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.
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Rob Stein, Astor Asset Management managing partner, and Bob Olstein , Olstein Funds president.
Trading Pit: Al Qaeda Keeping the Dow From Its All-Time High?
The Dow was nearing a close that would have marked a new all-time high. But late Friday, al Qaeda's second in command, Ayman al-Zawahri, released a tape that threatened another holy war. Stocks retreated and the high was out of reach. Is Wall Street still spooked by these guys?
Tobin Smith: No. I will not give this joker credit! There were a lot of things going on. Automatic computer trading sold all these stocks not this terrorist. They are not going to have an impact on the market.
Bob Olstein: Terrorists spook market from time to time. The rally resulted from the 10-year rate going from 5 percent to 4 ½ percent. Put simply, interest rates came down. Inflation has been overstated. The market is undervalued but needed a correction and this gave an excuse to sell.
Gary B. Smith: These tapes didn't help, but the market had been selling off most of the day. If the terrorists' goal is to hurt economy, they'd wait for us to hit an all-time high, suck all the buyers in, and then attack. Right now, I think these tapes are background noise.
Scott Bleier: The market did not fall due to Al Qaeda. They're released so many tapes already. We have a fight over there so we don't have to fight over here. The Dow was toying with new high all last week. Stocks will back away and do a little work before breaking through.
Rob Stein: Stocks know that we're fighting a War on Terror, I just don't think it's priced daily into the market. Whether we close 50 points lower higher or lower from an arbitrary number has nothing to do with a specific tape. There were more significant factors affecting the market, like the end of a quarter and month, than this tape.
Home Prices: One-Time Drop or Worst to Come?
Home prices falling year over year for the first time in over a decade. Is this fall a one-time drop or is the worst yet to come?
Rob: This is not a one-time event. I think there will be much more downside in housing. The bottom won't fall out, but the Federal Reserve is tightening rates and targeting housing. We're seeing the effect of raising interest rates now. If the Fed goes a little too far, housing market will correct a little more. The stock market will then absorb a lot of that pain. It's similar to when the stock market was falling; the housing market supported the economy.
Gary B: The housing market is now a buyer's market. We're paying far too much attention to housing prices. If you look at a monthly chart of the median home prices, they've been going up since 1972 in a nice even curve. It peaks and pulls back, peaks and pulls back. Right now prices have pulled back, but the overall trend continues to be up. I don't see any problems right now for housing.
Tobin: If you look in California, the number of home sales has come down substantially, but they are staying at the average price. Very few homes are selling at the high end. If you look at the very extended areas, homes are sitting for 6-12 months. There's much more pain ahead for those in a very high areas.
Bob: A decline in housing and a little bubble burst in the housing market is positive for the stock market. For one, the housing market was over inflated. Second, it takes money out of that area and makes more money available for the stock market. Plus, it's good news now that interest rates have come down.
Scott: The worst is over in the housing market. Part of it is that interest rates are coming down. It is also the person that is flipping homes that is out of the market too. This is why prices have come down. The flippers lent a lot of upward pressure to the housing market. Now that they are gone, the housing market is stabilizing. If you want to buy a home, there's a short window where there are some desperate sellers and now would be the time to buy your home for a home.
Bob Olstein, one of Wall Street's best, picks his favorite stocks.
Bob: First up, Phelps Dodge (PD), the world's second largest copper miner. We've bought and sold this one a few times and recently bought it back. Even though copper could fall as much as a $1, it could accumulate $27 a share in cash by the end of 2007. Plus, it is a prime takeover candidate. This stock is going to $115-130. (Phelps Dodge closed on Friday at $84.70.)
Scott: The time has come and gone for Phelps Dodge. The stock has already grown so much in the past 18 months. It's over.
Gary B: In the past six months, it's been stuck in a trading range. I don't see the big hurry to get into it.
Bob: My next pick is children's clothing company Carter's (CRI ). The company recently bought OshKosh, a line that has declined in the past 5-10 years, but they plan to reinvigorate. It has big earnings power and is going to $35-40. I own this stock. (Carter's closed on Friday at $26.39.)
Tobin: Bob, you're so excited about this acquisition, but that's not going to push the stock 15-20 percent higher.
Gary B: Carter's has risen up sharply, but is right at resistance. If it breaks over this line of resistance, then it will ready to run. Keep your eye on it.
