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: Eric Bolling, FOX Business Network; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research; Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Joe Battipaglia, Stifel Nicolaus, and Chris Kofinis, Democratic strategist.
Wall Street's Me$$age to Congress: Stay Home!
Congress back on the job this Monday after a week vacation, and what do they have on tap? A plan to cap gas prices at $2.49 a gallon. Sounds good for gas near $4, but someone here says it's just one more reason why Congress should go back home.
Tobin Smith: They should stay home until they have a forced economic lesson. Capping gas prices is dumb.
Gary B. Smith: I'm conflicted. Capping gas prices isn't even worth discussing. It's ludicrous. Congress spending money which is good for the economy, but I'd rather spend my own money my own way.
Scott Bleier: We need the government. 30 percent of the GDP is by the government. The economy needs Congress.
Chris Kofinis: I wish the Republicans would stay home, but of course Congress need to come back to tackle the country's problems.
Eric Bolling: Heck no! The market is doing better and oil prices are down in the week Congress went away.
Joe Battipaglia: Congress is ineffective; they might as well stay home.
Use Tax Dollars to Rebuild or Relocate Tornado Victims?
More dangerous storms whacking the Midwest... Causing lots more damage to what's already a record tornado season. The recent twisters in Iowa alone costing nearly $6 million. The government using your tax dollars to help with all the cleanup. But someone here says we should pay the victims to relocate, not rebuild.
Eric Bolling: Here's the situation... We encourage people to build on these coastal plains, floodable areas. They build ocean front homes, they flood , and then the taxpayers pick up that insurance premium. They rebuild these homes in the same spot and encourage people to move into the same areas. This is ridiculous. Get rid of it.
Gary B Smith: People can choose to live anywhere they want. If you want to live in the tornado path, or in the flood plains, have at it! I'm fine with that. But then why is the government getting involved and then paying people for their mistakes or their want of this? I don't understand it. I don't think they should be in the business of relocating people. That is what people have insurance for. That is what towns and states have insurance for.
Chris Kofinis: These aren't bad people living in coastal areas! Bad things do happen to good people. But the idea of relocating people sounds bizarre to me and isn't something the government should be in the business of doing. We want the government when there are certain types of natural disasters, because of its resources and power. To be able to come in and help people in need is one of the responsibilities of federal government. The notion that somehow we are going to relocate people out of these areas is ridiculous!
Stock X-Change: Energized Stocks
Stocks that'll make you smile when filling up at the pump. Yes — smile! Time for the Stock X-Change.
Gary B Smith's Pick: iShares Dow Jones US Oil & Gas Exp. (IEO)
Eric Bolling's Pick: Mastercard (MA)
Tobin Smith's Pick: Occidental Petroleum (OXY)
Scott Bleier's Pick: Baldor Electric (BEZ)
Joe Battipaglia's Pick: Boeing (BA)
Gary B. Smith: Preppy is back! Buy "RL" for a 30 percent gain by next year
Scott Bleier: Profit from Deep Space. "OII" up 40 percent in 12 months
Tobin Smith: Gas prices great for Harley! "HOG" up 40 percent next spring
Eric Bolling: Semiconductors on the rise! "SMH" up 30 percent by year end
Joe Battipaglia: Health care is lagging, but "JNJ" is a great buy now!
Cavuto on Business
On Saturday, May 31, 2008, Neil Cavuto was joined by Charles Payne, wstreet.com; Dagen McDowell, FOX Business Network; Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine; Troy Dunn, "Young Bucks: How to Raise a Future Millionaire"; Leigh Gallagher, Fortune Magazine; Howard Gould, conservationist; and Bethany Souza, host of HGTV's "Designed to Sell."
Bottom Line: Approve the Climate Bill, Approve High Gas Prices?
Neil Cavuto: Think gas prices are high now? Just wait! The Senate is taking up a new global warming bill on Monday. Why someone here says get ready for $8 gas. Charles, you say this climate bill is a disaster?
Charles Payne: There is one thing that says it goes to $8, but I think the sky will be the limit. I think it would hurt us and make our country less competitive. The notion that somehow the United States can dictate the price of oil like we are island and India's and China's demand doesn't exist… is crazy! I don't know why this farce is being perpetuated on the American public.
Neil Cavuto: Howard, what is the deal?
Howard Gould: I am not saying the price of gas isn't going to spike. We need to look at the long-term effects. The goal of this bill is to reduce emissions.
Neil Cavuto: Bad timing don't you think?
Howard Gould: This has been in the works for a long time.
