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
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor, and Bob Froehlich, DWS Scudder chairman of investor strategy.
Trading Pit: Dow Falls Back to 13k Again; Why It Could Hit 15k in 50 Days!
The Dow falling back to 13,000 after Friday's 200-plus sell-off and three 360 points losses in the past three weeks. . But we've seen stocks bounce back after big sell-offs before this year. Bob Froehlich, you predicted back in September on Bulls & Bears that the Dow would hit 15,000 by January 1st, is another big rebound coming?
Bob Froehlich: Dow Wow! The fundamentals haven't changed. The economy is growing at almost five percent. The fundamental issues that are going to drive our market are still in place. Which means we will get to 15,000 by the end of the year..
Scott Bleier : 15,000 no chance! The fundamentals have changed. There is a credit crunch! The markets over the past two weeks have been exceedingly tough because the market has been in denial. Investors have been shaken and the denial is over. Everyone knows the extent of this damage. We are getting closer to the bottom of this phase, and 12,500 will be a great buying opportunity.
Tobin Smith: If you look how many 52 week highs vs. lows on Friday, it was 14-to-1 new lows to new highs. That's the beginning of a bottom.
Gary B. Smith: Friday's big down day was actually not do to the financials. A big chunk of that was IBM and 3M ironically. All we need is American Express, AIG, and JP Morgan, the big financial components, to really soar. If the financials start ripping and the IBM's of the world flatten out, then mathematically another 2,000 points is definitely in the picture.
Pat Dorsey: We are going to hit 15,000 but not by January 1, 2008, that's a little too aggressive. The economy is slowing a bit, but it's not as bad as the market actually has you think. It takes time for the market to react to that. Confidence has been shaken and that doesn't change over night. The bottom line is you should be buying right now, but we are not getting 2,000 points in 50 days.
Record Year of Toy Recalls: Good News for U.S. Economy?
Tobin Smith: We have an opportunity as entrepreneurs. Let's start a business called "it's safe dot com", like the Good Housekeeping seal of approval in the 1950's. We put together the testing business, and make it in the United States.
Scott Bleier: Tobin has a good idea, but American consumers are addicted to cheap Chinese products. You are not going to break American's desire to own cheap merchandise.
Pat Dorsey: I have nine-month-old twins and everything goes in their mouth! As a parent, I'm certainly thinking about if it's wooden and not made in China, I'm more inclined to buy it.
Bob Froehlich: Every new merger and new business that goes into China helps them improve the quality of what they are doing. They will get their act together. We cannot compete on a price with China.
Gary B. Smith: The marketplace works perfectly, and it will filter out what needs to be filtered out. The wholesalers, the retailers and the consumers will decide how to fix the problems. We've already seen Chinese stocks destroyed that have lead in their products.
Stock X-Change: Lightning Round
The "Bulls & Bears" in the hot seat! The best stocks to own right now in the Lightning Round!
Gary B Smith: Citigroup (C )
Pat Dorsey: Starbucks (SBUX )
Tobin Smith: Evergreen Solar (ESLR )
Scott Bleier: ConEdison (ED )
Bob Froehlich: Chicago Merc Exchange (CME )
Tobin Smith's prediction: Don't get lost like Obama: (SIRF ) up 30 percent before he drops out
Gary B Smith's prediction: Voters kill tobacco tax hikes; (CG ) going to $100!
Bob Froehlich's prediction: Bet your life on China Life (LFC ); doubles in 18 months
Scott Bleier's prediction: Drug up for the Spring! Abbott (ABT ) up 30 percent by April
Pat Dorsey's prediction: Forget Scott's drug; buy mine! Novartis (NVS ) up 20 percent in a year
Cavuto on Business
On Saturday, November 10, 2007, Neil Cavuto was joined by Charles Payne, wstreet.com; Tracy Byrnes, FOX Business Network; Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine; Leigh Gallagher, Fortune Magazine; and Joe Battipaglia, Stifel Nicolaus.
Bottom Line: Hillary Drops in the Polls; Good News for GOP and Market?
Neil Cavuto: Senator Hillary Clinton drops in the polls. Did this show predict it? Last week, we told you about Hillary Clinton supporting illegals getting driver's licenses. This week, she's down in the polls. So, let's connect the dots. Tracy, the Senator's take on illegals taking her down?
