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; Eric Bolling, Fox Business Network; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor, and Matt McCall, Penn Financial Group president.
Trading Pit: Stocks Hang Tough in Tough Times: Is Market Unstoppable?
Record after record at gas pumps and grocery stores. Disaster after disaster around the globe. But with all these troubles and more, the market keeps moving forward. Can anything hold back stocks right now?
Matt McCall: No. We are soaring to the end of the year. Keep throwing the bad news at me because all that that does is create the wall of worry that bull markets climb. People thought we were going to hit the bottom in the first quarter. They are going to doubt this rally all the way to new all-time highs. Nothing is going to stop this market right now!
Gary B Smith: Two months ago people thought the market was going to zero. Now we are using the words market and unstoppable in the same sentence. We need and probably will have a little bit of choppiness and probably a bit of a short-term pullback. But by the end of this year the market will perform better than anyone thinks it will.
Scott Bleier: The market is celebrating that we didn't come to the end of the world over the past couple of months. The market is ignoring the commodity and energy crisis in price, just like it ignored the housing crisis and subprime crisis until it was upon them. The market has had a good rally, you sell this rally and let the market come down. Consumers are going to suffer and everyone is going to suffer with prices the way they are.
Eric Bolling: The market is shrugging off all this bad news. It's a great time for the market. I am bullish. Oil will correct and when oil corrects, there is really not much stopping the market from maybe making new all-time highs.
Tobin Smith: We'd be heading for all-time highs if stocks were at the point where they were reflecting perfection, but they are not close to that. The financials have come off the bottom but they are nowhere near the time of over evaluation. Yes, if we have a pull back, that would be a buy. But when we talk about energy stocks, people waited in January, February, March, April and May, they have missed out on one of the biggest rallies in years!
Housing Boom Once Prices at the Pump Drop?
Matt McCall: It is perception. If you perceive the economy being rough and prices being high, that keeps you from making large purchases like a home. Until gas prices start coming down I don't think housing can go up.
Scott Bleier: I think it's ridiculous. Gas prices were $2.25 a gallon when the housing market started falling apart. Prices have to come down enough and stabilize for a year. Once they stabilize for a year, banks will begin to lend again regardless of where gas prices are. Then and only then can housing come back!
Gary B Smith: It's all about confidence. What gets people's confidence on a day-to-day basis are the things they pay for on a day-to-day basis. As gas comes down, people will feel more flush. As they feel more flush, they gain confidence and are more willing to go out and bid up the price of the house that they want to buy.
It's the fastest way to make money on TV: The "Bulls & Bears" Lightning Round!
Gary B. Smiths Pick: Merck (MRK )
Eric Bolling's Pick: Praxair (PX )
Tobin Smith's Pick: Whiting Petroleum (WLL )
Scott Bleier's Pick: Donaldson Company (DCI )
Matt McCall's Pick: Orbital Sciences (ORB )
Tobin Smith's prediction: China rebuilds with Cemex! (CX ) Up 30 percent by end of '08
Gary B. Smith's prediction: Housing comeback builds up "SHW " by 20 percent in 7 months
Eric Bolling's prediction: Forget organic foods! Safeway (SWY ) up 30 percent by end of '08
Scott Bleier's prediction: Who needs GE? Whirlpool (WHR ) up 40 percent by end of '08
Matt McCall's prediction: Looking great with true religion (TRLG ); up 30 percent by end of year
On Saturday, May 17, 2008, Neil Cavuto was joined by Dagen McDowell, FOX Business Network; Ben Stein, "Yes, You Can Supercharge Your Portfolio" author; Charles Payne, wstreet.com; Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine; David Nelson, DC Nelson Asset Mgmt.
Bottom Line: Is Now the Time to RAISE the Federal Gas Tax?
