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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; Dr. Bob Froehlich, Scudder Investments; Marc Lamont Hill, Temple University Professor of American Studies, Matt McCall, Penn Financial.
Trading Pit: Wall Street Freak Out Over Possible Tax Hikes?
Tobin Smith: The main reason stocks went down was the jobs report. That being said, Wall Street cares a lot, because the narrative out of Iowa that stuck was anti-Wall Street, anti-Corporate pay package, and if that message fans across the rest of the country it will be impossible to put that fire out. Wall Street is hoping the adrenaline rush of under 30 year old first-time voters going for Obama, and the evangelicals voting for Huckabee, will be doused by a waterfall of desire to get the economy back on track.
Marc Lamont Hill: Both Obama and Huckabee represent a populist, anti-corporate message that inspires hope among everyday Americans. Obama promises to cut taxes and provide social provisions for the poor. Huckabee has challenged the big oil companies. All of these things threaten the power of the rich, which has gone unchecked for years. It is for this reason that the market is down: big business is shaking in its boots.
Gary B. Smith: I think the market thinks there is NO WAY Huckabee can win, and the Republicans are in disarray. Therefore, it's now a pitched battle between two communists who want nothing less than vast wealth redistribution!
Scott Bleier: In order to get elected, candidates must "suck-up" to the largest number of voters. An "eat the rich" mentality has been a populist strategy since capitalism was born! The bottom line is no; Wall Street is not too concerned right now about higher taxes because it has way too much bigger and more damaging events on its plate. Wall Street is bigger than any candidate and his/her policy. It can adapt and survive anything, and will create opportunity for those with capital.
Pat Dorsey: The jobs report sent the market down. That would have happened with the same jobs report and a different Iowa outcome.
Fat Cash for Getting Skinny!
Lose weight… and get a cash bonus! Businesses like IBM are now pushing workers to get in shape with cash incentives.
Good move from Big Blue or a big mistake?
Matt McCall: Why should IBM (or any other business) have the right to dictate how you live outside of the office? As long as I perform my job at a satisfactory level as outlined when I was hired, the company should have no right to push their health beliefs on me outside of the workplace.
Tobin Smith: Absolutely this is a good idea; especially since U.S. corporations are the only ones in the world who pay a majority of United States health costs. Chronic disease (obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure) account for over 50 percent (nearly a trillion dollars) in US health care costs. Any move by business to give incentives for behavior to deal with this is great for our economy.
Pat Dorsey: Health is a personal issue only if you pay for your own health care; if you get coverage through your employer, then your employer has a strong interest in your health, so a voluntary program like this one makes a ton of financial sense. Everybody wins. The employee (hopefully) takes actions that lead to a healthier and longer life, and both the employer and the employee spend less on health care. The U.S. health care system's greatest failing (among many) is that we pay for procedures rather than outcomes, which discourages preventative treatment (no one gets paid!) and produces expensive treatments after problems are diagnosed. Kudos to IBM for trying to rectify this problem!
Lightning Round… Election Style!
Gary B Smith: Research In Motion (RIMM )
Tobin Smith: LDK Solar (LDK )
Dr. Bob Froehlich: Carnival (CCL )
Pat Dorsey: Ultra Petroleum (UPL )
Scott Bleier: Oceaneering International (OII )
Tobin Smith's prediction: Make from more wicked weather! Compass Minerals (CMP ) up 50 percent by spring thaw
Gary B Smith's Prediction: Fed cuts rates at least 2 more times: Financial Select Sector (XLF ) up 20 percent in 2 months
Pat Dorsey's prediction: Mylan (MYL ) rides health care wave; doubles in 2-3 years
Scott Bleier's prediction: Dow 12K before tax day! Buy shares of Short Dow30 ProShares (DOG )
Dr. Bob Froehlich's Prediction: Feed the world and your wallet; Monsanto (MON ) up 50 percent by end of year
Cavuto on Business
On Saturday, Jan 5, 2008, Neil Cavuto was joined by Charles Payne, wstreet.com; Tracy Byrnes, FOX Business Network; Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine; Pat Powell, Powell Financial Group; Gary Kaltbaum, Kaltbaum & Associates; and Julia Piscitelli Valentine, Democratic Strategist.
Bottom Line: Populism Winning in America: Threat to Capitalism?
Neil Cavuto: Mike Huckabee and Barack Obama. Both big winners. Both big populists. Both no fans of big business or big money. And if someone here is right, both could prove a big mistake to American capitalism. Charles, is populism a threat to capitalism?