Bob: What's not to love about the Cheesecake Factory (CAKE)? Right now it has 100 stores, but I predict it will grow to 250 stores. This is one outstanding franchise that has a lot of cash and no debt. I see it reaching $35-40 within the next 2 years. I own this stock. (Cheesecake Factory closed on Friday at $27.19.)
Rob: I like the ticker symbol and the stock. As the economy slows and since gas prices have moderated, people will switch to more moderate priced restaurants like Cheesecake Factory. This is one of the types of companies that will do very well in a slowing economy.
Tobin: The stock is fully valued. I don't like it.
Bob: Finally, Pitney Bowes (PBI ), which makes postage meters and mailing equipment. This company has reinvented itself and has great management. It's going to the mid $50. I own this stock. (Pitney Bowes closed on Friday at $44.37.)
Scott: Pitney Bowes has low growth and is expensive. The economy and business spending is slowing, so now is not the time to own this one.
Rob: I agree. With a slowing economy, this one won't do very well.
Bob's prediction: Interest rates are going down and stocks rally into 2007
Tobin's prediction: S&P 500 gains 15 percent and makes all-time high by January 15th
Rob's prediction: Oil prices fall to $55 by end of the year!
Scott's prediction: Oil's bottoming now! Sassol (SSL ) up 25 percent in 1 year
Gary B's prediction: Profit from college loans! SLM (SLM ) up 20 percent by fall 2007
Neil Cavuto was joined by Gregg Hymowitz, founder of Entrust Capital; John "Bradshaw" Layfield, VP of Northeast Securities; Charles Payne, CEO of Wall Street Strategies; Tracy Byrnes, NY Post Business writer; Ray Lucia, Radio Talk Show Host; and David Limbaugh , author of "Bankrupt."
Neil Cavuto: The nine-eleven blame game escalating since Bill Clinton's now infamous tirade. Is Wall Street worried we've forgotten who's really to blame: al Qaeda? Charles?
Charles Payne: Yes, I do think Wall Street is beginning to get worried, and I think America should get worried too. The finger pointing sort of suggests that we've given up, or that we've lost. You finger point after the game is over, not during the game. It seems like both sides have said: "You know what, we're not going to get this guy. It's your fault. No, it's your fault."
Tracy Byrnes: I think the market is shortsighted. We're so focused on housing and oil prices. We want him caught, but I don't know if the market is going to be affected by whether or not he's out there or not.
Gregg Hymowitz: I agree with Tracy. The market is not affected. But I think what President Clinton did was brilliant in the sense that it was merely meant for political reasons. I think the focus of the Democratic Party now is to make the War on Terror the issue in the November elections. Look, I don't think the markets care. How can the markets care, given where we are in the equity markets?
Neil Cavuto: But you sound like this was Clinton's purpose, the Democrats' purpose, to go into this, pre-interview like this.
Gregg Hymowitz: Yes, and rightly so, and I'm not saying this is a bad thing. But rightly so, the Democrats need to make the War on Terror the number one issue in these elections. I know it's not conventional thinking, but ultimately I think it pays off for them.
David Limbaugh: It's a mistake for them. Clinton did not plan it. He erupted in an outrageous outburst. If the Democrats make that the issue they're going to lose. We need to quit investigating ourselves. We're the only nation that investigates itself during war. We ought to be thinking prospectively, and not about playing the blame game.
Ray Lucia: No question about it, David is absolutely right. Listen, Clinton could've gotten this guy ten times and he didn't. I think Clinton ended up looking like a buffoon. The Street shrugged it off. We had a fantastic week last week. No, I don't think the finger pointing is hurting Wall Street a bit.
Neil Cavuto: If it goes on, and we appear divided on terror, and divided on how we conduct the War on Terror, is that a problem?
John Bradshaw Layfield: I think that is a problem, but I don't think the market is worried about it. Things are going relatively well except for some problems in Iraq with insurgents. We have not had an attack in the U.S., and as far as the market is concerned, terror seems to be on the ebb.
Neil Cavuto: Well, globally it's not on the ebb. There's been an increase in terror globally.
John Bradshaw Layfield: But we've kept it contained. To the market it's contained. As long as terror stays in Iraq and Afghanistan the market is fine with that.
Neil Cavuto: So all this bickering, the market just ignores it?
Gregg Hymowitz: To say that Iraq is going well except for a few problems is just missing the point. It's sort of laughable that the Republicans are saying they don't want the government to investigate anything. I remember in the Clinton age we were investigating everything.
John Bradshaw Layfield: Oh come on!
Gregg Hymowitz: We were investigating Monica Lewinsky. It's just laughable that in the middle of a war that's being conducted miserably, and all of a sudden we say: "No, we shouldn't investigate."
