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.
Fort Dix here in America and a separate threat against Americans in Germany.
These threats coming to light the very same week Senator Chuck Schumer, D-NY, says we should get rid of the Department of Homeland Security.
Wall Street was the target on 9/11. Homeland Security was created because of 9/11. Is dismantling this department a concern on Wall and Broad?
GARY B: Wall Street is concerned about Chuck Schumer. He’s like the nutty uncle that always comes around, and just won’t go home! The Department of Homeland Security is not as efficient as it could be, but then again what branch or part of government is? The department was created because different agencies weren’t talking to each other. We’re fighting a war and need the Department of Homeland Security because it’s our all-important coordinated central command.
TOBIN: This is the one time you’ll ever get me to agree with Chuck Schumer. The fact of the matter is the Department of Homeland Security isn’t put together. They don’t have their own offices, they’re in different locations, and are on different computer systems. People in the agencies are mad as hell because the department is not together. So to say that we’re going to take apart the Department is a misnomer because it’s not together in the first place!
GARY K: I don’t know what Chuck Schumer is thinking! I go with results! The bottom line is that we have not been attacked since 9-11 and I am sure that the Department of Homeland Security has prevented attacks. Since taking Congress, the Democrats haven’t put through any plans to try and dismantle the department. This is just another example of Schumer getting bored and going after something. Wall Street is not going to be happy with his plan. We need to leave things alone when they are working.
CHERYL: Anytime companies merge, there is an overlap of people doing same job. This is what has happened with the Department of Homeland Security. They have to start making some cuts and run it more like a business. They can make it work and they’re all in it for the same goal: to make America safe! However, there are too many people doing the same thing.
BOB: If Chuck Schumer really thinks there’s a problem, why would he air it publicly? If he thinks the program should be dismantled, in essence, he’s letting terrorists around the world know that he thinks we’re not doing things right. So if terrorists do want to act, he’s giving them a road map. What he said is extremely political and way out of line! Every government agency can be run more efficiently, but this is not the way to do it.
SCOTT: The Department of Homeland Security is a work in progress, but the alternative is much worse. Schumer wants less government, but the alternative is a bunch of different agencies doing what one agency does. It may be fragmented right now, but if you break it up, it will only create more government, more inefficiency, and more waste. What we need is better management.
Will Health Care Decide 2008 Election?
Is America’s choice for president in 2008 going to come down to who believes we should have socialized medicine in America…and who doesn't?
GARY B: The candidate most in favor of nationalized health care will be the loser. Americans don’t want socialized health care; we just want cheap, affordable health care. We want to buy health care a-la-carte, like how we buy groceries at the supermarket. But this doesn’t mean that the government should take it over! To make something efficient and effective you don’t hand it over to the government, which has proven over centuries to be extremely inefficient. It just doesn’t make any sense.
BOB: Health care is an important issue, but it’s just one of them. It’s not going to resonate as much as creating jobs, international trade, and the tax code. There are just a lot of other issues that are much more important to people’s bottom line than health care.
CHERYL: I disagree! Health care will be the deciding factor in the upcoming presidential election. Health care in such disarray that it’s awful. This is why companies like Wal- Mart are coming in and making drug stores within its stores. You get your head of lettuce, your get the prescription for your ear infection, and you’re out the door.
TOBIN: The market will provide the solution for this problem. If you have to wait too long for your health care service, you will go to Wal-Mart. This whole idea of socialized medicine is going to blow up in the Democrats face. If you look at Bill and Hillary Clintons try, it told us one thing: it sounds good for about the first five seconds!
GARY K: As far as I’m concerned, health care is about fifth on the list. If someone wants to come out with Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez health care, they’re going to lose. The first four issues are going to be Iraq, Iraq, Iraq, and Iraq! It’s what caused the Republicans to lose in 2006. If we are still in the situation in Iraq late in 2008, the Republicans are dead meat.
SCOTT: Health care is definitely in the top ten, but it’s nowhere near the top of the list! Iraq is number one. The economy is number two. Health care and socialized medicine is a boondoggle. Privatizing health care is the best solution.
Paris Hilton has been a naughty, naughty girl. But some say jail will make her hotter than ever! Our guys picked stocks that are even naughtier and hotter.
(Artic National Wildlife Refuge. They haven’t allowed us to build an oil refinery in 36 years, won’t allow us to drill off the coast of Florida, and stop every attempt to slash the federal tax on gasoline. Democrats have themselves to blame. America should hold their feet to the fire, not President Bush.
Wayne: That’s a mild exaggeration about not being able to build refineries in over 30 years. We do have a lot of oil out there. It’s not a question of oil; it’s a question of getting refined products, meaning gasoline. If we could build refineries, we would solve the problem immediately.
Jonathan: Everyone is whining for no good reason. Gas is cheap. People feel a sense of entitlement. Just because gas was $1.15/gallon 20 or 30 years ago, doesn’t mean it should be that same price now. Prices for everything have gone up. When adjusted for inflation, gas is still cheap. If you really want to point a finger, point it at the environmentalists of which both parties are now a part. The environmentalists are the ones who want to prohibit any type of exploration. The bigger the green movement gets the higher gas prices are going to go.