Neil Cavuto: Gas jumping to yet another record. It's up more than a dime in one week! Taxes play a big role in the price of gas, so why is someone here saying we need to RAISE the gas tax? Joining us is FOX Business Network's Dagen McDowell. We're glad to have her, but it could be her last show. You see, Dagen is the one saying we need to hike the gas tax! Dagen, explain yourself.
Dagen McDowell: Gas in this country is too cheap. We use too much of it. We import nearly three-quarters of the oil that we use from overseas. So, you tax gas, tax it high, and cut demand. Then, you can cut taxes somewhere else.
Neil Cavuto: You watch CNN, don't you?
Dagen McDowell: No!
Dagen McDowell: I am dead serious about this! I have been saying this for a really long time.
Neil Cavuto: There is a hammer and a sickle on your forehead.
Dagen McDowell: What about mass transit?? You build up mass transit and develop alternative fuels. When you tax gas, you don't put a burden on just one industry.
Neil Cavuto: Isn't it high enough as it is? You want to make it higher?
Dagen McDowell: We don't pay gas taxes anywhere near what other developed countries pay.
Neil Cavuto: Alright. So it's gotten expensive. Has it prompted any of this change in behavior you are envisioning?
Dagen McDowell: If you tax gas and keep it really high for a long period of time, it will cut demand!
Neil Cavuto: What would you like to see?
Dagen McDowell: $8 a gallon. But you don't do it immediately!
Dagen McDowell: It's $8 in Europe; they're livin'. It's $11 a gallon in Turkey and people are lining up for gas.
Charles Payne: That goes against your point then! If they are paying $11 a gallon and they haven't changed their behavior… why would Americans change behavior?!
Dagen McDowell: It would change it enough! We buy oil from countries that hate us! Why is that a good thing?!
Charles Payne: We buy vegetables from countries that hate us?
Dagen McDowell: Oh please. Yeah, we buy lettuce from Hugo Chavez.
Charles Payne: They sell me things and then they smile at me.
David Nelson: No, no, no. This is the kind of numbskull ideas that come out of Congress.
Neil Cavuto: You're not calling Dagen a numbskull, are you?
David Nelson: Well, I'm not going to go that far.
Neil Cavuto: This is her first show.
Adam Lashinsky: I think he's calling her a numbskull.
David Nelson: This is a numbskull idea. You're taking this and putting it on the poor and working class who are just trying to get to work and pay their bills. You give me a copy of the Congressional budget and inside 90 minutes, I will save you upwards of $100 billion.
Adam Lashinsky: Neil, let me jump in there and try to help my good friend Dagen…
Neil Cavuto: Go ahead, Adam. You're in San Francisco where people love this stuff!
Adam Lashinsky: It doesn't matter where you are if an idea is a good one… so let me defend it for a moment. Neil, you said taxes are a large part of the price we pay for gas. That is not true. It's a relatively small part of the price we pay… although we pay more in California. Dagen's idea is absolutely right. And she's also right that she has been calling for a higher gas tax for a long time. It should have been done several years ago. We should have been moving in this direction.
Neil Cavuto: Just because you've been calling for something for a long time doesn't mean it's right! If prices had been going up throughout this process and it hasn't curbed behavior, who is to say that hiking taxes all the more will?
Adam Lashinsky: We know there hasn't been a change in behavior recently, but the prices haven't been that high for that long. If we had started in a reasonable time frame, maybe we would have changed.
David Nelson: That's the point!
Dagen McDowell: My point is that gas prices aren't high enough to curb demand. So, you tax it and make gas a lot more expensive.
Neil Cavuto: Let's get Ben Stein in here.
Ben Stein: This idea was originally proposed in 1973 by Bill Sapphire in the Nixon administration. It's a great idea. I think Dagen is totally right. The only problem is Charles is also totally right. There is very little elasticity in gasoline prices. Even if you raise them a lot, there's no evidence it will suppress demand. We now have a worldwide demand and worldwide setting of the gas prices. We no longer have a situation where U.S. supply and demand set the price.