Tracy Byrnes: Yeah, it was that, it was her waffling, it was her not coming out against Rangel…
Neil Cavuto: Charlie Rangel's tax plan…
Tracy Byrnes: Yes, I'm sorry. I think Wall Street actually does like her. But, between the tax thing and her waffling the other day, it was very easy for her to go down in the polls. Of course, she could very well be up next week.
Neil Cavuto: The illegal thing is fascinating, Charles, because this notion that it was largely seen has a Republican-galvanizing issue. But, there were polls out this week that show close to 7 out of 10 Democrats are opposed to illegals getting driver's licenses.
Charles Payne: And in New York, which is heavily Democratic, I think it was more than 70 percent opposed to illegals getting driver's licenses. This is a message you would think the politicians are hearing loud and clear. Obviously, this is a play for the Hispanic vote. But, do you want to alienate Republicans and other Democrats along the way? It's a real tough game Hillary's playing and right now, it looks like she's losing.
Neil Cavuto: Leigh, what do you think?
Leigh Gallagher: Well, I think immigration is a real live-wire issue across the board. I also think Hillary Clinton has a giant target on her head. Let's face it. People come after her for her clothes, her laugh. This week it was that she didn't tip someone… turns out she did. She really is facing a tough audience. But, she's still the frontrunner. And if you look at the polls, it seems like Americans want a Democrat in office.
Neil Cavuto: Well, that could be quibbled…
Neil Cavuto: The one thing I noticed, Joe Battipaglia, is this notion that the illegals issue was a galvanizing, Republican one. Ironically, might it prove a galvanizing, Democrat one, where they have to spell out their positions more clearly?
Joe Battipaglia: Absolutely. I think this time around it's the literal third rail. Social Security used to be the one where if you touched it, you got burned. Now it's illegal immigration. And once the candidates identify positions, the public can split left or right on it and suddenly you've got a foot race because not one Party has the correct answer here. No one's trying to get tough border security tied in with Homeland Security and that's going to undo them as they articulate a point of view… Democrat or Republican.
Neil Cavuto: Alright, it's also a money issue, Adam, because if you've been focusing your campaign on NOT focusing on this issue… suddenly you have to; you're re-jiggering money and campaign themes.
Adam Lashinsky: Yeah, and there's another bi-partisan issue here and that is protectionism. The Republicans are becoming as protectionist as the Democrats have been. And I think this is going to be a problem for Hillary Clinton. Her husband's legacy was a free-trade legacy. It was in stark contrast from other Democratic presidents. But Neil, Tracy made a very brief comment that was very dead-on. Wall Street does not dislike Hillary Clinton. Actually, it's in favor of a lot of her policies and her as a leader and her husband's legacy. We're a year away from an election. I wouldn't read too much into a little drop.
Neil Cavuto: Well Charles, Wall Street might find some things favorable about Hillary Clinton, but I cannot image her wanting to raise key provisos that protect investors would help.
Charles Payne: I know. And Adam, I don't know where you're coming from thinking the Republicans are protectionists. They've gone out of their way in their debates to say they're going to keep free trade going. So I'm not sure where you're coming up with that… And to Leigh's point, I think Hillary is the most beatable of the Democrats. Even though she's ahead in the polls, she carries so much baggage with her. The one thing she does have going for her is her husband's legacy. But, she's also made it a point to say over and over again that she's not her husband, suggesting that she may not be as friendly to Wall Street as he was.
Neil Cavuto: Leigh Gallagher, advocating that you want to raise taxes on the upper income, and a lot of people on Wall Street are the upper income, how would that endear you?
Leigh Gallagher: Well, you know what? I think you have to look at the bigger picture here. What Wall Street likes is a president who leaves things alone. It doesn't like the geopolitical instability that comes with a war. It doesn't like anything that's going to touch oil prices. The markets are more focused on the bigger-picture things than raising taxes. Really.
