DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING "Cost of Freedom Recap" CONTAINS STRONG OPINIONS WHICH ARE NOT A REFLECTION OF THE OPINIONS OF FOX NEWS AND SHOULD NOT BE RELIED UPON AS INVESTMENT ADVICE WHEN MAKING PERSONAL INVESTMENT DECISIONS. IT IS FOX NEWS' POLICY THAT CONTRIBUTORS DISCLOSE POSITIONS THEY HOLD IN STOCKS THEY DISCUSS, THOUGH POSITIONS MAY CHANGE. READERS OF "Cost of Freedom Recap" MUST TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THEIR OWN INVESTMENT DECISIONS.
"Bulls & Bears" host Brenda Buttner was joined by Tobin Smith, ChangeWave.com; Gary B. Smith, TheChartman.com; Eric Bolling, host of FBN's "Happy Hour"; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com; Steve Leser, OpEdNews.com
VP Joe Biden Says Stimulus "Saved or Created" up to 1 Million Jobs Despite Rising Jobless Rate: Can He Prove It?
Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research: Evidently math isn't Vice President Joe Biden's strong suit. Whether it was President Bush's or President Obama's stimulus plan, they just don't save or create jobs. The economy is recovering, but without job growth. We're just throwing money at stuff that never creates jobs. Giving money to states to pay salaries to teachers or firefighters they couldn't afford to employ to begin with is not stimulus.
Steve Leser, Op-Ed News: Even Goldman Sachs says that without the stimulus, we would have had a loss of 3.2 percent in GDP for the second quarter of this year. In the second quarter, we only lost 1 percent. We've had left-leaning and right-leaning organizations saying that half a million jobs have been saved by this stimulus. Recessions don't ever turn around overnight. But I think unemployment will be down to 7.5 percent by August of next year.
Eric Bolling, FOX Business Network: When the Obama administration changed the bar from only jobs created to jobs saved or created, it opened up a can of worms. There's no way to quantify this. There's really no way of saying a job is created or saved. How do you say you're created jobs with 14 million people unemployed and 25 million underemployed? There's very little evidence showing the stimulus to be working.
Gary B. Smith, TheChartman.com: This is the highest unemployment rate we've seen in 26 years. You can claim that all these jobs have been saved, and that it could have been worse. But the fact remains we're continuing to lose jobs at a very high pace. What's ironic about growing unemployment is that the stimulus was supposed to go toward shovel ready jobs. But the areas that continue to lose jobs are construction and manufacturing. The only area that has really grown in all this is government.
Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: The bottom line is that it's hard to make a case that the stimulus hurt the economy and caused the recession to become worse. It cushioned things, but to what degree is debatable. But there are numbers coming out that show at least some jobs have been saved as a result of the stimulus.
"Wall Street Tax" to Pay for Government Care: Recovery Killer?
Gary B. Smith: Right now, the proposed tax would take about 1/10 of 1 percent off every dollar of a stock transaction. Companies like Scott Trade or Schwab that manage 401(k) plans for clients take relatively small commissions. When you take away that 1/10 of 1 percent, that significantly eats into the commission and profits those companies get managing 401(k) plans. And the results could be pretty bad for the little guy.
Tobin Smith: Talk about hypocrisy—the AFL-CIO is promoting this Wall Street tax to pay for health care. What should be taxed are health care benefits which really are a type of compensation. This is a tax against risk-taking, and if you impede risk-taking in the market, you impede making money in the market. That's bad for investors. At the end of the day though, I don't see President Obama actually trying to get this new tax passed.
Steve Leser: This will not make a difference. Think about this, 1/10 of 1 percent on a million dollar transaction is $1,000. The effect on financial institutions would be minimal. But I don't think this tax would pass.
Eric Bolling: This tax would drain liquidity from the system, and when major financial players don't want to play due to additional costs, they'll take their business overseas. Just to get involved with a 401(k) will cost more, and when the government continues to take money out of the financial markets, no one is going to want to play in our sandbox anymore.
