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Bulls & Bears

Why didn't low gas prices pump up holiday sales?

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.

NATIONAL GAS PRICE AVG FALLS BELOW $2 PER GALLON FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE 2009

Suzy Welch: People are not splurging, because slow economic growth is the new normal in America. There are pockets of sensational growth in Silicon Valley. Most of the country still feels on the edge with job security. The drop in oil prices is why it's crushing company’s profitability. College graduates are still not getting the jobs that put any real dent in their debt. On top of this fear, because of terrorism, you have a psychological dynamic.

Gary B. Smith: When I look at the economy, there are three pillars. What people earn if they have jobs, and what's the price of their house. Wages haven't budged in 30 years. The labor force participation rate has been dropping like a rock. If you track that and oil prices, they are going in the same direction, 62.5 percent. The jobs that this administration tout are being created are part time jobs. Finally, housing prices. There's a good part of the country under water in '07. Just for inflation, people haven't made a dime since 2002. No wonder people aren't out there spending.

Chuck Rocha: What Gary B. said that I agree with is there has not been any wage growth in years. You have this middle class whose shrinking every day and there's a lot of anxiety there. You see it bubbling up with Donald Trump or Bernie or people who are frustrated. They are putting a little bit back. Maybe they are not sure what next month holds. I do the political side of this, every day when with your talking about this. This is the new norm.

Jonas Max Ferris: The consumer has these fears and many of them are baseless. The big one, you are talking specifically about the gas dividend check no one is spending. They think going back to $4. That is a very common belief. The average pump buyer does not think gas is going to stay under $2 for long. But it probably will. They think it's going to take off again, and think interest rates are going to take off. They have been wrong about those for a long time and get it into the head, this is where it's at. Low interest rates and gas prices. They are not going to spend windfalls. They are going to hoard it and save it like a Japanese consumer.

John Layfield: For every job since 2000 that has been created, almost three people slid into food stamps. The middle class has been destroyed. GDP, it averages 3.3 percent annually, President Obama’s best year has been at 2.5 percent. Only two years since 2000 have we seen over the average. I think America is starting to realize, we don't have leadership and haven't in D.C. for some time.

GROWING CALLS TO REVOKE PASSPORTS OF AMERICANS WITH TERROR LINKS

John Layfield: I’m for Americans who fight with ISIS keeping their passports right up until the time we execute them for treason. When you talk about taxes I think people should pay them. But taking passports, if you have congress that puts something in the bill for Alaskan fish hatchery, that's stealing money, too. You take Congresses passports and indict them as well. That makes a level playing field.

Chuck Rocha: Yes, they should take their passport. Congress should do both. There's no sense, if somebody wants to harm this country, take their passport. Like John said, do everything and make sure they can never do it again.

Gary B Smith: The country is more concerned with putting dollars in the government's coughers to waste than we are about trying treasonous people. You are going to fight with an organization that has beheaded Americans, at best, let them keep their passport. As John said bring them back for treason. If someone wants to revoke their passport and have them stay out of the country, I’m fine with that. As far as the IRS revoking your passport, I want people to stay in the country so the IRS can get their money. It's idiotic on all accounts.

Jonas Max Ferris: Look, we can't get mad at the patriots of the IRS. Our ability to win battles is directly related to our ability to collect taxes.

Suzy Welch: What we have here is the IRS continuing to increase power. We know that's a dangerous thing. Last time they got their power increased, they used it to go after conservative groups. And under this administration it makes me very, very nervous.

MORE THAN A DOZEN STATES SET TO RAISE THEIR MINIMUM WAGE JANUARY 1st

Gary B Smith: This is troublesome. President Obama said, and I quote, there is no solid evidence higher minimum wages cost jobs. That was a lie. We have been studying this for hundreds of years. You saw the clip. We have all known it on this panel and across Fox News. The Federal Reserve, itself, other than the forecast, studied this issue. That found for every 10 percent of minimum wage increase, there's a 1 percent to 2 percent reduction in low scale jobs. Economists have proven the point, yet Obama speaks to the other side. It's frustrating.

Chuck Rocha: We let the states decide. The people voted to raise their minimum wage. Sometimes the legislatures, the local bodies of power, let's raise the minimum wage. That’s what you see happening. People deserve more.

Suzy Welch: It's about jobs, jobs of the future. Last week, Tim Cook, the CEO of Apple gave an interview saying we have 1 million jobs in China. We have them over there not because of the low wages, but because there are no trained workers here. A million jobs, okay? I think we should stop talking raising the minimum wage a little bit this and a little bit that and start having a conversation about vocational training to get jobs, real jobs for American workers with a future and with growth.

John Layfield: You raise the minimum wage and president Obama was the one who delayed implementation because it was costing jobs. However, I agree with Chuck. We said for a long time, this should go to the states. You can't compare Mississippi with New York. The state should have the right to do this. However, if you are wrong like they were in America Samoa, go to 15 or 25, whatever number you are choosing to put it on a bumper sticker, it is going to cost jobs.

Jonas Max Ferris: There are levels of minimum wage increase that don't have a lot of effect, probably the ones we have had to this point. When they happen, if the economy is strong, it doesn't matter. Oh, a little is good, a lot better.  

Stock Picks

Gary B Smith: Under Armor up 30 percent in 2016

John Layfield: Exxon up 20 percent in 1 year

Jonas Max Ferris: XRT 15 percent gain