Tracy Byrnes: No, I don't think so. And I think right now Hillary is guilty by association with the Charlie Rangel tax plan. It's a Democratic idea. She's a Democrat. She's guilty by association and I think that has a lot to do with why she's down in the polls. When you look at the numbers, many more people will see their taxes increase than the few people who will be saved by Charlie Rangel's plan.
Neil Cavuto: Joe Battipaglia. You're right there in the thick of it on Wall Street. An institution dare I say. How do you feel about that message?
Joe Battipaglia: Well, I'll tell you this… what Wall Street likes to do is hedge its bets. And when it sees a clear leader emerging in the Democratic Party, they'll try to put their money there. Not necessarily because they favor her bumper sticker policies, but because they could get some influence when the time comes, should she win.
Adam Lashinsky: Yes.
Joe Battipaglia: And that's why in previous elections, the Republicans won the money game on Wall Street, however now, the Democrats seem to be winning because Wall Street is hedging its bets.
Neil Cavuto: Adam?
Adam Lashinsky: Yeah, you know what, Neil? There's a sense in the country and on Wall Street that a change is needed. There's a sense that our next president may be a Democrat. Let's face it, the world is not a stable place right now and that's after seven years of a Republican in the White House. There's a hope, a sense, that maybe the next president will make the world a more stable place.
Joe Battipaglia: But, let's leave politics out of it. You know what? In the last go around when they wanted to tax the carried interest, it was the Democrats who pushed it off the table because they were essentially being paid off by their friends on Wall Street.
Adam Lashinsky: Well, that's the case right now. If this thing doesn't go anywhere… and it won't… it'll be because the Senate Democrats will kill the measure.
Head to Head: Could Our Economy Survive a Holiday Terror Attack?
Neil Cavuto: A developing story. The FBI downplaying new terror threats against US malls. But, if the worst did happen, could our economy survive? It's time to go "Head to Head."
Charles Payne: Our economy would survive. The timing for a terror attack couldn't be better. It's probably better than it was for 9/11 with all the negativity. Could you imagine a series of terror attacks right now?! But, it cannot kill the American economy. The only thing that can kill America is America.
Neil Cavuto: Leigh Gallagher, for those not familiar, there was this FBI warning that came out. In fact, the FBI rightly sort of put it into perspective that al Qaeda could be targeting US shopping malls this holiday season. Al Qaeda's said that before. Obviously, the terrorists may be going after the economy, maybe more the economy than blood. God forbid, what would happen?
Leigh Gallagher: Well, I do think that this could really hit us where it hurts. And to Charles's point, people are already very worried about the economy. This is the one thing we're all sort of feeling. And this is the one thing that could have a devastating effect on the market. I think we would recover, but it would be really devastating and it could affect the economy in a very bad way.
Neil Cavuto: Because we're not used it, right Tracy? In places like Israel, Columbia, they're used to it; they move on with their lives. I don't know if we can.
Tracy Byrnes: I don't know! It's funny. I was down on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange when the news came out. And some of them were like we're used to this now.
Leigh Gallagher: We're used to the threats. We're not used to the attacks. There's a very big difference.
Neil Cavuto: I don't know if you'd be used to the event.
Tracy Byrnes: They seemed to think that to the stock market, it would be a non-event.
Neil Cavuto: I don't think it would. Adam Lashinsky, I'm not wishing us ill, I'm just saying because we haven't been attacked in more than six years, we've become sort of blasé about this to our own detriment. And I think when it does happen, and it will… I'm smart enough to know when or where… I don't know if we'll take it in stride. What do you think?
Adam Lashinsky: I think you're absolutely right. This doomsday scenario that we're unfortunately talking about has a lot of parallels to 9/11. That happened at a time when the economy was weak and there were significant problems in the economy. So if something like this were to happen, it'd be a double-whammy. We're already looking at a not good holiday shopping season.
Neil Cavuto: I don't buy that this won't be a good holiday shopping season…
Adam Lashinsky: Well, that's what I think. And I think something like this would make things worse.
Neil Cavuto: I don't buy it. I don't buy it. I don't buy it. If we relied on just my wife, it's going to be a great holiday shopping season.
Neil Cavuto: Joe Battipaglia, you know a lot about how people's psyches are affected. You were down at Ground Zero on 9/11. So play this out for me. Obviously, it wouldn't involve the magnitude of 9/11, but it could, right?
