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.
This past week's Bulls & Bears: Gary B. Smith, Exemplar Capital managing partner; Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com director of stock research; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Patricia Powell, Powell Financial; Eric Bolling, Independent Trader; Gary Kaltbaum, Kaltbaum & Associates, and Marc Lamont Hill, Temple University.
Call it an oil shock! Crude hits a record high last week, gas spikes and stocks sink. Is it time for Congress to stop fighting about all this and start helping by cutting the 18.4 cents/gallon federal gas tax now?
Gary Kaltbaum: It is absolutely time to cut the gas tax. Here is the bottom line:
Consumers are already pinched with costs from falling home prices, with food prices rising, with all energy costs going up. Cutting the 18 cents a gallon tax totally adds up over an entire year.
Cutting this tax is a great way to start helping out consumers and the economy. It doesn't seem like Congress is using the money that well from the tax... which goes to fixing roads.
Eric Bolling: If anything, we should be raising the gas tax to we can cut demand for oil, which would force us to really get serious about creating alternative forms of energy,
Gary B. Smith: I wouldn't kill the tax, but I'd cut it just enough so that revenues from the tax pay for highways and bridges. Increasing taxes doesn't cut consumption all that much, and if it did -- and oil prices went down -- we'd just end up consuming more. Therefore, tax revenues are best left in the hands of the consumer.
Patricia Powell: Didn't anyone in congress ever take a course in economics? Instead of getting rid a this gas tax – which directly impacts the consumers, it wants to get rid of tax breaks for oil companies. Oil is an economic problem... we are experiencing higher and higher demand for a product that does not currently have expanding supply. The only thing the politicians can do with a higher tax is mess things up. If you want the price of energy to fall you want lots of competition. By reducing the profit incentive, Congress reduces the incentive to compete; less competition will drive the price of oil up even further. Bad idea for oil price and bad idea for capitalism and bad idea for America.
Scott Bleier: Don't kill this tax! Federal gas tax is under .19 a gallon and is used for transportation infrastructure. That money is of vital importance to keep the roads running. But 100 percent of that revenue is not used for the roads and should be…and anyway, gas prices seemingly go up .20 cents a gallon weekly! It's up .40 cents per gallon (wholesale) since February 7th! Also, the solution is not to tax big oil, but to transfer tax credits from highly profitable oil companies and moving them to alternative energy. There is nothing wrong with that especially considering how profitable oil companies are.
Michelle Obama's Money Message: Bad For the Economy?
Michelle Obama hitting the campaign trail for her husband, armed with a money message for Americans:
"Don't go into corporate America. You know, become teachers. Work for the community. Be social workers. Be a nurse. Those are the careers that we need, and we're encouraging our young people to do that." (Michelle Obama from a speech in Zanesville, OH, on 2-28-08).
But what would happen to our economy if they listened to Barack's wife?
Gary B. Smith: Our economy would be...dead! There's nothing wrong with people doing what she asked, but one of the reasons we NEED social workers, as an example, is because people don't pursue work period. Basically, all her recommendations are on offshoot of the idea that "the nanny state" is good.
Marc Lamont Hill: What Michelle Obama is saying is that we need to start investing in human capital. And remember, all the successful businessmen and women in America had great teachers, so Michelle Obama's call for more teachers is a really good thing for our economy. And what we need to do is figure out a way to create incentives for people to go into these professions.
Stock X-Change: Pat Dorsey's Best Mutual Funds
Fairholme Fund (FAIRX )
FPA Crescent (FPACX )
Dodge & Cox International (DODFX )
Marsico Focus (MFOCX )
Gary B. Smith: Hillary Drops Out Next Week, Obama Nation & Health Care Win! Buy Tenet (THC )
Patricia Powell: Financial Fallout Almost Over! "XLF" up 40 percent in 18 months
Pat Dorsey: Go, Go, Go With Natural Gas! Crosstex (XTXI ) up 40 percent in 1 year
Scott Bleier: No "Thorns" for Thornburg! "TMA" up 50 percent in 2008
Eric Bolling: Goldman Sachs (GS ) rallies after earnings; up to $200/share by end of '08
On Saturday, March 1, 2008, Alexis Glick was joined by Charles Payne, wstreet.com; Tracy Byrnes, FOX Business Network; Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine; David Nelson, DC Nelson Asset Management; Troy Dunn, "Young Bucks: How to Raise a Future Millionaire" Author; and MeMe Roth, actionagainstobesity.com.
