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.
President Pushing Tax Hike on Couples Earning $250K or More
Wayne Rogers: Well, obviously I think the president is wrong in the following sense. I mean this whole philosophy of Keynesian Economics that has not worked in three and a half years. The government keeps on spending, spending. We haven't had any spur in the economy. Unemployment is above eight percent. Somebody has forgotten Milton Freedman somewhere along the line. Lots of this is wrong. You gotta remember in Ronald Reagan we cut taxes in '81 and again in Clinton in '94. Both of those things helped the economy. In both cases we had a strong recovery and that's what should be done today.
Tracy Byrnes: That's small businesses-that's the engine of our economy. That's absolutely who's going to get hurt. Look, the CBO has come out and said that 20 percent of our so-called "wealthy Americans" are covering basically our tax bill. How much more burden do you want to put on these people? They are working hard. They are trying to make America better, and all we're doing is taxing them. You know what, cut five percent across the board, and then you want to talk to me about tax hikes, fine. But let's first see you cut this spending and make it fair. Everyone out there-you can't just pick and choose.
Chris Kofinis: Well, I mean here's the reality, and I worked on these issues when I was on the Hill, but you need to do both. This notion that somehow you're going to solve this problem only by cutting spending, I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but they don't know math. The reality here is that you've got to have revenues coming in. When you're talking about the tax rates, CBO just did a study and found that tax rates are as low as they've been since 1979. Obama, actually, in his presidency, has cut taxes. You can even make the argument that he's cut taxes too much. So, if we're serious about fiscal responsibility we've got to get this back into some kind of balance.
Jonathan Hoeing: The President doesn't think so. The President believes that wealth comes from government spending, from government control. He advocates for greater government spending at every opportunity. Despite the fact that over half, 66 percent of those surveyed, believe that cuts need to be made. Maybe they're not Harvard MBA's, but they've seen the carnage that happens in Europe, the carnage that happens when government spends, the bills ultimately come due. This whole notion that the President talks about giving people a tax cut, as Tracy pointed out, those individuals rich or poor have earned that money. The President is not giving them anything. It's money they've earned and deserve to keep and reinvest in the economy.
John Layfield: Yeah it's going to hurt the country, but it's going to hurt the country either way. Chris is right, this is not an either/or proposition. Simpson Bulls, which the President commissioned, had a plan to cut spending and also raise revenue, but the President, himself, before this report even came out, had undercut these guys. Nobody wants to do this plan. You've got a plan right now in Congress and Simpson Bulls, and Republicans, Democrats, nobody wants to cut spending, and nobody wants to raise revenue. You have to do both right now. When you talk about raising taxes on the rich, you're only talking about $40B a year. That solves nothing! You still have a $1.3T deficit. This is not a panacea; it's a political measure to go after the rich, that's all it is.
GOP Lawmakers Pushing "No More Solyndras Act"
Tracy Byrnes: We were just talking about how our money is wasted by the second and they need to cut spending, this is the first place they need to cut it, Cheryl. Our congressional leaders are not investment bankers by any stretch. This boggles my mind. Stop it! Focus on the fiscal cliff and stay out of corporate America because we can handle it.
Wayne Rogers: I think Tracy's right. The ideas are good, the ideas are fine. It's the implementation that the government cannot implement anything. There's not a government program out there that doesn't run over-budget. There isn't a government program that I know about that doesn't fail at some point. The idea of doing this should be turned over to the private sector. If the private sector decides it's good, competition will win out and we'll have something. And, as John Layfield often says, we have no public policy for energy. We have no energy policy, so we can't do these things without having that and then directing the private sector into those directions.
Chris Kofinis: It's fun to be here to defend Solyndra. I mean, that's a great place to be. Here's the thing to keep in mind, my perspective on this: yeah, government does not always do a good job in this arena, but at the same time, government has a different objective and goal than the private sector does. There are areas in the market and areas in the economy that government can invest in and should invest in that the private sector is not going to do because the return may not be there. You're not going to have Hoover Dams and Interstate Highways built necessarily by the private sector. So the question is how do you balance that risk and reward? That's the real challenge.
Jonathan Hoeing: What Chris said is blatantly untrue. You have scores of private roads before the government monopolized the system and Cheryl to your point, it is government making big bets with private sector dollars. I think the "No More Solyndra Act" doesn't go far enough. The private sector would certainly fund promising technologies voluntarily. And consumers would voluntarily use them. I'm for the elimination of all subsidies. Yes, for the green ideas that certainly don't work, but also for the fossil fuels, which I know you're against. We shouldn't subsidize any technologies. Free market should be free from government.
John Layfield: Good investment bankers would have never done these renewable energy deals because these were not proven technologies and what you should have is a no cronyism act. That's all that this was with the Obama Administration. But, Obama is not the only president that's done that, Obama is just the latest president that's done that. Every single president has done this, and what your problem is that you're trying to play venture capitalists-venture capitalists can't do that too well. Government, just as Wayne says, has no hope of doing this well.
Paying Employees Extra to "Disconnect" on Vacation
Chris Kofinis: I'm taking the advice of my wife when it comes to vacations, which I don't do. I think companies need to do what is in their best interest. This is my personal philosophy-I'm kind of a workaholic, I haven't taken a vacation in seven years. If I'm not near my Blackberry, I feel like going into cardiac arrest, so I can't understand it, but to each its own.
John Layfield: I think it's horrible. If an employee comes to me and talks to me about work/life balance, I'm going to pay him to be disconnected. It's going to be called severance pay. These flower worshippers and this lazy young generation that have created this work/life balance are absolutely pathetic to me. People need jobs and if part of your job is you've got to be connected on your vacation, so be it.
Jonathan Hoeing: We have spent millions of years trying to develop this technology. I'm kind of in Chris' camp, I'm not so eager to let it go. But this is essentially human resources innovation with private dollars. You don't need a government official telling us how much vacation we need, what type of vacation we should take, the private market, as usual, is doing just fine.
Tracy Byrnes: I think people need to understand themselves, and they need to be able to draw the line for the sake of themselves and their families, and if they can do it great-if Chris has a heart attack, his wife's going to be pretty pissed off because it was because of his Blackberry; and then that's his problem.
Wayne Rogers: I agree with John, it's a terrible idea and I'm just like Chris-I'm a workaholic and I can't think of it any other way whether my wife liked it or not, it's too bad unfortunately. I know she's probably against it too, just like Chris' wife. I'm a compulsive worker and I think it's an individual thing. If a guy wants to dictate that policy, that's fine and dandy. I don't think it works. When I go off, and I'm on vacation right now, I'm in Bozeman, Montana right now; but I'm thinking and I'm working and all the time there's something going on up here. You can't stop that.
What You Need to Know for Next Week
Tracy Byrnes: Government Using Tax Money to Give "Wedding Advice"
John Layfield: Watch Profits "Take Off" With Takeover Target (JBLU)
Wayne Rogers: Get Healthy Returns with Health Products & (GNC)
Jonathan Hoeing: Ride Away With Profits on Private School Buses & (STB)