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; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor, and Peter Schiff, Author "Crash Proof."
Trading Pit: Will Tax Rebates Deliver New Bull Market?
A special delivery from Uncle Sam. And it's early. Millions of tax rebates start hitting bank accounts this Monday. Will all that cash for Main Street deliver a new bull market on Wall Street?
Gary B. Smith: It is going to be a continuation of the bull market that started back in mid march. People may use the money to pay bills or just buy coffee. Even if they spend half of it, it is going to give a significant boost, and is going to move the stock market up further.
Tobin Smith: Our research shows only thirty-percent of the money actually goes to buying stuff. You are putting cash in the hands of people who need it most. Maybe they are going to buy gasoline or food, but that doesn't stimulate the economy.
Scott Bleier: These people sure need the money! Over the past couple of months, the economy has lost over one hundred billion dollars in retail sales. March sales were actually flat. All of the stimulus money is going to help keep the economy where it is.
Peter Schiff: Hopefully Americans will have the good sense to do what the government is doing and pay back the debts they already have. That is how we got into this mess. We borrowed money on things we didn't have.
Pat Dorsey: This is going to be a drop in the bucket. If you talk to retailers and restaurants, they're saying the picture actually isn't that ugly. A lot of the retail stocks have already rallied in anticipation, so it is not going to help the stocks. Americans will take the money printed and buy stuff. In return we make the margin on selling it.
Stop Donating Food Overseas to Lower Prices at Home?
Food rationing in America. Both Costco and Sam's Club limiting the amount of rice customers can buy. All this while America's donating over two billion dollars worth of food a year to countries overseas. Is it time to stop giving and start keeping more food for ourselves?
Gary B. Smith: Absolutely! This two billion dollar program called Food for Peace which was started in the 1950's is broken, corrupt, and doesn't work anyway. It damages the local economies we give the food to. You know what they say about charity, it begins right at home. And right now people here are struggling.
Scott Bleier: You can't stop the charitable efforts we do with our food. We have the bounty of the world here. We should give away more food to people who need it, instead of subsidizing farmers when food costs are through the roof!
Tobin Smith: It is insane to ship food elsewhere when we need it here. If we're going to give it away, let's give it to our own people!
Stock X-Change: Stocks to Buy in May
Stocks to buy in May, that are set to go all the way! Right now in the Stock X-Change!
Gary B Smith: McDonald's (MCD )
Pat Dorsey: Fuel-Tech (FTEK )
Tobin Smith: Zoltek (ZOLT )
Scott Bleier: Himax Tech (HIMX )
Peter Schiff: Penn West Energy Trust (PWE )
Gary B Smith: Gold is D.E.A.D. Buy "DZZ " to profit from the sell-off
Tobin Smith: Water solves food crisis; Veolia (VE ) up 40 percent in one year
Pat Dorsey: Extra! Extra! Sequoia (SEQUX ) open for biz on May 1
Scott Bleier: Forget MSFT/YHOO; Savvis (SVVS ) up 50 percent in '08
Peter Schiff: Retailers feeling more pain; Buy UltraShort Consumer (SCC )
On Saturday, April 26, 2008, Neil Cavuto was joined by Charles Payne, wstreet.com; Tracy Byrnes, FOX Business Network; Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine; Mike Norman, Contrarian Update founder; Gary Kaltbaum, www.garyk.com ; Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen's energy policy director.
Bottom Line: Best Way to Lower Gas Prices: Pay People to Carpool?
Neil Cavuto: This week – gas prices spiking about $3.50 a gallon for the first time ever. Now, a new plan to drive down prices: Paying folks to carpool! Drivers teaming up in the San Francisco area will get $100 in free gas. Should we pay all car-poolers in American to help ease America's gas pains?
Tyson Slocum: It's a great idea! Anything that encourages more responsible oil consumption's going to be a good thing. We use 1 out of every 4 barrels of oil on the planet every day. So, rather than give subsidies to ExxonMobil, I'd rather give subsidies to hard-working Americans to help them save some money at the pump.
Charles Payne: If people want to carpool, that's fine. I don't know that they should be incentivized to do so. The bottom line is Americans have been making adjustments already. If you look at the numbers, crude oil supplies are stockpiling. People are making adjustments. I worry about this becoming an offer we should refuse to an offer we can't refuse, and that may be what happens in San Francisco. If you want to take the $100, then fine. But, I don't think it's the ultimate answer. If we really want to make a dent in prices, then let's take advantage of the assets under us.