Bottom Line: When It Comes to the Economy: Are Clinton and Obama Making Things Worse?
Soundbites from this week:
Barack Obama: "Our economy is not getting better; it's getting worse."
Hillary Clinton: "It's hard to conclude anything other than that the economy is in trouble."
Alexis Glick: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama talking down the economy this week. It's something they do just about every day on the campaign trail. But, as they do, are they actually pushing down the economy, too?
Troy Dunn: I don't think their economy-bashing is having a small effect, I think it's having an enormous effect! Seventy-percent of the GDP is driven by people's purchasing, so the candidates' constant selling of fear is only reaffirming what people's fears already are… which are things are getting bad. So, if the candidates don't stop, they're going to drive us into a recession. If they shut up and change their tune, they'll change things quickly.
Alexis Glick: David, give me a reality check. Things aren't great!
David Nelson: There's absolutely no need to exaggerate; the truth is scary enough! I mean come on. Are you kidding me? We have inflation spinning out of control, our currency is being devalued almost daily, homeowners are losing their equity, and we have a Fed chairman who's saying there's likely to be bank failures! Are you kidding me?
Troy Dunn: Ninety percent of homeowners are in great shape. It's like those reporters who go out and do reports on hurricanes. They find the one yard with the tree down across the car and make it look like the world's falling apart. Ninety percent of Americans, and I'm very proud of you, are making good decisions, good purchases, being careful with their credit lines, and are fine. You can't let the crazy people convince you the sky is falling, because it isn't falling! The tide goes out. The tide comes in. Relax. We'll be fine.
Tracy Byrnes: This has everything to do with the fact that it's an election year. Quite frankly, the Republicans are doing it, too. It's all about getting the incumbent out and getting someone else in. The only way to do that is to make it seem that whatever's going on now is all bad.
Adam Lashinsky: I completely agree with what Tracy's saying. Yes, the candidates are fear-mongering. If there wasn't a bad economy right now, the candidates would find something else to criticize the White House about. But Troy, it's completely ridiculous and backwards to say that because the candidates are saying negative things about a negative situation, they are causing the situation to be worse.
Charles Payne: I have to disagree with you, Adam. The bottom line is a big part of the economy is a self-fulfilling event. If I'm paying my mortgage and I have a great job, but I keep hearing how bad things are, I may go out and buy a bomb shelter. I may stop spending my money. And that's exactly what's going on. People who are doing very well and have no reason to worry… are worried. Most of the candidates and newspapers are shouting doom and gloom. It's interesting. We had a 7 year run with this economy, which is about 2 year longer than the average run. Had this been your typical economic expansion, we would have gone through this about a year and a half ago and been on the upswing already.
David Nelson: Charles, you're making the case.
Charles Payne: No, the economy is slowing, but it's not doom and gloom. It's not the end of the world!
David Nelson: It's never the end of the world. Most of the economic data we're seeing is coming in well below consensus.
Tracy Byrnes: Numbers are noise.
Alexis Glick: Wait a second. Tracy, let me go back to your for a second. The issue here is: Are Senators Clinton and Obama making the economy worse? Charles, the one thing I say to you is where is Sen McCain's plan? It isn't just the Democrats saying the economy is in trouble. It's the Republicans, too!
Tracy Byrnes: I think in their own absurd way, they'd prefer we slip into a recession because that would help them all the more. I think it's diabolical, but it's working to their benefit.
Adam Lashinsky: Let's get back to John McCain. His platform assumes the economy is not in good shape. I remember a while ago in Michigan when he was still running against Mitt Romney. McCain was telling people things weren't good and that people needed to get retrained. He's not necessarily being doom and gloom, but he wasn't agreeing with what we're hearing from President Bush… which is everything will be fine.