Joe Battipaglia: The fact that it was a coordinated attack and the specific targets were American retail installations… the public fears more terrorist acts. Therefore, it would have a very debilitating effect on the economy in the here and now and the stock market would definitely react to this coming at a time when confidence is at recent lows.
Neil Cavuto: Charles, I'll flip it around. I think it might be good for us. It might refocus on issues that are important.
Charles Payne: Ironically, I think at the end of the day, I agree 100 percent with you. There's so much divisiveness in politics. There's politics of envy. There's the rich versus poor. Things like this really bring people together. Ultimately, it would backfire on the terrorists.
Adam Lashinsky: Charles, it'd be great though if we could come together without something like a terrorist attack.
Leigh Gallagher: Yeah.
Neil Cavuto: Well, that's a very great point. But sadly Adam, sometimes it does take events like that to make it happen.
Tracy Byrnes: These days it's all about psychology. One of the reasons why the traders were saying it wouldn't affect anything is because the fundamentals are still solid. But, we don't see that. We see psychology. All we hear about is the credit crunch, the housing troubles. Things are doom and gloom. And that's why an event like that would set us off. But it shouldn't because there's enough there to support us though it. And as you're saying, I don't think the retail season is going to be that terrible. But yet, that's all we hear about and that's what people are going to think.
Neil Cavuto: You know, just the thought of it… for all these Internet guys, it's great, right? Because if you're afraid something might happen, you're going to shop from home.
Leigh Gallagher: That's right. Online retail. You're going to ship it!
More for Your Money: Stocks Hotter Than Gisele!
Neil Cavuto: Rumors flying this week that Gisele thought the dollar wasn't model-worthy. Turns out, the steamy-hot supermodel IS getting paid in U.S. dollars after all! Our guys say good thing because if you want to be super rich, then you better bet on America to get "More for Your Money."
Ok, really, we just wanted a reason to show Gisele video…
Click here if you'd like to see the super-hot stock picks!
Adam Lashinsky: Caterpillar (CAT )
Joe Battipaglia: Nike (NKE)
*Joe owns shares of this stock
Leigh Gallagher: Dell (DELL )
Charles Payne: Gymboree (GYMB )
FOX on the Spot
Adam Lashinsky: Fed cuts rates again, but can't stop recession
Charles Payne: Biggest buying opportunity of the year! Buy Goldman (GS )
Tracy Byrnes: Gift card sales soar; but fees on cards soar, too
Joe Battipaglia: HillaryCare gets shot down; JNJ shoots up!
Leigh Gallagher: $4.85B Vioxx settlement makes Merck (MRK ) a buy!
Neil Cavuto: When trial lawyers win, we all lose
Forbes on FOX
In Focus: Should American Taxpayers Pay for California's Mess?
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley bureau chief: Of course everyone's heart goes out to the people who lost their homes and it would be an assault on their feelings to say that the Federal government should not jump in. But we need to face some facts: wildfires are part of the ecosystem of California which they agreed to live in. In some of these counties, they hated property taxes so much they didn't fully fund the local fire departments. Now the Feds are going to come in and strip away the dead wood but the fires will come back. It just doesn't make sense. This isn't preventative. You can't stop fires, hurricanes and earthquakes from happening. But the federal money coming in makes people think they can afford to take a risk without having to claim personal responsibility.
Lacey Rose, Forbes.com senior reporter: Never mind the compassion argument which seems to be lacking here, I think this is an economic issue. Look at how vital California is to our economy. It makes up 15 percent of America's GDP, fifth largest economy in the world. It's in the best interest of every taxpayer that California is as safe and productive as possible. This money isn't going to be used for individual payouts, its going to be used for preventative measures so a disaster like this won't happen again.
Mike Ozanian, national editor: I think people who live in heavy risk fire areas should pay more in taxes and not just on the local level but on the federal level as well. If you put yourself in harms way, you should share more of the risk. If we did that with mortgages, we wouldn't be in the mess we're in now.