Charles Payne: Yes, absolutely. This is scary stuff. I know a lot of people say this is Iowa, it's a small state, and it doesn't matter. But it does matter! Look at the number of people who came out. This is more than politics of envy. Some candidates are attacking corporations, the backbone of the nation. I am so shocked that it's so popular! People are doing so much better than they think they're doing. Populism is a major, major threat to capitalism. It reminds me of what Nikita Kruschev said. He said he would bury America without firing a shot and he would use capitalism as a tool.
Neil Cavuto: Pat Powell, if we're to read into just the Republicans in Iowa rallying around a guy who said not-so-friendly things about business, you gotta wonder if Charles is right.
Pat Powell: I think Charles is right. Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee are two charming individuals. I like them. When I listen to them, I smile. But then, I read about their economic policies and I'm scared to death! You look at Huckabee's economic policy. What he calls a "fair tax" is essentially a consumption tax and it will flip the whole equation for how our economy works. If you look at Obama's plan, the candidate of change… you say, "Well geeze, we have the strongest and biggest economy in the history of the world. Why would I want to change it?" I wouldn't! The unintended consequences of these guys being really likeable could be a disastrous economic policy and a disastrous international policy. This is very scary.
Neil Cavuto: There is a populist wave going on here. It's undeniable. It could cut both ways. When Pat Buchanan was running as a populist back in the early 90's, he was selling this idea that the globe was a bad trading environment and we had to insulate ourselves. Are we going back to that?
Tracy Byrnes: I can't imagine. I have yet to figure out why we put so much weight on the Caucuses. There are more people in New York City than there are in the state of Iowa. And of those people in Iowa, 40 percent of them are registered Independents. So who's voting out there? Who's making all that noise? I think part of it is the media blowing it out of proportion.
Neil Cavuto: Did you see our 24 hour special?
Tracy Byrnes: I think Obama won because it's a vote against Hillary. I think if Giuliani would have been there, things would have been different. We are putting these guys in the White House already. They have a long way to go!
Neil Cavuto: Adam, what about the message?
Adam Lashinsky: I disagree with Tracy and agree with Pat and Charles. This is a big problem! I'm sympathetic to a candidate like Obama. I like a lot of the things he's saying. But, I hate it when he, John Edwards, and Mike Huckabee talk about corporate greed. I think populism is a big threat to capitalism. The Democrats are running in the opposite direction from the successful policies of Bill Clinton. And, it's not just the Democrats. The whole country has this protectionist attitude right now. Protectionism is bad in every possible way for the economy.
Neil Cavuto: Julia, do you worry that the more you bash Wall Street, the more you bash corporate America, the more you bash the "fat cats," you could be adding insult to injury?
Julia Piscitelli Valentine: I don't think that's completely without merit, but I also think that this is two-thirds right. Huckabee and Edwards are serious populists. With Obama, you don't want to confuse popularity with populism. He is really charismatic. He's talking about change. Obama's anti-Washington. Huckabee is a sunny populist. Edwards is an angry populist. I really don't think we have much to worry about.
Neil Cavuto: Well, with all due respect, I don't know. If I hear Barack Obama correctly, he wants to raise the cap on Social Security, which would effectively add taxes to those making $97,000 and above. Last year at this time, we were talking about taxes going up on millionaires. Now, we're talking about raising taxes on people making $97,500. I think it's fair to say that with this populism talk, higher taxes may come, too.
Julia Piscitelli Valentine: Look, two of these guys are about populism, one of them is not. I really don't see Obama as one.
Adam Lashinsky: My hope is that what a President Obama would do is tinker. Just because you're going to raise the cap doesn't mean you're going to raise it to no limits; it just means you're going to tinker.
Pat Powell: They did it on Medicare.
Neil Cavuto: Yes, they did on Medicare. Pat, you are just right. I think that's next.
Pat Powell: Absolutely, and no one is sympathetic to all these millionaires. The problem is when you raise the payroll tax, it's not the CEO making millions of dollars who loses his job; it's the guy who's got a good job making $100,000. And he's going to be replaced by someone making $20,000 in India or Pakistan. Those job losses are permanent! You can't have fuzzy economics if you want to be the President of the United States.
Neil Cavuto: Charles, after a successful Caucus, other candidates on both sides try to imitate what seemed to work in Iowa. Will populism get to be the theme?
