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; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Meredith Whitney, CIBC World Markets executive director; Matthew McCall, Penn Financial Group president.
Trading Pit: Wall Street Cheers Government Housing Plan: Free Market Hypocrites?
The White House offers government help to homeowners. And stocks soar! Did the huge rally uncover a dirty little secret on Wall Street — that it's "not" about free markets?
Gary B. Smith: Wall Street is being completely hypocritical. I don't think it's any secret that Wall Street loves a free market economy because it generally works to Wall Street's benefit. The only time the street doesn't like free markets is when free market don't work to its advantage — like now!
Tobin Smith: President Bush is just expanding the Federal Housing Administration (FHA), which already exists. He's not calling for a bail out like Barack Obama and other Democrats running for President. The President is just using the current system and allowing it to work.
Scott Bleier: Of course the markets are being hypocritical. The stock market is taking every manipulative stimulus to keep it up near the highs. Without this, the Dow would be at least 1000 points lower. The fact is that the Fed and politicians are using every trick in the book to keep the markets higher. They are making promises of aid, interest rate cuts and printing money. And the markets believe it. But the market is lying and is making investors believe everything is OK.
Matthew McCall: No, Wall Street is not hypocritical. Friday's news conference was more an "appearance" for the upcoming election than anything else. In reality the government has 'limited role' to aid mortgage woes and Bush's plan is to help 80,000 households. The number is small considering there will be 2 million households facing mortgage readjustments in the coming year.
Pat Dorsey: This is not a bailout in the classic sense of just handing out large buckets of cash. But it is a bailout in the sense that it's not letting system work things out, which is what we should be doing. As far as Wall Street being hypocritical, of course it is. Who there would put principles over profits?
Meredith Whitney: The weaker players are hypocrites. These are the people and businesses that have failed. Like the mortgage lenders that were too aggressive. But those who stuck to their good business aren't having problems.
Congress Back From Vacation: Bad News for Wall Street?
Despite all the jitters, the markets were up for the month of August. Maybe that's because Congress was out of town? Look for lawmakers to return to work this week and start calling for tax hikes... and big social programs. Congress back to work. Bad for the market?
Gary B. Smith: It's always a nightmare when Congress is in session. They should just have a permanent vacation after Labor Day. Why would you bring back an institution with such a low approval rating? Every Congressman and Senator wants to come back with the sole mission getting reelected. However, even Congress can't hurt the market for the last few months of the year.
Tobin Smith: This is a presidential election cycle. Nothing means anything until the primaries are over. Smart people will be able to disregard this malarkey until the primaries are over.
Meredith Whitney: It's bad because Congress thinks they are smarter than the markets and have all the answers. Thank goodness they were gone for August, allowing the markets to work out its problems on its own.
Scott Bleier: Congress is bad for the markets because all they are going to do is try to legislate. Now they have an issue like subprime, which affects voters. And believe me, Congress is going to try and spend our money to fix it.
Matthew McCall: When Congress comes back from vacation is when I go on vacation! The market went up in August with them gone. Them coming back won't be good for the market, but in the long run it won't make a difference.
Pat Dorsey: It doesn't matter if they are back are not. We should look at how much money companies are making rather than what Congress is doing.
Being bad is good for business! Superbad has been number one at the box office two weeks. Our guys pick super bad stocks that are super good for making you money.
Tobin Smith: Terra Nitrogen (TNH)
Pat Dorsey: XTO Energy (XTO)
Gary B. Smith: Delta Air Lines (DAL)
Matthew McCall: Boston Beer (SAM)
Scott Bleier: Pfizer (PFE)
Gary B's prediction: Google (GOOG) breaks all-time high & keeps going! Gains 20 percent
Scott's prediction: Back to $chool $ale: DSW (DSW) up 30 percent by 2008
Matt's prediction: United States Natural Gas (UNG) "storms" up 40 percent
Pat's prediction: Right idea... Wrong stock! EOG (EOG) up 40 percent in 1 year
Tobin's prediction: Christmas Gift! Ford (F) revs up 25 percent by Dec 25
On Saturday, September 1, 2007, Neil Cavuto was joined by Ben Stein, "The Real Stars" author; Charles Payne, "Be Smart, Act Fact, Get Rich" author; Tracy Byrnes, NY Post business writer; Laura Schwartz, White House Strategies; and Pat Powell, The Powell Financial Group.