Neil Cavuto: Adam Lashinsky is in San Francisco. What do ya think?
Adam Lashinsky: Well, I'm not going to benefit from this because I have a very short commute to work. But Charles, let's put this in capitalist terms – and flip it around. If you drive in your car by yourself, on a road our taxpayer dollars paid for, you're getting a better deal than the people who carpool because they're pulling their resources and using fewer resources than you're using and than what I'm using by driving by ourselves…
Charles Payne: If four people are paying for gas, how am I getting a better deal?!
Adam Lashinsky: So, let's incentivize people to go together! We should do more than that. We should incentivize people to ride public transportation.
Charles Payne: Bring back the horse and buggy! That's what I'm talking about.
Neil Cavuto: Why are you yelling?
Charles Payne: I'm just a little excited.
Tracy Byrnes: As a mother of three, I appreciate my time alone in the car. But all this carpooling talk is doing is taking the blame off of Congress and putting it some place else. It's just postponing the inevitable. We need an alternative fuel plan here at home. Congress needs to start now.
Neil Cavuto: Why not carpool? I would like to ride with Charles. But, he always passes me on the road. Heck, you almost ran me over that one time!
Charles Payne: I almost did, yes.
Mike Norman: You're missing the point here.
Neil Cavuto: No, no. We don't miss points.
Mike Norman: I'll make this statement: Demand is falling! Prices continue to go up. Gasoline demand is down year over year. Crude oil demand is down…
Neil Cavuto: What is driving prices then?
Mike Norman: Speculation! The markets have become casinos. Listen, I've been saying this for a long time, but if you want to get serious about the problem, at least the last $30 – 40 in the run up and the last $1 in gasoline, we have to get serious about what has been causing it now. You have to get a hold of this casino atmosphere.
Neil Cavuto: Yeah, but demand has subsided in the US, but it's not subsided globally.
Neil Cavuto: You're yelling, too.
Mike Norman: I'm screaming!
Neil Cavuto: Tyson, isn't that the issue? That while demand has dipped in the US, it's picked up measurably in India and China… and that's more than compensated for whatever price effect we're having here?
Tyson Slocum: But even globally, it's moderating a little bit. I agree with the point that we have to get a hold of this speculative market. We've got to regulate the energy trading markets. We're talking about basic transparency. Right now, there's an amendment in the Farm Bill that would do just that. That would be a great first step to reigning in this speculation.
Adam Lashinsky: Let's be clear about something: Encouraging people to carpool is not going to have an influence on gas prices. We should carpool because it's good for our community and is generally good policy.
Neil Cavuto: Do you have to like the people you're car-pooling with?
Adam Lashinsky: That's an interesting question! No, I don't think so.
Neil Cavuto: Because, I could just picture how miserable every morning commute could be if you're with people you hate!
Adam Lashinsky: If we want to talk about policy, John McCain's "gas tax holiday" is a terrible idea! It's just irresponsible and populist. It will hurt funds available for public growth. He's just trying to get votes. Everyone knows that.
Charles Payne: Adam, that's a classic, Democratic, populist move he made. I think if Barack had put it forward, you'd say it was a good idea…
Charles Payne: Net-net, what's the difference between that and people carpooling? It'd probably have the same economic impact.
Neil Cavuto: What if you did both?
Charles Payne: Well here's the deal. Speculation runs both ways. A whole lot of people are making money in the oil market right now. But a whole lot of people are going to lose when it comes back down.
Tracy Byrnes: Forget the speculators! We have a problem with oil. And the piece we're missing is that converting to something else is going to take a couple of years. We have to start working on alternative forms of energy right now. But, we're not. And we're going to wake up and be very stuck one day.
Neil Cavuto: What are you saying?
Tracy Byrnes: President Bush needs to do something.
Tyson Slocum: Electric hybrids.
Neil Cavuto: Hmm! What about carpooling in a hybrid?? Then you could be green AND not talking to each other.
Mike Norman: Look, you can bludgeon down demand and probably at some point you'll see a reaction in price. Right now demand is coming down and prices are going up. But, there's a demand from investors. These are not just speculators playing both sides of the market. We're talking about investors who see commodities as an asset class. They're buying it and socking it away. If you bludgeon down people's demand, prices may still go up…
Neil Cavuto: But they will eventually go down. Tyson, are you surprised that this has not led to a flood of interest of either smaller vehicles or hybrids?
