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.
TENSIONS BUILDING IN IRAN AMID VIOLENT CRACKDOWN OF ANTI-GOVERNMENT PROTESTS
Steve Forbes: It's a bad deal with an evil regime, that's the largest source of terrorism in the world. They've suppressed their own people they've supported Hezbollah killing thousands of people in the Middle East, you had that scandal Politico revealed a few weeks ago about how the Obama administration quashed an investigation in the suppression of Hezbollah's drug deals. So it's a rotten regime suppressing its own people, spreading terror, yes get rid of the regime this is a good way to do it.
John Tamny: I don't think the protests have anything to do with the Iran deal. My problem with the Iran deal is that it elevates a regime that's not legitimate. Every time Democrats and Republicans make a big story out of Iran they empower really bad people. So for me the idea is to not enter broken deals in the first place, but to ignore that which is illegitimate. That will drive them from power not deals that aren't worth the paper they are printed on.
Elizabeth MacDonald: The courage and bravery of the protesters is truly breathtaking and stunning. And you're right the protesters are pointing out in Iran the sphere of influence this corrupt regime has around the world. I'll tell you something when you oppress half of your economy meaning women, you're going to be in the stone ages, that's what's happening and American money went to the Iran regime, the revolutionary guard and the government, and the Ayatollah's they oversee two thirds of the assets in that country, they don't pay any taxes. They squash small businesses, that's why people on the streets of Iran are saying enough. This theocracy is much younger than this very old country, this country is like thousands of years old. These people have had it, they don't want these brutal dictators anymore, and they don't deserve the way the Democrats and the Obama administration are ignoring them to this day.
Capri Cafaro: Obviously these protesters in Iran want to see democracy, they want to see freedom, they want to be empowered and that's what they are fighting to do. It does seem to me from my understanding I don't claim to be a Middle East expert, I sent most of my academic work on the former Soviet republics, but it's my understanding that a huge impetuous behind the protest in Iran is because of very high unemployment, high inflation, and high prices. The lack of economic opportunity has really brought these folks to the streets, and no question about it the mismanagement, the mishandling of funds including any assets that were available to them post Iran deal. I'm not weighing in on whether the Iran deal was good or bad but it's clear that the government in Iran is not directing any of that to the people of Iran to help them.
Rich Karlgaard: I think that Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama were so concerned about their legacy that all along the way their made compromises that kept the government in power. I love the point that EMac made, they are so many bright and accomplished Iranians in the United States they tend to call themselves Persians, and all we have to do is remove this crappy government and this economy in Iran will boom because it's full of ambitious entrepreneurial people.
Sabrina Schaeffer: This idea that we were injecting $100 billion into the economy that would somehow help the working Iranians and instead it went to places like Yemen, and Gaza, and Syria that was killing its own people, it's hard not to imagine wanting to take to the streets for this. Of course I also think this is an interesting opportunity for the Trump administration to use human rights as leverage here when they go back to the negotiating tables next week.
NEW YORK GOVERNOR CUOMO: STATE TO SUE OVER FEDERAL TAX OVERHAUL
Sabrina Schaeffer: I listen to the Governor rant and rave about the tax law and it was laughable if it weren't so upsetting. The reality is this is going to bring a lot of transparency to all of these states and they're not only on the East coast. You know a lot of these states have really high taxes and they're spending an enormous amount on public schools, on public pensions and people are sort of blind to it because they're able to write this off, no longer that is going to be the case. I think Governor Cuomo realizes his head could be on the chopping block if they don't make some real changes and so instead of digging deep and saying how are we going to reverse this he said we're just going to sue; I think it's absurd.
Rich Karlgaard: If you make a W-2 paycheck, that is you're employed by somebody and you make a high salary and you're trying to buy a house and houses are very expensive in these states like New York and California that happen to have high income tax rates, it's an impossible situation. And so I think that Republicans made an unforced error here and listened to the budget hawks and took away the SALT deductions, State and Local income taxes and I think it was a mistake for them. I think the millennials will hold this against Republicans for a long time.