Head to Head: President Bush's Homeowner Rescue Plan
Neil Cavuto: President Bush unveiling a plan to help subprime homeowners who can't pay their mortgage. Will it help the stock market get back to 14,000?
Charles Payne: This was a stroke of brilliance. It wasn't a bailout. But, it gives people in our country a chance to get back in the groove and pay their mortgages. I think it's a win-win for everybody.
Tracy Byrnes: I think if nothing else it told the markets "Yes we care. We're there for you." But, I don't think it's going to help many people. By the time it goes through, so many people will be in foreclosure already.
Neil Cavuto: Ben Stein, you've addressed the issue that we might be exacting more pain than the cure to the underlying problem.
Ben Stein: Well, no. I'm not saying that. What I am saying is there's a number of people in foreclosure, but it's a tiny percentage of the total population. The market is reacting very strongly to President Bush's comments, but much more strongly to Ben Bernanke's comments. Bernanke's the guy who moves markets, not Mr. Bush. Bernanke said we're not going to let home ownership fail and the markets responded beautifully.
Charles Payne: Ironically on Friday the markets responded more to Bush than to Bernanke. Although, both of them said it's not our job to bailout people who make big mistakes by speculating on subprime loans to begin with.
Ben Stein: Well, with all due respect, if the market responded to a change of having 40,000 people able to be bailed out by the FHA, it's something that's never happened before. Whereas Bernanke said we're simply not going to let the credit markets become illiquid. That's the kind of thing that's going to move markets.
Neil Cavuto: Ok, Ben's referring to Ben Bernanke speaking in Wyoming and saying the Fed is going to do whatever it has to do. Pat, what do you think of that? Is that enough?
Pat Powell: I don't think so. I think the market goes up and goes down. We're in a volatile market and will be through the month of September. I think maybe President Bush's words triggered the market on Friday, but it could be something else next week. I think we have to work our way through this. By the way, I think the President's plan is a pretty bad one, with one exception: Addressing the issue of phantom income, where people go into foreclosure and have to pay tax on money they never got when they lost a lot of money on their house.
Neil Cavuto: Laura, a lot of these proposals takes a while to get through Congress, especially when you start addressing tax code issues.
Laura Schwartz: It does, but I think this is a good first step. The Democrats have already signaled that they're willing to work with the President. In fact, they're even saying the President is getting on the Democratic bandwagon because these are initiatives that they've been talking about for a while now. I think you'll see FHA reform happening. I think the Dems are happy with the moves the President is making. I think this is a good start.
Neil Cavuto: Charles, one thing the President was saying was, "Look, there are some things the government can do. There are some things the government cannot do. Bailing out lenders is not an option. Bailing out borrowers who should have read their loan documentation is not an option." Is that going to sit well?
Charles Payne: Well, he really tried to be as careful as possible. And he didn't vilify the industry the way the Democrats have done. But, he did say there were some people who probably didn't read their loans properly; there were some unscrupulous people out there, but not the entire industry. We know two things from Friday: The President is on our side and the Fed is on our side. And that's why the market did so well.
Tracy Byrnes: But Neil, the Federal Housing Administration was originally created as almost like the "good" subprime market. And the problem is it became all this paperwork and people had to go to counseling. Then, the current subprime industry came into play. Now you can get a loan in two days. So why should I have to go through all the things the FHA wants me to go through when I can get this cheapo subprime loan and barely have to show any documentation? The FHA is a good thing and revamping it would be a good thing.
Ben Stein: Because now people go to the FHA to keep them from losing their houses. I agree; they wouldn't have gone a year ago. But, now if they can go and fill out some paperwork and get some counseling and save their house, they'll do it.
Tracy Byrnes: That's why it needs to be revamped.
Pat Powell: When you guarantee those loans, you're not just bailing out the homeowner, you're bailing out the creditor. You're taking subprime lending and turning it into triple A credit. There's really two bailouts here.
Neil Cavuto: But you're also telling the guy who's 90 days late on his payments that he gets some help. But the guy who dutifully makes his payments does not. That sends very dangerous mixed signals.
Pat Powell: And what about the guy that's only 60 days behind… He gets told to wait and not make that payment until 90 days, even though he's figured out to pay it after 60 days. There's a real moral hazard here.
Neil Cavuto: Charles, what do you make of the fact that the government is kinda tip-toeing on the issue of how far it goes to help out the markets.
