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.
REPORT: INCREASED OIL PRODUCTION IN U.S. IS HELPING LOWER GLOBAL ENERGY PRICES
SABRINA SCHAEFFER: It sure does. Not only would it bring the cost of oil down here at home, but let's remember that Putin's regime is largely made up of income from his oil and gas exports. So this would give us tremendous leverage, the ability to decrease the price of this important commodity for them, and give us leverage in terms of helping stop some of the aggression we are seeing coming from Russia today.
STEVE FORBES: It would be. The key thing, too, is the dollar has been stable. That's what happened in the 1980s. Reagan also removed price controls. Another thing we should look at, David, is stepping up approval of licenses to export natural gas, liquefied natural gas. That would knock Putin's power down, because Western Europe is now dependent on Russian gas. If we were exporting cheap gas, undermining his, that would take away significant power for him.
MIKE OZANIAN: David, unless we do more of what Reagan did, the impact of what you just said is going to be very marginal. If we want to defeat ISIS and put Putin in retreat, we also have to build up our military, which this president has completely undercut.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Energy is a weapon in the arsenal that we can use. You're absolutely right. Look at what happened. John Tammy and Steve are absolutely right. The strong dollar really lowered oil prices during the '80s. It left Gorbachev scrambling at the end trying to borrow oil from Germany because USSR Soviet Union was bankrupt. We've seen turmoil in the Middle East; every time oil goes down. We've seen turmoil in Venezuela; every time oil goes down. It would hit ISIS really hard. The reason why Putin is in the Ukraine is because of its big gas and oil reserves; also Crimea, as well, David.
JOHN TAMNY: Well, I'm all for that, but the Reagan model is really a lot simpler. A stronger dollar brings down the oil prices, plain and simple. It has very little to do with pumping the oil, and a lot to do with the strong dollar. What that would do is it would be a magnet for investment in the United States; it would boost our economy at the same time while bringing down commodities across the board and it would hurt those countries, a lot of these backward countries like Russia, that are relying on commodities. So if you fix the dollar, you win this.
RICK UNGAR: John Tamny brought up a very critical point. I think we all agree that if we can do something to put more pressure on Putin, we all agree that's a great idea. The problem is the United States can't do it alone. The oil companies, who would also suffer some reduction in profits if the price continue to drop-- they might have something to say about this and may not be so anxious to play along. That's why john is right. There was more government policy during the Reagan area and how that played out.
HHS: WELFARE RECIPIENTS CAN USE BENEFIT CARDS TO BUY POT AT LEGALIZED POT SHOPS
STEVE FORBES: I don't know if they're inhaling or drinking Kool-Aid, but the idea of using taxpayer money for pot-- the nation is going to pot or whatever you want to call it, when it does something like that; absolutely not. In terms of enforcement there are ways to do it. If people want to find ways to get around it, make them work to do it. But don't have them legally get stuff like that; and with booze, as well. Food stamps are for food, not for other stuff.
RICK UNGAR: Look, I think what you're really seeing here is that the law just hasn't caught up with the fact that some states are now legalizing marijuana. I think it will, but at the same time if we're going to go all nanny state on pot in this regard, should we not be including sugar on the list, too, and other things that might be doing people harm?
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Did I miss a memo, David? I thought they were called food stamps, not pot stamps? Did I miss that?
MIKE OZANIAN: I agree totally. My only question about all of this is if we can't stop people who don't get food stamps from using pot, what makes us think we can stop people who do get food stamps from buying pot?
CARRIE SHEFFIELD: Well you could argue that maybe you want to use Medicaid to pay for medical marijuana; that's very different from food stamps. Using taxpayer money for recreational pot, I am opposed to that, but we actually already have that. On the black market you can sell your EBT card, and buy pot, liquor, strippers with the cash you get. We should mandate people to show up at the grocery store and all you get is healthy food. Let's see if Michelle Obama will sign on.
PGA AND 35 OTHER GROUPS TEE OFF ON EPA OVER NEWLY PROPOSED "GREEN" REGULATION
STEVE FORBES: They're trying to turn mud puddles into the equivalent of the Mississippi river to have more power, which means more expenses for farmers. You look at what they have already done in California with water rules and extinct species rules; destroyed a huge agricultural state. They'll do this to the whole country. Mud puddles and little ditches are not the same as the Mississippi river, sorry.
RICK UNGAR: I'm shocked that you raised the president and golf. I didn't see that coming. Look, I've read the regulation. It's simply not as onerous as you want to make it out to be. It's a moderate redefinition to make things clear. You cannot be shocked that country clubs are worried about water. You go to Southern California today; everybody's grass is brown and dry because of the drought, but not the golf courses.
JOHN TAMNY: Rick may be right, but private property is just that. What the EPA is doing amounts to a taking. Anytime the federal government tries to dictate what goes on private land, it has a chilling effect, because who knows where they stop in the future. It's not about this one; it's what could be down the line.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: Water is a need. I don't mind the government overseeing water. Look at what ENRON did with the electricity supply in California. By the way, I think the PGA's overreacting. Manmade ditches and ponds are exempt in this new rule.
SABRINA SCHAEFFER: I don't think the PGA is overreacting. They're a coalition of 35 groups all saying this is an example of the ballooning regulatory state that makes up the rules as they go along. It's a hidden tax on businesses. Let's remember that it's the EPA that is leading the charge of agencies imposing regulatory costs on businesses and individual families. I think they're absolutely right to step up on this.
STOCKS FOR UNCERTAIN TIMES
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: (HBAN) Huntington Bancshares
MIKE OZANIAN: (AMPH) Amphastar Pharmaceuticals, Inc.