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Bulls & Bears
On Saturday February 20, Brenda Buttner was joined by Gary B. Smith, Tobin Smith, Pat Dorsey, Dr. Bob Froehlich, and David Goodfriend.
68 Percent of $862B Stimulus Still Not Spent; Give It Back Now?
Gary B. Smith, TheChartman.com: This is simple. We've only spent a bit over $200 billion dollars of the stimulus so far. It sounds like a lot of money, but almost no real jobs have been created as a result of it. Only about 10 percent of the stimulus that has gone out has actually gone to shovel-ready projects. And time and time again, so many of the so-called jobs that have been created are bogus. If the government can't spend the money efficiently, then give the money back to the people and stop causing more harm than good.
David Goodfriend, radio talk show host: Let's talk facts here. 2.4 million jobs have been created from the stimulus. That's the number Moody's and the Congressional Budget Office say have been saved or created. This money has gone to states, to cop, to firefighters and teachers. Look at Recovery.gov. We should feel safer and better about where the economy is headed. About 1/3 of the stimulus is going to come in the form tax cuts. Would you not be willing to have over 90 percent of Americans receive these tax cuts? This stimulus package is helping the country.
Tobin Smith, NBT Media: This stimulus package has gone to help and protect union jobs. It's just bizarre. Isn't it interesting that many states in deep fiscal trouble like California, who couldn't afford to maintain these workers without the stimulus, got all this money? The stimulus has just delayed the days of reckoning for many states for another nine or 10 months. These state workers have pension plans that state governments can never hope to afford. And the stimulus cannot solve these problems.
Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: The government is never going to give this money back. It's not like the government is going to write a big check for everybody for several thousand dollars. One of the biggest benefits of the stimulus package a year ago was that it actually raised confidence; the government stepped in, put a floor under the economy and made sure demand didn't fall to zero. It helped take us back from the abyss. Now, I'm fairly indifferent as to what gets spent or doesn't. What matters is that private demand is finally starting to come back.
Dr. Bob Froehlich, The Hartford: I want this money back. It doesn't have to come as some check to taxpayers, but the government should give it back. Unfortunately, I don't think that's going to happen. If that's not the case, I'd rather spend it on something that will actually create jobs. Unfortunately that's not what we're doing. And so-called "saving" a job is different than creating a job. We were supposed to spend this money on infrastructure development, and it was supposed to have a tremendous ripple effect across the economy, and it hasn't.
President Creates Debt Commission; Is National Sales Tax Next?
Dr. Bob Froehlich: This may be a bi-partisan commission, but I think it's a cover up for a national sales tax. I think that's what's going to come up. A good number of people support the idea of a national sales tax. But this is the single worst thing we could have at this point. It'd be the final nail in the coffin for our economy. Unemployment is going to be high for the foreseeable future, the housing market is still in chaos, and consumer spending is still down significantly. We have to figure out a way to encourage the consumer to spend—not cut back. But unfortunately this tax could really be coming.
David Goodfriend: A national sales tax is not on the table. I challenge you to come up with any authoritative person or group that's saying a national sales tax is on the way of being adopted. I hate sales taxes. Why? Because they're regressive. They don't really affect people at the top, and they hurt people at the bottom of the economic ladder who need to most help. Continuation of progressive income taxes is the way to go, and it has worked fine for the last century.
Tobin Smith: About 60 percent of Americans over 18 pay almost zero federal income tax. And those same 60 percent receive about 90 percent of all government benefits. What on earth is wrong with having people pay into that if they're getting that level of benefits? It's like a co-payment. Too many people get too many benefits and don't pay-in. If you eliminated the income tax, and implemented a national sales tax instead, you'd actually have a fair distribution of people paying-in for the government services they receive. What's wrong with that?
Pat Dorsey: A national sales tax would be highly regressive. At the end of the day, the purpose of any taxation is to get the deficit down. If you want to do that, you either raises taxes, by sales or income, and you can seriously begin cutting at least one of the three major government programs that are affecting our negative deficits—defense spending, social security, or Medicare. That's the harsh truth of the matter.