Charles Payne: Let me just add something here. Dagen, people are going to continue to drive. What you are going to do is harm the economy because they are going to stop doing other things. If there is an option between going out this week and spending $100, half of it in the gas tank and the other somewhere else, you're going to harm…
Dagen McDowell: You don't know that they will continue to drive the same sized automobile!
David Nelson: Do you think that's going to change overnight?!
Dagen McDowell: You don't know that every person will not take mass transit.
Charles Payne: It doesn't matter what sized vehicle. They're still going to use gasoline!
Neil Cavuto: Let's step back for a minute. Where's the money going to go? If you double, triple, quadruple taxes… what's Uncle Sam going to do with it?
Dagen McDowell: I knew you were going to bring that up because I know you don't think Uncle Sam can spend those dollars well. You could cut taxes elsewhere! You are worried about lower-income Americans… you give them a break to off-set the pain.
David Nelson: The average lower-income American owns a car that is not energy efficient. They can't afford to go out and buy a Prius…
Dagen McDowell: Guess what! You can get a really nice, early 90s car… like a Geo Metro or a Hyundai for less than $2,000. And you're already seeing that happen!
Charles Payne: This is not fair. You want to dictate to people how they should live their lives! Like the government should brow-beat me because I want to use gasoline. If I want to spend $300 a week on gas, that is my privilege.
Neil Cavuto: Whoa, whoa, whoa, WHOA! We're all family here.
Adam Lashinsky: Let me get in here.
Neil Cavuto: Adam, we don't want to hear from you…
Neil Cavuto: I'm only kidding. What's your brilliant point?
Adam Lashinsky: My brilliant point is that it's not Charles's privilege to drive a gas-guzzling car.
Charles Payne: I can spend my money the way I want!
Adam Lashinsky: Let me finish.
Neil Cavuto: Are you going to argue with what Charles drives? It's big.
Adam Lashinsky: There are all sorts of consequences to the way we behave. As citizens, we get to have a conversation about that. We get to have what we think is a good way of living. If we don't think that clogged freeways with pollution spewing into them are not a good way of living, then we get to have a policy debate about that.
David Nelson: The goal is laudable. I understand that. But, with all the brain power we have, this is the very best we can do?!
Neil Cavuto: Let me get Ben Stein back into this. You are one of the proponents of a tax hike on the rich. How sure are we that the money goes to where it should?
Ben Stein: Well, look. We have a $400 billion deficit. Let's use the money to reduce the deficit. It's also a pretty good use of the money to not tax our children and grandchildren.
Neil Cavuto: That would be assuming we would be putting it into some sort of lock box?
Ben Stein: Or we could spend it on defense or care of indigent people.
Adam Lashinsky: Or mass transit.
Ben Stein: In the Nixon days, we were going to give a rebate of that tax to very poor people and I think that's not a bad idea. Dagen's idea is pretty sound. The problem is there doesn't seem to be much elasticity. Although, demand has fallen in the last couple of months…
Neil Cavuto: You say that because you like Dagen.
Ben Stein: I love her.
Neil Cavuto: Even after all that shouting and pointing of fingers?
Ben Stein: I love her even more.
Head to Head: Wal-Mart to the Rescue?
Neil Cavuto: I just talked with Dagen and that's not the way we deal with things here. She knows now.
Neil Cavuto: OK! Wal-Mart to the rescue? Shoppers worried about the economy are hunting for bargains and finding them at Wal-mart. The discount king just out with record sales. Is this proof the retailer isn't only helping Americans save money, it's helping save America's economy too?
Ben Stein: I love Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart is the target of some of the most unfair criticism in the history of the media. It is a place to distribute savings all over. It's definitely hard on local, small businesses and that is sad. But, for the ordinary American shopper, it is a gift from heaven and a very good way to get through a recession. I cannot think of a single government program as helpful as Wal-Mart is to the consumer.
