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.
125K Jobs Lost in June; CEOs Lash Out at President's Business Policies
Gary B. Smith: All this business bashing by the administration is taking a toll on job creators. President Obama is the most anti-business president since FDR. In order to create private jobs, entrepreneurs only need a few things. They need the government to get out of the way, they need lower taxes, and reducing red tape--so not major new costs that come with health care reform, cap and trade, etc. There isn't a person in this president's cabinet that has ever hired somebody, gotten a business loan, etc. These guys just clearly have no idea how to create jobs, wealth, or successful businesses.
Tobin Smith, NBT Media: The rhetoric that has come out of the White House has just amazed me. They've gone after health insurers, banks, etc. They've actually implied that health care insurers were in the business of hurting people. How are you supposed to build a health care system that works when you completely demonize the insurers? When you go after or threaten certain businesses, you hurt profits, and those companies do less hiring.
Steve Murphy, Democratic strategist: President Obama should be more focused on bashing corporate special interests. They aren't creating any jobs already, and they collectively took trillions of dollars from taxpayers without giving anything back. President Obama isn't bashing entrepreneurs or small businesses since those are the companies that actually create jobs. We need to invest more in them, and the administration should put its focus on doing more to stimulate private industry. It can come through tax credits for hiring new workers.
Eric Bolling, Fox Business Network: How has President Obama helped small businesses? He's now raised their taxes because most small businesses are people who own that business. Tax rates will be going up when Congress lets the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of the year. Health care costs are going up, and energy costs might be going up if cap and trade gets taxed. So they've done nothing to help small businesses out at all.
Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: I think the administration has been disappointing in terms of supporting businesses. They really haven't been that focused on doing a lot to help private industry and small businesses. I think on a larger scale though, there's a lot of deleveraging going on in the economy. Consumers are paying down debt, and credit creation is still heavily contracted. These are even bigger impediments to job creation and economic expansion.
New Plan Using Taxpayer-Funded TARP to Pay for Bank Reform
Tobin Smith: This is crack-based accounting. Washington has been really creative in terms of this stuff. To take TARP funds, which taxpayers actually got back, to pay for the costs of new financial regulations is ridiculous. TARP was created under emergency provisions to save the financial system. It was never intended, by law, to pay for other programs or legislation. Congress is literally robbing taxpayers of this money to pay for this financial regulatory bill.
Eric Bolling: We can't really be that surprised Washington is doing this. We kind of knew that when the $700 billion went out that anything given back would be used by Washington for other purposes. The problem was that the provisions of what to do with the money if the Treasury got it back weren't clear. I'm actually surprised they only took $11 billion of TARP to pay for this thing, not the full $21.2 billion they're estimating it'll cost to totally cover the bill.
Steve Murphy: Everyone complaining about using TARP money have crocodile tears. They just want Wall Street to keep doing what it was doing before. The objection isn't to money being used for implement these new regulatory oversights. We have to make sure that Wall Street can never again do to us what they did in 2008. Wall Street doesn't invest in jobs and businesses like they used to. We have to pay for these reforms. I'd prefer to have a bank tax, but if financing the bill with TARP funds is the only way it can get done, then we should do it that way.
Gary B. Smith: We can't forget that a lot of the TARP money was forced on the large Wall Street banks. They had to pay back those funds with forced interest. That's the supposed money we taxpayers made on those TARP loans. We still are out billions upon billions of dollars with the loans to AIG and the auto companies. Instead of blowing the money taxpayers supposedly made on TARP to fund this bill, use it to pay down the deficit, as it was originally intended.
Pat Dorsey: Aside from AIG and the automakers, TARP loans have been paid back. The funds were used to get the financial system through a liquidity crisis. It was money well spent at the time. If Congress needs money to fund the financial reform bill, then it should be appropriated separately.
Anger Mounts as Pro-Union Jones Act Seen Slowing Cleanup
Eric Bolling: It only took seventy-something days into the spill to start taking offers of foreign assistance that have been offered to us for months. Meanwhile this spill has been destroying industries right and left, from tourism, to fishing, to restaurants. It took way too long for the government to lift this act, and unnecessary damage was caused as a result.