Gary B. Smith: This actually would be a good idea if Democrats proposed it. Unfortunately, Democrats aren't prepared to start cutting any major government programs. Their plan is to put more and more of the tax burden on the rich on small businesses. But a sales tax is actually the fairest way to implement taxes. Yes, it's regressive, but the vast majority of people in the U.S. pay little to no federal income tax, and actually get credits. Too many people get government benefits, and yet pay nothing to receive them. A national sales tax captures income across the board. Playing the class warfare card just hurts everyone in the long-term.
Which Is Doing More For U.S.: Walmart or Washington?
Gary B. Smith: Look at what Walmart does. It has enabled retail to have very low prices. You can go into Walmart and buy almost anything you want for dirt cheap. You had much more restricted ability to do that before Walmart was around. Not to mention, Walmart globally employs a few million people, and they take all the risk themselves. If they mess up, they fail. Contrast this with government. What does it do? Take money in, create red tape, and they can never go out of business. Just look at teacher unions for a prime example. The government operates in a completely different fashion, and fails miserably at it, without ever having to pay the consequences.
David Goodfriend: Last year, Walmart was lobbying Congress to raise the minimum wage. Why? Because Walmart caters to lower and middle income folks. Walmart has cut prices to stimulate demand at that level of the economy to help those being hurt most by the recession. It's not a bad idea. For now, Walmart has taken a temporary hit, but they're smart and catering to their customer base.
Tobin Smith: Let's use Walmart as an example on health care. As opposed to trying to take over health care, Walmart lowered pharmaceutical costs to their customers by about 80 percent. If Walmart ran the health care system, we'd actually be able to afford expanding coverage to 30 million people. I give Walmart all the credit in the world because they run a business and make the country better off at the same time.
Dr. Bob Froehlich: Walmart is all about efficiency. The government has got to focus on the bottom line and cutting costs. That's what matters here. And Walmart is fantastic at this. They do it better than any other company out there. Our government can learn a lot from the company.
Pat Dorsey: Walmart is a very lean organization. They're not cutting costs to help Americans though. They're doing it to drive their competitors out of business because it's good for Walmart. They're basically in a commodity business and the lowest cost provider wins. There's nothing wrong with that. But we shouldn't look at Walmart as if it's a charitable organization. Walmart is just an incredibly efficient money-making machine.
Gary B. Smith: Gas up on "UGA"; drives up 25 percent by Labor Day
Bob Froehlich: Win Olympic gold with P&G! "PG" up 21 percent in 6 months
Pat Dorsey: Profit from a sell-off! "QCOM" rebound 30 percent in 1 year
Tobin Smith: Pres rolls the dice in Vegas! "MGM" doubles in 1 year
Cavuto on Business
On Saturday, Feb. 20, 2010, Neil Cavuto was joined by Charles Payne, Dagen McDowell, Adam Lashinsky, and Ben Stein.
Sen. Brown's "Across-the Board Tax Cuts"; Best Money Fix?
Charles Payne, WStreet.com: I agree with Senator Brown 1,000 percent. It took until President Obama's second year in office for jobs to become his top priority. That was obviously a huge mistake. We need leadership on this. Tax cuts are a good place to start. These potential tax hikes the administration has been floating around just sucks the air out of people and the economy, not to mention people's confidence in a recovery. It's absolutely the wrong direction to head in. If you really want to spur job growth, start cutting tax rates.
Ben Stein, Author, "How to Ruin the U.S.A.": I actually support the administration's plan of a debt commission. Alan Simpson, the Republican co-chair, is incredibly smart on fiscal matters. I'm actually a little concerned though if Scott Brown is suggesting a tax cut is going to solve our excessive budget deficits. Tax cuts are great things, but they do create deficits. They don't solve deficit problems. I think Senator Brown needs a little more instruction on this issue.
Dagen McDowell, Fox Business Network: This takes political will on both sides of the aisle to follow through with whatever recommendations this debt commission comes up with. Ultimate responsibility will fall on the Democrats since they're in power. But this talk about debt levels becoming a threat to national security is just cover for hiking taxes and then some. But that's obviously not what you should do if the economy is struggling. Especially is your solution is to just hike taxes on the rich.