Neil Cavuto: I haven't heard any politicians complain about Wal-Mart chaining cashiers to their registers or any of that…
Charles Payne: Yeah, but there have been some hints that they're going to go after Wal-Mart. I agree with Ben 1000 percent. How could you go to Wal-mart and come out and not see the benefits? In the communities, thousands of people line up for those jobs and are happy to have them. The folks who complain about the income gap in this country are the same people who complain about Wal-Mart, where the regular guy has a chance to go get a flat panel TV, a riding mower, you name it.
Dagen McDowell: I love Ben. And I love Charles. And I do agree with them on this.
Ben Stein: You love me?
Dagen McDowell: Yes.
David Nelson: This is a love fest…
Neil Cavuto: Oh man…
Dagen McDowell: Generic drugs for $10. When Wal-Mart brings down prices, other retailers follow suit. And think about it. We were talking about record gas prices. You can go to Wal-Mart and get your gas, get your groceries, and get your clothes… one-stop shopping!
Neil Cavuto: Well, if you have it your way, you can go to Wal-Mart, pay $50 a gallon and buy some Pop Tarts!
Dagen McDowell: Moving on…
David Nelson: I gotta step in here. This would have to be a mini-series to document all the dangers Wal-Mart poses. They come into towns like parasites, attaching themselves to the host to keep it alive… then suck it try. How do they do this? They do it on the pretext of creating economic activity and new jobs. But what they really do is relocate workers from higher-paying jobs to lower-paying jobs.
Dagen McDowell: No way.
Charles Payne: That's not true.
David Nelson: The facts are there!
Charles Payne: What about these small, little towns like in Alabama where there is no economic activity.
David Nelson: Nonsense! Mom and Pop stores are no longer there!
Dagen McDowell: I can guarantee I'm more of an expert on this than you are. Wal-Mart hurt my parents' business. But, you know what? It was my parent's fault because they didn't innovate.
Adam Lashinsky: It's tough to compare Wal-Mart to a parasite because it's so big. It's not like it's a little bug. It's more like an army swarming in.
David Nelson: It's like an alien!
Adam Lashinsky: I'm all for Capitalism, but the question is what about rapacious capitalism?
Neil Cavuto: Hey, hey, hey! Watch it with the big words.
Adam Lashinsky: If every company behaved like Wal-Mart, we'd be living in a very different country.
David Nelson: Absolutely! And you know who pays for it? The taxpayers!
Ben Stein: That's non-sense.
David Nelson: No, you're wrong. We subsidize and pay for the underpaid workers living below the poverty line.
Ben Stein: With all due respect: One of the basic laws of economics is pay attention to what benefits the consumer, not what benefits the shopkeeper. There are only a few shopkeepers, but many consumers… even shopkeepers are consumers. People who work at Wal-Mart are not otherwise going to be working as partners at Goldman Sachs. Wal-Mart workers are getting a good wage, considering where they are.
Adam Lashinsky: Play it out, Ben. If every employer looked like Wal-Mart, then we would have a different kind of country. And the way you know this is true is that Wal-Mart itself is responding to many of those things. Just last week, they took new measures to essentially make sure their products are safe for children.
Ben Stein: That's everyone selling toys.
Neil Cavuto: The bottom line is people are saving money.
David Nelson: At a cost.
More for Your Money: Payne's Picks
Neil Cavuto: When it comes to picking money-making stocks, Charles Payne is one of the best. As of this show, 27 of his 33 stock picks this year are up. You heard me. Up! Even in this wild market. His biggest three winners have jumped more than 50 percent. Now, to be fair and balanced, he's had some stinkers, too. So, what does Charles think is hot right now? It's time for Charles to get "More for Your Money."
* Charles owns shares of this stock.
Wynn Resorts (WYNN)
* Charles owns shares of this stock.
* Charles owns shares of this stock.
* Charles owns shares of this stock.