Tobin Smith: This is insane. The reason a lot of foreign ships couldn't come in is because the EPA said they weren't lifting restrictions on the vessels. The administration just doesn't seem to understand how to effectively manage this crisis.
Gary B. Smith: This Jones Act really is just a union power grab. The only reason the administration lifted the ban is because there was such public outcry about not letting foreign vessels come in to help out. They knew it was making them look totally inept in terms of running the cleanup, so they started allowing the foreign vessels in to make themselves look good.
Steve Murphy: The idea that foreign vessels haven't been allowed to help is simply not true. They've been helping all along, and now the process is actually accelerating. This has had nothing to do with unions. The country needs more unions, not fewer.
Pat Dorsey: The Jones Act is an anachronism we should have gotten rid of a long time ago. Deep Water Horizon put out a press release a couple weeks ago saying 15 foreign countries were helping in the cleanup. The Jones Act is idiotic, but it's not really preventing foreign vessels from helping deal with the spill.
First Half 2010 Scoreboard
Gary B: Netflix (NFLX)
Eric: The Hershey Company (HSY)
Tobin: Boston Beer Company (SAM)
Pat: Molson Coors Brewing Company (TAP)
Gary B: Callaway Golf (ELY)
Eric: Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL)
Tobin: Ultra Oil & Gas ProShares (DIG)
Pat: Apollo Group (APOL)
Cavuto on Business
June Job Losses Sparking Fight Over More Government Spending
Gerri Willis, Fox Business Network: The June jobs report was horrible. The government is not creating jobs. The problem is that its own policies are actually killing jobs. Unions have a great friend in Washington with President Obama. The administration and Congress have been tremendous advocates for unions. But I think, finally, they're starting to see pushback from voters and taxpayers who don't want the rampant spending to continue, and for the country to get its finances in order.
Matt McCall, Penn Financial Group: Concerns over the deficit are not an excuse for holding the economy hostage. If you're spending more money than you have, continually for years to come, who is going to pay for that? It's easy to say we have printing presses and can just keep putting out dollars. But that will equal higher interest rates, higher inflation, and a weak U.S. dollar down the line. It's really a recipe for a double dip recession. We have to cut down the spending while we have the opportunity to do so before it really gets out of control.
Adam Lashinsky, Fox Business contributor: I don't think this call for more stimulus spending is an act of desperation. I don't know if this is the right time for more spending. But it's not the time for austerity. The position for more spending is intellectually defensible. We can't repeat the mistakes of the Great Depression by cutting back on spending at the wrong time. It could make bad economic circumstances much worse. I'm not sure if that's the exact case now, but it's not a crazy thing to be considering.
Al Lewis, Dow Jones Newswires: Keynesian economics hasn't really been proven to be effective--this idea that government spending when private sector spending contracts helps the economy. The problem with the 2009 stimulus package was that the majority of funds went to the benefit special interest groups like unions, or big banks. It hasn't really trickled down to individuals and consumers. It really hasn't created jobs. Whatever happened to the President's promise of creating 2.5 million jobs?
ACLU Issuing Travel Warnings to Arizona Over Immigration Law
Matt McCall: Actions always speak louder than words. Obviously a lot of people are against the federal government taking action against Arizona in response to this immigration bill. But if you're in favor of what Arizona has done, support the state by traveling there. More travel and spending in Arizona helps kick-start its economy, which brings less illegal immigrants. Hopefully more Americans get hired, and more money stays within our economy. Illegal immigrants take jobs from legal immigrants and Americans who need jobs.
Gerri Willis: You have to support Arizona. The state's employment levels are in a tough spot. Illegal immigrants are actually leaving the state due to the job situation. There are circles within circles here, and the solutions aren't as obvious as people try to make out. I'd love to see everybody have a job. I'm just against people who are trying to become legal immigrants get stepped in front of people who come here illegally.
Adam Lashinsky: This is a silly suggestion. If you want to talk economics, fewer illegal immigrants would be a bad thing for our economy. President Bush tried valiantly to get an immigration bill through Congress. We can't forget that a lot of legal immigrants in this country used to be illegal. There's very little evidence that illegal immigrants are taking the sorts of jobs that Americans typically go after.