John Bradshaw Layfield: Fourteen of eighteen provinces are secure in Iraq.
Gregg Hymowitz: I was with a soldier the other day, and I asked him how moral was in Iraq. Do the soldiers know why they're there? And you know what the answer was: "They have no idea why they are there." And that's basically the problem. No one knows why we're there.
Neil Cavuto: All 160,00 soldiers felt that way? Let's get back to the topic here. Charles, what I want to ask you is whether people in this country who take bets with money are looking at the noise on terror, the noise on division of the parties, and are worried about it? It sounds to me like everyone here is saying no.
Charles Payne: The market is having a great period, but when you start to get this sort of divisiveness that I think the country wanted to get away from, it is noise. It's background noise. I disagree with Gregg, on so many things. Terrorism is the worst issue that the Democrats could run on. Try health insurance. Try other things.
Neil Cavuto: Tracy, if there were investigations and incriminations back and forth, and the Democrats take control of Congress, we've got a Congressman talking about impeachment hearings, then does that get to be a worry for the market?
Tracy Byrnes: The fact that they're bringing it to the forefront could have repercussions, because we did forget about it for a while. And now you're going to have people who might say: “He [bin Laden] is out there, and I should be scared about it!” For all we know, Republicans know exactly where he is and they're going to get him right before the elections and win.
Ray Lucia: The question you asked dealt with the stock market and whether or not the stock market worried about finger pointing. I think it's very clear the stock market isn't worried. This is all political pandering.
Neil Cavuto: David, there is some thought to the idea that maybe Wall Street and the big money guys prefer it when the politicians just finger point and do nothing because when they do something it always mucks things up.
David Limbaugh: Possibly, but if the market responds rationally, and the Democrats win, we're in big trouble. They have got to realize that Iraq is the central pivotal point in the War on Terror. The National Intelligence Estimate that was revealed in April revealed that if we don't win in Iraq, we lose this War on Terror. The Democrats keep arguing about whether or not we should be in Iraq. We are in Iraq. They don't want to withdraw and they don't want to stay. But we have to fight and we have to win.
Neil Cavuto: Gregg, would you support a nominee who still supports being in Iraq like Hillary Clinton?
Gregg Hymowitz: Yes, because I would not support ore refuse to support a candidate on one issue.
David Limbaugh: Bill Clinton's own policy was regime change in Iraq. The only difference between him and Bush was he didn't take action.
Head to Head
Neil Cavuto: Gas prices plummeting. So will Congress investigate like it did when prices soared? Time to go head to head. David?
David Limbaugh: No, they only investigate when prices rise and they want to taint big oil and taint Cheney and Bush with this class warfare demagoguery. Unless the Democrats can find a way of blaming the oil companies for reducing the prices before the election with some outrageous conspiracy yarn...
Neil Cavuto: But to be fair David, Republicans were playing that game too. What I want to know is, when oil prices were going up the oil companies were evil. Now, they're not evil? Or are they just as evil, but people are being quite about it?
Charles Payne: Well, it's like anything that stimulates the economy is evil. Wal-Mart is evil. Let's face it, Congress works off of fear and anger. It's unfortunate they can't get their message across in a positive manner. People feel bad in this country. We aren't embracing how great this country is in part because our politicians are always telling us how bad it is.
Tracy Byrnes: It's investors' psyche. It's like when you gain and lost five pounds. You gain five and you're mad at the guy who gave you a brownie. You lost five and you're thrilled you're in your skinny jeans and you don't care why.
Neil Cavuto: Really? I'm trying to analyze through that Tracy and I'm sure there's a point there.
Tracy Byrnes: It's because we don't argue when things are good.
Neil Cavuto: Well, there's a sweet thought. John, here's what I don't get, the hypocrisy of both parties on the oil companies. I'm not an apologist for the oil companies. I don't own a single oil stock. We paint them as villains on the upside. Now when prices are tumbling, we ignore the whole matter.
John Bradshaw Layfield: I think the hypocrisy is pathetic. If you put a mirror up to these Congressmen's souls you probably won't see anything. The reason these fat cat guys were in front of them is because they want to shift the blame game. All these oil guys made a lot of money because Congress has no energy policy whatsoever. Congress doesn't want anyone to look at it, so Congressmen point at these oil guys saying, "Look at these rich white guys keeping the man down."
Gregg Hymowitz: Number one, nothing came of these hearings.
