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.
TURMOIL IN IRAQ HITS STOCKS, OIL PRICES; RAISES NEW QUESTIONS FOR US ECONOMY
GARY B SMITH: I think there are two facets; one is the oil prices. If oil prices go up, it's a tax on the consumer. As the oil stocks rise in this case, it hurts the economy. But as to the effect on the market, the market has had a pretty good run since September of last year. If this breaks out and we send in drones, artillery, munitions, etc., I think it would spook the market and we could see a selloff. If it really escalates and we get involved causing Russia to get involved, then we could see a 20 percent drop in the market.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: I don't think the world war scenario is one we need to worry about and spend money fighting against. A crazy ideology without an underlying strong economy is not a world threat. These countries are in rough shape; they can't build the militaries that will attack the world.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I've been going to Iraq since 2003 and I could tell from my most recent visit that this civil war would be the likely outcome. You have Kurds in the North, and the Sunnis in the middle who were taken care of by Saddam Hussein and forgotten by the Shia government in the south. The Iranian troops are now helping Baghdad and the Kurds are building a pipeline into Turkey so they're basically autonomous. The bad guys are left in the middle. Short term, you have 3.3 billion barrels of oil that can be absorbed by Saudi Arabia's 2 million extra barrels of oil at capacity a day. Long term, it depends on how this escalates.
TRACY BYRNES: The biggest story is oil prices. If gas goes up a little bit, even if it's 10 cents a gallon, and your hourly wages are not increasing, that cuts into your disposable income; that cuts into your discretionary spending; that cuts into everything. As this economy slowly starts to get better, this could be what brings it to a screeching halt.
BRAT'S HISTORIC PRIMARY WIN OVER HOUSE MAJORITY LEADER CANTOR SPARKS NEW DEBT DEBATE
JOHN LAYFIELD: These Tea-Party candidates stand for something. Most politicians go up there and stand for nothing; all they want to do is get re-elected. The Tea Party candidates, to their credit, will tell you exactly what they want to do and how they're going to go about accomplishing that and I think that's why they've gotten such passionate support.
EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN: I think everybody wants to read into Eric Cantor's defeat because it is truly stunning. But I think at the end of the day he just forgot the cardinal rule. All politics are local. He was not paying attention to his district. They felt like he was running for speaker of the house, rather than running to represent them again. In the redistricting, he lost a large portion of his district that knew him when he had been around more. He brought in another part of the district that was more conservative and rural. Although he thought this would help him hold the seat, it ended up working against him since they didn't know him at all.
GARY B SMITH: David Brat wants to cut spending really because we want to limit the size of government. On his website he said government doesn't have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. I think the local people saw a guy who is kind of a big government Republican. We need something that represents a smaller government. People are sick of spending on all kinds of things like the VA and having horrible returns, on Obamacare which is a bust, and social security which is broke. The message is starting to resonate. We are spending too much and we also want to cut the debt.
TRACY BRYNES: I think Eric Cantor forgot about his purpose there. He was a big friend of Wall Street; he helped Wall Street along the way. So now it loses a friend and you have David Brat who disdains Wall Street.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: There's definitely some corporate wealth going on from Republicans and that's under attack as well. I'm not against giving the banks money to prevent the economy from collapsing. So I think the Cantors of the world made the economy work, even though we don't like the way it works.
JUDGE STRIKES DOWN "UNCONSTITUTIONAL"TEACHER TENURE LAW IN CALIFORNIA
TRACY BRYNES: There are wonderful teachers not tenured who are probably so angry they don't have the rights. This notion of last hire, first fire is one of the many arcane rules in our education system. There are a lot of teachers sitting on their butts in classrooms since their tenured. So if we get rid of this arcane rule, it only helps our kids.
EMILY TISCH SUSSMAN: I think we're at the beginning of seeing a lot of changes in the education system, with children being at the core of it, which is what we should always be focused on. But at the core is the teaching; that is the most important part of it. So there does have to be some sort of security for the teachers. I think we're moving around now and changing the consensus of what that is.
JOHN LAYFIELD: Our education system is failing our kids. We have some great teachers but they should be rewarded and bad teachers should be cut. You cannot do that when you have tenure.
GARY B SMITH: I can kind of understand tenure at a University level. Here they need academic freedom and should not be beholden to what the university says so they can go off and do projects. But at the high school level, I don't understand what tenure does other than guarantee that they can sit back and goof off.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: I agree but it doesn't mean that getting rid of it will improve all the woes with school. Michigan and New Hampshire moved away from tenure; we got to see what happens over there with the SAT scores. Right now California has some of the highest scores there are so I'm not sure it's going to lead to better students. I know it might lead to higher pay packages. A job you can't get fired from is a job you will do for less money than a job you can get fired from. So we'll have to pay them more to make up for the benefit we‘ve just taken away. It is going to raise the cost of salaries.
JONAS MAX FERRIS: Sony will 'flop' no more; SNE up 22 percent in in 6 months
JOHN LAYFIELD: Flotek will 'flow' with profits! (FTK) up 20 percent in 1 year
GARY B SMITH: Oil keeps surging with unrest in Mideast; (CVX) up 30 percent by 2015