Tyson Slocum: Well, there are waiting lists for some hybrids, like the Prius. The US automakers continue to be too slow in responding to what consumer want. They want safe and fuel-efficient automobiles. The US automakers continue to lose market share to our foreign competitors and that's not a good thing for the US auto industry.
Adam Lashinsky: The price of oil has not been that high for that long. To develop a new kinds of cars takes years, not months.
Neil Cavuto: GM is getting a bum rap. They have what? Five or six models that get more than 30 MPG? It's not as if all American automakers are idiots. But, your points are all well-taken.
Head to Head: Is the Stock Market Telling Us the Economy is OK?
Neil Cavuto: The economy. You can't pick up a newspaper or listen to a candidate talk without getting beaten over the head about how bad the economy is. But, is the stock market trying to tell us it's finally heading back on track? It's time to go "Head to Head."
Charles Payne: Stop listening to the radio and stop reading the newspaper. Listen to the stock market. It's telling us something loud and clear. This week we saw a whole bunch of earnings and market data; the market would stumble a little, but it came back and it came back strong.
Neil Cavuto: But, we do have these swings…
Charles Payne: But the bias has switched to the up side. The market is a harbinger of things to come. I think the stock market is telling us that the economy is going to be much better and recover a lot sooner than we think.
Mike Norman: I think Charles is on to something.
Neil Cavuto: I always thought he was ON something.
Mike Norman: The stock market is not a perfect indicator. You've heard the thing where the market predicted 10 of the last 5 recessions. But, if you look at it against the backdrop of expectations and sentiment… look, people feel terrible now: Lowest consumer sentiment in 30 years, record high oil prices…
Neil Cavuto: Yeah, but when you ask them personally about how they feel… it's quite different.
Mike Norman: The market is going up. And Charles is right – that's what we should be focused on, not the data. The data is a month to three months behind. The market looks ahead. I think the fact that we've been able to get through this stuff and move ahead says a lot.
Neil Cavuto: Gary Kaltbaum, you're there in what they call "Meltdown Haven." Things just seem to be getting worse in Florida. What's the mood there?
Gary Kaltbaum: Look, in Florida the massive inventory of houses is not helping. But, for me, the market has been telling a different story. The recent move up has been mostly commodities, mostly oil. If I can see oils and commodities start to calm down, if I can see retail and financials start to kick in gear a little bit, I'll feel so much better about the economy. I think the consumer has so many problems coming up.
Neil Cavuto: Yeah, but for how long will the problems last?
Gary Kaltbaum: I think at least for a couple more quarters. You just can't have a situation where housing prices are coming down and prices for everything else going up.
Tracy Byrnes: Teddy Weisberg, one of the smartest guys on the floor, has always said to listen to the market. As Charles said, it's forward-looking and it wants to break out of this. You can see how we reacted to the recent earnings report. People are out there shopping. The iPhone is doing just fine.
Neil Cavuto: You know they sold more than 10 million iPods in the latest quarter?
Tracy Byrnes: Yeah! One-point-seven million iPhones.
Neil Cavuto: Those are not cheap items.
Tracy Byrnes: They are not cheap. People are still out doing things. You're not seeing that nervous jitter in the market.
Neil Cavuto: Adam, what do you think?
Adam Lashinsky: I think Charles and Tracy are talking about fairy tales here.
Adam Lashinsky: The market isn't necessarily telling us anything! Yes, it's up recently. But, it's actually been rather volatile. We're seeing a lot of mixed things in the market. Yeah, there's a lot of good news, but there's also some awful news! We don't necessarily know where we are. We're getting mixed signals. We've been up recently, but that doesn't mean we're going to stay up…
Neil Cavuto: So are you bearish?
Adam Lashinsky: Yeah, I'm bearish. The market is weak.
Tracy Byrnes: But Adam, don't you think there's a disconnect between the stock market and the actual economy? You could say the stock market is pulling out, but there's still a ways to go in the economy. I think that's the point people miss.
Mike Norman: Also, if the stock market continues to go up and restores some confidence… that would be a good thing.
Charles Payne: To Gary's point, the financials are acting incredibly great with all this bad news. Homebuilders are acting good. Retailers are acting good. And commodities… gold under $900! Think about what it was a few weeks ago. And to Adam's point, Adam won't be excited till we see Dow 16,000… but then, it's going to be too late.