Neil Cavuto: Well, actually there was a lot of talk about a profit tax.
Gregg Hymowitz: But there were hearings, and nothing came of it. What we should look at, vis a vis, oil and gas prices, is to see how oil prices have come down so meaningfully now. We've been talking about this risk premium for so long. I'm not so sure that we Americans should have to pay gas prices based upon what speculators are doing in the pits.
David Limbaugh: A colleague of mine had an interesting point on National Review Online sighting a Cato economist who said the prices always rise in the spring in anticipation of the summer demand. And then they fall back when demand slackens.
More for Your Money
Neil Cavuto: What better way to kickoff what history tells us could be the best quarter of the year for stocks than with our gang's best end-of-year stock picks! Time to get more for your money. Ray, what do you like?
Ray Lucia: I think Wal-Mart (WMT) is doing a lot of things right. They have this four-dollar prescription drug thing going on in Florida. More money into consumers' pockets with lower gas prices means more people shopping at Wal-Mart. You have a slow down in the economy I think that bodes well for the discounters like Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart closed Friday at $49.32.
Tracy Byrnes: Wal-Mart is a hard one not to like. But I like it better in the high 30's. I'd just say be on the look out for Target. I think Target is doing great things.
Neil Cavuto: Ok, what are you buying?
Tracy Byrnes: I am an Apple (AAPL ) fan. The stock is up 33 percent since June. The iPod is going to be the easiest gift to buy this holiday season. Apple closed Friday at $76.98.
Neil Cavuto: It's run up far and fast though hasn't it?
Tracy Byrnes: Yes, but I think there's room to go.
John Bradshaw Layfield: It's run up far and fast and everyone is getting into the download business. Everybody is getting into music downloads. I would not get into Apple here.
Neil Cavuto: What are you buying?
John Bradshaw Layfield: I like Regal Entertainment (RGC ). It has a 6 percent yield. Movies are still the way to go. They've priced in downloads and all of the DVD sales into this. Regal closed Friday at $19.82.
Ray Lucia: I like the 6 percent juicy dividend. I don't want to pay 39 times earnings for it.
Neil Cavuto: All right Charles, what have you got?
Charles Payne: I like Marvel Technology (MRVL). Technology stocks have dragged. This has come down a lot. The company is spending a lot of money on R & D. It's one of these stocks that can put a lot of money in your pocket very quickly. Marvel closed Friday at $19.37.
Gregg Hymowitz: This is the first stock I've heard Charles say he owns that isn't at an all-time peak. For that alone, I give him credit. But look, sequential growth of 1 percent. They failed to file their Q because they had an option scandal like many other companies.
Charles Payne: That made the stock cheap.
Gregg Hymowitz: I would stay away from this thing.
Neil Cavuto: Ok, and what are you not staying away from?
Gregg Hymowitz: We like Flowserve (FLS ). It's the leading manufacturer of pumps and valves in the energy sector. This trades at what we think is a very cheap valuation. Flowserve closed Friday at $50.59.
Neil Cavuto: When you say cheap valuation, what do you mean?
Gregg Hymowitz: It's about 11-12 times earnings. And regardless of the commodities prices, cap spending is still taking place among the energy sector.
Charles Payne: Speaking of hypocrisy, I don't know what's cheap? My research says this has about a 50 P.E. Here's the interesting thing. This is the ultimate Republican play. It's a play on oil and gas. It's a play on the economy.
Gregg Hymowitz: That's why I like it. I'm bipartisan.
FOX on the Spots
Tracy: Adjustable mortgages collapse housing market in '07
Ray: Retailers enjoy Merry Christmas; BUT recession looms
Charles: Strong September Jobs report will boost GOP!
Gregg: Dems win House with focus on War On Terror
John: Downloads to cell phones are the future; buy Nokia (NOK )
Neil Cavuto: There's hope for America still. 10 years ago we weren't given a shot, fair and balanced deemed doomed and done. As Fox celebrates its 10-year anniversary next week, a reminder, we're here, and we ain't going. Good news for capitalism, better news for America.
In Focus: Dems Focus on War on Terror Means Economy Is Strong?
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief: If the economy were in the tank, Democrats would be talking about it during this election season. They aren't. The Bush/GOP tax cuts worked, which Democrats don't want to give President Bush credit for. They have to go on to the war because it's unpopular. The Democratic Party is poll-driven.
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley bureau chief: If the economy is so great, why aren't the Republicans talking about that? The fact is, wages have not increased for the average American family and the rich have done really well. And intelligence suggests that Bush has made terrorism worse with his war on terror.
Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: Doomsayers have predicted a recession so many times. Steve is right, the Bush tax cuts have worked. I think the real issue here is that you can't ignore terrorism. The truth is, both sides have been wrong about the war on terror.
Victoria Barret, associate editor: The Democrats are being strategic. Ever since Bush went on his terror tour, going around the country talking about the war on terror, his ratings have gone up. The Democrats are borrowing a page from the Republicans here. Fear is a really good marketing tool and if the Republicans really thought the economy was roaring and that would sell, they'd be talking about the economy too.
Jim Michaels, editorial vice president: Gas prices are coming down, unemployment is going down. People seem more secure about their jobs, the polls show consumer confidence is up. The Democrats fought the last election on the economy and lost so there is nothing left for them to do than to attack the Republicans on their strong point. It's isn't going to work. It will backfire on them, because Clinton's record on fighting terrorism was dismal.
Lea Goldman, associate editor: We've seen a disconnect between Wall Street and Main Street for a long time. The proof in the pudding will come at Christmas time when we'll see if consumers are spending. I'm not so confident. And besides, why shouldn't the Democrats talk about terror and Iraq. It's like shooting fish in a barrel.
Flipside: Home Prices Fall: Good News for Housing Market!
Jim Michaels: Home prices got too high and that caused sales to slow down. When prices come down, homes will start selling again. The last quarterly reports from the housing builders showed sales were way up but the profits were way down. That tells you that when they lower prices, things move. The demand is there, but prices got totally out of line. Sellers are going to have to be more realistic with asking prices, and when they do the market will do very well.
Carrie Coolidge, staff writer: I don't think homes will move as prices fall. I think potential buyers are waiting on the sidelines. They don't want to buy when prices are going down, they want to wait for them to bottom out.
Bill Baldwin, editor: I think this is a great bonanza for the middle class, when suddenly their biggest asset becomes more affordable. I think Congress should help this by repealing the home mortgage deduction, which just inflates home prices, subsidizes spending and doesn't help lower income people because they don't itemize their tax returns.
John Rutledge, Forbes contributor: Prices are falling because nobody wants to hold the housing stocks. They're going to fall further. It's not good for short-term growth, but long-term it is, because it is good for the stock market by helping money go from housing into the stock market.
Steve Forbes: The reason prices are going down is because the Fed has screwed things up by printing too much money. They over stimulated the demand for housing, now they're depressing the demand for housing by raising short-term interest rates. That kind of volatility we don't need.
Quentin Hardy: This is a collapse in another market, just like the stock market bubble popped 2000. It creates a lot of confusion and chaos, but if it's an orderly departure and a soft landing, it's probably going to be good overtime.
Informer: Stocks That Go Up When Gas Prices Fall
Bill Baldwin: With gas cheaper, we can stop buying those hybrid cars. That will be good for Ford (F).
Elizabeth MacDonald: Gas prices have nothing to do with Ford's woes. They don't have an attractive product line. I like Burlington Northern (BNI). This is one of the best-managed railroads in the country. It has great access to Western ports. They also transport coal, which benefits wherever gas prices go.
Victoria Barret: I think as gas prices come down more goods will move by trucks. And coal is being out powered by natural gas these days. But I do think falling gas prices is great news for airlines and Southwest (LUV). Southwest isn't plagued by the same issues that other airlines are plagued by. And they are increasing their passenger traffic.
Bill Baldwin: Southwest was a good idea and a good stock when was first created. But now it has lots of imitators cutting into the low-cost air travel market. I wouldn't buy this stock.
Jim Michaels: I like Home Depot (HD). I like to buy a great company when it is under temporary pressure. You can buy this stock for 12 times earnings and its returning money to its shareholders and has steady growth.
David Asman, host: Didn't stockholders think that the CEO was making too much money?
Jim Michaels: You should reward a CEO for long-term performance. He deserves every penny he gets.
Makers & Breakers
• Parker Drilling (PKD)
Mike Norman, BizRadio talk show host: MAKER
When you buy an oil stock, you wait for the price of oil to come down. This is a great company involved in all aspects of outsourcing and lease drilling. This stock has a fantastic balance sheet and earnings yield. It's down about 50 percent form it's high this year and it's running back up. I think it can go to $20 in one year. (Friday's close: $7.08)
John Rutledge: BREAKER
This company is too small with too much debt. The free cash flow over the past five years is negative with too much working capital.