Victoria Barret, associate editor: The problem here isn't limited to fires; we have flood, fires, and earthquakes here in California. There are many parts of the country that are at risk for bad events like what happened in Southern California. And I think it is the definition of compassionate conservatism that the government steps up when these kinds of disasters happen. The problem though is the funding is inconsistent. Katrina victims got an average of $20,000 each versus in Southern California where people are getting about $1,000. We should have a consistent process here. As someone who was born in San Diego and lives in San Francisco, I know it's impossible for no one to live on the coast of California. It's not realistic.
Mark Tatge, Forbes contributing editor: Wow, Victoria is sounding like a liberal for once! Why should the government have to pay for homes which were built in areas where they shouldn't be built? Why not tax the developers, then put that money in a fund, and then those funds would be used in the event of a disaster? We're not talking about poor people here who need to get out of a slum. We're talking about multi-million dollar homes. These people chose to build their homes in these areas so why should they bear the cost of rebuilding? The developers are at fault here.
Neil Weinberg, senior editor: Obviously we have a moral hazard here. If we're going to pay for people to live in a bad area, they are going to make dumb choices. The best example is New Orleans. If we're going to pay people to move back there, they're going to get wiped out again by the next Hurricane. Then the cycle starts all over again. If people want to make the choice of living in a place of danger, then let them pick up the cost of that risk.
Debate: Oprah's Scandal Lesson: Keep Money in America?
Neil Weinberg: What happened at Oprah's South African school is a great tragedy. The best way America can help the world is to make our economy strong so that we can trade, so we can help places like China and Southeast Asia develop. A lot of money which goes into charities overseas gets wasted or goes to corruption. It's not the best way to spend our money.
Quentin Hardy: There's some mystery as to what happened at Oprah's school. The fact of the matter is, the world is full of poor and needy people and you just go and help them. Something happened in that school and it's a huge tragedy but there's many thing the US can do and does do overseas. We must continue to do that. To prevent corruption in other countries you have to shed light on it. One thing I have to say about Oprah is she puts her name on a school, shows up in her big purple dress and creates publicity about the future of Africa and female empowerment and then walks away from her empowering duties.
Victoria Barret: I think it's smarter to put your charity money in US charities. They can be doing work overseas but there is more accountability in US charities. You can find out how much money the guy running it is making, you can know how many of your dollars are actually going to the cause versus the bureaucracy and overhead.
Lacey Rose: I think accountability, good management and insight are all important and you should look at all these things before forking over your money to any charity. I think philanthropists should be approached like business. Look at where and how you can be the most effective, where you can yield the highest return.
Josh Lipton, Forbes.com staff writer: I think you should look at accountability. The US government is more open and transparent than a lot of foreign governments. That means we have the regulatory mechanisms in place to make sure money goes where it's supposed to. As soon as you cross the pond and head overseas, you're not guaranteed that. If you want to go overseas, I think the safest route is to go multinational like the Red Cross or the Gates Foundation or any place where you can be promised to see where your donations go.
Mike Ozanian: If it was up to me, I'd trust Congress and allow free trade. But I'm going to agree with Quentin twice on one show. They only way to help people outside this country and regulate it is through charity. Two thirds of the world's charity money comes from the U.S.
Flipside: America's Health Care System Is Just Fine!
Victoria Barret: There are a lot of facts that are nothing more than myths about our health care system. One being that 47 million Americans do not have health insurance. That includes illegal immigrants, people who do not sign up for Medicaid even though they are eligible and young people who just don't want to spend the money for coverage. Two, we hear that American's have a lower life expectancy than people who live on Canada. That statistic has to do with crime rates and teenage pregnancy. It has nothing to do with our health care system!
Quentin Hardy: We compare all major statistics around Canada, Europe and Japan. This puts our corporations at a disadvantage because they don't have to pay for this crummy system. Doctors here are alienated and driven into weird specialties instead of doing useful things. Many people do not see a doctor because they are underinsured.
Mike Ozanian: All these people who complain about our healthcare system like Hillary and Obama never go to another country to get their checkups! Just look at the evidence. It's by far the best health care system in the world. We can prove it, we can make competition greater, we could take Viagra off of some plans to make it cheaper. But it's by far the best in the world.