Al Lewis: If you want to go down to Arizona and support its economy, fine, have at it. The debate that illegals are stealing our jobs is an old debate. The economic boom is over, and there are far fewer of the types of jobs illegal immigrants normally take. The nation, or a state, absolutely has the right to control its borders, especially one that's ridden with drug and human smuggling. I think people against the Arizona law just don't understand what the border states are faced with.
What Commission Explosion in Washington Means for Taxpayers
Al Lewis: The administration even appoints commissions to oversee the commissions. Any time you want to make it appear like you're doing something, but really are doing nothing, you form a commission. Usually these are just empty handed gestures, and I doubt we'll see anything good or substantive come out of any of them.
Matt McCall: I don't think any of us like commissions. We can agree that bureaucratic red tape and hands in the cookie jar doesn't usually go well. However, I think this recently establish Senate commission on the spill could end up countering drilling moratoriums, and that could end up helping out consumers by preventing a rise in gas prices.
Adam Lashinsky: These commissions don't cost a whole lot of money. There are two types of commissions. There's the type that shines a light on major, significant issues or problems, and they have subpoena power--for example the 9/11 commission. These types of commissions do good things. But there are commissions that are a waste of time that make decisions Congress should be making itself.
Gerri Willis: What starting a commission means is that the government is going to get back to you later about the issue at hand. It's a delay tactic. I think it's something most people know about by this point. Just not a whole lot comes out of these things.
Adam Lashinsky: American Mutual Fund (AMRMX)
Matt McCall: Kraft Food (KFT)
Forbes on Fox
Dem, GOP Leaders Push Hiking Retirement Age To Save Social Security
Victoria Barret, Associate Editor: Social Security was supposed to be a guaranteed retirement plan for people. But it just isn't because it's structured much more like a Ponzi scheme. The money is running out. The Congressional budget office estimates in 20 years that benefits will have to be cut by 20 percent. That's probably a conservative estimate. What we need to do in terms of reform is scrap it entirely. People coming into the workforce now aren't going to get paid back anyway. It's time to put retirement in the hands of individuals.
Rich Karlgaard, Publisher: Promises were made for the current generation to receive the Social Security benefits they paid-in to. When Social Security came into existence, people only lived about 3 years or so past the age of retirement. Now people live 15 years or so past the retirement age. That's obviously a huge problem that has to be addressed. Just to salvage Social Security, we have to raise the retirement age to 70. On an inflation adjusted basis, we have to reduce benefits by about 1 percent each year for the next 20 years. We shouldn't get rid of Social Security, just fine-tune it to make it sustainable over the long term.
Neil Weinberg, Executive Editor: Promises were made, but just because you made a promise doesn't mean you can keep it! When Social Security began, there were 16 workers for every retiree. Now there are three workers for every retiree. By 2025, that ratio will be two to one. The system is simply not sustainable, and people have to stop living out on Planet Pelosi and realize something major has to be done to reform the system.
Elizabeth MacDonald, Fox Business Network: We can absolutely fine-tune Social Security. Well known Democrats like Clinton, Patrick Moynihan, John Kerry, etc. said at least parts of it should be privatized. But you hear the complaint, if you privatize it and invest it in Wall Street, you could have it all wiped out in a crisis like the one that hit in 2008. People should have the ability to put it into corporate or government bond indexes, or stock indexes that are relatively low risk, but typically have returns to keep up with, or outpace inflation over the long term. And the best part is that anything you have remaining can be inherited by your heirs.
Quentin Hardy, National Editor: If you scrap Social Security all together, you're going to have a lot more than angry old people to deal with. You're going to literally destroy a whole industry that has grown up around Social Security, along with Medicare. Whether it's prescription drugs, or wheelchairs, etc. there's enormous infrastructure created around it. Getting rid of Social Security would have a tremendously negative economic impact. People would have to be in the workforce longer, learn new skills, reduce mobility for young workers, etc. So reforming Social Security isn't something you can just do overnight, it has to be done gradually.
Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief: To reform Social Security, you don't have to raise the retirement to some absurdly high age. For people currently receiving benefits, about to receive them, you don't have to cut what they're getting or change the age they kick-in. But for younger workers, create a new system where the bulk of the payroll taxes go into a retirement account. You'd have to take the money out of the general Social Security fund to help finance it, but politicians have been taking money out of the fund for years. Younger people below the age of 50 would phase into this new system, and it would actually be fiscally sustainable over the long-term.
Unions Accused of Wasting Cash as Dems Push for New Union Bailout
Elizabeth MacDonald: I agree. We want to help good teachers turning in a solid performance but we are talking about the broad-based union problems, federal union problems. In other words, something like 3 million official hours on union activities. You have Los Angeles county workers, union workers bust in on work time to protest the immigration law. It goes on and on and on. The union abuses are bankrupting states like California and Illinois with the fat-cat payoff.
Quentin Hardy: Those are legitimate points but they have nothing to do with the word "bail-out" which we keep using here. Be nice to on the English language. Bail-out are money we pay to people when they made reckless decision that put them in the hole, like AIG or the management of general motors. In this case, the money goes toward the state where the economy is bad and the revenue are down, thousands and thousands of teaching positions will be lost. You can lose those but you have more crowded classroom and loss in the education of our children. That is a bad thing. Keep the teachers.
Steve Forbes: They put the state in the unbelievable position. 90 percent Of union dues don't go for collective bargaining. They go for political activity. In terms of education, how about capping pay for performance and get rid of the administration bloat? How about have teacher increase the numbers as the pupil population increase. Pupil population of jersey stagnate and went down, yet they still continued to hire.
Stephane Fitch: Yeah, that's probably a fair criticism. Going after the $10 billion is the wrong idea. The wrong time. The assumption that we're going to fire the bad teachers is wrong. We're going to fire the young teachers. We don't need more people in the unemployment line. Spend the money, and keep the teachers working.
Rich Karlgaard: There is plenty of money. It's just misallocated. The average teacher retires on a pension of 60 or $70,000 a year. The net present value is $2 million. I ask the viewers of the show, do you have $2 million in your 401(k) plan? Probably not. The mentioned payments are lavish. They're preventing us from hiring young talented people who want to teach.
Flipside: Tax Gun and Ammo to "The Max" to Keep Americans Safe
Stephane Fitch: Well, I think we can say that the grand experiment with gun control is done. You know, by the way, it wasn't working that well. But the discouraging truth is, you know, kids on the street of Chicago are dying. And getting shot. I'm thinking we need a free market solution here. It's time to actually start taxing guns. And using the tax money that we would raise from the sale of gun and ammo, to actually tackle the problem. Turn the sale and trade of guns to our advantage. Anybody who wants a gun should have one, just pay taxes. That would pay for police. If you skip out on taxes, we'll bust you for tax evasion.
Victoria Barret: The problem is if you create a bigger black market for guns because people want to dodge the tax. We want to know who is buying the guns. Different from other sin taxes like cigarettes or alcohol. We want to know who owns guns in the country. If you tax it, you create a huge uncontrolled market that you can't follow. I don't think that's it.
Neil Weinberg: It might be they are naturally more violent. If you look at the statistics, globally, if you look at countries where there are no guns, where the guns are prohibitive -- I'm saying just because the constitution says you have the right to bear arms doesn't mean everyone can walk around with a gun. We should make it prohibitive.
Steve Forbes: You should have the right to bear arms? Who does this hit? Sports people. People who do it for recreation, hunters and the like. Honest taxpayers will get hit with this thing. Vicky is right, the criminals, they're not paying a tax.
Quentin Hardy: I think the criminals are doing fine with guns as it is. I like guns, actually.
I've shot all my life. I respect guns. I still think we have a crazy gun culture in this country. We sport weapons around the world. Mexico has one gun store and yet they are having a massive war in that country because we give them our guns in exchange for their drugs. The Supreme Court has made the law. It's not going to go away. Yes, having guns does seem to be a good defense against crime in a lot of America. Where there are just going to be a lot of guns.