Gary Kaltbaum: I think it's more important that if oil prices come down, we're going to have a big move in retail. If I can see Goldman Sachs start to break out and see Merrill Lynch start to act better, I'll be thinking different then.
Mike Norman: Gary! Oil prices have doubled in the past year. We're at $120/barrel. The stock market's down 10 percent from its high. That's not even in the classification of what we call a correction!
Gary Kaltbaum: Financial stocks are down 50 percent! Retail stocks are down 50 percent
Neil Cavuto: Well, you're in Florida and it's hot!
Mike Norman: He's got heat stroke.
More for Your Money: $tocks That'll Go Up No Matter Who Wins in November
Neil Cavuto: Politics and money go hand-in-hand… kinda like me and canolis. But I digress. Enough about me! No matter who wins in November, our money guys say YOU can win big in the stock market! It's time to get "More for Your Money."
Gary Kaltbaum: Yum! Brands (YUM )
Charles Payne: Lockheed Martin (LMT )
Adam Lashinsky: FPL Group (FPL )
Mike Norman: Morgan Stanley (MS)
*Mike owns shares of this stock
FOX on the Spot
Mike Norman: Job Market Rebound helps "KFY " Bounce up 25 percent in 6 Months!
Adam Lashinsky: A Halloween Treat! Oil Drops to $80/bbl & "UAUA " Soars 20 percent!
Charles Payne: Store Your $$ in SanDisk; "SNDK " up 25 percent in '08!
Gary Kaltbaum: Greenback bounces back! "UUP " goes up 20 percent by this Fall
Tracy Byrnes: Employers beware! Blackberry Users Ask for More $$
Neil Cavuto: More Food Rationing Will Lead to Higher Food Prices!
Flipside: Stores Rationing Food Will Make Prices Worse!
Victoria Barret, Associate Editor: Yes. Think about the psychological impact of this. This has been all over the news this week. It's bad news. Everyone starts to get worried and they think, should I be buying food right now, should I be stocking up? That's going to drive prices even higher. It changes consumer behavior in the wrong way when we don't really have a shortage. It creates the false sense that there is a shortage when there isn't one.
Neil Weinberg, Senior Editor: Look, it can cause a lot of problems, but if you go into a supermarket and there's one loaf of bread there, you're going to buy it, and you're going to be panicked. The best thing to do is to have a little bit there for everybody and everyone will say, "I went to the store, got some rice, not a problem."
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief: Look, there is no shortage! There is a spin shortage. Who knew there would be a PR shortage in America? What they are doing is limiting the 4 big bags of rice, like a couple of cubic feet of rice. All the regular sizes are opening up. There is no shortage, and the rationing is a PR stunt. If there were a shortage, my gosh, rationing doesn't work. Remember the gas lines in the ‘70s. Let the price float then the lines go away.
Evelyn Rusli, Forbes.com Anchor: This was a measured and responsible decision to a real problem. There are two problems here. There are rational buyers reading the headlines and saying I have to buys some rice, and then there are the restaurants and small businesses that were buying up and trying to stock up. There were Costcos that actually ran out of rice, and the thing is here it's the 50 lb bags of rice. It's not really going to affect the families. Who else is going to buy a 5lb bag of rice? This is a direct response to small businesses that are stocking up.
Elizabeth MacDonald, Fox Business Network: I don't even eat rice and I'm going should I be buying rice? Holy cow. What is going on here? It reminds me what happened after 9/11 when that unfortunate soul duct taped his entire house in response to an anthrax threat. So, anyway, there's irrationality going on here, and not just at Costco but also at Sam's Price Club. Green prices, there's a grain drain around the world. What's going on the with the grain drain around the world as Americans, too, are getting hit with higher food prices. It's a global energy issue. You see for example Al Gore staying silent about the fact that biofuels are being threatened. We see the founder of green peace saying we should go to nuclear energy.
In Focus: Is the Ongoing Democratic Race Putting a Drag on Stocks?
Elizabeth MacDonald: I think absolutely yes. They are selling the idea that the country is heading for a national nervous breakdown to buy votes. You gotta wonder when the Democratic Party is going to vote the Geneva Convention and call a cease fire as these two are going hairy carry on each other. This market does not like the gloom and doom, it does not like the fear mongering. It's angry populism. It is bad for the economy and bad for the stock market.