Adam Lashinsky, editor-at-large, Fortune Magazine: We don't know what the focus of this debt commission is going to be. I think there's every reason to believe that spending is going to be a big part of what they're looking at. When the President said that nothing is off the table, everyone jumped on that and said he's going to raise taxes. And that's probably true. But President Obama also said he wants this commission to focus-in on what the government spends as well. Unfortunately, I think commissions like this just produce a pretty book that gets put on a shelf, and nothing gets done with the recommendations it makes.
Why Push for Green Jobs With Doubts Over Climate Change?
Ben Stein: This type of job-push just isn't efficient. We also know that global warming primarily caused by man is likely a fraud. And it's just a way of paying off certain contributors to the President and the Democratic Party. I just don't like this at all. It's out of control.
Charles Payne: I don't know if this is stupid or just amateurish. The President is not paying attention. Look at Spain as an example. For every green job that was created, two were lost. Only one out of every ten green jobs ended up being permanent. You're pushing people out of jobs, to create fewer green jobs. This is just crazy.
Dagen McDowell: This is just part of the pattern of lawmakers thinking they know how to run the country better than the people do. They're going to decide how our money is spent, and they think and decide what's important or not. And the government seems bent on continuing this green push, even though the entire argument for global warming and climate change seems to be changing. Yet that doesn't matter to them, and this is the road the government intends to bring us down.
Adam Lashinsky: I'm sure a lot of smart people thought the earth was flat back in the day. But guess what? It wasn't. We can talk about companies like ExxonMobil getting out of this green coalition. But there are still other major companies like General Electric and Royal Dutch Shell that are still in it. We can talk about scientists who doubt climate change or look at e-mails that show some scientists may have been manipulating data. But none of this negates the fact we have a serious problem here in regards to climate change. I agree that green-jobs pushes aren't the best idea, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying to something about what's going on with the earth's climate.
President Obama on the Road and on a Spending Spree
Charles Payne: President Obama brings a lot of cash with him when he travels. We've got this super highway project he decided to have funded in Florida that's not needed, and a bunch of other stuff. This $1.5 billion going to Las Vegas is coming from TARP dollars. This is crazy! We should be winding TARP down, not giving out new funds. TARP is not the President's personal piggy bank. He's using taxpayer dollars to prop up the campaigns of fellow Democrats.
Dagen McDowell: TARP has become a political slush fund. There was a report of an un-attributed official saying that this $1.5 billion was a small amount, but nonetheless was a good start. If the dollar amount has a "B" in it, that a large amount!
Adam Lashinsky: The shenanigans with TARP began when TARP was originally created. TARP actually worked. But we shouldn't be too shocked that some gambling has gone on with TARP funds. This is how government works. To the victor go the spoils. President Bush signed an executive order when he was in office raising steel tariffs to protect workers and businesses loyal to him. Having the President devote these TARP funds doesn't mean it's going to something bad, or that it won't be accounted for. The President gets to do this kind of stuff when he's in office, and things like this have gone on for years.
Ben Stein: The President should not get to do this. It's not part of the TARP legislation. It wasn't just some cash fund created for the President to do whatever he wanted with it. The President owes Las Vegas an apology when he slammed the city last year. But using TARP as some unaccountable slush fund to buy votes is absurd. Who has authority on this? Where was the text of the TARP legislation that said it can become a slush fund?
Celebrate These Stocks One Year From Now
Charles Payne: Harte-Hanks (HHS)
Adam Lashinsky: Vectors Nuclear Energy (NLR)
Ben Stein: Vanguard Total Stock (VTSMX)
Forbes on Fox
On Saturday, February 20, 2010, David Asman was joined by Steve Forbes, Rich Karlgaard, Mike Ozanian, Quentin Hardy, Victoria Barret, Elizabeth MacDonald, Evelyn Rusli, and John Rutledge.