Mark Tatge: It's the best health care system in the world, if you have access to it. The problem here is a lot of people don't have access to it. Major corporations want to get out of being in the insurance business and offering pension benefits. It's very clear. They've been cutting these benefits, going into bankruptcy, and getting rid of any obligations they have. And in my opinion, health insurance is next.
Bill Baldwin, editor: I think our health care system is like democracy. It's a terrible system, but it's better than all the alternatives. Would you rather have 2007 healthcare at 2007 prices or 1957 healthcare at 1957 prices? We're living longer and much better than we did in 1957.
Informer: Most Recent Buys
Bruce Upbin, assistant managing editor: Corning (GLW)
Neil Weinberg: Vanguard Total International Stock Index (VGTSX)
Bill Baldwin: Vanguard European Stock Index (VEURX)
Victoria Barret: Pharmaceutical HOLDRs (PPH)
Our Cashin' In crew this week: Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co; Dagen McDowell, FOX Business Network; Jonathan Hoenig, CapitalistPig Asset Management; Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com; Gary Kaltbuam, Kaltbaum & Associates; John Passacantando, Executive Director of Greenpeace; and MeMe Roth, President of National Action Against Obesity.
Hillary's New "Green" Plan: Will It Put America In The "Red"?
Sen. Hillary Clinton's, D-N.Y., new "green" plan calls for spending $150 billion to clean up the environment by 2050. Would it put America deeper in the red instead?
Jonathan: I hate Hillary's new plan. Cutting greenhouse gas is bad for the country and using taxpayer dollars to do it is even worse. We use energy to be productive and to better our lives. These wacky "greens" are against any use of the earth. They are more in favor of the prairie dog that letting me drive my car to work in the morning.
John: It's no longer about the "greens". They just brought you the science. Now, the science says there's a calamity coming and we've got to do something. It's in the hands of American industry. Can we do enough fast enough? How many jobs and how much money are we going to make doing this while competing with the Japanese, Chinese, and Europeans while we build this green future? This is where the future of American jobs will be. The race is on. Don't wait any longer. We don't want to become a third world country because of this. We want to actually lead and create jobs. Hillary Clinton's plan could get us part way there.
Wayne: Hillary's plan is idiotic. I want to read you something. She says "an aggressive, comprehensive, energy-efficiency agenda." What does that mean? "Changing the way utilities do business." How is she going to do it and how much will it cost? "Transition our economy towards renewable energy sources by investing in green collar jobs. Retro fit 20 million low-income houses." She doesn't provide a cost and a way to do it. Hillary is irresponsible and just trying to get elected.
Dagen: I agree that Hillary Clinton does have a lot of jargon and talking points. The candidates are going to lay it out their ideas. Now, they want to show what these plans will do in the short run to the price of fuel, whether it is natural gas, coal, electricity, or oil. In the short run, prices will go sky high. If the candidates are going to pitch these plans, they have to figure out a way to pitch them better. Like it or not, this is a top issue for voters.
Jonas: A candidate would be crazy to run on an anti-green platform because it doesn't seem to fit into today's world. Personally, I'm not against big government action. The environment is one place where I think we can rationalize a lot of action. This particular plan that Sen. Clinton lays out doesn't make a lot of sense, because of the way she plans to spend the money. There's no personal sacrifice; it's all blaming corporations. Our own behavior has a lot to do with this and she's not asking us to make any changes to that.
John: A number of the leading Democratic candidates have emerging plans that look really good. The key is that Hillary Clinton's plan really mimics what the scientific assessment tells us we need to do. It's a very responsible plan. We have high oil prices because we let the country stay dependent on it. We let the auto company lobbyists keep us dependent. Hillary Clinton's plan says we will have more efficient automobiles, which puts the price of oil down as demand goes down.
Dagen: Agreed, but this plan would likely send oil prices higher. There are other ways to fix the problem with cars in this country, rather than just regulating the miles per gallon that a car gets.
Wayne: With all due respect, her plan makes no sense because she doesn't attach any dollars to it. She doesn't explain how she is going to do it. There are better ways. The Environmental Defense League has a very good idea of how to do this privately. The federal government doesn't have to do everything.
John: Republican candidates also should come up with their own free market version of this. Hillary Clinton's plan is very solid and if you go deeper than just her website plan there are numbers attached to it.