Neil Cavuto: Wouldn't you put it off in this environment?
Howard Gould: Well, it is not something we can put off. We have put off trying to address environmental issues for the last eight years and we really need to address these. The fact is you are never going to find the perfect time for this. Initially, we are going to have a price spike. As renewables come online, you are going to see…
Charles Payne: When are renewables coming online? Let's stop jerking people around. When are these renewables coming online?
Howard Gould: We are building renewable energy as we speak.
Charles Payne: We? Who's we?
Howard Gould: The world market is building them. We are developing biodiesel from everything from algae to ethanol.
Neil Cavuto: Don't listen to Charles. He has oil rigs in his backyard.
Dagen McDowell: If this is so horrible for the US economy, why are business executives beginning to embrace the idea of a cap and trade system? You have one in Europe. Yes, it's flawed. We can fix it. There are going to be ones coming online in Australia and Canada. They see the writing on the wall in terms of climate changes and they would rather have some broad national policy than some patchwork state-by-state nonsense.
Charles Payne: Cap and trade just means, "You know what? I can pollute like crazy and pay off my sins somewhere else." You put a ceiling on what we can do, then I think China will benefit from this, just like they have from the Kyoto Treaty where everyone else is following certain guidelines, and they have been able to grow their economy at 12 percent a year!
Howard Gould: Charles, I have to address the fact that the cap comes down every year. Initially, you can say I do whatever I want and then pay for it. But, eventually, it's going to become so onerous for them to do that. They have got to address the issue!
Charles Payne: There are certain industries, like refiners in particular, who are going to get hammered. Their margins are already tight.
Neil Cavuto: Let me bring Leigh into this.
Leigh Gallagher: There are studies that show it will increase the price of energy. But, it doesn't take into effect what new, clean technologies will come online. You don't know what is going to happen. We were a laggard. We got a free pass with Kyoto and now this is something everyone is concerned about.
Neil Cavuto: What do you mean we got a free pass? The way Kyoto was originally structured was that we were footing the bill, essentially.
Leigh Gallagher: What I was going to say is there are a lot of potential other sources. Nuclear energy is something you don't hear a lot about, but there is a lot of potential in nuclear energy.
Charles Payne: Do you really think we're going to get that in this country?
Leigh Gallagher: Absolutely!
Neil Cavuto: Is there anything, Howard, in this legislation that would allow for more exploration of oil here? I think there's zero. And I think you know that. And I think those who are endorsing this are perpetuating this on America to say this is a savior for the environment when in fact it doesn't address the environment really. And it doesn't help our energy needs at all!
Howard Gould: Well look. I think it may come as a surprise to you, but a lot of environmental groups are not saying don't use oil and don't drill…
Neil Cavuto: Every single person on I've had on has said that. You said that on my show a couple of days ago!
Howard Gould: What I basically said is they are responsible for emissions. If you could actually drill and reduce the amount of emissions that come from fossil fuels… that's no problem.
Neil Cavuto: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Wait. Can we do the Fox News Alert thing? You are saying that you are open to digging for more oil?
Howard Gould: I'm not saying…
Neil Cavuto: Ahh! Look at me. Look at me!
Howard Gould: I'm looking at you.
Neil Cavuto: Look at me. You just did!
Howard Gould: Among environmental groups, the issue has nothing to do with the drilling of oil out of the ground. The problem is the emissions from that process.
Neil Cavuto: I think I have found some common ground here.
Charles Payne: To Leigh's point, I don't know how you can say Americans suffer, when people in Europe are paying two to three times as much. I don't know how we suffer from not signing the Kyoto Treaty. We have to be very careful about controlling things that may be beyond our control and may backfire.
Dagen McDowell: What is beyond our control?
Charles Payne: The price of oil. America alone cannot control the price of oil, Dagen.
Dagen McDowell: You don't think that if we stopped driving as much, the price wouldn't come down? Please. We are still the biggest consumer of energy in the world!
Charles Payne: Are you going to stop driving?
Dagen McDowell: I've changed my ways.
Neil Cavuto: Why do you think she's so thin? She walks everywhere!
Dagen McDowell: This cap and trade thing? An easier and more transparent way to handle it is with a gas tax!
Neil Cavuto: We know your Communist views on this subject.
Neil Cavuto: Here's what the reality is. The fact of the matter is we live in an environment where we think we can legislate our way out of a crisis. Just this week, we heard the bright idea of fixing and regulating gas prices so they can artificially stay low. That would be like having me step on a scale and having it artificially show my ideal weight! We are masking reality. We are masking our responsibility. There is something to what you said about the seriousness of this challenge, and that we have to do something, but what I'm saying is we can do it all. A lot of environmentalists say everything but oil, everything but this. That is what is bad.
