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.
NEW FOCUS ON WHITE HOUSE LEAKS AND THEIR POTENTIAL IMPACT ON TRUMP'S ECONOMIC AGENDA
Steve Forbes: Well, every administration, David, has leaks as people jockey for position, jousting with other agencies, fighting among each other—that's normal. The key thing is that Kelly has brought order to the functioning of the White House, and these leaks are not standing in the way of getting the big tax cut through. The problem there, David, is Congress—not the White House.
John Tamny: I don't think we should be concerned at all and there's a reason for it. What is pro-growth about Trump's agenda is the simple truth that he is distracted, that the White House is distracted, that it can't get anything done. As weird as that sounds, if you look throughout history, the presidents where there's not a lot of legislation from them have some of the best growth. Let's go back to Calvin Coolidge, among others.
Mike Ozanian: I think, David, it's very very hard to control the flow of information when the information's made up by the media. So whether it be the nuclear arsenal, or the Russians or this or that—fake news is not something that Kelly's going to be able to prevent. And I don't buy that this has hurt Trump at all. He's put out a very good framework for tax cuts, a very good framework for health care, and as Steve pointed out, Congress hasn't gotten the job done.
Bruce Japsen: Some of these leaks could be from people who don't have enough work to do, so I will say that. But listen—they've also saved the taxpayers some money because it was not fake news that Secretary Price was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars flying private jets around the countries. It's the revolving door—when people leave you get leaks, some of these leaks could be held over from people leaving and so forth. But they're not all bad, that's for sure.
Elizabeth MacDonald: I think General Kelly's doing a great job. I think the White House does have a problem with leaks. I think it is the press establishment's job to do its job—I don't agree with the attacks about fake news. They're basically quoting 9 sources at a time. I will say this: Larry O'Connor, the analyst said this, it's striking that NBC would not report Ronan Farrow's very well sourced, on-the-record interviews with women who were sexually harassed by Harvey Weinstein, but they're quoting anonymous sources in the White House. That's something to talk about. I do think it's a distraction when you have to have the White House Chief of Staff come out and talk about the leaks—it is a distraction away from the growth agenda.
Sabrina Schaeffer: That all makes me happy, David, and I hope it continues that way and I think a sure way to ensure that it does to make sure that we get massive tax reform. But I do worry that these leaks are a real problem because this is a president that can't stay focused. He can't seem to get his agenda done and I think he's consumed about what other people are saying about him in a way that is not good. We have to get this tax reform done and I'm worried that this will take the White House completely off track.
PRESIDENT TRUMP SIGNS NEW EXECUTIVE ORDER AIMED AT INCREASING COMPETITION AND LOWERING PREMIUMS
Steve Forbes: What it's going to do, David, is allow more flexibility in the individual market. The individual market for health insurance has been decimated by ObamaCare. This allows, for example, short-term policies that are affordable, that can give you coverage short-term which Obama did away with. Having more national competition across state lines is a good thing. So he's taking steps to revive a market that needs to be revived if we're truly to have patient-controlled health care.
Elizabeth MacDonald: That's the key question—how do you take care of those with preexisting conditions? Striking statistic: 5 percent of the population are responsible for 50 percent of the health costs. It's also about the poor and senior citizens. The state associations for businesses to combine and buy insurance across state lines, that's an important development; however, they can act like credit card companies and go to a state that has lax rules so that you don't have to cover those with preexisting conditions. That's an issue.
Sabrina Schaeffer: I think that this is a strategy that conservatives ought to sort of pursue more of. First of all, I think to be clear he hasn't actually done anything but he has asked several regulatory agencies to now go back and sort of review things and figure out a better way—how can we deregulate some of ObamaCare? So there's still a few steps between now and a free market, but he's definitely moving in the right direction in terms of pulling government out of the business of health care which will drive up choice and lower costs.
Bruce Japsen: No, I'm definitely not [corporate welfare]. But he's got it wrong. Those subsidies are a pass through. They go directly to the patients. The insurance companies—if they don't have these subsidies, they're going to get rate increases of 25 percent. This is not something that hurts the insurance companies, it hurts the patients. And on these association health plans and the state lines thing, this has been tried before—it doesn't work.
Mike Ozanian: And now we know why they help co-author ObamaCare, right? There's the proof right there. It comes down to more choice. What you have are people like Bruce who want health care to be determined by a handful of elite people in Washington, D.C. and doled out with taxpayer money, and then you have others who are trying to give more choice and more freedom. I think the way to go is more choice and more freedom—it always gives a better product.
John Tamny: In the world we live in, it's a step in the right direction. Let the insurance companies not offered in the specific ACA package compete—I love that. The shame is that we're talking about this. In every other industry not encumbered by government, prices are always falling. Health care is expensive precisely because Washington has a policy regarding it.
RETAILERS, CONSUMERS IN CHICAGO CHEER VOTE TO REPEAL SWEETENED BEVERAGE TAX
Elizabeth MacDonald: It was the lower and middle income guys who said: wait a second, we don't need a soda tax to tell us that sugar is bad for us. They're the ones who fought back. They saw that this soda tax was filling government budget holes blown open by spending.
Bruce Japsen: I have a teenage daughter who's not with me on this issue, but that's okay—she likes pop. I would just say let's not get too excited here. The deciding vote was John Daley, the former mayor's brother, and he was pressured I'm sure by the business community so what you have to do is wait 6 to 12 months to see which county commissioners have a new driveway or pool in their backyard.
Elizabeth MacDonald: Vanguard Morgan Growth—it has Apple, Microsoft companies like Facebook and Visa in it. It is cheap, up double digits.
Mike Ozanian: I like it not so much because of the holdings, David, but because it's very inexpensive to own.