Charles Payne: Laura sorta suggested that this was the first good step. This is the only step. It can't go any further than this without it being an official bailout.
Neil Cavuto: But, we did it before, right? We did it for Chrysler. We did it for Long Term Capital Management. So we've done it before…
Charles Payne: Well, we helped in those situations. We didn't bailout LTCM; the Fed brokered a deal.
Neil Cavuto: Well, we did.
Charles Payne: Ok fine. There are times when you want to step in. But obviously, the moral hazard is really, really dangerous here.
Pat Powell: And hey, why shouldn't we bail out 401k plans when we have market losses? Isn't retirement just as important as a house? When you start going down this road, it's more than just a slippery slope.
Laura Schwartz: We have to look at this as a hand up, not a hand out. We have to give incentive to become smart borrowers.
More for Your Money
Neil Cavuto: Stocks our gang says will get a big boost from President Bush's homeowner rescue plan. Let's get "More for Your Money."
Charles Payne: Countrywide Financial (CFC)
*Charles owns shares of this stock.
Pat Powell: Newcastle Investment (NCT)
Tracy Byrnes: Toll Brother (TOL)
Ben Stein: Ryland (RYL)
*Ben owns shares of this stock.
Head to Head: Edwards Says Give Up SUVs
Neil Cavuto: John Edwards wants you to send that SUV to the junk yard to save our planet. But, would his plan kill our auto industry and booming job market instead? Let's go "Head to Head."
Tracy Byrnes: The auto industry is begging for help. They're going to the government. They'll go to anybody at this point. And for John Edwards to turn around and say, "We're not going to support you. Don't buy SUVs any more, even though they're one of the bigger sellers coming out of the auto industry." And for those of us who have a team of children, I couldn't get my kids in a Prius if I wanted to. And if you live in an area that has inclement weather, what are ya gonna do?
Neil Cavuto: Laura Schwartz, does it send mixed signals or what?
Laura Schwartz: Not really. Tracy, there are some great hybrid SUVs you should look at. I think John Edwards makes a point. SUVs emit twice the carbon emissions. They guzzle more gas and make our dependency on foreign oil even greater. If we put more research and development into fuel-efficient cars, it could really end up being a good thing.
Charles Payne: Laura, livestock puts out more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs in the world. Are we going to have to start eating raw vegetables? I mean come on.
Laura Schwartz: No, Charles not at all.
Charles Payne: I have an SUV and my next truck is going to be gigantic! I saw the Super Chief at the auto show a few years ago. It's got eight wheels! I can't wait to get it. Eight wheels!
Charles Payne: I'm tellin' ya, it's gonna be huge.
Laura Schwartz: Charles, my point is that you don't give up your car. Just live smartly and drive smartly. There are alternatives out there. Give ‘em a look.
Neil Cavuto: Do the alternatives fall on deaf ears if gas prices stablize?
Pat Powell: Yeah, I think so. Studies have shown that gas mileage is something like number nine on the list of what's important when we buy a new car. And I'd like to say, I've driven a Prius and I didn't buy it. And it's not because it doesn't have good gas mileage, it's because it didn't suit my other needs. It reminded me of being 17 and in my first car. I'm just a little beyond that.
Pat Powell: John Edwards has it right. We should be more virtuous. I should be buying a Prius, but I'm not going to. I'm a little suspicious of when a presidential candidate says "you should." It's likely to become "you will."
Neil Cavuto: Alright. Ben Stein, what do you make of this?
Ben Stein: Well, if in fact global warming is real, we're going to have to make a lot of sacrifices. Giving up our SUVs is just one among them. We're going to have a whole different way to life: Less air conditioning, less travel, less conveniences of every kind. The whole world is going to have to be reworked. It's going to be a hotter, more uncomfortable world for a while and then in 100,000 years it's going to cool down.
Charles Payne: Well, Ben, it only got 1 degree hotter the last 100 years, so we'll talk about this a century from now.
Laura Schwartz: Yeah, but Charles we can do something about it.
Pat Powell: Why is it SUVs? Why aren't you just telling us to put a windmill on our roofs?
Laura Schwartz: Because SUVs emit twice the carbon emission. And they do guzzle more gas.
Neil Cavuto: Laura, what do you drive?
Laura Schwartz: I don't! I use the Chicago Transit Authority's buses and I ride the L. And I walk a lot.
Neil Cavuto: There you go.
Pat Powell: She leads by example.