In Focus: Should the government stay out of the job-creation business and leave it to the private sector?
David Asman: If you think the government is a good job creator, listen to this. The government spent $5.5 million bucks to train census workers who are doing no work or who worked only one day. Is this more proof that D.C. should stay out of the job creation business, leaving it to the private sector? Hi, everybody. I'm David Asman. Welcome to Forbes on Fox. Let's go In Focus with Steve Forbes, Rich Karlgaard, Elizabeth MacDonald, Quentin Hardy and Evelyn Rusli. Rich, this census report is coming as the White House is calling for a brand new jobs bill. What do you think?
Rich Karlgaard: I think the Democrats and the Obama administration are terrified of going into the November election with 10 plus percent unemployment, so they're adding these phony jobs. What the country really needs is an upgrade in its wealth. You only get wealth and an increase in well being when you have productive jobs. That's what the private sector does far better than the government.
Quentin Hardy: Interesting take, Rich, but we have a census every ten years, and we hire people to take it. Let's think of it as a business problem. You need a census so you know what the population is to allocate congressional seats and resources. It's a job, and it's like sidewalk. Everybody needs it, but nobody wants to pay for it, so it falls to the government. Should the government outsource it? If you look at this as an HR problem, having one percent of your temps not show up is actually a pretty good average. 15,000 people, because it's a huge job, is really not that many people as a business problem goes.
Steve Forbes: The government can create jobs by hiring people for a census, certainly for military and other functions, but the wealth to create those jobs comes from the private sector. That's what this government doesn't fully grasp. You need a vibrant, free market to do that. Then government can perform its services. But without the private sector, government can't do it. Otherwise, David, the Soviet Union would have won the Cold War.
Evelyn Rusli: The census program shows waste and inefficiency, and yes, the government can make a good Super Bowl ad. But at the same time, let's cut the government a break here. There is a place in the jobs market where they need to be. For example, I want the government involved in the census because it does distribute federal aid eventually. On top of that, we want them to put police people on the street as well as firefighters, judges, and courts. There is a place for government in the jobs market.
Elizabeth MacDonald: To answer your question, the private sector does it better. Policemen, judges, firemen get paid through tax dollars and deficit financing. The stimulus bill created possibly 500,000 jobs out of 43 billion according to recovery.org, so there wasn't a lot of stimulus money in the pipeline anyway. We have yet to see a serious study that says the government-sponsored oil shell projects that Ford and Carter were for created wealth in the private sector. I would hazard a guess that all this government expenditure did not create wealth in the private sector, did not throw off extra tax revenues when you net it out for the tax cost involved.
Is a National Third Party the Answer to America's Economy?
David Asman: Washington is broken and our country is in deep trouble financially — an understatement on both counts from Vice President Joe Biden this week. And now our Elizabeth Macdonald says she knows how to fix both. Create a national third party, a Tea Party.
Elizabeth MacDonald: A Tea Party so long as they ditch the extremist in the group and they stick to their focus and their message of fiscal conservatism. The fiscal hawks have clearly flown the coop in Washington. There's no adult supervision in Washington. The Tea Party can answer the great need that the country has. Right now we're a big enough country to have a decent, solid, credible third party.
Rich Karlgaard: Well, I agree with Elizabeth, that they're a force for good with the caveat of some of the Birthers and the Truthers. But on economics we don't need a third party. Look at Europe. The countries there are rife with third and fourth and fifth parties. You still have to form a governing coalition. It's worse over there than it is here.
Mike Ozanian: I'm not so sure in Europe there's that much of a difference between the various parties even though different countries may have four or five or six parties as Rich points out. The overall theme isn't that far apart. I think Elizabeth is right. What I like is that the Tea Party is focusing on the spending side, and that's a big problem.
Victoria Barret: I think the Tea Party can do enough good influencing the Republican Party and they can do a lot more in that respect. If there's an actual third party, you get odd outcomes, split votes, and no majority is happy. That's not good for a functioning democracy. We've had a two-party system for a long time. There are compromises you make, but for the most part, it works. They should focus on influencing Washington rather than on trying to become their own party.
