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.
LAWMAKERS DEMANDING APPLE HIRE WORKERS THAT ARE 'ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED'
TRACY BYRNES: Government can't tell private companies to do anything Cheryl and I'm sure Apple and CEO, Tim Cook are actually giggling behind their iPads as they listen to this because they've created a company that's well, the best in the world, not because of what the government had to say to them and for the government to actually think they can select employees is just as laughable.
WAYNE ROGERS: Well I think, you know, once you let the Feds in they're going to dictate to you what they want to. That's up to Apple. I mean, if you're getting the tax breaks and the people who are giving you the tax breaks say you're going to have to do something to get them, you know you're not going to throw out the bath water with the baby. You're going to have to accept it or not do it. What they ought to do is say, hey, we don't need any of that. We're going to go down there because it's a good economic move, we're going to hire whoever we want to hire, and we're going to work the way we want to work. By the way, inherent in this is something ideologically weird, I find, that the government or somebody in the government knows who is disadvantaged and who isn't, and can dictate to you what disadvantaged means. That's the part that's bad.
SALLY KOHN: Well I also think the other troubling precedent is these giant tax breaks. This special tax breaks that are given to out-of-state corporations to try to lure their business that puts them at an advantage vis-a-vis local businesses and I think the statement's exactly right. Apple is playing Texas here. They could go to Arizona. They could move jobs overseas. They're playing Texas and all Texas is saying is, we want a return on our investment because clearly, they're basically saying, we're not going to get any tax benefit from Apple being here. At the very least they could invest in the local economy and in local employees who need jobs. It's that simple.
JOHN LAYFIELD: It is huge prestige, but this is a negotiation. What Wayne is saying is exactly right. Look, if I'm the mayor of Austin, Texas and I want to tell Apple, look you come here and I'm going to give you huge tax breaks, I have a right if they agree, to dictate somehow to them who I want them to hire because I am now an investor with taxpayer money in this. This is all about negotiation at this point. The government has not even had a budget for three straight years. These buffoons can't run a one car parade, but if you want to dance with them and you want to take their tax breaks, they have a right to tell you what to do.
JONATHAN HOENIG: They have no right to give the tax breaks. The tax breaks given John, are shouldered by everyone else who don't get the tax breaks and that's the whole point. So, whether it's Apple, whether it's the Chicago Mercantile Exchange like what's happened here in Illinois, or disadvantaged people. This is cronyism. This is government picking winners and losers and it's immoral. It's an assault Cheryl on people's mind, on Apple's mind. It didn't become the biggest company in the world by picking idiots to work there.
STATES LOOKING TO CONFISCATE 'UNUSED' GIFT CARDS
JONATHAN HOENIG: Yeah, enough theft Cheryl right. I mean, that's what this is. This is thievery, this is theft. You know, a store sells a gift card to a customer. Government has nothing to do with it. If he doesn't use the gift card, it's the same as if he bought a car and left it in the garage and never drove it. This comes from this collectivist notion that you know, wealth is somehow publicly owned and it needs to be confiscated to be used for the public good. Government forgets that the retailer had the expense of selling the card, you know, marketing the card, merchandising, putting actual stuff on the shelves. This is a money grab and I think it needs to stop.
JOHN LAYFIELD: No, absolutely not. There's absolutely no other way to define this other than theft. If I want to buy a birthday card for my friend Wayne Rogers, who by the way, happy birthday Wayne, I understand he's 43 or 44 right now, if I buy him a gift card it would have to be worth a lot of money because he's filthy rich, but if I buy that birthday card for him and he doesn't use it, the government has no right absolutely to take it, and what's worse is, there's no way to find this out. What if a person in New York who is from Massachusetts buys a card for somebody in Pennsylvania, who is actually from Delaware, to use in a store in New Jersey? There is no way to track this whatsoever and that's why American Express and these other (companies) are backing out of New Jersey. Hey, they stole one and a half million dollars of traveler's checks last year for people because of non-use. It's ridiculous.
TRACY BYRNES: I'm from Jersey. This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard my state do. It is sinister. It was like someone was sitting around saying, what else can we take from you because state taxes aren't high enough by any stretch? Let's take something else. It's evil. It's awful. Here's what's happening; it is an administrative nightmare because every time you buy a card in New Jersey, you have to give your zip code to prove you live here and companies are saying it's too much work. Why bother? And it's so unfortunate for New Jersey because that money would then be spent back in the states with those gift cards. Look, don't forget the corporations don't book this as a sale until you use the plastic. It's just sitting out in no-man's land until you do and Jersey is making a grave mistake and you know what? I think it's really starting to alienate the residents.
