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Warren (D): USA Needs to Spend Like China to Help Our Economy
STEVE FORBES: No. Thanks to Elizabeth Warren and her kind, we don't have the money that China has. Second, China is trying to catch up to us. Third, if we want to spend money on infrastructure, we should tap the private sector, which probably would not make her happy. Indiana has done that with the toll road and how about the highway trust fund?! Instead of wasting money on things like light rail, let it go to highway. So, if you want real reform remove the obstacles to building infrastructure and repairing it, which she and her environmental friends also put obstacles in the way of.
MORGAN BRENNAN: I don't think she is directly comparing us to China, saying we need to be spending nine percent of GDP on infrastructure right now, I think the point is that everyone is talking about how our country is in a state of disrepair infrastructure wise. We have a power grid that threatens blackouts and sucks too much energy. We have roads and bridges in disrepair and they do need to be looked at. I don't think this is a story about infrastructure alone, I think this is also a story about jobs and I think that's a point she's trying to get to. The construction industry has lost more jobs than anybody else -- 5 million.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Elizabeth Warren is talking about raising taxes already to cut the deficit by $1 trillion. By the way, China is a really bad example. They've got a country that is littered with ghost towns. They have 230 airports, the majority of which sit nowhere near those towns. And, by the way, nine percent? Really, China is spending nine percent? Their numbers are so fake over there it's like being called the People's Republic of Enron. I would say yes to infrastructure spending. Newt Gingrich was for it, Mitt Romney was for it. Use the GSA. Shut down some of those buildings and maybe get some infrastructure good spending there to spend on bridges.
RICK UNGAR: This is not high school folks. It's not about if China jumps off a bridge are you going to jump off a bridge too? She's right that we need infrastructure investment and all of you seem to be agreeing with that, so I don't know what the problem is. Look, our infrastructure is completely falling apart and it's going to turn us into a third world country. Do we have problems paying for it? Yeah, we all know that. But guess what, would we not all agree that we can't afford not to make this investment if we're going to have business going into the future.
MIKE OZANIAN: China's policy is failing. They spend money on infrastructure in cities where nobody lives. Japan tried this as a means of getting out of a recession a few years ago and it also failed. If there's a country we want to emulate, it's Estonia. They actually retracted their government spending and their GDP now is growing at 10 percent compared to only 1.5 percent in the United States.
VICTORIA BARRET: That's the whole problem. Rick you talk about fixing our ailing infrastructure, but when you put that money in the hands of politicians they're not going to fix the 101 here. They're going to fix or create a new high speed rail that they can put their names on that we don't need. So infrastructure spending ends up going to the wrong places and it takes forever! Those shovel ready jobs, even the president has acknowledged that they weren't shovel ready, so that money hasn't actually created jobs. It isn't a fix because it just uses money we don't have.
Report Raises Questions if the Government Job Training Programs Work
JOHN TAMNY: I don't need a chart to prove what's obvious. You're asking government officials with no clue about the marketplace to train people for a marketplace that they don't understand. Almost by definition, their training is going to focus on jobs of the past rather than the jobs of tomorrow. Logically what we would do is reduce or remove the burden on small businesses with an eye toward the future and train workers with an eye towards the job that they're actually going to need to be filled in the future.
RICK UNGAR: I'm actually going to give Governor Romney a little bit of liberal love today because he gave a speech this week where he not only instilled the importance of education-and thanks for that because nobody else is doing it-but he also talked about the importance of job training programs. In the same week, Senator Coburn's office released a report and what he suggested was that this could work better if it's done on the state level. I'm okay with that. Let's not get rid of job training, because it couldn't be more important than at this time. If you want to change how we do it; if you want to move it to the states, it's all good. But, let's not say that they're not useful programs.
STEVE FORBES: No, and most of these programs they don't have the good follow-through to see how effective they are, they just do them, spend the money, and then ask for more. Why do we need these government training programs? Because of the government policies that are impeding the economic recovery. So, let's focus on getting the economy moving and companies will train workers that they will desperately need.
MORGAN BRENNAN: I think they are, and we don't know how well they are working or aren't working because there have been difficulties in tracking their effectiveness-I think that needs to change. I do think there are some reforms that need to take place. That said, I think they are working. We have a glut of unemployed people, especially long-term unemployed people, who could use that training. We also have industries and sectors like the health care sector and energy sector that are short on workers. We could be training those people for those jobs. And, when you look at the number, $18 billion spent on work training programs a year, let's look at the number of unemployment benefits that are being paid. It's at $27 billion. I'll take the work-trade programs.
MIKE OZANIAN: I'm with John on this one. It's just common sense, David. When these job training programs are abysmal and they fail, simply because of the decisions of how the money is allocated is based on politics not profits. In a capitalistic economy, if you want to succeed and maximize your investment, decisions have to be based on maximizing profits first. That is not the case with these jobs training programs.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I tend to say, "No, they're a waste of money." I mean again, just look at Vice President Joe Bidden's weatherization program that was supposed to create 184 new jobs in New Jersey, wasted $4 million and only created seven jobs. Trying to prove it is as easy as trying to find a moth in a hurricane, to figure it out.
House Passes Bill to Fire Tax Deadbeats Working for the Government
STEVE FORBES: Well, if you're working for the American government, why shouldn't you pay the taxes to support that government? If you have problems, you can work it out with the IRS. So, whether it's garnishing wages or you're applying for a job and you're a tax deadbeat, you shouldn't be working taking our tax money and spending it and too often wasting it.
VICTORIA BARRET: I think this is an instance where the public and private sector workers should be viewed the same way. We talk a lot about this on the show, where public sector workers have certain perks that private sector workers don't. This is an instance where public and private sectors should be treated the same. I don't think your employer should fire you, I think you just need to deal with it with the IRS and the IRS should go after these employees. But, it should not be a reason to fire them.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I say fire them. Here's why. The same 100,000 workers and contractors (you have to include contractors in there) have been cheating the government since 2004. The dollar amount has risen by 67 percent. Even President Obama had introduced a companion bill saying "fire them" back in 2007.
RICK UNGAR: Steve Forbes is right. There's only one problem, I actually took a look at this bill and you won't believe what they forgot to include... Congress! Congressmen are federal employees and yet it doesn't apply to them.
JOHN TAMNY: If we can add congress it's even better. But Elizabeth is right, fire them not just for evading taxes, but fire them because they're government workers and there are too many of them and they are too big of burden on the rest of us tax payers. We won't notice the difference of them not working for government, but we will notice a better economy as the size and scope of government is reduced.
MORGAN BRENNAN: LINN ENERGY (LINE)
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: CUMMINS (CMI)