Pat Dorsey: We shouldn't get our shorts in a knot over this. This will only take commissions costs to where they were four or five years ago. The market had plenty of players then, and it will continue to. I hope this tax doesn't happen, but it's not something to get hyperbolic about.
If White House Czars Go Down, Economy Will Go Up?
Tobin Smith: The idea you can hire dozens of czars who can properly micromanage things just shows the naiveté of the administration. In any successful business there is one or two really great leaders who head up the organization. They're given the power and they keep the business successful. That's not the case with these czars.
Eric Bolling: Get rid of them all—these czars are on their way out. The more of them we get out of the way, the better the economy will get.
Steve Leser: I don't understand the problem people have with these czars. These czars are people who need to get their respective jobs done, and if they don't, we can point to them and hold them accountable.
Gary B. Smith: Any good manager knows that a key to success is having a lean, efficient staff. Is there anyone out there who really believes we need bigger government and more bureaucracy to muck things up? These czars just add more red tape. The less of them the better.
Tobin Smith: "TEVA" helps finger-bite victim ease pain & gain 30 percent by January
Gary B. Smith: Play solitaire on iPhone! "AAPL" jumps 50 percent in 1 year
Pat Dorsey: Don't give up on financials! Cash in 50 percent with "PNC" in 1 year
Eric Bolling: Golden opportunity! "GFI" soars 100 percent by Sept. 2010
"Cavuto on Business" host, Neil Cavuto, was joined by Charles Payne, wstreet.com; Dagen McDowell, FOX Business Network host; Adam Lashinsky, Fortune magazine; Gary Kaltbaum, GaryK.com.
Dems Attack Docs Making Money: Assault on Capitalism?
Charles Payne, WStreet.com: Profit motivation is one of the things that truly make the difference in any successful industry. When you take that away, you will ruin any business or industry. There are a lot of people out there, beginning with President Obama, who believe shared sacrifice is more motivating than self-sacrifice, and that simply isn't true. People want to take care of themselves and their families first.
Dagen McDowell: The idea that doctors aren't supposed to be financially successful is hogwash. We know that health insurers have become the Darth Vader of this whole debate. There needs to be an enemy for the government to sell this health overhaul to the American people. But now doctors are becoming a new target. The finger is starting to be pointed at them. I'd love to hear President Obama say if you have a sore throat, go to a Walmart health care clinic. But you'll never hear that.
Gary Kaltbaum, GaryK.com: If Democrats are really going after doctors—people who go to college for seven years, take out huge student loans, saves lives, help people get better—and making it seem like they're in it only for profit is ridiculous. The Democrats need villains. They're against people who do well and want to redistribute wealth. The good news is they've done a bad job at making villains up to this point.
Adam Lashinsky, editor-at-large, Fortune Magazine: I think everybody has got their head in the sand on this issue. Let's look at the health insurers. They've completely failed in their jobs to ask doctors to do good work. We know doctors order up too many procedures and test for a variety of reasons. But a major reason is they're scared of being sued, so they want to cover themselves legally. The system has to be reformed. Making the health industry more efficient and cost-effective isn't a bad thing.
Maryland Tax Revenues Down After Hiking Taxes on Rich: Proof Tax Hikes Don't Work?
Gary Kaltbaum: I hope states learn a lesson from this. Capital, businesses and people are going to move where they're treated the best. You have a great example of what happens when you go too far. It's not just in Maryland. Switzerland is made up of cantons, and they get to make their own tax policies. When taxes get to high in one place, people and businesses move to another spot more favorable.
Dagen McDowell: We're only beginning to see the shape of how high taxes might go in this country. The sky is the limit. I've already heard stories of people starting businesses elsewhere overseas because it makes so much more financial sense to do so.