Howard Gould: I think what we're trying to do is we're trying to find some sort of common ground to make this process work.
Neil Cavuto: But you just said your common ground would be allowing us to look for more oil if did it more efficiently and didn't pollute so much.
Howard Gould: What I'm saying is if we can refine it without the release of emissions…
Neil Cavuto: We have had a breakthrough. This is like a Middle East peace agreement on this show.
Howard Gould: What we're talking about is the problem of emissions being released into the atmosphere. You look at oil. It's a finite resource.
Neil Cavuto: Howard, you blinked. I want you and Charles to hug. No more from you. You are both bothering me.
Head to Head: Housing — Sell Now or Sell Never?!
Neil Cavuto: This week – a mixed report on housing. Home prices down. New home sales up. And someone here says it's "do or die" time. If we don't see a turnaround this summer, write off home prices for years! It's time to go "Head to Head."
Dagen McDowell: We are no where near out of the woods. In March and April, sales were soft. Prices still plummeting. They are down about 16 percent from the peak. We're not even halfway there in terms of price declines. It's harder to get a mortgage. It's tough. People are frustrated. The interest rates are starting to go up now. It's going to be a bad summer and it's going to take years before we see home prices recover.
Neil Cavuto: You are just a negative person. Yelling at environmentalists… Walking everywhere.
Bethany Souza: Interest rates are at a historic low! However, if they start to creep up, now is the time that the buyers are going to come out of the woodwork. They want a bargain. The bargains are out there. The prices are slashed.
Neil Cavuto: But, haven't they been out there?
Bethany Souza: No, it was winter. And it was cold. People were staying in their houses.
Neil Cavuto: You guys were saying this last year!
Adam Lashinsky: You're seeing a perfect example of wishful thinking. The time is over in our lifetimes when people think of their homes as being another hot stock like the kind of solar stocks Charles invests in. There are not hot investments, Neil. These are our homes. People will buy homes when they are ready. To amplify what Dagen said, this isn't a do-or-die time. We are going to have a multi-year downturn or very little growth in home prices whether or not we have a recovery this summer.
Neil Cavuto: Charles, to the point about what our parents lived through… you might have had a 2, 3 or 4 percent appreciation year after year… that might be the norm now?
Charles Payne: I think so. But I think housing will come back. I can't pinpoint when, but I think it will come back. I disagree with Adam…
Dagen McDowell: That's like saying it's going to snow eventually.
Charles Payne: Well it will, but here's the thing… I cannot agree with Adam in the sense that people are not going to get excited about housing again, particularly as it comes off the bottom. I think you will see a quasi-feverish pitch out of nowhere.
Neil Cavuto: Troy is in ground zero for what had been a housing meltdown. Naples. A very pricey area. A very desirable area. Troy, what do you make of all of this?
Troy Dunn: First of all, this is the most depressing gathering of people I have ever seen in one room!
Neil Cavuto: Wait a minute. Have you been watching CNN?
Troy Dunn: I don't know why Palm Beach ends up determining our president, but it seems that they do. And I don't know why Lee County tends to lead all the real estate trends, but they have. In Lee County, Florida, Ft Myers, and Cape Coral were listed as the hardest hit areas in the nation in real estate. We're about four months ahead of the rest of the country in the real estate market. In January, the Florida Association of Realtors predicted we had a three year inventory of housing. Today, we have adjusted that down to a nine-month inventory. We are eating away at the inventory at record paces.
Adam Lashinsky: What about the prices, Troy?
Troy Dunn: The prices are definitely at historic lows, which is why Lee County, Florida is the greatest purchase in the world. I can't believe Adam said that no one will ever think of housing as an investment. I'd like to take some of Adam's money and show him how to make some fast money.
Adam Lashinsky: I said they shouldn't think of it has a hot investment. A house is not something to buy and sell.
Troy Dunn: Warren Buffett said when people are scared, be greedy. And when people are greedy, be scared. People are scared right now because of the negative people sitting around that table!
Dagen McDowell: They're scared because home prices are plummeting!
Troy Dunn: They're plummeting because people like you are so negative.
Dagen McDowell: People borrowed way too much money and bought too much house and they're frightened.
Troy Dunn: That's true.
Neil Cavuto: I do want to bring Bethany into this because, I'm sorry Dagen, but you scare me when you yell.