Mike Ozanian, National Editor: Listen, the longer that Hillary and Barack squabble, the better it is for the stock market because it improves John McCain's chances. Look at what has happened. McCain's rating has moved up relative to those two. It's become clearer and clearer that the longer that they squabble, the less they know about economics. The last thing they said in the last debate is we are going to increase all government programs by taxing only the top three percent of income earners. That's impossible. You can't do that.
Neil Weinberg: I don't think John McCain is going to win any Nobel prizes for economics himself. The market doesn't want Barack Obama to win, and here's why. He's a dyed in the wool liberal. He's the most liberal senator around. He's for tax cuts and wacky things like going after murky tax havens which really don't hurt us. Hillary is pandering. She'll do whatever to get her in power and keep her in power so she will pander to Wall Street once she gets in power.
John Rutledge, Forbes Contributor: No, just the opposite. In fact, while we've been talking the stock market has increased 1,000 points from its bottom in recent weeks. The problem is that today the market is the mortgage crisis. That's what everybody is talking about. After we have a winner in the primaries, they're going to remember that Mr. Obama and Hillary have proposed top marginal tax rates over 50 percent. Over 50 percent tax rate is enough to raise the cost of capital for the stock market by two percentage points and knock down the value of the market by more than 20 percent, or 3,000 points. That's what's going to happen after they win. We may go from a mortgage problem to an Obama problem overnight.
Rich Karlgaard, Publisher: The market is doing just fine right now as John pointed out. The Democratic National Committee is not going to deny Obama the nomination, and he's now fatally flawed. He cannot win the swing electoral states like Florida, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. He has proven that, and that is one of the reasons the market is going up. Of course this is benefiting McCain because both these candidates are fatally flawed. Obama will get the nomination, but he can't win.
Can Companies Punish Workers for Personal Behavior?
Rich Karlgaard: You should certainly be punished for committing what amounts to as insurance fraud like filling out false information. Companies have rising health care costs. They have the right, if they are picking up the bill for your health, to make you a deal; follow these rules and we will lower your premiums. Don't follow the rules and we'll raise your premiums. And we know smoking is one of those things that you pretty much shouldn't do.
Lacey Rose, Forbes.com Senior Reporter: It is completely unenforceable. Are you going to follow your employees around with a breathalyzer or have them weigh in each week? In that sense, then it's just not realistic to say this. Then you look at the question of what is unhealthy behavior? Is a glass or two of wine a night? Is it a couple of cigarettes on a Saturday night? I don't see how you can possible enforce this.
Josh Lipton, Forbes.com Staff Writer: I think we talk a lot about nanny government on this panel and now we're talking about the appropriate role of nanny corporations. Employers shouldn't care about your personal choices as long as it doesn't impact job performance.
Victoria Barret: I agree. Where do you draw the line? I love to go for a run every weekend in the sun. I have very fair skin. I'm probably increasing my odds of skin cancer, so that's going to be bad if you're in the same insurance pool as me. I could cost you more later, so are you going to make me pay more because maybe I'm not wearing a sun hat? Where do you draw the line?
Quentin Hardy: It's increasing enforceable. In England now, they can check on your residency now just based on the cameras they see in the town. There are all sorts of ways they can check on personal behavior.
Informer: Be$t Stocks in the World!
John Rutledge: Apple (AAPL)
Mike Ozanian: Gulfmark Offshore (GLF)
Josh Lipton: Coca-Cola (KO)
Evelyn Rusli: Potash (POT)
Our Cashin' In crew this week: Jonathan Hoenig, CapitalistPig Asset Management; Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com; Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co.; Dagen McDowell, Fox Business Network; Larry Winget, Author, "You're Broke Because You Want To Be,"; MeMe Roth, President, National Action Against Obesity.
New Law Mandating "Green" Homes: Housing Market Killer?
Lawmakers in Montgomery county, Maryland have passed a law which will require new homes to meet federal energy efficiency standards, even though home builders argue it will hurt consumers by increasing the price of homes.
-- Will this further hurt a housing market which is already on the ropes?
Jonathan: This will cost humans more but that's exactly what the green movement wants. The green movement hates human beings. Anything they can do to inconvenience human development, to inconvenience industry, to hurt human beings, they love it. So yeah, this is going to add $20,000 to the cost of a new home. And I'll tell you: the Sierra Club? They love it. Greenpeace? They love it. It is bad for housing but it's bad for the human race.
Dagen: It's great for housing because if may discourage homebuilders from putting up new homes when inventories are highest they have been since 1981. You need to let the inventory work itself off and keep them from building more. If that does it great.
