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.
NEW FOOD STAMP AD: GOOD OR BAD FOR AMERICA?
TRACY BYRNES: Cheryl, this is such an awful state of affairs. You know, that could have been a commercial for Nutri-system or something like that the way they were talking about how fabulous food stamps are. Heck, maybe I should get on them. Look, we've seen almost a 46 percent increase in food stamp participation since President Obama has taken office. It is awful that we are promoting this notion of continual handouts. Why not promote, I don't know, get out there, get a job and pay for it yourself and let's not forget; just because you have food stamps doesn't mean you're going to make good food choices. You can go out and buy candy and birthday cakes with these things too you know.
WAYNE ROGERS: Well, you want to talk about an increase? How about the increase in 2007 when we spent 33 billion dollars on food stamps? In 2011 that number was 75 billion. You know I looked it up on the internet. When I looked up SNAP, this program for nutrition, I looked it up on the internet and what you see is SNAP has to do with rescuing dogs and cats in Houston, Texas; it makes about as much sense. I'm not sure where all these catchy phrases come from and why they are promoting it, but the most outrageous point is they're taking taxpayer money and spending it to advertise a program where they're giving away taxpayer money. I don't get that. That's the government gone berserk.
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: Well hopefully this is de-stigmatizing something that doesn't need to be stigmatized at all. In order to get food stamp benefits you have to be working or looking for work; you have to be a dependent child, or you're elderly or disabled. None of those are shameful circumstances. The reason we've spent so much more on food stamps is because we had a really big recession where we increased poverty. That's the only reason. You know, the fact is this is a really efficient program; low administrative costs; that money goes to people in need, they spend the money at private businesses and that spending multiplies by at least 50 percent in economic activity.
JONATHAN HOENIG: A lot of it, as it's been well documented has gone to fraud, and Christian you mentioned it goes to people in need. I think that's inherently the problem. Government is not a charity. We're talking about, what I read, is an average of one hundred and forty dollars a month per recipient. That is essentially found money, to Wayne's point, that gets taken from some citizens who've earned it and giving it to other citizens who have not, and I'll tell you, the ads really irk me Cheryl because they essentially legitimize the welfare state. They say, it's okay for not only the government to just buy your food, but to tell you what to eat. It's pathetic.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I have to agree with the soon-to-be new father, Christian Dorsey. Congratulations by the way Christian. The problem we have is this is right along poverty lines. We've had 32 million people go to about 46 million people just in the last two years. That is right along poverty lines and Jonathan is right about fraud. I agree with Mayor Bloomberg; you need finger printing, you need to give them ids. You can't spend this for sugary drinks. You don't need to spend on something that's going to cost in health care down the line. These people have nothing else to eat if we don't give them this. The problem is that that many people are in poverty, and the fact that they don't have anything to eat.
NEW HEALTH CARE LAW TO COST NEARLY DOUBLE THE PROJECTED COST
JONATHAN HOENIG: I'm not taking a victory lap for this at all, Cheryl, but yes in fact we did. We talked about it for a year over and over and over again and of course Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, all the guys who supported it, are out the door. You didn't have to be a Cashin In panelist or a Rhode Scholar to see it however, I mean whether it's Medicare, which was originally estimated at a nine billion cost and ended up being 70 billion; the DSH program estimated to cost one billion ended up costing 17 billion. Government programs like this; government entitlements always destroy the free market because they destroy man's ability to think, to act in his own best interest. The result is always higher costs and lower service, or in this case, probably no service at all.
WAYNE ROGERS: Of course we shouldn't be surprised. Government has never made a program that came in on budget ever. I mean, as you said like part A Medicare; they did a Dodd-Frank bill, all these studies and everything else, the estimate was 9.9 billion dollars in 1990. It's been 110 billion dollars. That's 10 times the cost. They can't do anything right. Why would we expect it? Of course we shouldn't be surprised. Look at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac; 25 billion dollar estimate and the bailouts cost us 141 billion to date. They don't do anything right. It's a dumb system. You've got to get the federal government out of all of these things and let somebody who knows how to run a business run it.