Bethany Souza: The point is that it is all interconnected. The prices have come down. When they come down, the buyers start buying. When buyers start buying, the supply comes down. And when the supply comes down, the prices start to go back up.
Neil Cavuto: We have been waiting for that.
Bethany Souza: It is here. This summer we are going to see it.
Neil Cavuto: Dagen says it's not, right Dagen?
Dagen McDowell: Prices are halfway where they need to be nationwide and they are not going to recover for years. I am in Adam's camp. I wouldn't use the world lifetime, though…
Charles Payne: To your point, Neil. Before the housing boom, owning a house was the American Dream. That's always been the case and that's why housing will return.
Troy Dunn: And by the time this group of people decides it is time to buy, the best bargains will be gone. I am telling everybody out there, if you have ever considered buying a home, this is the time.
Bethany Souza: Absolutely!
Adam Lashinsky: I am not quibbling with the fact that owning a home is the American Dream, but what I will tell you is we have guilted people into believing that they have to own a home even if it isn't the best investment for them at the time.
Bethany Souza: Rents are going up. You want to buy a home.
More for Your Money: $ummer $tocks!
Neil Cavuto: Stocks set to soar as rising pump prices keep us closer to home this summer. It's time to get "More for Your Money."
Charles Payne: Central Garden (CENT)
Adam Lashinsky: United Technologies (UTX)
Leigh Gallagher: Nike (NKE)
FOX on the Spot
Leigh Gallagher: "Sex and the City" Rules! Buy High-End Retailers like "JWN"
Adam Lashinsky: Forget the Good News; The Recession Is Gonna be BAD
Charles Payne: Bite into Bunge! "BG" jumps 25 percent in '08
Troy Dunn: "Full Steam Ahead" for Trains; Make Money with RR Car Makers!
Dagen McDowell: Get Ready for $5 Gas Thanks to Mother Nature!
Neil Cavuto: Gas Prices Will Soar; Congress Won't Dig for Oil
Forbes on FOX
In Focus: End of the Primary Season: Good News for Stocks?
Jack Gage, Associate Editor: Everybody but Hillary Clinton has known that Barack Obama was going to walk with this nomination for weeks if not months. It has already been baked into the market since he swept the floor with Hillary Clinton in North Carolina last month. Two percent sell-off the day after that. The long term effects of state run health care, redistribution of wealth from the so called rich to the poor and all of these other plans including retreat from Iraq. It's all in the market. We're going to consolidate support here. The market doesn't like uncertainty. From here on out we'll see improvements on the political front.
Josh Lipton, Forbes.com Staff Writer: I love Jack's optimism, but I don't see a boon for stocks. It does look like Obama will move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. He's awful for the stock market; higher taxes, more regulation. Obama is fond of saying that John McCain is Bush's third term. The truth is Obama is Jimmy Carter's second term.
Elizabeth MacDonald, Fox Business Network: This feels like the endless presidential campaign. It feels longer than Dallas has been on television. I think what's going on now is angry populism, a lot of beating up on the economy, certainly from the democrats. Housing will get a floor under it. We don't know when. The fed will stop cutting rates and firm up the dollar. Once you get that kind of focus, once you get rid of that uncertainty over the market, that is a positive step. I'm hoping for a bull run in 2009.
Evelyn Rusli, Forbes.com Anchor: No effect! Traders on Wall Street are not on edge for the end of the primary elections. As Jack said, it's already baked into the market. There's going to be no needle movement here. I just don't see an effect on whether it's Obama or Clinton in a showdown with McCain. Traders are looking at other issues. There's oil, there's the housing market. Regardless of whether it's Obama or Hillary, they're not going to move the needle on that.
Neil Weinberg, Senior Editor: I think the market is going to do well because the silly season is over and these guys and gals are going to stop pandering to the far fringes of their parties and talk about other things. That's what's going to be new. We've known for a while that Obama has been likely to win. What we're going to see now is concrete proposals. We have a lot of serious economic problems in this country and now they are going to have to address them.
Time to Start Rationing Gas to Fight Global Warming?
Neil Weinberg: There are certain things we do in life that have a bigger effect on the world than they do on us personally - like shooting guns in public or yelling fire in a theater, or burning gas. That causes the world to worm, or at least there's some evidence that says it does cause it to warm. We need some sort of limits on this, that's why I say that rationing gas is not a bad idea.
