: In WWII there were posters all over the country that said, "loose lips sink ships." Loose lips also sink effective anti-terrorism. We are telling the terrorists that it isn't safe for them to use an Indonesian bank or an obscure Pakistani bank because we're watching. They'll just find other ways to do it.
Dennis Kneale, managing editor: This is just another excuse for all the people who hate the New York Times to beat up on it. You don't think that terrorists didn't already know that they might be tracked? Plus, maybe this story has a great result. Maybe someone who is teetering says, "I'm not going to mess with terrorism because they're tracking my money". Do we really think that the editors of the New York Times are out to hurt this country or encourage terrorist attacks? It's just a great way for conservatives who hate this paper to attack it.
Rich Karlgaard, publisher: All the New York Times proved is that the left is incapable of thinking seriously about the security of this country. In a strange way this is good for the market because the left hand has been exposed and Republicans are going to make a comeback in 2006.
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief: The New York Times wants us to lose this War on Terror or they wouldn't have published that article. The New York Times is against this war.
Flipside: Clo$ing Gitmo Would Help War on Terror and Stocks!
Dennis Kneale: Guantanamo is below us as a country. We say suspected terrorists but hundreds of those guys there were prisoners of war that we caught when we went into Afghanistan to go after the Taliban. Are we going to hold them forever? When we have prisoners arrested in war over in Iraq, don't we want to exchange and get them back? The rumors that are coming out of Gitmo are making us look like the bad guys. We're the good guys! Shut it down!
Steve Forbes: If we shut down Guantanamo it would send the message that we're retreating from the War on Terror. We have to hold these people somewhere. There not part of the Geneva Conventions because they don't wear uniforms. They've never subscribed to the Geneva Conventions and where would we put them?
Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: We cannot incarcerate people indefinitely, we are the beacon of freedom and justice. I'm for shutting Gitmo down, but also bringing them to justice through a trial. Even the President said we have to do that.
Jim Michaels: All the rules in the world say you can hold prisoners in a war until the war is over and they are no longer a threat to you. This war is not over. Secondly, they're not legitimate prisoners of war. They represent no government. They subscribe to no codes.
Victoria Barret, associate editor: These people are suspected terrorists. We don't know because we haven't given them a fair chance at a trial. That's what's wrong with Guantanamo. It's become synonymous with super-power abuse and arrogance. That's why we should shut it down.
Mike Ozanian: The Supreme Court has ruled again and again that the President is right in what he's doing. These people do not have a right to a speedy trial, he can detain them during the length of the war. And even if there is just one person in there that's a potential threat. We're doing the right thing.
Informer: Population Boom Buys
Lea Goldman: The population is heading to 300 million by fall and I think the 300 millionth person is likely going to be of Hispanic decent, so I like Grupo Televisa (TV). They make a lot of Spanish language programming. And the market is still growing.
Mike Ozanian: I don't like it. Their market share is falling and their ratings are falling. Their one big chance was to make a big acquisition this week by buying Univision and they blew it. I like a real estate investment trust, General Growth Properties (GGP). They build shopping malls. Americans love to shop. This is a winner.
Lea Goldman: I think this company is having some big accounting troubles.
Dennis Kneale: The group of people ages 45-65 is going to grow 30 percent by 2010 from 2000. I like Express Scripts (ESRX), they're a drug benefit manager. Everyone is going to be taking more pharmaceuticals. Invest in a company that helps keep the costs down.
Elizabeth MacDonald: This is a company that has been under investigation in about 20 different states. It also has been accused of inflating the value of costs of generic drugs. I like Wal-Mart (WMT). A population boom means more middle to lower-income people, likely people of Hispanic decent. People who are of Hispanic decent like to shop at Wal-Mart. They've done an amazing job making those inroads into Latin and South America.
Dennis Kneale: Hispanics aren't the reason to buy this stock when part of our government is trying to keep them out. And Wal-Mart is so big that it's also hard to post growth.
Makers & Breakers
• Garmin (GRMN)
Brian Hicks, editor of New America Investor: MAKER
Garmin might be the greatest growth stock of this decade. They're the number one leader in personal navigation devices. They control 50 percent of the market. I especially like this because today only 5 percent of cars have GPS devices. So there is a lot of room for growth. I think it can go to $147 in one year. (Friday's close: $105.44)
Victoria Barret: BREAKER
I actually have one of these and I love it. But I don't like this stock because the market is becoming increasingly competitive as other big players are making inroads. So I think they are going to lose that 50 percent market share over time.
Rich Karlgaard: MAKER
I think Garmin is the gold standard and Garmin is really the Intel inside of all of the GPS technology. This is a growth stock.
• American Science and Engineering (ASEI)
Brian Hicks: MAKER
I love this company because it's protecting America, it's protecting our ports. You'll find their devices at almost every American port. They're at the border right now checking cargo and immigration. Sales are dramatically increasing and up 50 percent since last year. I think it can go to $73 in one year. (Friday's close: $57.92)
Rich Karlgaard: BREAKER
I'd like this stock more if they had a new CFO or someone who wouldn't constantly surprise Wall Street with negative earnings and having to constantly revise their numbers.
Victoria Barret: MAKER
I like this stock because fear sells and this stock is pretty cheap right now.
Our "Cashin' In" crew this week: Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers and Company; Jonathan Hoenig, Capitalistpig Asset Management; Dagen McDowell, FOX Business News; Jonas Max Ferris, MAXfunds.com; Price Headley, BigTrends.com, and Barry Habib, The Mortgage Market Guide.
Stock Smarts: Hou$ing Nightmare?
