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.
FLIPSIDE: EXTENDED JOBLESS BENEFITS EXPIRING IS GOOD NEWS FOR JOB MARKET
RICH KARLGAARD: When democratic president Bill Clinton ended welfare as we knew it in the 1990s, it turned out that it was good for welfare recipients and good for the economy. People got jobs, they learned how to get up and go to jobs, and this is called tough love. Now ideally, you would like to have a 4 percent growth economy to end jobless benefits, but we don't have that, it's not going to happen under the Obama administration, but job openings are at a 4 year high. We might as well take advantage of that.
RICK UNGAR: We are all happy to see that there are some jobs opening up. This is obviously a reflection on some good work being done by the administration. What does concern me, are the people who are going out there saying "well now these people who have been cruising on unemployment are going to be forced to go and get a job." The average check to somebody on unemployment in this country is just south of $300 per week. There are people watching this show right now who are trying to support a family on less than $300 per week. If you don't think they have been out there trying to find anything they can get, you're just not being honest. These people have wanted jobs all along. Let me tell you something, it's not like if you are overly trained, you can walk into McDonalds to get a job no matter how much you might want to. Let's be a little easier on these folks.
VICTORIA BARRET: Yep, and I have read enough about this topic to believe that is absolutely true in many cases. There are exceptions; I am with Rick there, but for the most part, that $300 check isn't enough to support a family, but is it enough to hold you back from finding a job? It might be. Especially when finding a job in this environment is really darn tough. What we risk as a country is just this ballooning in entitlement spending, we are a debtor nation, it's not healthy place to be, and hey, now's the time to cut back a little. We do see jobs out there.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Yes it is more, and look I am of the mindset, we want to help the poor, absolutely, who need food stamps and with unemployment benefits, I get that. The broad policy problem though is that you can't be doing 99 weeks of unemployment benefits when you have economic policies that cause 2 percent GDP growth, that flatten growth where you have social safety nets, where country after country have become victims of their own social safety nets because of bad economic policies that are coming out of Washington DC. The worst net private job creating since 1950. All new net jobs since 1980 have come from companies less than 5 years old. These small business are panicked over what they are seeing in Washington.
BILL BALDWIN: I think the expiration of benefits is going to stimulate some people to get jobs, depress other people who can't even pay for groceries. I think that there is a way to get liquidity in a tough job market. At the same time, you don't destroy incentives. It's very simple. You give workers ownership of their unemployment funds. And tell them, that any unused amounts will becomes theirs at retirement. Incentives, but liquidity.
STEVE FORBES: After a while that does happen, even Denmark which is the one of the biggest safety nets in the world, has sharply cut back the length of time several years ago and found that people got jobs when they felt they had to. You're not going to get rich on unemployment but getting a job and moving up again, or starting a business which a lot of people do, that's how you get the economy moving.
A NEW GOV'T RULE FORCES HEALTH INSURERS TO MAIL LETTERS TO CUSTOMERS INFORMING THEM THAT THEY ARE GETTING A REBATE CHECK THANKS TO THE HEALTH CARE LAW; IS THIS ABOUT SAVING MONEY OR ABOUT POLITICS?
STEVE FORBES: If you're the president from Chicago and you send out checks before an election, that is a politics pure and simple. Another thing that they don't put in that same letter, costs have gone up because of Obamacare. They are also harming people. Insurers pay that money back. What's that mean? You are going to get fewer benefits now and in the future. Ultimately they are taking it out of your pocket by your vote.
RICK UNGAR: The government is not sending out checks here for the election or any other purpose. This is a result of the medical loss ratio rules which say-Steve made it sound like the government was sending out the checks, they are not. Insurance companies are required to give back to premium payers anything that they owe them if they didn't spend the 80 percent or 85 percent required of the medical loss ratio. You are simply getting back money that you gave them that they were supposed to spend on your healthcare that they didn't. Is it politics that they did this? Of course its politics, big shock there.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I like saving people money. I like that more of my healthcare costs premium are going to go toward my medical care, I get that. But the fact of the matter is that this law was enacted in 2010. Why didn't the rebate checks start coming out in 2011? Why now? It sounds kind of weird and sounds fishy to me. When you think about it, the average check is around $127, the senate GOP is out there saying look the president promised that premium costs are going to go down $2,500. The other issue is that the other states that are getting these checks, Texas, Oklahoma, Florida, Virginia, solid states that the president needs.