Laura Schwartz: Gotta do it.
Ben Stein: I drive a Cadillac.
Neil Cavuto: There ya go. He drives a Cadillac and his driver tells him to just be quiet.
FOX on the Spot
Charles Payne: $weet September for $tocks! Buy RIMM
Tracy Byrnes: Tweens get it right; Disney (DIS) is a buy!
Pat Powell: American consumer wins; China loses in trade war
Ben Stein: America and the markets will miss Karl Rove
Neil Cavuto: Economy is strong! relax and enjoy the holiday
In Focus: Proof Everyone in America Is Getting Richer?
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief: The standard of living continues to go up. Almost everyone under the poverty level has a color TV set, has a microwave oven, many of them have cars, 40 percent now own their homes. The standard of living goes up even if you're considered poor. The other thing is mobility. People may start off poor, but especially the immigrants, they move up.
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley bureau chief: There is a lot of mobility in this country. But if you believe that the poor are doing better right now you also believe that the Republicans are having their next national convention in the Minneapolis Airport. The poor are still below where the were in 2001. They had a small increase this year at a time when more people are uninsured and housing prices are declining. All in all, they're doing worse. And the rich are doing better and better.
Rich Karlgaard, publisher: There are a lot of sad stories out there, but when you scrape all of that out you see that a lot of them are caused by kids who have no fathers, addiction, drunkenness, criminals.
Lea Goldman, associate editor: We're talking about three tenths of a percentage point. That's likely a statistical anomaly. This doesn't occur in a vacuum. It happens at the same time that 2.2 million more Americans went uninsured over the last year. Almost 16 percent of Americans are uninsured right now.
Mike Ozanian, senior editor: Many people are uninsured by their own choice. The greatest thing we've had with the Bush tax cuts is an increase in economic mobility. That's the greatest aspect of our economy, the ability to move up the economic ladder. This is why when you look at France or the U.K. or Spain, they're all cutting taxes. Why? They've all had economic stagnation. They want to change that, they want to be more like us.
Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: Saying that the poor are getting richer is like saying ketchup is a vegetable. No serious economist takes this new poor rate seriously. This calculation doesn't take into account healthcare costs and food stamps, and housing benefits. We don't really know if the poor are getting richer.
Flipside: We Need a Fat Tax to $ave Down America!
Josh Lipton, Forbes.com markets reporter: High cigarette taxes have cut down smoking rates in this country. Now we should think about junk food. I know it's tasty, but we have an obesity problem in this country. Two thirds of Americans are obese or overweight. That puts great strain on this healthcare system. Obesity is linked to hypertension, diabetes, heart disease. According to the government, overweight America costs this country's health care system somewhere between $69 billion and $117 billion.
Steve Forbes: This is a fatheaded idea. Where we really need the diet is in the government, on the tax side and on the spending side. In terms of putting taxes on everything, well I don't like your tie, so let's put a tax on that. It gets ridiculous.
Bill Baldwin, editor: If you eat junk food and get diabetes you're jacking up my health insurance premiums. Yes, it should be taxed! There are a lot of things you do that impose costs on innocent people and they should be taxed. For example, carbon fuels. They pollute my atmosphere. We should tax windmills, they're eye soars!
Elizabeth MacDonald: This would be a highly regressive tax on the poor. I think you incentivize them by giving them free gym memberships. You don't tax them. I can't stand taxes on anything. I'm a diehard flat taxer.
Rich Karlgaard: I think this is one of the stupidest ideas I've ever heard. Think about this. When you walk into a McDonald's what do you get? You get corn syrup, starch and fatty meat. What does the U.S. government subsidize? It subsidizes farmers to grow starch, sugar and fatty meat. All we have to do is cut the subsidies, we don't need a new tax.
Lea Goldman: If you add another quarter to a Quarter Pounder it's not going to do anything. If you want to do something, subsidize gym memberships. Some cities pay kids if they get straight As. Why not pay parents to drop their cholesterol?
Best Thing for Business: More Powerful Women?
Marc Rudov, author "The Man's No-Nonsense Guide to Women": We don't "need" more powerful women. You can't manufacture power. It contradicts what the meaning of powerful is. You can't manufacture powerful women. You insult the women who have rightfully gained power. And it smells of affirmative action. If you're a baseball coach and you want to win a game, you field the best players you have. So what corporate America needs is effective executives!
