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.
WORRIES MOUNT THAT WALL STREET IS MORE ANTI-FREE MARKET THAN PROTESTERS
Gary B. Smith: I agree with Christian's points, but disagree with one point. He says that Occupy Wall Street is a little bit different. They want a rig game also. They want a standard minimum wage of what, $20 an hour for everyone. They want all debts eliminated. So, they want an unfair playing field also. But I agree with the point that Wall Street does want a stacked deck. Moseying up to the TARP bailout bin, you had a company like American Express that not more than just a few weeks all of a sudden became a bank and got $3.4 billion out of the total $700 billion. Some of the Wall Street firms were more or less strong-armed, but let's face it. There were lawyers hired. There were lobbyists hired. Everyone wanted to get free money because that's the currency of Wall Street. That's their bill of goods. Free money and no downside? It sounds fantastic.
Tobin Smith: The business model of Wall Street has grown into a bailout. They call it the "Greenspan Put." The idea that if things got bad, the Fed or the government was going to be there to back them up. As we move this business after the financial crisis, we went from having ten banks having all the money to basically six banks having the money. The entire concept behind that was that if all things hit the fan at the same time, the Fed or the government would be there. That's their business model. They are about as anti-capitalist as you can get these days.
Jonas Max Ferris: I think giving money to banks when they're in trouble is as American as apple pie. It goes back a very long time even before the Federal Reserve when they had bank panics in the early 1900s. Rich people had to get together in support because banking is not like bailing out an auto company. The banking industry is core to the capitalist system and you want investment banks and banks making loans and heightening risk loans. Occasionally that doesn't work and they all will collapse. Unlike a coffee shop going out of business, when the banks start to fail you have a psychological problem. People run on the bank and they don't believe their money is safe and then the whole system collapses and then they won't make loans.
Gary Kaltbaum: Think about '08 when they made a lot of money. It was terrific. It was all free markets. When they lost a ton of money, it's please help me out and save us. So, they are anti-capitalists, whatever you want to call it. The bottom line is that I cannot differentiate between the protesters and them at this point in time. They make no sense and we're back at square one as usual.
Christian Dorsey: I think the Occupy Wall Street protesters actually have a legitimate beef. You've got the Wall Street investor class that wants the best of all worlds. The demand certainty, yet they also demand that they reap the rewards that you should only get when you take great risks. They absolutely want government to stay out of their business when profits are soaring, but absolutely plead for taxpayer funded bailouts as soon as the system collapses. It is fundamentally wrong that they want to rig the game so that it's heads they win and tails we all lose.
CAIN SURGING IN THE POLLS AS HE CALLS TO SCRAP THE TAX CODE
Gary B. Smith: In 1913 the tax code was all of 400 pages. Now it is over 71,000 pages. We have over one million people in this country dedicated just to analyzing the tax code, litigating it, arguing it, accounting for it. It's a whole industry and you have this tax code that is just too complex. Everyone agrees. It's discriminatory. It's unfair. It's impenetrable. Whether you like Herman Cain's plan or not, I think if you want to stimulate this economy the single biggest thing you can do is simplify the tax code. The tax code is the root of everything in this country.
Tobin Smith: The question is, is this what people are responding to as a way to kick start the economy? To start, we have 30 years of problems that blew up. If you want to get growth back in this country usually after big financial blowouts, it takes ten to fifteen years. We don't have ten to fifteen years. One of the ways is to act as a catalyst and enact whatever this is going to be. It has to be simple. And you can phase it. Of course you're going to phase it. But the fact that you could change it and people could make plans around it would unleash capital. The idea of reducing capital in the United States creates investment and believe it or not more capital and investment is where jobs come from.
Jonas Max Ferris: You would put a million tax professionals out of work. We already have over 9 percent unemployment. The real problem is that as bad as our current system is, it is a system that millions of people have made plans with their tax professionals-long term plans that span over a decade. Depreciation of property, hiring people based on their deductable, buying a house and expecting the mortgage to be deductable. If you change that overnight, that is so patently ridiculous that it would sell millions into bankruptcy. To go to this system without any deductions, realistically, is a decade plan of gradual change that people know of in advance so that they can plan out of the plans they made based on the ridiculous system we have now. But anything other than that is insanity.
Gary Kaltbaum: Scrap it, scrap it, scrap it. This has been a long time coming. Herman Cain is resonating because of the word simple. It is a simple plan. I'm not saying it works. I'm not it doesn't. I'm just saying that companies and individuals spend hundreds of millions of dollars just avoiding taxes. Forget about paying taxes. Enough is enough. This has been created on purpose by government. It's complicated. Nobody understands it. It's tiresome. Get rid of it.
Christian Dorsey: As much as I agree that the tax system is certainly complex and it's not as fair or as efficient as I would like it, scrapping the whole thing is just not practical. If you look at our political system, it is incredibly broken and no one is suggesting that we scrap the Constitution. We need to take the necessary flaws in the tax code and address them right away. For me, the single greatest thing that you could do is to start advertising the tax expenditures in the tax code on various deductions and credits. If we publicize those the same way we did government spending, you would create the necessary public outcry to change the tax code in a hurry.
BLACKBERRY CUSTOMERS LASHING OUT AFTER RECORD-LONG OUTAGE
Gary B. Smith: This came at the worst possible time. First of all, they're probably going out of business because basically it's not an iPhone. Everyone wants the iPhone. This on top of it. Then the way they addressed it. I think if you have a blackberry, you ought to trade it in for an iPhone.
Tobin Smith: They're going out of business for all the reasons said, but they're also going out of business because now they're selling the less expensive stuff. They have a high end that's getting killed by iPhone. Out of those 70 million customers, many of those customers are in India and in other parts of the world that are buying the very basic blackberry that's being subsidized. Those people really are not the corporate user but when they get the chance to upgrade, they will upgrade to the iPhone. The corporate level is now hooked into Apple, so it's just a slow death. This just put a two by four into their forehead.
Jonas Max Ferris: Just five years ago they were one of technologies leading industries. That is unfortunately how quickly you can die in this business. They are dying anyway and that's why people are mad. This was their only area of strength over the competition, which was that it was rock solid, it's corporate IT grade, you can't say that about the android, etc. Now that has holes in it and so it's going the way Nokia unfortunately did and there's nothing you can do about it.
Gary Kaltbaum: The old line that it takes years to build up your reputation and a couple of minutes to lose it fits this right now. They didn't take care of their customers. The customers are yelling and screaming. We're talking about it right now. Bad advertising. They've already been croaked because of the iPhone and the Androids. I think this is the eighth or ninth inning for them and Mariano Rivera is up pitching again for them right now.
Christian Dorsey: I think they can survive. Nobody remembers Apple's antenna issues with the iPhone 4 when it came out. They gave all of their loyal customers a little two dollar rubber sleeve and everybody forgot about it. Blackberry has 70 million loyal customers. They don't call it the crackberry for nothing. This will be forgotten fairly quickly.
Gary B. Smith: Dole doubles in the next three years
Tobin Smith: Spirit Airlines up 25 percent 2012
Jonas Max Ferris: Vanguard Energy ETF up 20 percent by Election Day
Gary Kaltbaum: Mastercard up 20 percent in six months