BILL BALDWIN: It's something like prisoners of war who are being forced to say at gunpoint that they love their captors and they are nice people. I think there is a way for the insurance companies to turn this around by just fleshing out the details. So, Dear Ms. Smith, here is your $112 refund check, thanks to Obamacare. By the way, because of unfunded mandates, your premium is going up $9,000 next year, also thanks to Obamacare.
MIKE OZANIAN: The bottom line is that according to their congressional budget office, just in the first 10 years, Obamacare is going to cost taxpayers $1.78 trillion dollars. That's what this piece of paper is intended to take people's eyes off of. It's also going to raise taxes, such as the excise tax of 2.3 percent on medical devices. That's what Obama doesn't want people to focus on.
BUSINESS WORKERS TOLD TO DRESS DOWN DURING NATO SUMMIT SO PROTESTERS WON'T TARGET THEM
STEVE FORBES: Having workers having to stay home, banks having to shut down, but David, it's even larger than that. It's this whiff of violence, a whiff of coercion, intimidation instead of persuasion. That hurts the economy, unlike the Tea party which were peaceful protests, despite mainstream media trying to smear them. They went into electoral politics, these people have to engage in violence, or the threat of violence, not good for the country.
MORGAN BRENNAN: I live here in New York on Wall Street. The protesters are literally on my doorstep most days of the week, so I can definitely relate to the fact that this is a nuisance. There is a larger picture here and that's the fact that the NATO summit is in Chicago, it's the first time it's not going to be in D.C., it's the first time Chicago has seen an event of this magnitude. I think employers are right to be planning for the worst. This is a high security situation, protesters are there because it is a high security, very public situation and at the end of the day, it's going to come down to how the city and how the police handle protesters. That's how we will decide how out of control they are or not.
MIKE OZANIAN: Its true, no doubt about it. But long term think this is positive for the economy and positive for capitalism because these protesters are out there saying how much they hate the economy under the Obama administration, how much they hate capitalism, but they don't offer an alternative, they don't offer a solution, they are just complaining. I think people are going to compare what they are saying to economic solutions of the free market and say that the free market is the way to go.
RICK UNGAR: I don't know about the Ozanian thing, but I'm still kind of marveling at the whiff of violence thing and the Tea Party demonstrations where as I recall people were waving guns around, legally mind you, but that certainly did suggest some whiffs of violence. Look, protest is as American as apple pie, I know that Chicago has this under control, I had the opportunity to see some of the plans as Morgan put, they have gotten ready for it. This is going to be fine, this is something that happens. By the way, if anybody was staging that protests on the streets of Chicago, whether you like them or didn't like them the restaurants would be affected for that day. That does come with the territory.
VICTORIA BARRET: I'm not concerned with the out of control aspect of it. It's completely incoherent. Just watching the videos that we have had up for the last couple of minutes, I can't tell you what they are protesting. Its anti-war, tax the rich, save the environment, give us jobs, anti bailout. To Mike's point, what is this? In San Francisco, what I have witnessed by the way is that occupy is the new sexy term for union protest. I am not kidding. Union picketers are now accompanied by this rag tag band of hippies and younger people protesting everything.
INFORMER: STOCKS HOTTER THAN THE FACEBOOK IPO
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Novo Nordisk (NVO)
52-WEEK HIGH: $152.31
52-WEEK LOW: $94.58
MORGAN BRENNAN: Equinix (EQIX)
52-WEEK HIGH: $172.44
52- WEEK LOW: $80.85
BILL BALDWIN: Fastenal (FAST)
52-WEEK HIGH: $55.05
52-WEEK LOW: $29.14