Charles Payne: Absolutely! When the top Republican coming out of Iowa is a populist, anti-Wall Street, anti-corporate America… it just doesn't make sense! All these guys are sort of talking about a re-distribution of wealth. What I'm really afraid of is people who work hard, people who are innovative, people who have guts, people who really bust their butts to make money… are going to get hit hard. The notion is that wealthy people are born with a silver spoon in their mouths, but most millionaires are self-made! Why are we attacking them? Why are we trying to hurt them? At the end of the day, we're only going to end up hurting ourselves. Already, we're talking about a $100,000 threshold, but what happens to the fireman who's making $70,000 and the school teacher who's making $50,000? They're going to be targets as well!
Tracy Byrnes: I think these caucuses breed populism! We're in the Midwest, it's a populist place to begin with, and it's easy to get on the populist bandwagon.
Neil Cavuto: Julia, you know and have great contacts with all the prominent Democratic candidates. So let me ask you this: To a man and a woman, they all want to hike taxes on the well-to-do and obviously, there's been enough focus groups and studies done that show raising taxes on the wealthy registers. Is it fair to say that after Iowa, and what could be a continuing populist wave in New Hampshire, that the Democratic candidates are on to something?
Julia Piscitelli Valentine: I wouldn't call it a gimme, and I would call it change instead of populism. I'm not affiliated with any campaign, but when I look at this, I see the populism of Carter in Huckabee and possibly Edwards…
Neil Cavuto: You're not answering my question.
Neil Cavuto: What is it with Democrats? It's the meaning of "is."
Neil Cavuto: I'm kidding! I'm kidding. In other words, it's possible this populist trend continues?
Julia Piscitelli Valentine: Yes, I would agree with that.
Head to Head: Oil Hits $100/Barrel: Who's to Blame?
Neil Cavuto: $100 oil, $3 gas, and heating bills through the roof. John Edwards and other Democratic leaders pointing the finger at President Bush. But, should they be pointing the finger at themselves? After all, they're the ones who promised to lower energy prices when they won Congress and came marching in with grand plans to do just that a year ago this month. It's time to go "Head to Head." Gary, who's to blame?
Gary Kaltbaum: Look, the Dems need a big mirror to look into. In the last year, oil prices have almost doubled. And what is their solution? Blame the oil companies. But, they've mentioned nothing about drilling, nothing about more supply. The Dems care more about the caribou than the progress of the economy. We've had George Bush for the last couple of years proposing a plan every other week, but nothing's gotten done. We need both Parties to get something done.
Neil Cavuto: Even the caribou were ticked off because they were long on the market. They're saying, "Hey! What happened??"
Neil Cavuto: Charles, what do you think of that?
Charles Payne: John Edwards is the biggest phony in the world. Here's a trial lawyer. A guy gets hits by a truck. The hospital gets a third, the taxi gets a third, Edwards gets a third, and the guy gets just enough money to get a Cadillac and gold chain. He's not for the people! You've got to be kidding me.
Charles Payne: His solution to $100 oil is to tax the oil companies. What do you think is going to happen?? The price is going to go higher. It's absolutely ridiculous. Obviously the Democrats are to blame. We have a lot of resources here. The bottom line is we're hooked on it. And Edwards and his 36 hour drive around Iowa for votes… I'm sure he was using oil to get around the state… he wasn't on a bicycle. And let's not forget the rest of the world! There is an incredible demand for oil. The main reason oil is up is because America is prosperous and the rest of the world is prosperous.
Tracy Byrnes: The Democrats need to go back and take an economics class. This is basic supply and demand. The fundamentals are there to support $100 oil. It will come down…
Neil Cavuto: Well, the market can…
Tracy Byrnes: The speculators are playing with it, definitely. $20-$25 of that barrel is from the speculators. But, there is a huge demand for oil globally.
Neil Cavuto: Do you think it goes higher?
Tracy Byrnes: I do! It's not a straight line, but oil's gotta go up. And to blame Bush??
Neil Cavuto: Well, that seems to be the cop-out.
Pat Powell: It's patently ridiculous to blame Bush! We have been on notice for 35 years, since the 1973 oil embargo. And what have we done? We've done nothing! Not only have we not drilled in ANWR, we can't get a darn windmill on Cape Cod! Why? Because some people think it blocks somebody's view. The fact of the matter is Congress is ineffective on this no matter which side of the aisle you're on. Congress does nothing!
Neil Cavuto: I think this is going to be a big issue this year. It's sort of on the back pages right now, but as soon as all those gas and heating oil bills come due, we're going to get a whole different perspective on it. Are we going to see this issue get politicized?