Charles Payne: In Maryland, this is only the second time in 40 years that tax revenues have gone down. This isn't a coincidence. These are smart, self-made people and most of them weren't born with silver spoons in their mouths. They resent what's happening to them. Democrats just don't get that people do not want to be punished for something they did or didn't do. This assault against prosperity in Maryland is just the tip of the iceberg, and the consequences of it are just beginning to show.
Adam Lashinsky: Tax revenues tend to go down in bad economies, not just because rich people don't want to pay taxes and move out of the state. There've been a lot of reports of people leaving California to live in low- tax Nevada. But California has caught a lot of tax cheats who said they moved to Nevada, but in fact stayed in California. Most people want to stay in their home and pay their taxes where they live. I really don't think we have to worry about people or businesses fleeing the United States.
Disgraced "Wall Street Sheriff" May Run for Office Again: Bad News for Investors?
Charles Payne: Wall Street will probably be worried if former N.Y. governor and N.Y. attorney general Eliot Spitzer makes a comeback. While in office, Spitzer showed a tremendous amount of hostility towards Wall Street. What many people don't realize is that for all the bad things people say about Wall Street, we need them to do risky things. If we scare Wall Street away, then it's far more difficult for banks to make investments needed on Main Street.
Gary Kaltbaum: Eliot Spitzer went after Wall Street as a vendetta. He was after something, and he was intent on making himself noticed and in the headlines. Wall Street will not be happy if he attains significant office again, but in terms of financial markets, I don't think they'll give a hoot about it.
Dagen McDowell: Eliot Spitzer got his comeuppance. Investors on Wall Street need to be worrying about the next Eliot Spitzer. People like him have a way of coming back. At this point, what don't voters know about this man?
Adam Lashinsky: I absolutely think Spitzer should have a second act as a politician. I honestly think he could be a better politician a second time around. He did a lot of good work as a prosecutor. Some of it was vindictive. The hope would be he'd be better at it this time, and focus on going after the bad guys. It could be a good thing for Wall Street—it does need watchdogs after all.
Stocks That Won't Knock You Down
Charles Payne: Nordstrom (JWN)
Adam Lashinsky: Cerner (CERN)
Gary Kaltbaum: Gold Miners ETF (GDX)
Forbes on FOX
"Forbes on FOX" host, David Asman, was joined by Steve Forbes, Forbes magazine editor-in-chief; Rich Karlgaard, publisher; Quentin Hardy, national editor; Mike Maiello, Intelligent Investing editor; Evelyn Rusli, Forbes.com anchor/reporter.
Flipside: Give $85 Billion More in Tax Breaks to Folks Who Don't Pay Taxes!
Mike Maiello, Intelligent Investing editor: We should be happy to give $85 billion to hard working Americans who aren't making enough to make ends meet. This is less than half the amount of money we committed to bailing out AIG. Our social security and Medicare taxes are regressive—they hit the poor especially hard. They could certainly benefit from some relief from these taxes.
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief: Instead of giving out more welfare, how about getting the economy going again to allow these folks to keep more of what they earn, either through cuts in social security taxes, payroll taxes or implementation of a flat tax? These sorts of handouts always become permanent.
Quentin Hardy, national editor: It should be known this $85 billion is over many years. It's actually $9 billion a year and $1,000 to families with children—and these are families making $3,000 to $12,000 a year. They're desperately poor people in desperate times. It's hard to argue against that.
Rich Karlgaard, publisher: This is an example of good intentions that wouldn't produce the consequences hoped for. It's really welfare by a different name. One of the great liberal initiatives of the 1990's was Bill Clinton's welfare reform. If you aren't paying taxes, you're sort of alienated from being a true participatory citizen of the U.S., and that has horrible consequences going forward. If we really want to help the poor, we have to reduce the financial and regulatory burden on small businesses.
Evelyn Rusli, anchor/reporter: This is more than just about welfare. It's not a disincentive for people to improve their standard of living. When you get a $1,000 tax credit when you're only making $12,000 a year, there's enough incentive to work more hours. It is not an evil tax credit. It's for children of poor working families. We need to support them, especially during these tough times.