Larry: To say the green movement hates human beings is a ridiculous statement. I believe we have to reduce the inventory. I think long term this is a good idea. It's good for people. It's good for the planet. But short-term, the first thing we have to do is get the inventory down. We do have an excess of homes right now.
Jonas: This actually is helping the housing market. The guy with the old house in this town, his house becomes more valuable, doesn't it? If the new house costs more to build because of whatever regulation. You've got too much housing on the market. You want to raise costs. I think if you had a tax on new home construction for a year that would slow the amount of inventory hitting the market, which would help the people whose current homes are falling in prices.
Wayne: I'm lost here. Is this a discussion about the housing market and that we've got too much inventory or is this a discussion about green? If it's a discussion about green, as we know, all of the local building codes are set locally, by a local building department. So your codes in New York are different from the codes in San Francisco which are different from the codes in Indiana. So when they tell you "inspect a home" and tell you that you have to do certain things, all that regulatory stuff I agree is too much. However, there are poeple building green homes who are doing a terrific job and there's a desire for green homes. In fact you might be able to sell a green home faster than one than isn't. Why? Because it lowers your energy costs and your maintenance is a lot lower and it's less expensive to own that home.
Should We Stop Spending to Save the Economy?
Larry: What people need to be doing with their stimulus check money is pay down their credit card debt, those high interest loans that they have. 40 percent of people spend more money than they earn and most of them don't have a clue. In fact, I have yet to deal with anyone who knew where they were financially. So stop spending for a while and take an assessment of where you really are. Redefine your lifestyle. Figure out what really is necessary spending and what isn't and cut back on unnecessary spending.
Wayne: That's a moral decision. If I want to go broke, I should have the freedom to go broke. That's one of the nice things about this country. You're making a moral judgment and saying everyone should live by a budget. I would agree with you. That's true. That's a nice thing to say. That's a nice thing for everybody to do. But everybody isn't going to do it and it's not necessarily good for the economy.
Dagen: Larry, in the long run, you're right. As a nation we need to stop borrowing so much and start saving. But in the short run if you tell people to go out and stop spending their money, you don't want to live in this economy because it's going to be a nightmare and it's going to look worse than the Great Depression. So you have to find something in between.
Jonas: Larry, your advice for an individual is great, your show is great but for the economy I think debt is underrated. Americans are the most productive, longest hour workers in the world and there's a reason for that. Debt lights a fire under you to work. People know they have debt. They might not know how much debt they have but it keeps them working. A lot of people get lazy when they don't have obligations to pay for: no mortgage, no credit card debt.
Jonathan: Larry, I'm going to take your advice and I'm not going to buy any of the books, DVDs, CDs or clothing you sell on your website. I'm going to start there. I think you're right. People do live beyond their means but I like to consume, I like to consume things that bring me value. I think that saying that consumerism is wrong is not the answer; it's living beyond your means, and I think Larry would probably agree with that.
Should Thin Passengers Get a Break on Airfares?
MeMe: I think some of us who have somehow remained thin in this era of obesity deserve some perks. I don't expect there to be a lesser price for people who are lighter but I do think airlines will start looking at the total weight of a passenger—body weight plus the baggage. The ideal passenger is going to be traveling light in every conceivable way and probably looking for very little pampering.
Jonas: There's already so many benefits for being thin. Besides living longer, being healthier, there's proof you succeed more in your job when you're thin. This doesn't even make any sense because what uses jet fuel is flying the plane. Being heavier is another dollar in fuel or two dollars over a thin person. Would someone who is small and obese pay the same amount as someone who is tall but thin? How does this even work? If you want to charge someone more for health insurance if they are heavy that makes sense. This two dollar thing is just to embarrass people who are fat. Are you trying to make them thin or to actually save the airline money?
Larry: I think you're going to have to have a circus carnie at the airport guessing what people weigh and deciding what to charge them. This is a ridiculous notion. There's no way to logistically make this happen.
Wayne: Larry is right. What are you going to do? You're going to charge Kareem Abdul Jabbar more money because he's taller? You're going to charge midgets less because they're smaller? I mean this is outrageous. You can't do that. The airline sells the seat. The seat is the seat and that's what they're selling.
Best Bets: Best Stocks Under 10 Bucks!
JONAS' PICK: Verasun Energy (VSE)
WAYNE'S PICK: PMC-Sierra (PMCS)
JONATHAN'S PICK: CBIZ Inc (CBZ)