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: They said 20 million is the worst-case scenario. They said more likely it's three to five and those people are not going to have no insurance options. The health care law provides other options and you all are guilty again of not reading beyond the first line of the report. The costs have gone up, but so have the revenues so that on net, the health care law is actually going to cost less than it was projected to a year ago. The fact of the matter is you know the CBO still maintains that the health care law is going to reduce the deficit over the next 10 years and more substantially thereafter. So, the bottom-line story has not changed at all and if you really want to look at a government program that has blown up in cost, look at the tax cuts from the Bush years, which were projected to actually only cost a quarter of our projected surplus and it ended up putting us 1.7 trillion dollars in the hole.
JOHN LAYFIELD: Yeah, but Christian you can't pick and choose. You can't say we're going to trust the government on these numbers because they fit you and not trust the government on the Bush tax cut numbers. It is the same government. What Jonathan is talking about, 1967 they said Medicare's going to cost 12 billion. In 1990 it cost 110 billion. You didn't miss it by 30 percent. You missed it by a factor of 10. The government cannot add numbers. You cannot trust these guys. We did not have health care reform; we had insurance reform.
TRACY BYRNES: And look, Cheryl, it's not done. There's still stuff that's coming down the pike's that we don't know how it's going to affect our wallets. You have stuff coming up in 2014 that hasn't been enacted yet and look; it's very easy to spend somebody else's money isn't it? These are taxpayer dollars that we have out there. You know, you've got a corporation with a chunk of change they're going to want to know where every single penny goes. They're not going to spend it the way the government does, to everyone else's point. That is the problem. It's not their money. If our congressional leaders had to dip into their own pockets to pay for Obamacare, it would be very different.
CUT CONGRESS' PAY IF NO BUDGET?
JOHN LAYFIELD: Absolutely, what Wayne's talking about. We are the largest economy in the world. We have not had a budget in the last three years. I don't care if it's Bush's fault; Obama's fault; the sun's in your eyes and your shoes are untied. These guys are not doing their job and you don't need to vote them out. You're just going to put more buffoons in there. Take their paycheck they don't deserve it if they don't pass a budget.
WAYNE ROGERS: I love you John and you too Christian, but you guys are wrong here. You don't want to take away their paycheck because that will allow them to run out and steal more money. They'll be beholden to every lobbyist that comes down the pike. They'll be trying to get money from anywhere else. Please don't take away their paycheck because they're so devious they'll get it somewhere else and we'll never find out why.
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: You know we ought to cut the pay of lawmakers who promote frivolous bills. Look, there are many things that congress needs to do and passing a budget is just one of them, but just because you pass a budget doesn't mean it's a good one or a responsible one. Last year, let's look at what Congress almost did. It almost refused to pay the bills already authorized in the whole debt ceiling debate. They should have lost their paychecks for that.
TRACY BYRNES: And that's the thing, CEO's lose their jobs when the stock falls; coaches get fired when they don't make it to the championship. Everybody else does it this way, maybe Congress should too.
JONATHAN HOENIG: They're not motivated by that. They don't go to Washington Cheryl, for the pay. They go for the power and this notion that we need a balanced budget amendment or a law; it's an old stunt from the contract for America. I think it doesn't work. It's not more legislation we need. I think it's a change in philosophy. The truth is, if you stick to the constitution, you remember that old chestnut? The budget takes care of itself. Half of all government spending goes to stuff like entitlements, which of course, are found nowhere in the constitution. Stick to the constitution and you don't need to worry about a balanced budget amendment or any more legislation.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
TRACY BYRNES: Soaring rent prices to entice folks to buy homes.
JOHN LAYFIELD: (CSX) a great pick to offset the cost of rising gas prices.
WAYNE ROGERS: Look for companies with rising dividends. Buy (NCT).
JONATHAN HOENIG: As interest rates heat up, get "smoking returns" with (TBF).