FOX on the Spot
David Nelson: Clean up with Dirty Coal! "ANR " up 30 percent in 2009
Charles Payne: Housing Kryptonite Turns to Gold! "BLK " up 30 percent by 2010
Ben Stein: REITs are Back; Buy "RQI "! It's Volatile, But Worth It
Adam Lashinsky: HP-EDS Deal Makes "HPQ " a Buy! Jumps 15 percent by Labor Day
Dagen McDowell: Nintendo's $90 "Wii Fit" Is the New "Thigh Master"
Neil Cavuto: The GOP Just Doesn't Get It; Expensive Bills Will Cost Seats!
In Focus: Gas Price Fix: Go Nuclear?
Josh Lipton, Forbes.com staff writer: Nuclear power is smart, sensible, it's going to give you clean reliable, limitless energy. This is one example, maybe the only example, where we can follow the lead of France. I know it's crazy talk, but they reportedly get 75 percent of their electricity from nuclear power. I'm thinking the French have finally gotten it right.
Mike Ozanian, national editor: Their cars are very small in France, and gas is twice as expensive in France than it is in the U.S. We have all the energy we need right here with oil. It's more cost efficient than nuclear power. No one ever talks about the trouble of storing nuclear waste. Even France has trouble with that, and Sweden who used to be big on nuclear power stopped it 20 years ago.
Bill Baldwin, editor: I'm sorry. Mike is totally wrong about oil. Oil is way too precious to burn up in power plants. We need it for things like supermarket bags that environmentalists don't like. Nukes are a lot cheaper. If you build a nuclear plant today, you can make electricity for 10 cents a kilowatt hour. Oil would cost twice that. Mike doesn't seem to know that.
Elizabeth MacDonald, FOX Business Network: Mike is wrong! The reason France is smart about driving smaller cars is because it is costlier to buy gas. Getting back to nukes, I don't see it having that much of an effect. Half of the electricity in our country comes from coal, 20 percent from nukes. I am pro-nuclear. I hate it that China is more progressive about nuclear energy. Yes, we should build more nuclear plants.
Neil Weinberg, senior editor: Build more nuclear plants, and here's why. We should substitute nuclear energy for the natural gas we use. We can use that natural gas right now to power our cars. We don't do that here. There are five million cars in the world that are powered on natural gas right now. 150, 000 of them are in the U.S. This is a huge resource. 98 percent of our natural gas comes from here. Let's substitute that from our power plants and drive on it.
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley bureau chief: Here are two reasons. One substitution does lower prices. That is a pure market reality. Two, saying we have plenty of oil here is kind of like a fat guy switching to diet soda or a smoker going to a light cigarette. You have to stop doing it. No matter how much oil we drill in this country we are still going to be dependent on the Middle East, we're going to have lots of problems there, and we shouldn't do it. Nuclear waste is a huge problem. It's a problem on the order of getting the cost of wind and solar down. There are problems with all of them. We should do more research before proceeding.
Free College for Everyone: Good or Bad Investment?
Mike Maiello, associate editor: Let's free our future minds from the shackles of their student loans. It has worked. It worked in New Mexico. In 1996, New Mexico started a lottery, and they used proceeds from that lottery to fund education loans, full ride scholarships to 50,000 students since then, $400 million to the state schools.
Jack Gage, associate editor: Merit based scholarships are great, that's one thing, but the important thing to remember is there used to be a concept called college savings where parents and students strove for education, worked for it and earned it. Whether it's paying off student loans or paying for it outright, I think it is an important thing to remember that you have to work for the right to be educated in the United States.
Victoria Barret, associate editor: I think we should do things to make college more affordable, and that may mean subsidizing great students to go to college. It's no longer the case where a high school degree is going to get you the job you want in this country. Increasingly the jobs and people that are going to grow our economy are folks with college degrees and with graduate degrees. We need to take our approach to education into the modern world. We want an educated society. This isn't a hand out. It's not like giving someone a car and saying ‘Here is your wonderful car, thanks to the U.S. government.' Great education and educated citizens make our country a stronger place.