Dagen: We all just need to look in the mirror if we want to know why gas prices are so high. It’s the American driver. We drive big cars and we’re driving more that ever before. Demand for gas is hitting records. We have to figure out a way to consume less gasoline and that has nothing to do with whether you are a Democrat or a Republican.
Dave: This is just political rhetoric that is designed to get an emotional response out of voters. All of these solutions out there are part of the solution, which is what we should be working towards. The Democrats are really fighting against the tide of the American public.
Jonas: This issue is only a crisis for some who got used to it being cheaper and built a whole life around it. Republicans are to blame because they put ANWR together.
Dave: We are not going to support candidates that place caribou and reindeer above energy independence and our national security.
Dagen: It is also consumption & demand. A senate committee this week passed raising the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standard, which would cut how much fuel American made cars use.
Jonathan: That only makes cars more expensive for those who like to drive. If people want to conserve, they will drive less. So far, even with gas at $3/gallon, people haven’t changed their driving habits. This is a political issue.
Jonas: Doesn’t history come into play? We’re only talking about drilling offshore because we have drilled all the oil out of the contiguous United States in the last 100 years. There hasn’t been any environmental protection of all this oil we have drilled. California used to be the biggest oil exporter until we drilled it all out.
Dave: Now we potentially have 16 billion barrels available on our soil. Are we to ignore that? We can either do it domestically or we can ship the money out of the country to Chavez.
Dagen: Unless we stop using so much gasoline in this country, Dave, we will suck that up in a few years!
Dave: Of course we have to conserve; nobody is suggesting we don’t. The oil is there and we need it. Put it in that context to the American public and then ask them what they want to do.
'President Obama': Market Hero or Villain?
If Barack Obama were elected president, he would like to eliminate some of Bush’s tax cuts, hike the minimum wage, support companies that make “greener” cars, and nationalize health care. With this economic plan, would Wall Street look at a “President Obama” as a hero or villain?
Jonathan: I am open to what Barack Obama has to say. I visited his website, but didn’t find anything on his policies in regards to the economy and taxes. From that, it’s hard to know exactly where he stands on these issues. He’s for eliminating tax cuts, especially on the wealthy, raising the minimum wage, limiting CEO pay, and national health care. For someone like me who believes in capitalism, there’s not a lot to get behind.
Leigh: If you dig a little deeper, there actually are some pro-market things he is proposing. Obama has really been criticized for being all inspiration and no policy. If you look, he is proposing tax breaks for companies that have 90% of their employment and production in the U.S. and 5% mandatory contribution to multi-employer affordable retirement accounts that will deal with the social security problem. There are some of his ideas that I like. Even with health care, he is more moderate.
Wayne: Jonathan is on to something in that none of Obama’s plans are exact yet. He’s talking in generalities and we just don’t know yet. All politicians tend to do that. It’s hard to know what they stand for. Not one candidate yet knows how they will implement their plans and how they will get the money to pay for it. Ultimately, that will have to be dealt with.
Dagen: It’s the uncertainty about Barack Obama’s thoughts on the economy that could rattle the market in the interim simply because he doesn’t have a long track record and people are trying to piece it together. The market is uncertain of that.
Jonas: It’s too early to be specific. John Edwards has been more specific than most. Obama has been big at uniting, but pretty light on policy specifics. If he wants to get rid of Bush’s tax cuts in order to reduce the deficit, that’s ok. However, if he is just going to increase government spending right along with that, that’s not good for Wall Street.
Shifting Money From the War On Terror to 'Study' Global Warming
Shifting money for satellites used to spy on our enemies in order to spend more cash on global warming research. This is the idea behind some new legislation in the House of Representatives. Is this a good idea?
Jonathan: This is a disgrace! We have a very real enemy in militant Islam and it’s stronger than ever. We also have North Korea and Iran nuking themselves up and we are worried about a glacier melting. This is an embarrassment to the notion of national self-interest and a government that is supposed to be protecting us from real enemies, instead of those that are imaginary.
Leigh: We can fight both terror and global warming. We don’t have to choose one or the other. It’s not as if people are saying, “Let’s stop fighting terrorism.” There are many tools for that. Instead, the idea is, “Let’s take this high tech tool and use it for this very big problem instead of this other very big problem.” I truthfully don’t think a satellite is going to see someone running into the New York City subway with a bomb.
Dagen: Climate change does go hand in hand with national security. Eleven former top military leaders just put out a report that warned of the consequences for national security. Two years down the road we could end up fighting for water in unstable areas like the Middle East. It could become even more unstable and then we can’t separate the two.
Jonas: I don’t want to cut our spy program. It’s the most cost effective use of any defense or War on Terror. It’s certainly better than building nuclear submarines and sending troops around the globe. I would increase the spying because that’s how we fight terrorism. We already know there’s global warming. How much more research do you need and want to pay for with an emissions tax or something?
Wayne: I don’t believe any of this. Are politicians capable of spending? We don’t know where any of it goes. Plus, politicians waste a lot of it anyway. To say that they are going to take money away from one thing and put it into fighting global warming is crazy.
Best Bets: $tocks for Mom
Dave: Continental (CAL) (Friday’s Close: $38.14.)
Wayne: America Movil (AMX) (Friday’s Close: $55.31.)
Jonathan: CurrencyShares Mexican Peso (FXM) (Friday’s Close: $92.70)