Steve Forbes: They should have phased them in or slashed income tax rates, I want to get rid of the SALT deductions but slash the rates like 15 or 17 percent instead of the old 39-40 percent. So they got one part right, the other part they left out that makes it palatable. In terms of Andrew Cuomo suing that's simply a publicity stunt, he's running for president in 2020 or thinks he is, he's got competition from the Mayor of New York Bolshevik Bill De Blasio and Gillibrand the original chameleon and Senator from New York State. It's a stunt, but the Republicans did do unnecessary harm they should have either phased it in or slashed the rates, so people say okay I didn't get the deduction but I'm paying a lower rate.
Capri Cafaro: There has to be a balance here and I was a state legislator for 10 years, served on the ways and means committee and we through significant tax reform and incremental tax reductions in the state of Ohio particularly on the income tax side. Which was great expect for the fact that what happened was it transferred the burden the property taxes for local communities who still needed to provide for police, fire, and public schools at least in our context. So you do need to be able to find some kind of a balance here. But no question about it, with more money in people's pockets that means the economy is going to be stimulated from the middle out not top down or the bottom up.
Elizabeth MacDonald: It's stunning that through the housing collapse, that property taxes still stayed high. And you know what Governor Cuomo to your point, this is a point I'm about to tell you is about union patronage. Governor Cuomo oversees the MTA subway system, there are hundreds of workers in the subway system getting paid hundreds of thousands of dollars for doing zero, for doing nothing. This is about big government spending and union patronage, it's a problem.
John Tamny: I'm all for getting rid of deductions, but I am very much loathe the Republican plan that says to the genius the really wise people on the coast that because you're rich, because you live in California and New York that you owe more. So the unforced error as Steve points out, they should have reduced tax rates on the most productive, while also getting rid of the deduction.
NEW CHALLENGES AS CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES SPREAD
John Tamny: This is terrible for the taxpayers because every dollar the federal government spends is more control over the economy, but it's also bad for federal workers. Working for the federal government is about doing a job that never involves being fired and so you lack the strains and stresses that cause you to evolve and also it's supposed to be about sacrificial public service, it's about sacrifice.
Capri Cafaro: Look anytime the tax dollars are at stake the American people deserve transparency and answers on how those dollars are being spent. But we do have to remember that in order to attract quality individuals within the government you know at the end of the day people need to make money, they need to earn a living, and in places like Washington D.C. the cost of living is incredibly high and I think what we really need to look at what are these kind of positions that are getting paid incredibly high do they warrant that kind of money. I mean is it the head of an agency that has hundreds of employees reporting to that individual or is it something that is obscure that may be a position that needs to be eliminated. Again we have to remember that if we want government to act like business it needs to be as competitive as business in order to get that kind of talent to come into the government.
Elizabeth MacDonald: I think eight years ago I may have said something like trickle down government, that our government is way too big there are too many people working there doing nothing. The people who have the time off David, doesn't even count the people who are sitting on their couches working for the federal government at home, working from home on union duties full time. I mean that's a big problem too.
Steve Forbes: There's no market discipline. When you're in the private sector, when you do that kind of behavior you go out of business. So all the reforms they've put in, oh we're going to run it like a business don't work because there's not that pressure. By the way each year they evaluate federal employees and if you don't give them the highest rating you have a huge union fight, and so there's no accountability.
Rich Karlgaard: I think the issue is you can't fire the mediocre ones or the crappy ones, but you know when it comes to cyber security and issues like that, we probably should be paying more to attract the kind of talent that would otherwise go to Amazon or Google.
Sabrina Schaeffer: I actually don't want people with great talent leaving the private sector, there's no market there, it's never actually going to behave this way.
NEW RECORD HIGHS!
Rich Karlgaard: AMAZON (AMZN)
Elizabeth MacDonald: VANGUARD MEGA CAP GROWTH (MGK)