Elizabeth MacDonald: I think the women on our list would agree, no affirmative action. They got to the top because of their smarts and their intelligence. But we don't forget about gender. I've seen some data that suggests that stock returns under companies run by women outpace those run by men in the same sector.
Quentin Hardy: If there is an improvement among living standards it has to do with women entering the workforce and having two incomes in the house. Of course it matters. And that has a lot to do with it being engineered. Affirmative action made a difference there. If you look at the Forbes list the interesting thing is how many of these powerful women are in government or are ex-U.S. That shows that the U.S. corporate side isn't pulling its own weight.
Lea Goldman: In no way do I support affirmative action, but if you compare the number of high level female CEOs to male CEOs the numbers are not up to par. The same problem that was 30 years ago exists today. It's difficult to balance family and work.
Steve Forbes: I think you remove barriers and let performance do it. There are some attitudes there that need to be changed and I think they are changing. I'm all for powerful women but I have 5 daughters and I don't want to lose my power to them.
Informer: Female Power Play$
Bill Baldwin: Constellation Energy (CEG)
Mike Ozanian: CBS (CBS)
Josh Lipton: Southwest Airlines (LUV)
Lea Goldman: Disney (DIS)
Our Cashin' In crew this week: Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co; Jonathan Hoenig, CapitalistPig Asset Management; Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com; Alexis Glick, FOX Business News; and Cheryl Casone, FOX Business News.
Stock Smarts: Obe$e Mississippi: Proof America Is Great?
America is fatter than ever. The numbers are hard to ignore: obesity up in 31 states with Mississippi topping the list.
But does this actually prove America's greatness?
Jonathan: Obesity is a point of pride! It doesn't bother me at all that the poorest states have the fattest people. If you want to see poor, go to Africa. There are 800 million people in this world who are starving and they'll eat leaves and grass in order to get nourishment. You don't think those people would love a big bucket of fried chicken? I would. America's affluence and obesity go hand in hand.
Wayne: I don't know what obesity has to do with America being great. I don't think obesity is good for anyone, particularly in the school system. We have the right to legislate for that purpose only. People have the freedom to eat whatever they want to eat. It's nobody's business.
Alexis: We're living in a fast food generation. That's the kind of life we are growing up with. I have 3 kids and hate to admit that we drive through McDonald's. It's all about time and speed. Food is cheap, which is definitely playing a role in this. I think we all are responsible for it and all of us have to take ownership of it. It starts with the schools and with physical education.
Jonathan: For most of human history, the problem has been lack of food. The problem in this country is that people eat too much. This is a major accomplishment! Every starving African wants to be a fat American.
Alexis: Is it a major accomplishment to get diabetes or get sick from those things?
Jonathan: I'd rather have diabetes than be starving.
Jonas: There is a little bit of truth to what Jonathan is saying. An economy like ours is really bountiful and we can produce so much cheap food. That's the measure of greatness -- not consuming it all. It does prove a lot about our economy. States with the thinner populations tend to have the strongest GDP.
Cheryl: America is a great country, but we've got to be careful about getting complacent. If we are complacent with what we are eating and if we're not going to the gym or walking, other areas of our life may get complacent too. We might start working less. America is a super power. We have an amazing global economy, but there are many other countries that would love to take that away from us.
Wayne: When people start legislating about personal habits, that's the wrong area for the government to get involved in. If I wanted to be fat, I would be fat. It's a matter of personal choice.
Jonathan: If you get a national health care program, then you get the legislation like in Europe with a proposed fat tax.
Jonas: Before you start blaming the government, let's not forget the government is one of the reasons why food is so cheap in this country. Sugar and many other items would be a lot more expensive without the government subsidies.
Alexis: Wayne is right. We have to start with the schools because obesity really is an issue. It's an issue health care in general. What will the impact become later on?
Biggest Threat to Our Economy: Debt or Terror?
A new study shows over 30 percent of economists think the subprime mortgage mess is a bigger threat to our economy than terror. Which is the bigger threat?
Alexis: I lived through 9/11, working on the trading floor at Morgan Stanley. When you are in the trenches and experience a catastrophic event like that, it has the biggest affect on the marketplace. Now, the debt situation is a real, living item: getting bills at home, seeing credit costs rise, and being more in debt since borrowing was cheap. As a day-to-day thing, you feel it more, but a major terrorist event would be the most catastrophic thing.