John Rutledge: I think Tea Parties are good for the country. People are angry. They're angry at the Democrats for Obama-care, cap-and-trade, and taxes, and they're angry at the Republicans who can't decide whether they're a political party or a religious party. Look, we need to focus on spending, on taxes, on regulations, and on pro-growth policies. If at the end of the day Tea Partiers are the only guys that can focus on that, so be it.
Steve Forbes: Others have pointed out that the Tea Party people are forcing Republicans and even Democrats, look at Evan Bayh stepping down, to realize they have been binge spending and that they're undermining the financial stability of the country. Trying to form a party where you have to get machines in place—I think they should focus instead, as some of them are, on primaries where they have two party candidates. Why only Republicans? Get involved with the Democrats, too. Reform that party.
Flipside: Save Taxpayers' Money and Our Children's Education By Getting Rid of Public Schools and Privatizing the Whole System!
David Asman: Well, did you hear about this? A cash-strapped state is looking to save money by scrapping the last year of high school. Why stop there? Dr. John says we can save everybody money and make kids smarter by eliminating entirely the whole public school system. John, how is that going to work?
John Rutledge: Why not privatize the schools? Look, they couldn't be worse than the current system run by the teachers' unions. We need these schools to be managed privately. That doesn't mean they have to be paid for only by the customers. You can still have vouchers and government subsidies, if you think that makes sense, but the teachers' union, the trial lawyers, and AARP are the forces that are dominating the political scene. Costs would go down, quality would go up, and teachers' union dues would drop like a stone.
Victoria Barret: It is radical. I'm all about less involvement by the government in our private affairs, but I think when it comes to primary education, there is a role for government to play. Children deserve opportunity, and if you completely privatize this, you'll just get a radical two-tier system where children who come from less fortunate backgrounds are in the lousy schools. I'm not saying that doesn't happen right now. But the solution isn't privatizing. The solution is more charter schools because that's real competition for the unions, and more vouchers. That's how you change it.
Steve Forbes: Call it scholarships since vouchers have been trashed by the teachers' union. Every parent gets five to eight thousand dollars a year that they can use to go to the public school if they wish, or they can use to go to a private school. If you get that kind of real competition, I guarantee you the government-run schools will get their act together because they'll know that if it they don't, they'll lose the money.
Quentin Hardy: You know, you champion Proposition 13, but you've got to step up to the reality that since Proposition 13, schools in California have gone from the top five in the nation to the bottom five in the nation. There is a relationship there. Now you want to take that one step further and privatize education all together, so it's no longer a communal good, so that inside our democracy, educating children isn't something we all stand for—individuals do it. I think that dog-eat-dog reality is a net bad for this country.
Informer: Stocks Under $10
David Asman: A blast from the past! The stock market seems to be in an upward trend. Which stock under $10 do you think will keep climbing up too?
Mike Ozanian: HRPT Properties Trust (HRP)
Victoria Barret: 3PAR (PAR)
Evelyn Rusli: Art Technology Group (ARTG)
Obama Warns State Governments May Have to Lay Off Workers if They Don't Get More Federal Money; Would Laying Off Workers Be Good or Bad for Taxpayers?
John Layfield, www.nutritionmarket.com CEO/Owner: Unfortunately, yes. I hate for anybody to lose their job, but these bloated state budgets have to be fixed. The New York budget - 31 percent funded by federal deficit money. They've grossly underestimated what they need. It's going to be 193 billion this year. It's going to be 180 billion next year because the states have underestimated their tax relates. They're down 15 percent. These guys are kicking the can past the mid term elections. They're worried about unemployment. They're worried about their own unemployment, and the problem is there's going to be a day of reckoning. If you don't do it now, it's going to be worse later.
Julian Epstein, Democratic strategist: Well, if you don't provide state aid, the states will have t do one of two things. They'll either have to raise taxes so that they can keep folks on the rolls or they'll have to cut a lot of employees. Police, firefighters, teachers. Either one of those two situations would be bad for an economy that's in contraction, and if the idea of providing aid to state and local governments is such a bad idea, then why did President Bush do it three times.