Lacey Rose, Forbes.com Senior Reporter: I think it would be a complete bureaucratic nightmare to try this. It would be costly, it would be impractical. The only thing that t is going to do is create an imbalance in supply and demand and insanely long lines at the gas station.
Elizabeth MacDonald: Gas rationing? I think there should be gas bag rationing given that my personal carbon footprint is bigger than Shaquille O'Neal's foot size. I think the governments around the world are going to step much more into the energy markets and how we use gasoline, so use a credit card on your cap and trade scheme. I'm probably 500 years early, but I see it coming.
Bill Baldwin, Editor: I think rationing is great for a country like Burma. In Burma you need a permit to tie your shoe, and permits and rationing tickets are auctioned off by crooked insiders in the government. That's how they support themselves, and here in the United State, rationing is a favorite for people who like big government.
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief: There already is rationing. There's rationing everywhere. It's called price. When things are cheap, lots of people can afford them. When things are expensive, very few people can afford them. Gas is getting more expensive and fewer people can afford all they want. The fact is that gas is priced cheaper than it should be. There are costs associated with carbon fuels involving global warming, involving the cost of cleaning it up, involving highway building, all these things, and they are not fully priced into the price of energy. That's why things like solar and wind seem expensive when they're actually better priced than oil is.
Flipside: Lobbyists Are Good for America!
Josh Lipton: A knock on lobbyists is a cheap crowd pleaser. The term lobbyist is basically an insult. Obama says his White House wouldn't be dominated by lobbyists, and that's a nice line on the campaign trail. The truth is lobbyists are good for America. Lobbying is as American as apple pie and embedded by our founding fathers in the first amendment to the constitution. They are central actors in our political theater.
Quentin Hardy: I'm sorry, but senators don't wake up in the morning and say – ‘I know what I need to do: have a really big, complicated tax bill, and maybe a really fat farm bill, and maybe huge deficit spending." This isn't something they set out to do. This is something they are distorted to do by the lobbyists who pay them.
Bill Baldwin: Like Josh, I'm a card carrying member of the belief that lobbyists are protected by the first amendment, but lots of lobbyists means you have a disease. . .big government. The solution is smaller government. Then we wouldn't have all these problems that Quentin is talking about.
Lacey Rose: With all due respect, I think it's crazy. There is a reason that lobbyists have a bad reputation. At the end of the day it's the special interest lobbyists with the fattest wallet that rule the day. John McCain has said it. He's been railing against lobbyists for years.
Neil Weinberg: I think P.J O'Rourke said government is merely a device to take more out of the system than you put into it. Lobbyists are the triggermen. The reason we have so many problems in this country are primarily because of the lobbyists. If you look over the last several years, of the largest 10 contributors, six of them are unions.
Informer: Forbes Exclusive — Best Energy Stocks You've Never Heard Of!
Jack Gage: Trina Solar (TSL)
Constellation Energy (CEG)
Trinity Industries Inc. (TRN)
Smart Stocks: Is Obama "Pulling" for High Gas Prices?
Jonathan Hoenig, Capitalistpig.com: He would never admit it, but I think Barack Obama, and the left in general, like higher gas prices because it proves to them that the market doesn't work and the government needs to do something. And of course, the environmentalists, which are a big part of the Democratic Party, love it because higher gas prices make us use less energy. That's the energy that makes us productive and helps power our lives. So yeah, they are loving it.
Bob Beckel, Democratic Strategist: First of all, for somebody who is so big on the markets and the free market system, what did Obama say? He said that the price of gas has gone up and people have changed. That happens in a market, right? They go up and the sale of SUV's goes down. Smaller cars get increases in prices. He is not suggesting he likes high gas prices...He is saying the market is forcing a change in habits. Let the free market work.
Tracy Byrnes, FOX Business Network: But I think to Jonathan's point, all the Democratic Party wants is to hear things are bad, because that means things we need change and they will get in. Whether or not Obama likes high gas prices, I mean nobody likes them. But he is certainly happy with the fact that people are upset with the current people in the white house. This works to his advantage. If we are unhappy for what is going on right now, that sets the stage for change.
Jonas Max Ferris, Maxfunds.com: He is stating the facts. He has been stating the facts about the gas tax cut, which didn't make sense to get rid of either. I will say the Republicans, who run oil companies, are pretty excited about the gas prices being high too; it's not just the environmental groups. I think anybody who is for the environment, and for alternative energy, likes high gas prices. It's doing more for alternative energy than all the government programs and all the policy over the last 20 or 30 years. Because it's too expensive, and now things are becoming feasible. We're using less. Obama's jet is probably using more gas than his hybrid uses in a year during that interview segment. But in reality, people are cutting back, and that is good for the environment. And it's good for alternative energy, which is a U.S. industry.