Lea Goldman: MAKER
As long as oil prices stay high, it makes it attractive to drill. A company like this makes out well and now is a good time to buy.
• Champion Enterprises (CHB)
Mike Norman, Host, BizRadio: MAKER
This company manufactures pre-built housing in Canada and in the western part of the United States. This stock is down 70 percent since May with a fantastic balance sheet and a high earnings yield. I think it can go to $22 in one year. (Friday's close: $6.90)
Lea Goldman: BREAKER
I don't think the housing market looks good for anyone. These houses are cheap and the market is getting cheap. That means stiffer competition.
John Rutledge: BREAKER
This stock is down for a reason. The company has minus $200 million of earnings in the last five years.
Mike Norman: I like even though this company is on a downward slope in earnings. If you're buying a $1 worth of value for $0.50 or $0.20, you can still make money on it.
Our "Cashin' In" crew this week: Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers and Company; Jonathan Hoenig, Capitalistpig Asset Management; Jonas Max Ferris, MAXfunds.com; Dagen McDowell, FOX Business News; Gary Kaltbaum, Kaltbaum & Associates, and Laura Schwartz , Democratic strategist.
Stock Smarts: Letting Bush Tax Cuts Expire: Same as Tax Hike?
A vote for the Democrats in November is a vote for a tax increase; that's the message from President Bush as he makes the push for Republicans running in the midterm elections.
The Bush tax cuts are set to expire in 2010, and if the Democrats get control of Congress, there is a good change they would let the cuts run out.
Would that be the same thing as a tax hike?
Jonathan Hoenig thinks that it would be the same thing as a tax hike, and it would hurt the economy. The worst thing that could happen would be for more money to get into the hands of the government to spend on entitlement and other government programs (something that both the Republicans and Democrats are guilty of). Government spending on defense is useful and necessary.
Wayne Rogers notes that the government has taken in a record amount of money in tax revenues since the tax cuts were put in place, and the economic growth has been excellent. Government spending has to slow down – there is just too must waste from the federal government.
Laura Schwartz says that if the Democrats win back the House and Senate they will try and reign in the Alternative Minimum Tax which is ‘casting a wider net' than originally planned.
Jonas Max Ferris says that letting the tax cuts expire is not the same thing as a tax hike; it is simply letting the tax levels return to where they were before the cuts.
Dagen McDowell thinks that no matter what the Democrats say, they won't have the guts to let the tax cuts expire; they'll have to end up extending the cuts. Entitlement programs are here to stay, and if the tax cuts expired, we would be able to deal with them and fix that problem.
Gary Kaltbaum says that a tax hike is a tax hike no matter which way you look at it, and the job growth and economic growth since the tax cuts have been in place are great; there is no other way to spin it. Government spending is way of out of control (again the fault of both Republicans and Democrats), but the economy is doing so well because Americans have more of their own money.
If War on Terror Is Going So Badly, Why Is Economy and Market Doing So Well?
On the heels of a leaked government intelligence report, there was a new round of criticism about the Iraq war making America less safe from terror. The panel debated the issue.
Gary Kaltbaum says that in spite of what the media is reporting, America is still the greatest country in the world. We have yet to be hit (since 9/11), so we must be doing something right. And we all have to remember: America isn't causing this, the terrorists are. They are the bad guys, not us.
Jonathan Hoenig wonders if we aren't losing the moral high-ground with the war; it is not the job of America to spread democracy throughout the world. It is the job of the government to protect its citizens. And in terms of gauging whether or not we are winning the war, we need to ‘demoralize' the enemy, which in this case is militant Islam.
Laura Schwartz thinks that we are losing the war in Iraq because of our conduct over there. She does however think that our intelligence agencies are doing a better job of working together to fight terrorism.
Question: "What's the deal with OPEC? Is the cartel going to 'stick it' to America by cutting oil production?"
Dagen McDowell says that OPEC doesn't want to cripple the American economy; it wants and needs us to keep using al that oil. What OPEC wants to do is keep prices high, but not so high that it cuts off demand, which is a delicate balancing act. And so far, we're still driving.
Wayne Rogers thinks that after the speech Hug Chavez (Venezuela) made at the UN, we should boycott OPEC and deal with the higher prices.
Jonathan Hoenig is more worried about the environmentalists than he is about OPEC, which operates within the world economy.
Cashin' In Challenge
It's the final quarter for the $10,000 Cashin' In Challenge, and the race it getting tight!
Check out the latest picks and moves from the entire crew at: www.foxnews.com/challenge