Jonathan: Today the problem is debt. The market is dealing with it, but in 18 months the whole debt fear will be off the front page. The problem is that the threat of terrorism is not being addressed. In fact, it's growing and is becoming more emboldened. That's going to be the real issue, not only to our markets, but also to the western way of life.
Wayne: Making liquidity available by the Federal Reserve, pumping money into the marketplace, people refinancing certain parts of these massive portfolios. That will all help, but ultimately we have to have a reassessment of the assets that underlie this. If somebody has overpaid for something, it's just too bad. Terrorism is a major problem and will be a big problem for the economy if something were to happen again.
Cheryl: We can control our debt, but we cannot control terrorism. The terrorists want to hit us financially. Why do they keep targeting New York City over and over? They want to hit us where it matters, our financial stability. Debt is something we can control.
Jonas: Debt is a bigger problem than terror because we have already seen a major terrorist attack. We can now look back and see the damage to the economy, see what industries were hurt, and how much it cost. You've got to say that that's about as bad a terrorist attack can get. Nobody knows how bad this debt thing is going to get. We don't know what the government bailout is going to look like, how many loans are going to fall through, how low home prices are going to go, or how people are going to act with their spending. It's all unknown. It's like terrorism before 9/11.
Cheryl: Why didn't the market fall, then, on Thursday when there was gas at the U.N.? It turned out to be nothing.
Jonas: The market was down hundreds of points on this debt crisis until the government stepped in and started buying loans from people since there was no market for them. That was a panic of 9/11 proportions.
Jonathan: Our government is so quick to address the financial threat and we're totally not ready to address a real threat to the safety of Americans like Iran getting nukes. This is a real threat.
Alexis: I agree. How can we become very complacent about the risk of a possible terrorist attack? It brings back to memory what it might be like. All this talk about credit, which is a problem, but we will fix the credit problem.
Hillary's Smoking Ban Plan: Bad for Business?
Banning smoking in public places across America would be great for business. Hillary Clinton thinks so and uses New York's anti-smoking laws to prove it. Would a national smoking ban be good or bad for business?
Jonathan: Violating a person's rights is not good for business. There's no difference between what's moral and what's practical. The question here is property rights. What Hillary Clinton doesn't understand is that you have no right to a smoke free bar if it's someone else's bar. If she wants to ban smoking in the White House, that's fine. But a bar or restaurant is private property. Instead of protecting those rights, she is eliminating them.
Cheryl: I have a right not to get lung cancer and it's proven that secondhand smoke causes lung cancer.
Jonathan: Not at my bar! That's the whole point. My bar is my bar. If you don't like the fact there's people smoking, go somewhere else.
Cheryl: If you own a bar, you want customers will come in and spend money, but if you've got a big smoky bar they are not going to come in.
Jonathan: Just because you serve the public, doesn't mean it's owned by the public.
Alexis: Is New York City hurting right now from the smoking ban? I think it's working pretty well.
Jonas: At my first job on Wall Street, the portfolio manager smoked down the way from me and it drifted down my way. It wasn't good for my productivity, so I left the job. I don't think smoking in a lot of public places is good for productivity. That's what drives the economy, stocks, and businesses. I say get rid of it.
Wayne: I agree that it's not pleasant to sit in a smoky establishment. These places were called pubs because were public places. If the public is in there, smokers are offending other people's rights. If you want to smoke, walk outside. I don't care if you smoke, but if you are in public you have to pay attention to other people.
Jonathan: That is the point, Wayne. If I run a restaurant, that is not public property, it's private property.
Wayne: It's not totally a private property. You get a license to sell booze and have things to do with the public. It's not yours.
Jonathan: That's called socialism, which is private ownership of property, but state controlled. A private establishment is private property. The fact that Hillary and all these other Democrats are careening for socialized health care will further this distinction even more. What about the right of the restaurant owner?
Wayne: Your house is private. You can tell people not to smoke in your house, but if you are going to sell them something and it's open to the public, you cannot do that.
Alexis: It might be a private establishment, but you are inviting the public in to eat or drink or whatever it is. We don't want to sit next to people who are smoking in our face.
Best Bets: A+ Stocks
Wayne: VimpelCom (VIP) (Friday's Close: $24.40)
Jonas: Bridgeway Blue-Chip 35 Index (BRLIX) (Minimum Investment: $2,000)
Jonathan: NTT DoCoMo (DCM) (Friday's Close: $15.26)