Adam Lashinsky: Absolutely, Neil. It is a big issue, it's going to be a big issue, but it absolutely shouldn't be a big issue! My thinking is every time a politician on either side of the aisle in any branch of the government starts talking about who's to blame for high oil prices, who's to blame for high gas prices… voters should just close their ears and not listen because it's not the President's fault, it's not Congress's fault.
Neil Cavuto: I think it's your fault.
Adam Lashinsky: And I'm willing to accept the blame, Neil.
Neil Cavuto: Gary, we had a chance to address this during the opening months of the Bush Administration. Republicans and Democrats turned their back on him… and here we are! Had we enacted that, we'd be sharing oil with the caribou and on we go.
Gary Kaltbaum: Absolutely. Look, the Republicans had their chance. Bush had the bully pulpit and the House and the Senate! So they were wusses, too.
Gary Kaltbaum: My biggest problem now is we're in "too late" territory to get things on-line and to get new refineries. Getting more oil takes years. I gotta tell ya, I am in hopes here that we don't head above $100 because when we head to $150… a big recession is coming.
More for Your Money: Which $tock Will Do Well in a Bull or Bear Market?
Neil Cavuto: Can the bull market make history by making it six years in a row? And which stocks will help you get "More for Your Money" even if the bull market runs out of steam?
Pat Powell: Kinross Gold (KGC)
*Pat is bullish for 2008.
Adam Lashinsky: Wells Fargo (WFC)
*Adam is bearish for 2008.
Gary Kaltbaum: Monsanto (MON)
*Gary is bullish on commodities; bearish on retail, financials, housing, travel.
Charles Payne: Deere (DE)
*Charles owns shares of this stock.
*Charles is bullish for 2008.
FOX on the Spot
Charles Payne: Oil Climbs to $110 in ‘08; Buy Canadian Solar (CSIQ)
*Charles owns shares of CSIQ.
Gary Kaltbaum: Fed Cuts Rates Down to 3 percent in 1st Quarter; Stock Market Doesn't React
Pat Powell: Don't Put More Than 5 percent of Your Retirement $$ in One Stock
Tracy Byrnes: Britney Needs Help before It's too Late!
Adam Lashinsky: Obama Wins Dem Nom; Bloomberg Won't Run in 2008
Neil Cavuto: Message from Iowa: Bashing business wins. Blasting the rich wins more. Expect to hear more. A lot more. Main Street hates Wall Street and Wall Street has every right to feel vulnerable.
Forbes on FOX
In Focus: Huckabee's Victory: Proof Money Can't Buy Elections?
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley bureau chief: The people of Iowa have shown that passion and purpose and a sense of the future trumps big money, at least for now. And it's not just about Huckabee. Edwards was outspent by Clinton 5 to 1 and he placed ahead of her. Obama raised his money on the Internet. Not a big money guy. It's a different picture now. But Wall Street will be back with the big money and we'll see if this works for the long haul. The negative ads will come out on Huckabee.
Steve Forbes, Giuliani senior policy adviser: Romney spent the money but didn't get the win partially because he had no message, he didn't have the record, and he's not a real fiscal conservative. He doesn't have any new bold ideas out there. He did it by the textbook but you have to have a message as well. Romney didn't. You have to have the money with a message. If you don't have the message, money isn't going to do it.
Lea Goldman, senior editor: The proof in the pudding will be the long haul because money absolutely matters. I hope Mike Bloomberg was paying attention.
Elizabeth MacDonald, FOX Business Network: To say that money doesn't matter is like saying that the earth doesn't have to revolve around the sun in politics. Even Mike Huckabee said momentum is not enough. Remember Dean was a frontrunner in 2004. Reagan at this point in the game was flat broke when he first ran. Then he said tax cuts, and he shot to the top.
Victoria Barret: associate editor: Money does matter but what we got in Iowa was most voters are angry about how much money influences Washington. Huckabee really tapped that message, Obama to a lesser extent. I think money is going to matter more as we go into these other states, we're gong to see more negative campaigning.
Neil Weinberg, senior editor: In Iowa people are saying we want new faces, they weren't really talking about money. As we go through the campaign money is going to matter, especially in the big states. When the negative ads come out we're going to see that the money means a lot.
Flipside: President Bush Is Taxing the Rich Too Much!
Steve Forbes: By lowering tax rates you collect more from the rich. Ronald Reagan discovered that, Kennedy knew that and President Bush knows it as well. Rates were cut dramatically in 2003, especially on capital gains and dividends. Guess what? Receipts soared because the economy soared. If you want more, tax less.