Sky-high home prices and rising mortgage rates: the combination is making it harder and harder for people to buy homes — or even afford their current one. Is this American dream about to turn into a nightmare?
Jonas Max Ferris, MAXfunds.com: Definitely, for some people. I'm most concerned about people who are just entering the market, who haven't benefited from the huge rise-up in homes. They have no equity built up or maybe they cashed out whatever equity they built up. They are in no position to handle a decline. And what's concerning me more recently is that because prices have stayed pretty high and we've seen mortgage rates go up and houses are more affordable, rents have come up now because people have to rent. That's inflationary and, more importantly, it's taking so much of your budget to the point where you can't buy a car.
Jonathan Hoenig, Capitalistpig Asset Management: People who have bought homes that they can't afford will get hurt. People who have overleveraged themselves will get hurt. If you bought a home you can afford, if you've got a payment you can make, do you really see Armageddon here?
Jonas Max Ferris: I would say almost nobody who bought this year could afford it because of that case.
Jonathan Hoenig: Well, they're going to get killed, no matter what it is; whether it's gold or stocks or commodities. We're avoiding housing and housing-related stocks in my hedge fund. I'm avoiding the asset class. But I think most people who have lived within their means are going to be fine.
Barry Habib, The Mortgage Market Guide: I totally agree. I think this ‘housing bubble' nonsense is crazy. It's not something new. It's been going on for four years now. If you think about most parts of the country where, two years ago, if someone believed this ‘housing bubble' nonsense, they'd be out tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Terry Keenan: But it's not new because rates have gone from 1 percent-5 percent.
Barry Habib: Did you know that five years ago, not a hundred years ago, but five years ago the 30-year fixed rates were 9 percent? Today, they are at 6 percent.
Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers and Company: Well, we've talked about this ad nauseum. It's old news. We talked about the housing market going down 9 months ago. The builders' market index is at an 11-year low. Even the buyers' index is at an 11-year low. People who are looking for houses are at an 11-year low. It's all over. Listen, Ben Bernanke has raised interest rates to the point where people can't take it anymore. He's going to kill the economy if he keeps going. This housing bubble is a bubble, but that doesn't mean that people shouldn't be looking to buy now. We're getting to the point now where we're going to reach a level where it bottoms out, and then it will start up again.
Price Headley, BigTrends.com: My problem with that, Wayne, is that I think you're going to see it go sideways for a long time because of the way these housing stocks have collapsed. This is about interest rates, though. It's about the fact that rates are rising. They're going to continue to rise. And you've got about 25-30 percent of mortgages that are on adjustable rates, about 22 percent of the $8 trillion mortgage market is coming up for a reset on rates. That means that a $500,000 mortgage is going to be looking at 2 percent higher rates; about $800 a month more.
Dagen McDowell, FOX Business News: You're just beginning to see prices come down. You're seeing it in Boston and San Diego. This is what is in store just 6 months from now for all of the hot markets; from the west coast to the east coast. We're just beginning to feel the pain.
Cashin' In Challenge
Keep up with all the latest moves in the Challenge!
Log on to http://www.foxnews.com/challenge
Cashin' In: Scrap NASA?
$16 billion: That's how much of your tax dollars NASA received last year. Would that money be better spent fighting terror?
Jonathan Hoenig: Yes, of course. The shuttle program is a huge, colossal waste of money. The roll of government is to protect us and maybe, when every kid on the ground in Iraq has a better weapon, better body armor and a $20,000 raise, maybe then I'll think, ‘yeah, we should worry about putting a shuttle up into space that turns around and comes back.' The public loves it, but it's not doing us any good.
Dagen McDowell: Jonathan, $16 billion is a drop in the bucket. It's about a week's worth of entitlement spending. Plus, just think of all the NASA-inspired innovations that we encounter in everyday life: improved health care, improved breast cancer screening, grooves in runways and roads to help drainage. There are all these things and that is inspirational.
Terry Keenan: Price, even Christopher Columbus needed the Spanish government to get him here.
Price Headley: Absolutely. I think it's about results. Those are some results, but I don't think it's enough to justify the kind of money that we're putting in there compared to the lives that are on the line. Not just in Iraq, but our lives that are on the line, if we get terrorists that continue to hit us here on our own soil.
Jonas Max Ferris, MAXfunds.com: First of all, it's not some liberal program that was hatched to be for the social good. It was set by President Eisenhower to fight the Soviet threat and, more recently, they fund a lot of the drones that they put up which are for terrorism and policing, so it's not all "happy-go-lucky, humor the public."
Jonathan Hoenig: But Jonas, that's what the shuttle program is. That is exactly what the shuttle program is.
Jonas Max Ferris: I'm not Mr. "Let's Go Meet the Martians With People." In general, the NASA program shouldn't be cut and the money shouldn't be given to the War on Terror because, by that logic, while the War on Terror is important, every government program should be cut and all the money should go to the war because no government program is as important as saving lives.
Jonathan Hoenig: Now you're talking.
Terry Keenan: Wayne, even people who aren't like Jonathan, on the other side of the spectrum, will concede that the shuttle program has been a huge disaster. It's supposed to be a reusable craft that can go back and forth to the space station and it hasn't worked out.
Wayne Rogers: I don't see how you can say it's a disaster. You're experimenting with something that isn't always going to work perfectly every time. I think Dagen and Jonas are absolutely right. One has nothing to do with the other. If you're going to cut some fat, cut these ‘highways to nowhere' and ‘bridges to nowhere.' Cut some of the stuff like that if you want to. Don't cut the space program. The space program is yielding all kinds of benefits that you don't have any idea what they are going to be in the future.
Jonathan Hoenig: And we're paying for them.