Informers' Explosive Stocks
Neil Weinberg: DryShips (DRYS)
Stephane Fitch: Walt Disney (DIS)
Victoria Barret: Lowe's (LOW)
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi Says Unemployment Benefits Create Jobs: Is She Right?
Tracy Byrnes, Fox Business Network: Dear god I don't understand what she is thinking. Look, 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. That's fine, we all pay into it. Central aid pushed it out to 99 weeks. If you get 99 weeks free of anything where is your incentive to look for work? This isn't creating jobs. It creates apathy. There is a reason when we found out Friday when we got the job numbers people fell out of the work force. Many of them are discouraged but others say why should I mow lawns when I can collect unemployment check for 99 weeks?
Chris Kofinis, Democratic Strategist: The point Ms. Pelosi is making here is that look, they will get something in the wallets. They will go to Wal-mart and get essentials. The brutal reality, giving someone unemployment check may be distasteful for some for political or ideological reason but you don't get significant amount of money when you get the unemployment so you spend it on the essentials. So in that sense, it has clear, immediate stimulating effect. What you want to do is create long-term sustainable job growth. That is not happening to the level we want to be seeing so the question is do we look the other way and cut off the jobless benefits? Most say we shouldn't extend the unemployment benefit because they're concerned with the deficit. But it doesn't apply to other areas of the budget and it didn't apply years earlier. I don't know many people who are sitting there enjoying the unemployment benefits. I have some friends who are on unemployment, they didn't consider can at it plus. They considered it a serious negative.
Jonathan Hoenig, Capitalistpig.com: It is a negative. Welfare didn't solve poverty and food stamps doesn't solve hunger, unemployment benefits doesn't do anything for unemployment. It draws it out. As Tracy astutely put. Forget if you are thinking like an economists. You are giving benefits to people being unemployed and you are putting higher taxes on people who are working. So you're incentivizing dependency and penalizing dependency. Pelosi, everything is a job creator for her. Environmental regulation, health care regulation. They're all job creators? Come on!
Jonas Max Ferris, Maxfunds.com: It's worth noting that it's federalized in 2008, actually, when they started with the moving this away from the state. You can't blame it all on Pelosi. Pelosi is right in the way you are right saying leaving small bags on money every street corner will create jobs. It does create demand. It does. It would do that. We won't have the taxes until later so we'd stimulate the economy. It's not the best way to help. What it does more is people from working and that keeps the wages from going down. One thing in depression when there was 25 percent unemployment, it drove wages down because people would do any job. This keeps for taking any job for any pay. Which is good for wages. It's better for government to employ people directly like F.D.R. did, than the hand-out stuff. That's matter of opinion.
Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co.: It's not only a thin argument, it's a non-argument. The incentive part is the part. As a matter of fact, since we talk about the subject I went to ask a number of people who were unemployed at the present time. The difference between taking an entry level job and getting after tax income and receiving unemployment insurance is minuscule. There is no incentive. You are absolutely right. There is no incentive for me to go out and take an entry level job, pay taxes on that job, come home and my after tax income is equal to or less than or just barely more than unemployment insurance so I'll take unemployment insurance. It doesn't create jobs at all. May create incentive, like you said, Chris, but it doesn't create jobs. Jobs is what we are trying to create. Not incentives.
Democrats Expected to "Punt" Bush Tax Cuts Until After Elections: Will This Help or Hurt the Stock Market and Economy?
Jonathan Hoenig: I don't think it's a fox news alert that democrats in general favor higher taxes. This tax hike throws back everyone across the board. The democrats see taxes as a legitimate way to redistribute wealth. I don't think it's good for the economy. Practically, what does it do? Takes more money out of the productive private hands and sends it to Washington and feeds the entitlement beast. It's worse from a philosophical view because it says you have no right to your own life. That the product of your labor is government to redistribute in a manner they think is fair. talk about the taxes effected here. The marriage penalty, child tax, credit, capital gain tax, I could go on and on. It affects people in the pocketbook.
Chris Kofinis: Here is what I think will happen. The political reality here is President Obama said he won't raise taxes on families making less than $250,000. I can't imagine he will walk it back. We have policy that's difficult. The CBO reported we have the exploding deficit a serious problem. If tax cuts are extended, we have to find the assets. That's where you will have a difficult thing to do, difficult hump to climb over in the election – before election day. I think it will get done before the end of the year.