Dems' Health Plan or Health Insurers: Which Hurts Workers?
Steve Forbes: By going after the six big health insurers, the government has simply created a scapegoat. If they're really interested in helping small businesses, the government should allow them to pool together to get a better price. Individuals should get the same tax treatment companies have in buying health insurance. Individuals and businesses should be able to shop around the country for the best health insurance.
Quentin Hardy: Congressmen Waxman and Stupak want to know whether health insurance companies are systematically excluding people. That seems to be a good thing to inquire about. I wish they'd do it almost as much as asking why is health care tied to unemployment in the first place? I don't think we'll ever see real change because health industry lobbyists outnumber congressmen six-to-one.
Rich Karlgaard: Congressman Waxman may be the single most destructive force in Congress. He's the one behind cap and trade. The great irony here is that with technology, the rise of social networks, etc. there's an excellent platform for individuals and small businesses to bring greater demand for health care policies and drive down prices. The victim in all of this really is the small business and entrepreneur.
Mike Maiello: This is an area where the left and right agree on a problem. My sister is an entrepreneur and runs a gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico and gets health insurance through her husband. She'd love to offer health insurance to her employees, but can't afford it. This public option would give people more incentive to take good jobs that don't necessarily provide health insurance.
Use Tax Dollars to Relocate Homes Away From Fire Zones?
Evelyn Rusli: If the government is going to give out any money at all to victims of wildfires, at least incentivize prudent investment decisions. We should encourage people to move to areas that are not at high risk for wildfires. When you encourage them to move to a high risk area, we always end up bailing them out.
Rich Karlgaard: This is an issue strictly between homeowners and insurance providers. Maybe insurance rates have to go a lot higher. I don't know why they're not higher already, because there's a rash of forest fires in California every summer.
Quentin Hardy: The government is involved and has been since the late 1960s. It stepped in when insurance companies stopped insuring inner cities from so many ghetto fires. Fire is a part of the ecology in southern California. You can't move people out of it. But you can push responsibility out to the localities, who have far more experience dealing with and fighting these fires.
Steve Forbes: In terms of homeowners insurance and living in an area with a high risk of wildfires, you pay the price for it. If you want to, great. If there're too many people in these areas now, then there're other alternatives like clear-cutting that will reduce the risk for major fires.
Mike Maiello: I think we're expecting too little of our government. There's no area of our country that's uninhabitable. This happens every time a tornado or hurricane hits. Fires are what affect the West. What are we going to do, move everyone to Manhattan? We can have bigger fire lines, better fire suppression techniques. You don't have to move people out of fire areas.
Stocks, Funds That Will Work For You
Evelyn Rusli: FPL Group (FPL)
Mike Maiello: 3rd Avenue Credit Fund (TFCVX)
"Cashin' In" host, Cheryl Casone, was joined by Tracy Byrnes, FOX Business Network; Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co.; Jonathan Hoenig, Capitalistpig.com; Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com; Cody Willard, FOX Business Network.
Plan for Forced Quarantines: Preview of Government-Run Care?
Cody Willard, FOX Business Network: This is absolutely a police state type of move. These new laws that Massachusetts is considering would allow forced entry into people's private property, or force people to stay in their homes. This is a precursor of what's to come if we get some kind of government-run care in America. It's not something that's just going to stay in Massachusetts.
Jonathan Hoenig, CapitalistPig.com: I think we all agree that it's the government's job to protect our rights, and an individual has no right to infect someone else with a potentially deadly disease. If an individual does pose that risk, then I think it's appropriate for the government on a limited, temporary basis to step in and intervene. But this is different from socialized health care, and I think that does infringe on individual rights from the get-go.
Tracy Byrnes, FOX Business Network: Swine flu is a flu! What's next? Quarantining HIV victims because they're potentially spreading HIV around? Someone else is going to barrel down your door because you looked at someone who had the swine flu and might be contagious. Look at the craziness this starts. Swine flu infection should be between patients and their doctors, not the government.
Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com: You're not going to catch H.I.V. from a ride on the subway like you might catch a pandemic flu. You draw the line if you can catch it from walking by somebody. In this case, you want a jack-booted government kicking down doors because you don't want people spreading deadly diseases. We've done this before with vaccines and eradicated major problems. This is one of those cases where you want that. It doesn't mean national health care will have someone kicking down the door.
Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co: This law is a little scary, but there's always a tradeoff. If someone walked into a place with a biological weapon, it'd be an emergency. It's a question of what kind of emergency this is. What are the rules for it? Who's deciding what has occurred? A pandemic could have catastrophic consequences, and you can't say you're not going to take sensible precautions. It's the government's job to protect the populace.
Government Makes $4 Billion Profit From Bailouts: Excuse for More Bailouts?
Jonathan Hoenig: Yes this is an excuse for the government to handout even more bailouts. Now they can say the bailouts make money and work in their point of view. But these profits are not real. You only get profits when you have voluntary trade. What we got back was only a small fraction of what was actually given out to the banks. The hundreds of billions we've given out to AIG, Fannie and Freddie, GM, etc. will never be paid back.
Wayne Rogers: What we really have to focus on are the hundreds of billions of dollars we haven't gotten back yet, not to mention the backing of toxic assets the government is 90 percent responsible for. I can't see how the bank bailouts will ever become profitable in their entirety. There's no way for the government to see a real return on this. It's in way over its head. There's no way for the government to say it's seeing a profit on the bailouts at this point.
Cody Willard: We can't keep saying the government is making money on the bailouts. Many of these banks are standing because of payouts they got courtesy of the government through AIG. They literally got free money and paid the government back with it. This is robbing Peter to pay Paul. The government will use these distortions and lies to justify and rationalize more bailouts in the future.
Tracy Byrnes: Banks aren't making money. Toxic loans are still out there and aren't going anywhere. This isn't profit, it's cash flow. At the end of the day, the government is going to come out in the red from all this and there'll be no money.
Jonas Max Ferris: There are profits coming in right now. Everyone was saying the government wasn't going to make a dime on these bailouts, but as it turns out, it is. The government really hasn't lost a lot of money on the bailouts. They're getting money returned and seeing a bit of a profit on it. The banking industry is one of the few industries the government could actually bail-out and see a return on its investment.
Should Workers Be Forced to Take All Their Vacation for the Good of the Economy?
Cody Willard: Workers have to take vacations for morale as much as anything. People who work corporate jobs get what I call the disease. They end up being negative, hating their jobs, blaming everybody else, etc. It affects everybody! The only therapy is to go on vacation—clear your mind, get healthy and get productive when you're back on the job.
Jonas Max Ferris: The government should force vacations on workers? It doesn't have to—we have a competitive workforce and they will make necessary demands for vacation. Many companies already have vacation policies. It doesn't need to be enforced from the top down.
Wayne Rogers: There are enough tests out there to prove to us that if you stay in one job all the time, you have to get some relief from it from time to time. It enhances productivity, so vacations are absolutely necessary. Everyone should take one.
Jonathan Hoenig: A lot of people enjoy work. They get pride and satisfaction from it, not just money. You can't just paint all workers as these unhappy Marxist laborers toiling away in the fields. Let people make their vacation decisions as they see fit.
Tracy Byrnes: The company should not force me to take a vacation if I don't want to. They prefer for me to work. Vacation can actually be very stressful. In fact, you can come back from a vacation more stressed out than when you left. Let people take vacation when and where they want. But it is important to get away from the office on occasion.
What Do I Need to Know?
Cody Willard: Congress throws "payback" pork to donors and lobbyists
Jonathan Hoenig: Congress strangles markets with new big government regulations
Tracy Byrnes: Congress goes "gung-ho" with costly green agenda
Wayne Rogers: Congress hands out more home bailouts
Jonas Max Ferris: Congress keeps shelling out billions on war