$3 Gas Is Back: Time to Kill Gas Tax to Give Consumers a Break?
Gas prices are shooting up again with the national average now topping $3/gallon. Is it time to kill the gas tax to give consumers a break at the pump?
Gary K: Yes! The consumer is being crushed not just by gas, but by housing and restrictive lending. We also have an economy that could be in big trouble. 50 cents to $1 of what you pay at the pump is taxes. Get rid of them. Our government already gets trillions of dollars of our money. If they need to use it for bridges and such, get it from somewhere else.
Dagen: I disagree. We should tax gas to $4-5/gallon right now. People will get used to higher gas prices and it would help wean us off foreign oil. Forget about cutting consumption by 20 percent in about 10-20 years, you could do it in a couple of years. It would be an easier way of doing it rather than regulating specific industries. Pour on the pain and then cut taxes somewhere else, but just curb our consumption
Jonathan: If you think the role of government is to protect your right to live your life as you see fit, then you tax gas just like you tax everything else. If you believe in Dagen's form of government, which is a government that forces you into a certain behavior, that's what a tax is. A tax is a force or threat of force.
Dagen: We already do that in so many different ways: buying a home, retirement savings, etc. There are already so many areas of this country where the government gets in to influence our behavior. Why not just consume less fuel?
Jonathan: Because we live in a free country Dagen. That's the whole point.
Jonas: We do live in a free country that's paid for with tax revenues, so we've got to get it somewhere. Are we going to tax good behavior, like earning income, or bad behavior like smoking cigarettes and driving cars?
Jonathan: Why is driving a car bad behavior? I don't understand.
Jonas: What's better behavior? Earning money or driving or smoking?
Jonathan: I do all three and they've suited me just fine!
Jonas: That's the point. If people are getting paid, let's lower income taxes, but keep the gas taxes. If anything, the gas taxes should be higher.
Wayne: In the grand scheme of things, both federal and state gas taxes aren't that much. They are a lot less than our income taxes and sales taxes. The total cost of federal tax is 18 cents per gallon. A gallon is $3. That's 6 percent tax. That's a very low tax. The tax will probably be raised, but I don't think it will discourage driving. $3 gas hasn't discouraged driving so far. We're still building big cars.
Dagen: In recent weeks, we have slowly started to see a little bit of drop in demand. $4-5/gallon would change our lives all for the better.
Gary K: The definition of insanity is to raise more taxes on gasoline. You have an economy already in trouble and high gas prices. This would tax the poor and middle class the most. It is crazy to even think of higher taxes at this point in time.
Jonas: We have the lowest federal gas tax of almost all the major economies. These countries are doing better than our country and it has forced them to drive smaller cars.
Gary K: That's not the only tax we pay on gas. There are several other taxes out there.
Slimming Down Fat Santas: Could It Trim Down Holiday Sales?
The fat police telling St. Nick it's time to slim down, but could trimming down Santa's bottom hurt America's bottom line?
MeMe: In England they are proposing making Santa skinny. I see it as a marketing campaign where Santa is going through boot camp. Santa's a fantastic marketing device. He pushes $460 billion in merchandise in the U.S. at Christmas. They are having a lot of fun with the beloved marketing device and spreading the word that working out and eating right is a good idea.
Jonathan: Open up the dictionary, and you'll see that Santa is defined as a jolly, fat man. There are so many other problems in this world like militant Islam and a possible recession. The fact that one person would be protesting a fat Santa is almost unbelievable.
MeMe: You talk about other things we should be concerned about, but obesity is something that is traveling around this globe. We now have 1.3 billion overweight people on the planet. Having Santa look a little more like Father Christmas and Jack LaLanne as opposed to the Coca-Cola version cemented in our minds is not a bad idea.
Jonathan: This global obesity epidemic is actually a sign of progress, rather than children starving to death. Do you want your Santa to be a fat, jolly prosperous man or do you want a skeletal, emaciated skinny Santa that could be in US magazine?
MeMe: We heard from Santa this week and he said stop with the Coca-Cola and sports drinks. No one wants to serve that to our children. He also said he's having a few health problems. That bowl full of jelly in the center has given him type II diabetes.
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