Jonathan Hoenig, www.CapitalistPig.com: Well, you know, where does the state want to go now? We'd like to think it goes to the police and fire, but Julian, it goes to entitlement spending. That's why the states are broke. Look at California. 82 percent of the budget goes to entitlements, so I agree with you. We are to some extent kicking the can down the road. That's why I think particularly the President's plan with the bailouts and handouts, they basically prolong the inevitable. Reality exists.
Tracy Byrnes, Fox Business Network: Why are you talking about firing teachers and firemen? We're talking about cutting the fat. There's a load of people at many different levels of the government are being paid outrageous amounts of money. New Jersey has people on the government payroll that are making more money than the actual Governor. We need to cut the fat and not to mention the more state workers on the payroll, the bigger the pension problems are, and the state pension problems are exploding. No one can afford them.
Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com: Why are teachers and whoever safer than some other government worker? There's too many government workers. They have to cut them to get the budget in line. The question is do you want to do it now when employment is kissing 10 percent or when they should have done it when it was at 5 percent when the economy could handle laying off 10 or 20 percent of government workers? These states are already making cutoffs. This money is not all automatic. That was discretionary. The government chose to send the money. Even some of that Medicaid fund, they're cutting the amount of diapers old people get in Nevada on Medicaid.
Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co: I don't know that I'm in favor of cutting the diapers for the old folks. That really bothers me. That one kind of hurts, you know what I mean? No. I think it really is — Jonas did hit on something. The government tends to expand in good times and doesn't cut in bad times, and therefore, you have a bloated thing. I did a project once, a building project. As a matter of fact, it was in Southern California. It was a nightmare. There were 27 regulatory agencies involved: state, local, federal. It was a nightmare, an absolute nightmare. Now, this was a building project. All of that administrative garbage had to get paid for by something who was buying the project, ultimately, buying the houses. In the meantime, that's not in the bricks and mortar. That's just in administrative government excess waste. It's horrible.
Tracy Byrnes Says She'll Never Drive a Toyota Again; Do All These Recalls Mean Toyota's Toast?
Tracy Byrnes: From a driver point of view it's a hard place to be. Am I going to put my kids in a car that I don't know what's going to happen to it? We're not getting answers. The PR is really bad. We're not hearing that it's not going to happen again. Instead we're hearing more and more bad stuff. When you're sitting in the parking lot and you're wondering I've got to get my kids from Point A to Point B, I'm not taking that chance.
Jonas Max Ferris: I think people are mad they paid a premium price for a car that may be no better than an American car that's cheaper. People have been overpaying for safety and reliability in the auto industry. That's why Volvo lived and Saab died. Toyota has commanded a premium price for these two things which are now under question. They will start a multi-year, 20-year slide like GM did. Cars are good. Frankly, they're kiddy plastic cars, not fundamentally different than America cars at a near quality price that they don't deserve in many cases. That's what people realize. They got ripped off and they're mad. The parents will be right back driving the kids when they drop the price.
Wayne Rogers: Ford had a major recall twice in their times. GM has had major recalls. It didn't kill them right away. Ford has come back strong, and I think Toyota will, too. I mean, this is a horrible public relations problem, and they're going to have to deal with it, but they will come back. It's a well made car ultimately. They have two things that are wrong with it, but like all other automobile things. When they have a recall, they'll fix it, they'll come back and eventually two or three years from now people will have forgotten about it.
Jonathan Hoenig: We're talking about 2500 complaints. They've got millions of cars on the road. Tracy, you've got a 1 in 7,000 chance of being hurt shaving. Are you going to stop shaving? I suspect probably not.
Julian Epstein: Not being a mother, I wouldn't want to second guess Tracy. I think whenever there's a major corporate catastrophe like this, a corporation has to do three things. It has to, one, admit the problem and disclose the entirety of the problem. Two, show that it's bending over backwards to fix it, and three, most importantly, get an independent auditor to verify that the problem is being fixed. Toyota has failed to do all three of those things. We'll learn the easy way or the hard way. It looks like they're choosing the hard way now. My sympathies lie with Tracy.