Alexis Glick: Look at the state of Ohio. They have lost 200,000 manufacturing jobs. That's a quarter of what they had! You can't say this is an isolated event. It's happening in states across the country.
Troy Dunn: Yeah, but our exports are up 7.9 percent.
Alexis Glick: That's because of a weak dollar.
Tracy Byrnes: That is only because of the dollar.
Troy Dunn: Yeah, but we're creating jobs with that. It's like people who say, "I don't buy Japanese cars. I buy American." Well, that's silly, old-fashioned talk because we live in a global economy. Anything that's working around the globe will come back to America. That's how it works these days. The economy is not a sick pig in the barn with people asking if it's going to die. The economy is us. It's our psychology. It's our decision to stand up and get more out of life. Misery loves company. The Democrats know that and they're trying to tell all the miserable people "You hang with us because we're all miserable… and together we're going to get better."
Charles Payne: What I'm more concerned about is that the Democrats are making this worse than it is and want to protect jobs. You cannot protect a job that's uncompetitive in the global market. You just can't pay someone $100 / hr when someone else will do it for $5 / hr.
Adam Lashinsky: I agree with you on that.
David Nelson: That's the first statement I've heard that I like.
Alexis Glick: Let me ask you something here. What about us? Are we adding to the fear mongering? We talk about the economy in the press every day. You, yourself, talk about the headlines of the papers across the country.
Charles Payne: The economy goes in cycles. This just happens to be the end of an incredible run. We're slowing, but we're not falling off a cliff! What I have a problem with is people trying to say that 5 percent is Armageddon!
David Nelson: It's not.
Tracy Byrnes: To Charles's point! If we were not election year, everyone would just say this is a typical economic business cycles. Things go up. Things go down. And it happens to be going down while people are trying to fight for the Oval Office.
David Nelson: Tracy, it's in the candidates' best interest to exploit this, but all they have to do is tell the truth.
Tracy Byrnes: You are scaring people!
David Nelson: I'm telling the truth!!
Tracy Byrnes: People are locked in their basements because they're afraid if they go buy a chocolate bar, they're going to have to sell their home.
Alexis Glick: Adam, didn't Greenspan sorta get us into this situation? I mean, maybe it's me, but weren't interest rates really low at one point?
Adam Lashinsky: They were very low and regulators were asleep at the switch. That's something we need to be talking about. Yes, it's an election year, but these are extraordinary times. To ignore that would be foolish.
Charles Payne: Let me tell you something. You know who's going to be hurt the most by all this talk? It's going to be the poor people who couldn't get mortgages before. The poor people will be the ones who pay the most if the Democrats get in office.
Head to Head: Time to Boycott Girl Scout Cookies?
Alexis Glick: A nationwide boycott launched against Girl Scout cookies. I kid you not! In the height of the girls' fundraising season, my next guest is blaming those tasty treats for making Americans fat. Buy, is a boycott fair? It's time to go "Head to Head." MeMe, why do you want people to boycott "Thin Mints"?
MeMe Roth: I don't think the Girl Scouts are responsible for America's twin health care crisis of diabetes and obesity. We're not saying that. Our position is if you are a civic organization… Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, houses of worship, schools… you should not be using junk food as a fundraiser any longer. If the Girl Scouts want to sell of their brand and put their boxes on the grocery store shelves with the rest of the junk food companies, fine. But they're a civic organization with a different mission statement.
Alexis Glick: Troy, you disagree?
Troy Dunn: I couldn't disagree more! She looks so normal, but there's a like a crazy woman locked inside her. First of all, the Girl Scouts is not a civic organization. It's a not-for-profit. I consider the Girl Scouts of America to be the greatest business school for our young women. They learn everything from sales to product distribution, presentation and counting money. They are not making people fat and obese. Cookies don't make people fat. People make people fat. If you want to teach a message, the message is self control and restraint. No where on that box does it say one box equals one serving. So, people who are gorging themselves are making a personal decision.
MeMe Roth: I agree that it's all about personal responsibility. But, the Girl Scouts is not Kraft, Coke, or Kellogg. They are an organization with a mission to serve the community. You cannot serve the community if you sell it the very things that make it sick.
