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.
U.S. DEBT COMING INTO FOCUS DURING FINAL CAMPAIGN PUSH
CHARLES PAYNE: The U.S. government is absolutely flat broke but the public isn't broke. It's a shame that that's our average share of the debt that the government just wildly throws away spends like crazy, and can't put on any kind of control. But this is where we are; this is the inflexion point. At the moment of truth, where we keep running this up, we're asking Americans -- you want your total to be more than that? Essentially, we've become a total welfare country and welfare stare. But unless somehow the American public puts their foot down, government won't do it.
DAGEN MCDOWELL: In order to fix it, people are going to have to give up something. Whether it's some tax breaks or whether it's spending on certain things that they love -- when is the day going to arrive that people are willing to do that that? Maybe it's this year. I thought it was two years ago that there would be something different. And frankly, even with a lot of the Tea Party candidates moving in, we just didn't see that much movement on trying to fix our financial situation in D.C.
BEN STEIN: People aren't willing to raise taxes. There's just not enough to cut and there's a discretionary funding. The huge majority of these expenditures are fixed by law or defense which we absolutely need. I think a bigger question is why are these foreigners, especially these very clever foreigners, willing to buy so much of our debt? They must see some value here that maybe we're too modest and self-effacing to see ourselves. Obviously, this country has some tremendous value to the rest of the world.
ADAM LASHINSKY: Of course we should get our spending in line. Of course we should cut down our debt. And of course, we need to be making progress toward paying back the people who lend us this money. The really good news is, first of all, the Chinese for example invests here because they can't do better anywhere else. Furthermore, we've got their money! We should be very happy about that. They can't just take their money back. Everyone says, "oh! The Chinese are going to call their loans." No they're not -- because they're not going to be able to put that money somewhere else.
TABLET WARS ERUPTING BETWEEN MICROSOFT AND APPLE
ADAM LASHINSKY: It's a rough comparison to compare, you know, two profit-making companies with government. The fact that Microsoft has been losing for about ten years now just keeps coming back and trying again. Not just trying again, but trying a new fresh approach with a tablet computer. I don't know if they're going to succeed, but it looks snazzy and their putting a lot of money behind it and they're trying to have new fresh ideas. And yes, I think our government, both of our parties, could learn from that example.
BEN STEIN: I think it's very much limited to that sphere. I think to your basic point, that the energy initiative creativity of people in the private sector who stand to make a great deal of money and prestige by creating something new, useful, wonderful, and good looking in the computer wars -- that's an overwhelming incentive which the ordinary bureaucrat does not have and it's a shame. It would be nice if the bureaucrats could be incentivized in some way. Taking the mindset of a person from Silicon Valley on the edge of a war and to compare it with a mindset of someone from the Department of Commerce -- it's just apples and oranges.
DAGEN McDOWELL: Apple and Steve Jobs defined the new Apple by deciding what we needed and wanted before we even knew it. That was going on for a decade, but with the change going in Washington did they even take one lead from what Steve Jobs did? No. You look at the websites for all the government agencies and it's like 1998 and not in a good way.
CHARLES PAYNE: Here's the bottom line. These companies are accountable and they are held accountable. The thing that the private sector and the government do have in common is that they can gussy things up. They can have commercials and they can have fancy packaging but ultimately if a company does not have something that the public wants it will go out of business. You can't say the same for politicians.
TSA REPLACING BODY-SCANNERS WITH LESS INVASIVE MACHINES
CHARLES PAYNE: With $43 million think about it. We talk about this, they want to unionize it -- I think we should get back to the idea of real professionals and private outside; someone who understands the in and out's bottom line.
DAGEN McDowell: Government took control of airport security because of September 11th. It was private, and President Bush is the one who had government take over security. I think this is actually a good thing because it's the government working in the interest of the individual. The machines we're getting rid of are the ones with the x-ray radiation. The ones that they're being replaced with should be faster which makes every fliers life easier and should be potentially less harmful.
ADAM LASHINSKY: They're moving these machines to other airports I believe, and they're not completely getting rid of them. They've done a really good job of keeping us safe since September 11th. They're doing a good job, we want to keep it in their hands and not in private hands where someone is going to cut a budget to make money and maybe jeopardize our safety.
BEN STEIN: No matter what is revealed I want to be safe on that airplane. I don't care who is revealed or what is revealed. I don't want somebody carrying explosives or a knife or gun onto the airplane. It's already not good enough. My wife carried a gun shaped cigarette lighter onto an airplane and my son carried firecrackers onto a plane not long ago. I don't care about invasion of privacy; I just don't want the plane to blow up.
CHARLES PAYNE: (CERN)
ADAM LASHINSKY: (CVX)
BEN STEIN: (EWZ)