SALLY KOHN: Thirty states already have the law, but sure, let's make a stink out of this one. First of all, I've got to say Tracy, if you think this is the dumbest thing your state's ever done we should talk about Jersey Shore for a second. The Wall Street Journal reported that this is actually, the reporting suggests, that the card companies are trying to make a stink. They like keeping the profits from these unused cards and the Wall Street Journal says what the governor of New Jersey is simply trying to do is say look; we're going to prevent companies from taking that money back and actually preserve it for the consumers who paid for it in the first place. Argue with the Wall Street Journal.
WAYNE ROGERS: Well I'm surprised at Jonathan because this is the free market that's working. They're saying listen; you're going to take away something, than we're just not going to do it anymore. We're going to pull out. American Express and two other corporations are saying we don't have to do this. This is the free market we're not going to sell gift cards in your state so goodbye. You happen to be wrong about this origin. It goes back to the English common law. If you go back and trace this about how abandoned property arrives at the place where it came back, in those days in the English common law, after two years the king was the person who got control of the property. So, that's the origin of it just in case you want to do a little historical investigation, but the point is, in the free market system I have the right not to do this. If I'm in your state and your state puts something against me that I don't like, fine. I won't do business in your state. Simple.
ANOTHER AIRLINE SLAPPING FLIERS WITH MORE BAG FEES
TRACY BYRNES: Yeah. Just in time for spring break, Cheryl. Come on! This is crazy and look, you go buy an airline ticket these days your starting price is half of what it ends up to be because of the fees and penalties and you haven't even paid half of it yet. You get on the plane and complain about that seven dollar cookie every time we talk about this stuff. These guys have nothing better to do than to nickel and dime us to make up for the fact that they are paying for taxes and penalties imposed by the government. This is their fault, it is in your ticket price, and as a result you're paying for it.
WAYNE ROGERS: I really don't care. I think the airlines have the right to charge whatever they want. If you don't like it, you don't have to buy the ticket. You can go by bus; you can go by train; you can go by automobile. Nobody says you have to go by an airline. It's a free market for them to the extent that they can charge whatever they want to charge for those fees and by the way, it's just for the overhead part of it. If you have a bag, you can take that bag and put it under that seat in front of you and if it fits, fine. So I say, let them have it. Let them charge whatever they want as much as they want to whenever they want to.
SALLY KOHN: Yeah, I think that's right because when you buy a ticket and all of a sudden realize, oh I could have bought a cheaper ticket if it wasn't for the bag, everybody gets frustrated with that. You know, the larger issue is, to make a buck airlines are increasingly passing the pain on to customers and to employees and frankly, the CEO of American Airlines last fall, he quit over this. He was disgusted with all this and I agree. It's enough to make you want to reach for the air sickness bag.
JONATHAN HOENIG: Well, air travel's actually fallen since the industry partially deregulated in the late 1970s. The cost of an airline ticket has actually fallen, especially when compared with stuff like a movie ticket, which has actually gone up 240 percent. So air travel is actually cheap. Now a bag has weight. There's an actual cost to that so I empathize and I understand why a company, an airline, would want to charge more. Especially since every element of the industry is regulated; from the number of airports, to the number of takeoffs, to the design of the plane, to the way in which the tickets can be sold, it's all controlled by government. It is no free market Wayne.
JOHN LAYFIELD: No I don't buy this. The only thing I buy is that they're the worst organization, the only worse one since the U.S. government. They've lost money since Orville and Wilbur Wright first flew a plane at Kitty Hawk. They are the only thing out there worse, but they do have the right. They have the right to charge whatever they want. They're a private business. They have the right to charge fat people twice. They have the right to charge for overhead bins. It is not a right to fly. That is not free space above you. That is the airlines. They have a right to charge you. If you don't like it, don't fly.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
TRACY BYRNES: Government plan to suspend passports if taxes aren't paid is great.
JOHN LAYFIELD: Just like Tiger Woods, don't count Yahoo out. Buy (YHOO).
WAYNE ROGERS: "Inject" profits into your portfolio with (QCOR).
JONATHAN HOENIG: Make money from falling gold prices with (DGZ).