Quentin Hardy: This has been about tax cuts for the rich for eight years! The fact that the poor did less well, they've done less well overall. I think we need to pay down the deficit and make things healthy for the overall economy.
Elizabeth MacDonald: When you cut tax rates you create massive investments and massive tax revenues. Cut taxes, that's the way to go!
Lea Goldman: I feel like I hear the same thing over and over again every time it's election season. Everyone has their own definition of what their fair share should be. Fact of the matter of is, the rich depend on lower and middle income taxes to drive the economy. To make the goods and to buy the goods. I think it's fair to say that the rich should carry a larger load here.
John Rutledge, Forbes contributor: I've worked in the tax trenches in both the Treasury and the White House. When tax collections go up it means one thing and only one thing, the economy has grown. Growing means more in your paycheck, more dividends and more tax collections. Tax rate cuts help do that. Dividends have doubled since 2003 and the stock market has doubled.
Mike Ozanian, national editor: Clinton was better for the rich than Bush. Under Clinton the top 1 percent share of all income went from 14 percent to 21 percent. It stayed at 21 percent under Bush. Bush has been good for the lower income people. If you earn $40,000 a year your tax liability has gone down by $2,000 under Bush
Debate: Should You Be Fined for Not Having Health Insurance?
Mike Ozanian: Fining people for not having health insurance is a stupid idea. The idea is that it will save money in the long haul because people who would go to emergency rooms would go get check-ups which would be preventative. That's a big lie as we all know. Most people who go to the emergency room are elderly and are covered by Medicare. If you can't afford health care, how is making you pay for something going to help you anyway? It's better for people to outline their own programs so that they don't have to buy everything under the sun. It could be affordable. We should also make it competitive.
Neil Weinberg: The fact is we all face the risk of getting seriously ill. In this country you can go to the hospital and they have to give you care, if you don't have insurance that means the rest of us have to pay for it. It's not fair. As long as you make insurance accessible for people I don't think it's an undo burden to say that they have to buy it. You have to do it when you buy a car.
John Rutledge: The insurance lobby has convinced the government to drive people into their arms by forcing them to buy insurance. There is a health care problem but this isn't how you fix it. People are driven to emergency rooms which are high cost solutions. A progressive tax taxes the wrong people. You need local neighborhood centers. If you want to subsidize someone's health care give them money and let them spend it locally at low-cost facilities.
Victoria Barret: This doesn't solve the issues that are plaguing our health care system, which are choice and lack of transparency. But it is good policy. We generally aren't good at assessing risk. If I didn't have to buy car insurance there were many years where I probably wouldn't have because I would have preferred to pocket those few hundred dollars. That wouldn't have been a good decision. Making people buy insurance is a good thing. Insurance helps people afford health care. That leads to healthier lives. It also reduces the burden on hospitals.
Steve Forbes: This health industry doesn't work. It's all third-party pay. First we need to reform the system. Let them buy insurance across state lines so you get more choice and more affordable insurance. We also need to remove the barriers to health savings accounts.
Informer: Best U.S. $tock$
John Rutledge: Bank of America (BAC)
Mike Ozanian: Masimo (MASI)
Victoria Barret: Tiffany & Co. (TIF)
Lea Goldman: Live Nation (LYV)
Is Oprah the Real Winner Coming Out of Iowa?
Jehmu Greene, former president, Rock the Vote!: I hope that the first call Barack made when he had that victory in Iowa was to Oprah. His poll numbers increased dramatically after they went on their Obama/Oprah tour to Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina. Oprah comes out the winner here with her unwavering support for Barack. His speech in Iowa was full of hope and realism and I think that's good for Americans as well as the economy and markets. Oprah has never endorsed a candidate before and when those voters in Iowa went into those voting booths, of course they voted for Obama for a change. But she definitely was a part of his victory after his momentum kicked in.
Dagen McDowell, FOX Business Network: Oprah hits all of your key demographics. Obama is winning among women voters, younger voters, black voters as well as voters who are first time caucusers. Obama is a great communicator but can you think of anyone else who expresses themselves better than Oprah Winfrey? I can't. And it's a stark contrast from Hillary Clinton who got all offensive on that teenager who asked her the question at the beginning of the caucus.
Jonathan Hoenig, CapitalistPig Asset Management: A lot of celebrities have been endorsing Obama: George Clooney, Halle Berry, Morgan Freeman and Jennifer Aniston. But I think Obama won for Obama. This guy is representing change. If you're a democrat you have Hillary, washed up Edwards and then Obama…I think Obama is the obvious choice for Democrats looking for change.
Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co.: I think we're shortchanging Obama (talking about Oprah). Obama will win whether Oprah is there or not. He represents fresh change and hope, his speeches are good, and he was great four years ago with the Democratic convention. He represents everything Americans are looking for. And what's interesting, when you look at "old white" Iowa, a young black man is getting all of their votes and that is terrific for America.
Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com:: The celebrities that Jonathan mentioned don't really have a great of an influence as Oprah does. When Oprah recommends a book, it automatically hits the Best Seller List. All those celebrities back up candidates, except for Oprah, she rarely does. Obviously there are many things that people look for in a candidate but obviously Oprah was one of the top three or four reasons people for his victory.
Obama's National Health Care Plan: Will It Lead to "Do-It-Yourself" Care?
Jonathan Hoenig: A lot of Democrats are supporting socialized health care, and so is Romney. If you think self-care is bad, you're talking about waiting in line for MRIs, chemotherapy, heart surgeries, and other basic procedures…that's what you get when you have a bureaucrat making decisions instead of the free market. Yes, the rich may pay for it but the fact is that health care will go down for the rich and the poor.
Wayne Rogers: The only problem is no one talks about this. Look at the cost of Medicare….Medicare and Medicaid are eating up an enormous part of the budget. You can't triple or quadruple the cost when no one has any idea how this is going to work. It's easy to go around and say "Yea, let's get cheap health care for everyone!" but who's going to pay for it, and no one has that answer!
Jehmu Greene: There are 40 million Americans who do not have health insurance and they are taken care of. This is the reason why people in England are healthier than we are here in the US, preventative medicine. If we get universal health care, it means people will find out they have diabetes before they get their foot amputated, or finding out you have a cavity before you get your teeth pulled! People are already taking care of themselves and they're not taking care of themselves in a good way. It's about preventative medicine and not about self-care in the ways people are doing it without any help from doctors and insurance companies.
Jonas Max Ferris: This country has good health care, if you can afford it. I think what we want is a national health care plan which is really bad and cheap because to Wayne's point, that'll be the only way you can pay for it. We should get a really crummy health care plan which is cheap and you have to go to Web MD to get half the stuff because that's a relatively formal plan. None of these plans proposed by Democrats are talking about taking your benefits away…you can still have private health care and go to your expensive doctors. I'm talking about the uninsured people who use emergency rooms as write up costs. They should have a really crummy health care plan which is going to force them to get jobs with better benefits and won't benefit from the country. I think what's going on through the candidates minds is "What is the cheapest way to do this?" And that's a crummy health care plan.
Java Jolt! Why Starbucks Is Proving Big Business Bashers Wrong
Jonathan Hoenig: Everyone loves Starbucks. When I die, please bury me with my Venti Half Caf. Starbucks brings in trade, consumerism, support systems into a community. People come in and they go to Starbucks then go see a movie or a bookstore. Yes, trade and consumerism is good…even those rock-stoner anti globalization kids get their coffee from Starbucks!
Peter Schiff, "Crash Proof…" author: Certainly no one likes competition: it makes you work harder, makes you innovate, keeps you on your toes. But in the long run I think everyone benefits. And it's not secret that a lot of companies try and feed off the marketing efforts of their competition. Go buy a car and there's always three or four other car dealerships next door. Wherever you see a fast food place, there's always another one across the street. So this has been happening in American business for years. Starbucks does have harder times ahead of them however. We're heading right towards a recession and when people are worried about being unemployed and paying their mortgages, the easiest thing to give up is your $5 cup of coffee.
Jehmu Greene: Starbucks is a great company. They provide great health care benefits for their employees. But it's not about the other coffee shops, the actual ma' and pa' coffee shops who used to be the only one in town have already gone out of business. Starbucks has probably been good for Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf and Karibou Coffee, but those really aren't small businesses. It's not considered a small business if they rack in a million dollars a year. Starbucks is probably great for the pharmacy, the nail salon and the strip mall, but it's not good for their actual competitor. There are small businesses who have been put out of business because of Starbucks, and that is a loss to the entire community, coffee drinker or not.
Best Bets: Election Stocks!
Peter Schiff: Newmont Mining – NEM. Friday's close: $52.42
Wayne Rogers: FuelCell Energy – FCEL. Friday's close: $9.97
Jonas Max Ferris: Health care Select Sector – XLV. Friday's close: $34.79
Jonathan Hoenig: US Dollar Index Bearish Fund – UDN. Friday's close: $27.86