Evelyn Rusli, Forbes.com anchor: The average cost of tuition for a public university is over $6,000. Multiply that by the number of eligible students, and costs rise over the next several years. Who is going to foot that bill? I mean, do we have a Mike Maiello slush fund? It would bankrupt the US.
Rich Karlgaard, publisher: Well, I think Victoria is right. That natural resource of the 21st century is brains. If we don't invest in that, we're going to be in trouble as a country. You have to tie it to performance. There used to be a great free university called the City College of New York, then in 1969 it was overtaken by the left, and all the standards went out the window, thus went the reputation of the university.
Elizabeth MacDonald: This topic makes me want to grind my teeth into Tic Tacs over what parents have to deal with in this country with skyrocketing college tuition costs which unfortunately they haven't made free. Given how the Congress is, they are about as sharp minded as a bowl of Jell-O. Rates would have to go up. Look at what happened with the GI Bill in 1945 which made college education free for soldiers. Productivity zoomed higher in the 1950s, some say because of that bill. Why not reinstate that?
Flipside: Stop Giving Tax Dollars and Profits to Disaster Victims Overseas!
Neil Weinberg: I think it's an economic issue to some extent. I have tremendous sympathy for the people suffering overseas, but the fact is I saw a picture of one of our senior government aid people shaking hands with one of the generals in Myanmar the other day. We are sending them high protein biscuits, they're sending it to the military, and they are giving basically cardboard to the people. Is this really helping the people of Myanmar? I don't want to give aid and comfort to the military regime which is keeping them down.
Quentin Hardy: The innocents lie starving on a broken equatorial swamp or on the rubble in China and you want to check their passports? I don't think that's inside our Judeo Christian traditions. You've got to do something.
Rich Karlgaard: I agree with Quentin, that it is within the Judeo Christian tradition to help people who need help. But look, churches in the United States give four and a half times the amount of money in foreign aid anyway. Why not make it easier? These are much more effective organizations. Why not raise the charitable deductions so people give voluntarily?
You're going to get more aid that way?
Victoria Barret: Rich is right. The private donations in our country way outstrip what the government does when it comes to foreign aid. That's because foreign aid is such a drop in the bucket for us. While we donate the most in dollar amounts, like $23 billion a year, it's just one fifth of one percent of our gross national income. Twenty other countries are more generous than us if we measure it that way, including little countries like Sweden and Belgium. It's a small amount of money and good PR for us. It's not necessarily the most efficient way to give aid, but the PR value is really relevant in today's world.
Jack Gage: You have to keep it here. I agree with Rich to a certain extent. If you want to pass a collection plate around the United States for those who willingly want to give, that's fine, but you can't do it with US tax payer dollars. You have to look at the non-government organizations that are delivering the foreign aid to places in need of international relief. And you have to think that at the end of the day, we're going to see that either go to the benefit of those in trouble, or like Neil pointed out to fund the 400,000 troop level in Myanmar.
Informer: Straight From the Forbes Spring Investment Guide: The Best Standout Stocks!
Evelyn Rusli: Metalico (MEA)
Mike Ozanian: Itron (ITRI)
Bill Baldwin: StatoilHydro (STO)
Josh Lipton: Gafisa (GFA)
Does Wall Street Want Hillary to Stay in the Race?
Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com: Sure, because Hillary first of all is less liberal than Obama, no question about that. She is all about populist stuff, but they end of the stuff, recently removing the gas tax is something others were calling for. Her ideas are populist, but they are not flagrantly anti-corporate. She is not going to lay out a bunch of far left policies that are going to benefit the public and hurt corporate America.
Jonathan Hoenig, CapitalistPig Asset Management: Everything besides that socialist health care program. Come on. Hillary and Obama are one and the same. They will both give you bigger democratic and a philosophical move to socialism. More power to her. I just don't think she wants to go down in history as a loser and a liar.