John Layfield: These guys have done a PR disaster followed by a real disaster. The Tylenol analysis you gave was perfect. It gave us the tamper proof bottle, but J&J spent $100 million in 1982 on that Tylenol disaster. Toyota is a good company. They're going to overcome this. What they're doing right now, their PR has been an absolute disaster. Millions of marketing is needed to show they've got the product fixed.
Hollywood Director Kicked Off Southwest Flight for Being Too Fat: Should Airlines Start Charging By the Pound?
Jonas Max Ferris: Coach travel went commodity many years ago. Because it's a commodity, you've got to treat it like commodity. They should pack you, your luggage, put everything on a big scale. What you weigh, everything combined is what your bill should be. There should be a bonus or subtraction. It could lower the cost of travel for thin people. How many bags you bring, just put it all together. That's how you do commodities. The biggest cost is fuel, you're using more fuel. You're charging the skinnier passengers more money by not doing that.
Tracy Byrnes: Part of their policy said they would refund — if you buy your two tickets and the flight is not filled, you get a refund on the second seat. Look, it's not fair to the other passengers. Unfortunately it is what it is. I've rode the bus in New York City for a million years. I always have the big person sitting next to me. I know exactly what it feels like because I only get half my seat and everyone else has space. Southwest did what they thought the passengers would respect, and I think they were right.
John Layfield: Flying airlines is not the public bus system. Having to get people home from work. It's a privilege to fly. The problem with Mr. Smith, he bought two tickets on an earlier flight. He flew standby in one flight later. He was a big or fat or whatever as he was on the first flight. I don't want to sit by some large guy who covers the other seats. I buy two seats if I have to fly coach for that very reason. I agree with the fact you take up with more than one seat, you should pay more.
Jonathan Hoenig: I don't think Southwest did it. I think Kevin Smith did it. I think this guy's sense of entitlement was disgusting. Tracy, as you said, they tried to accommodate him. They gave him a travel voucher, put him on another plane. He gets on Twitter swearing at the company, they're terrible. That sense of entitlement, my right to my seat, I find to be rather disgusting. It's kind of ironic, Jonas, a skinny guy advocates charging by the pound. I think Kevin Smith comes off looking like a real jerk.
Wayne Rogers: The policy is fine, and they have every right to do it, and the courts were right ruling in their favor. Jonas' remark reminds me of the fat guy, you know, they asked him to donate his clothes to the starving and he said if they need my clothes, they aren't starving, so that's the way this guy behaved. In fact, if it's a safety problem, if it is a safety problem, they have every right in the world to control that, and I'll tell you something else. The captain of that plane is like the captain of a ship. If there's something wrong and it happens on the plane, he has the authority to take care of it and he should always do that.
Julian Epstein: Well, I don't really disagree with what anybody has said on the panel. I think the point here is there needs to be a fair policy, it needs to be clearly understood, and it needs to be fairly enforced. As I understand it, there are some questions about how fairly enforced it is. If somebody is so overweight that they're encroaching on the next passenger's space, then I think the policy is perfectly fair. The other point here, though, is I think there's a bigger segue into the health care discussion which is the thing we ought to be talking about here. Price Water House Cooper did a study on this. The thing we could do in the country to solve our health care problem is get the junk food out of our convenience stores and trans fats out of our food.
What Do I Need to Know?
Tracy Byrnes: Tiger will get through this and golf will be better for it.
John Layfield: Tiger is on the lose…hide the waitresses. Buy YUM! Brand Foods (YUM).
Jonas Max Ferris: And tiger another fall and rises and Lindsey Vonn on the ski party. 160 Pounds and looks great in Underarmor and won the downhill. Buy (UA).
Wayne Rogers: Health care summit next week will make law laboring makers happy and taxpayers sad.
Jonathan Hoenig: Attack on Iran would be good for moderate companies in the Middle East. Check out EGPT at the fund and invest solely in Egyptian stocks.