Is June the Time to Buy Stocks Again?
Stuart Varney, FOX Business Network: Can I be a mildly bullish kind of guy? Because that is what I am. I think we have a very good shot here at seeing oil prices coming down significantly off the $135 top. I think the stock market moves pretty much in lock step with oil prices. Oil goes down, stocks go up. I'm not wildly bullish, but I think we can see above 13,000 on the DOW if oil prices go down as I expect them to. I think you could get to 13,100 or 13,200 without too much trouble by Labor Day. That is a pretty bullish scenario, you know.
Jonas Max Ferris: I am actually short oil. I'm losing some money there. 12-5 has been my DOW forecast for like 2 years on this show. I'm stickin' to it. I think it is a reasonable value there. It is not that I am enthusiastic about evaluations, but I still don't see how you can beat that in real estate, in cash or in bonds. It is the best of the worst. It has been like that for a while. That's where I would go. I don't think it is going to get back to 13,000 or 14,000 even in the next few months because it runs out of gas. There's just not enough money at that point.
Tracy Byrnes: Part of the problem is the summer – let's face it, half the traders are in the Hamptons. They have been there for weeks now, it seems, because the volume has been so light. With the low volume, you get these big swings. There's no conviction to hold it. You might see this 13,000 or 13,200 on a good day, but then it's instantly going to go back when people take off for the weekend again. So, I think we're going to trade sideways all summer. And I think it is going to be some time before we get the true conviction back to the market.
Jonathan Hoenig: Yeah, I mean it has been a trading range, Alexis. I think you need better breath. I mean look even within the DOW. If you look at general electric, which has done terribly and IBM has done well. So, yes the market done okay, but I think the advance has been rather narrow. What I am doing is picking my points. I talk quite a bit about Japan. Utilities have done well, energy has done well. And I still think you still want to avoid the financials. Tons of these regional banks have had new lows these last couple weeks. AIG is at a ten year low. You really want to pick your points and pick your top spots, and it is not financial.
New Survey: Americans Made 41 Million Fewer Trips in Last Year
Tracy Byrnes: We all have our horrific stories. I lost a day and a half off my trip because American Airlines grounded their MD-80 fleet for what turned out to be no reason whatsoever. I think the stories have gotten worse and worse over the years, but just like 9/11, we boycott for a while and then eventually you have to go see grandma in Florida. We are eventually going to get back onto the planes, I just think right now everyone has got such a bad taste in their mouth for these airlines. Now with charging $15 a bag. With three kids, next thing I know I am spending $100 just to get their toys from Jersey to Florida. And it's Killer. So you boycott it for a while. We have to move on. We are a global economy. This can't stay like this forever.
Jonas Max Ferris: I think everyone hates the airlines in general. I think if you really step back, they have done an amazing feature of delivering cheap air travel to people. It is so inexpensive to fly across the country compared to what it was 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago. Granted, we are getting what we pay for. Americans buy tickets based on price alone except for a certain segment of the market. And that is why it has been this low-grade commodity service. Now, there are airlines trying to improve this. Virgin America, for example, charges a little more. It's a much better, you know, slicker thing, like what you would get at a hotel when you would travel. Not just a commodity service. People choose that and the industry will change. We are getting what we deserve because we buy airline tickets that way, what is the cheapest way from point A to point B.
Jonathan Hoenig: Well, I mean, Alexis, you're right. Obviously, airlines from the low cost carriers to the more traditional carriers are dealing with higher oil prices. But I think if you want to blame somebody for how terrible airline service is, blame the government, don't blame the airlines because this continues to be one of the most highly regulated markets out there. I mean everything, from the routes, the take-offs, the landings, not to mention the government's monopoly on air traffic control and the municipal airports. That's where the problem is. I mean, Tracy, it wasn't American Airlines that grounded your flight, it was the FAA. Blame them, not American.
Stuart Varney: The people who catch the blame, who get the blame, are on the front lines here. It is the gate agents, it's the flight attendants and the pilots, and it is not their fault. My heart goes out to these people. I think they are doing a fantastic job, their benefits and wages are being cut and the schedule is awful. And they get all the blame. Jonathan you are right. The government's to blame mere. The people on the ground are getting the blame.
Best Bets: $exy Stocks!
Jonathan Hoenig: True Religion (TRLG)
Jonas Max Ferris: Eli Lilly (LLY)