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.
SHOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT LOWER TAXES TO CREATE MORE JOBS?
Steve Forbes: David, every time we have a substantial reduction in tax rates it works and the times we have had high tax rates like the 1930's and the 1970's we have stagnated. John Kennedy understood it, Ronald Reagan understood it, I don't know why we have to do it again. The bottom line is when you when you raise the price of good things like productive work, risk taking success, you get less of them. When you lower the price you get more of them.
Mark Tagee: David, we have been lowering taxes for about the last 20 years and there is no real relationship between tax rates and job creation. I urge any of my colleagues here to show me a study that conclusively shows that lower tax rates spur job growth. Jobs are directly related to labor costs-and that is what is happening in New York City, and I don't think that the federal government has any influence on this at all at a state level or city level concern.
Victoria Barrett: In this environment I certainly think it would, It sends the signal that Washington is getting serious about cutting its own budget and expecting less out of our pockets. That would absolutely encourage job growth. Come to California-we have booming industries here but we also have a very high tax rate and a very high unemployment rate. It doesn't make sense-California unemployment rate should not be higher than the national average but it is because this is a very expensive state to do business in. Many of the companies including many of the tech companies that I talk to every day are moving jobs to other states where the tax rates are lower.
Rick Ungar: Who among us wishes this was true? None of us like paying taxes but the simple truth is that if you look-as Mark pointed out- there just doesn't appear to be a correlation. If there was, why did we have more employment during the Clinton years and less employment following the Bush tax cuts. I wish it were true but it doesn't seem to be. I will add one thing to what Mark said-the labor costs play a major role-as they do in employment-but there is something that plays a larger role and that is consumer demand. If people don't want to buy it, you can have nothing but money in the bank-if you are a company you aren't going to spend it on jobs if people aren't buying your product. Unfortunately, that is where we have to solve the problem.
John Tamny: This one is so basic. There are no companies and there are no jobs without investment. If you want to increase investment logically you would take less from individuals out there working. I would just add to this that if you really want to boost job creation through the tax code, then you need to reduce the price of investment on those most able to create jobs. This is going to kill Rick, but you are going to take it off the top 1 percent. The vital view in society is to invest in the companies that create the jobs.
UNION BOSSES SPENDING DUES ON SAME LUXURIES THAT THEY BASH "CORPORATE FAT CATS" OVER
Steve Forbes: Absolutely, and in terms of union dues as a worker you don't have a choice to say I just want the dues for bargaining not for all this other stuff-politics and having a rich lifestyle-but you don't have that choice and that is why it is sheer hypocrisy. Most states if you join a union you have to pay all the dues-that's not right.
Rick Ungar: First off let's not get carried away, union members always have a choice. They vote for their leadership every year or so if they don't like the way the union bosses are controlling their money they vote them out of office. Look, let's not get nuts here-you make the case here as if they are taking home the kind of money that corporate executives are-they aren't. Union bosses are paid OK, I won't deny that. Look, if they were wasting money on this I would feel the same way as I would about a corporation-they shouldn't be wasting union members' money on silly things. That said, some of the things you are referencing are owned by the pension fund-it's their investments and I am not sure it is up to us to tell them how to invest with union members money. We will leave that to union members to decide.
Victoria Barrett: That is the issue, they are treated like charities or non-profits. They don't pay taxes on union dues and then they are going and "investing" them in golf courses and luxury hotels and fancy jets. I mean really-I can't believe that this goes on-we are actually taking money from teachers, cops, and firefighters and putting it into luxury hotels that they don't get to get a free night at.
Mark Tatge: Let's be fair here, the IRS is manly looking into what corporations are doing in terms of steering money to evade campaign limits to lobbyists. That is the biggest issue here not the unions. The other thing is that in about half the states it is a right to work, so people have the choice whether they want to join a union or not and if the union people misspend this money they get to vote these people out of the union.
John Tamny: It's offensive but let's also agree that hypocrisy is also not against the law. If so, so many union members would be in prison right now. I guess I'm ok with this as long as the union members believe that this representation actually helps them. What really bothers me is what Victoria references, the tax status of these guys. I don't think we should make churches tax exempt, I don't think think tanks, I don't think unions -I find it offensive to thing that Americans need to subsidize the hopes and dreams of others -get rid of the tax exempt for all of them.
SHOULD MORE CASH-STRAPPED GOVERNMENT FACILITIES ADVERTISE TO GET MORE MONEY?
John Tamny: Yes, as much as I loathe to give money to governments I think in this case why not sell these monuments to profit-oriented businesses? I think a private business interested in a profit could do a much better job with Mt. Rushmore and Yosemite National Park than the governments that manage them right now so let's sell them off I think.
Mark Tatge: It is a ridiculous idea! I mean what are we going to have, the Pepsi Mt. Rushmore monument? Having corporations sponsor things and selling off public assets that are paid by the taxpayers to private business. It also assumes that private business can run things better than the government. We all know that isn't true based on the meltdown we have all gone through in the economy.
Rick Ungar: I won't get into that argument, and it is run well, but keep in mind that it is a non-profit and we haven't seen any advertisements sold there. I mean Mark is right, do we really want to see the Marlboro Man carved into the side of Mt. Rushmore? Is this rally what we want our national heritage to be? And what happens when somebody you guys don't like buys Reagan International and changes the name to the Soros Socialist Memorial Bar and Grille?
Victoria Barrett: No, because it is a temporary fix. It is a band-aid on the problem. The problem is that we are spending too much! You give the US Government or the state government some quick cash fix and you are just kicking the can down the road. That is why I am against this entirely.
Steve Forbes: They usually do David, and that is why they should be selling off assets including public lands as we used to do in the 19th century, and that is how we helped to balance our budget. As for naming rights, I would rather have George Soros buy a space in a post office where he puts up his own money voluntarily than taking money from taxpayers where congress people put their names on it and using our money to do it.
INFORMER: RECESSION-PROOF STOCKS
New worries we may be heading back into a recession, so please tell our viewers what stocks are recession-proof.
VICTORIA BARRET: ORACLE (ORCL)
52-WEEK HIGH: $34.13
52-WEEK LOW: $24.72
JOHN TAMNY: TARGET (TGT)
52-WEEK HIGH: $59.40
52-WEEK LOW: $45.28