Tracy Byrnes: You don't know what it does to the market. Ancillary effect are huge. If you raise taxes on whatever you call them, rich, upper class or whatever, they start to sell everything. You see a market bloodied with shares and any of your holdings will come down. You institute the marriage penalty and lower the child tax credit, all what they are talking about doing and you hit the families. I don't care who you are, it hits the families.
Wayne Rogers: I love Chris' explanation of the fact that oh, boy, we got to pay for this, so we have to have taxes. How about cutting expenses? You could do that and that would be better. Cut expenses and do not let the -- Do not let them expire. When they were instituted, revenue increase in the treasury. People got more, the economy got better. Leave the taxes we know is a detriment to creating jobs. You're in a recession and you will let the taxes go, not be extended, the tax cuts? That's crazy.
Jonas Max Ferris: The stock market -- it wasn't so great the last decade with the tax cuts I got to say. They didn't extend this before the election cycle. I don't think they have the incentive to extend them after the election cycle. They were designed to expire and they should expire. This economy hasn't seen a middle class tax increase in like four decades. It will be shocking to see what happens. We have seen the tax increase on wealthy. It did not derail the economy. But I will say that the taxes have been going down for middle class Americans for 3 decades.
19 Percent of Homeowners Who Default on Mortgages Can Afford to Pay: Should We Seize Their Assets and Wages?
Tracy Byrnes: Go after everything they've got. Wages, assets, you name it. If you have the money to pay your mortgage and you're not -- I get why you're not. Foreclosure process these days can take well over a year. You can be in foreclosure and out on your boat driving a Ferrari without paying a mortgage bill. That's the problem with the process. But you have the money to pay it and you're not, you're screwing the rest of us. Go after the farm!
Wayne Rogers: There are a lot of places that can't go after assets other than the home. For example, where I am in California, can't be done. You can't -- a deficiency judgment is not legally liable. You have to go after the house, itself, whatever it may be. The cost of doing that is great. Lender liability is great. You have problems to do it. Let it go. Forget it. It economically infeasible. If he's cheating and committing fraud, yes. If he hasn't, forget about it.
Chris Kofinis: My bleeding hearts has its limits and the reality is if you can afford to pay your mortgage and you're not, sorry, you shouldn't be in your house. That simple. I think it's wrong. I can understand the explanation and rationalization, you think it's unfair. The mortgage is under water. If you can pay it, a lot of people want to stay in their homes and want the mortgages modified, and I think that's appropriate. If you choose to gain the system, that's wrong.
Jonas Max Ferris: There is contract law out there. If you state the recourse, too bad. There is a clear way to stop it and ridiculous people do this. The 2007 mortgage relief tax thing they removed. You used to have to pay income tax on forgiven loans. That was the dumbest thing the government has done.
Jonathan Hoenig: The president treats any debt you can't pay as being fraudulent, shouldn't have been made in the first place. So we pass assistance, help for homeowners, houses for homeowners, FHA. Secure. The wink-wink/nudge-nudge, oh, your mortgage, don't pay that. Criminals made that. Nefarious mortgage, speculators made that. Basically give green light to go ahead and default on the mortgages.
What I Need to Know for Next Week
Tracy Byrnes: Show the clip from crazy congressman Stark, but the fox poll says he is wrong. 59 percent Say secure the border first and then do the country a favor, go spend money down there. Take a vacation. Buy things down there. Prove him wrong!
Jonas Max Ferris: The tax on indoor tanning will lower demand for the indoor tanning. However, luckily the situation in the new "jersey shore 2" is hitting the street and that will create a demand for tanning. Buy Philips (PGH) they make light bulbs for tanning. Tanning will survive.
Wayne Rogers: In a volatile market like we have today, you should start to think about something that is stable. Accumulate Ford Motor. Buy America, buy (F) Ford.
Jonathan Hoenig: Confidence is down. Flight to quality working is the yen (FXY). We talked about it before. I own it and still a strong place for opportunity now.