Wayne Rogers: I don't think Wall Street cares in the least bit. Who cares really? The only advantage of her staying in the race is maybe they will spend more on ad revenue so that will pump up the economy a little. I don't think anybody really cares. Well, I mean they care about their positions, but nobody cares whether or not she stays in the race or not. She has stated her position and it does not matter anymore.
Jill Schlesinger, Strategic Point Investment: I think actually Wall Street loves a winning. If you look at how much money officials are putting behind the candidates, Obama is in the lead because Wall Street wants a seat at the table. Most people are saying let's get this over with. Let's see how much money we want to commit to this going forward. I think the popular sentiment she is talking about is starting to get annoying to people.
Who Should Pump More Oil: The U.S. or OPEC?
Jill Schlesinger: I am about to get voted out of the Brown Alumni Organization for saying this. I will say that it would be very nice for us to have a great policy of alternative energy. It is going to take many years to happen, and that we can drill safely in parts of this country that are untapped. Wouldn't it be nice if it wasn't at the best of what they are doing.
Jonathan Hoenig: Nature is valuable unto the fact that it is valuable to mankind. For us to go to the Saudis with our hat in our hand saying would you please pump more oil? Let's sell or lease that land in Alaska on the shelf to private companies and drill away! What we are doing is pouring billions of dollars into ethanol and other products. To lower the price of oil, let's drill for oil, not farm or sugar or solar panels. That does nothing to reduce the price at the pump.
Wayne Rogers: If we don't do something about alternative energy sources. Whether we drill or don't drill, you still have the same problem. China, for example, solar cells, they started this 30 years later than we did, and they are 30 years ahead of us. We are not doing anything about it. We just keep crying and say let's two drill for more oil.
Jonas Max Ferris: It is pretty much bunk. You still want to drive a suburban and you want a magic way to make that efficient. Jonathan would probably be filling his car with cooking oil if he could. Let's get back to the point. We really want to go through the middle east oil first. We want to own the last of the oil. We have already dove through all of the lower state oil. We don't want to weaken it now.
Should We Have a National Sin Tax?
Jonathan Hoenig: Help for our economy and country. This is America. The purpose of our government is to protect my rights. That includes the right to have a cold brew now and then without a tax. The right to look at porno, to listen to music and do all the things that I want to do. This is terrible. It is terribly regressive. If you have any sort of social conscience.
Jonas Max Ferris: What is the more interesting way that governments can raise revenues? They tax income. I like to earn money and I don't want that taxed more. I like all sales taxes. It is the most efficient way for governments to raise the revenue. You off set it with lower taxes for lower income people.
Marc Lamont Hill, FOX News contributor: Absolutely. This isn't about punishing people. I love to sit back on a Saturday night and enjoy a good beer. The question is how can we tax people's comfort and conveniences? How can we close this gap of a $10 billion debt? Another issue is the current burden. The pornography industry, the strip clubs, all those things place a particular and unique burden on the state that we are having to face right now. Strippers don't last long in the industry and they often become dependent on the state for health care, for hospital care, for jobs, welfare, substance abuse programs. They become very dependent on the state, so we are spending a lot of money on them and we can get ahead of that on some of these taxes.
Wayne Rogers: The easiest thing to do is cut spending and we don't have to have all these taxes. If the morons running the government had any sense at all, we won't have to have all these taxes. Look at the example right in New York City. The cigarette taxes. They have raised the price of a pack of cigarettes to $9 a pack. It creates a crime problem. They are smuggling like 50,000 cases of cigarettes every week into the city of New York. Nobody cares about it. As soon as you raise taxes, they are going to find a way to avoid it. When they tax yachts in California, they move them down to Mexico. It is just stupid.
Best Bets: 'Idol' Stocks!
The "American Idol" finala is next week. Give us the picks you think will become a star.
Jonathan Hoenig: WisdomTree Japan High-Yielding Equity (DNL)
Jonas Max Ferris: CarMax (KMX)
Jill Schlesinger: i-Shares Russell 1000 Growth Index (IWF)
Wayne Rogers: Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd (YGE)