Troy Dunn: Two-point-six million girls… and by the way, one of those 2.6 million is my daughter… are in the Girl Scouts of America learning all sorts of different things including service. By the way, they have a badge they can earn in fitness…
MeMe Roth: So why make the money selling junk food? They're told to tell people the cookies have zero transfat. You know what the second ingredient after sugar is? Transfat. So they're told to mislead the public. Also, your local troop keeps $0.40 of a $3.50 box.
Troy Dunn: Sixty cents.
MeMe Roth: No, on average it's $0.40.
Troy Dunn: I'm telling you! My troop just made $0.60 on each box.
MeMe Roth: Forty cents on $3.50 is what? Ten – 15 percent? You're a self-made millionaire… that's not very good entrepreneurial skills.
Troy Dunn: Are you saying they shouldn't sell them? Or that they should negotiate better for a higher percentage?
MeMe Roth: My point is if your mission statement is to serve the community, you don't undermine the community's health. The former Surgeon General says we need to worry about many things. Top on the list is obesity, the terror within, because the costs associated with obesity will bankrupt this country. We have to get a handle on this!
Alexis Glick: Let's be real about this for a second here. We've been selling Girl Scout cookies for decades. You cannot immediately and directly suggest that they are responsible for obesity…
MeMe Roth: You are right! We would never suggest that the Girl Scouts are responsible for obesity. Obesity and diabetes are a flood. It's going to take more than one sandbag to push back that tide. What we're saying is if you are a school, a house of worship, a community-service oriented organization… don't use junk food as your fundraiser.
Troy Dunn: You want to destroy the greatest institution for little girls. Why don't you just say let's teach control.
MeMe Roth: The idea of selling something just because it's easy money…
Troy Dunn: First of all it's not easy money. Girl Scouts are very hard working.
MeMe Roth: No one's said they aren't! We would never criticize the girls! I was in a lecture with David Katz from Yale. He said about 80 percent of Americans have excess fat and about 50 percent of kids do, too. Decades ago, this was a quaint idea to sell cookies. It doesn't matter who sells it or how's it's packaged… it is what it is. No household needs the Girl Scouts selling more sugar and more transfat.
Troy Dunn: Would you like to see chairs removed from schools so those fat little buggers move more?
MeMe Roth: There needs to be more physical education in schools.
Troy Dunn: By the way, the girls sold 200 million boxes this year. The Girl Scouts raised $700 million! God bless ‘em. I hope everyone in America buys Girl Scout cookies.
MeMe Roth: Here's the thing. I don't want to pay the health insurance that goes with it. It affects my health insurance premium. It affects your health insurance premium.
Alexis Glick: We gotta leave it there. MeMe and Troy… heated debate! You guys are tough!
More for Your Money: Stocks for Under $10!
Alexis Glick: You asked for it and we got it. Stocks under $10 that'll help you get "More for Your Money."
David Nelson: Earthlink (ELNK)
Charles Payne: Tibco (TIBX )
Adam Lashinsky: 1-800-Flowers.com (FLWS )
FOX on the Spot
Charles Payne: Don't Miss the Boat! Buy "MTL " and be up 30 percent in '08!
David Nelson: "GRMN " is tougher than Rocky! Stock's Been Hit, But Will be up 30 percent!
Adam Lashinsky: Falling Dollar Help Exporters; Buy "DSX " & Get a Great Dividend!
Tracy Byrnes: SAG likely to Strike Soon; Summer Movie Season in Jeopardy
Alexis Glick: Don't Count Hillary Out; Will Win Ohio on Tuesday!
In Focus: Super Tuesday II: Is Wall Street Rooting for Hillary to Lose?
Victoria Barret, Associate Editor: I think unfortunately for Hillary, Wall Street wants Hillary to lose. She has been pushing Obama left. They have been in a popularity contest to see who can get the union vote. I think when Hillary pulls out of this race Obama will become more moderate in his messaging. If he's up against McCain he's not going to win with a super lefty message. Obama is going to have to become more moderate and I think that is what Wall Street wants.
Steve Forbes, Editor-in-Chief: I think Wall Street is hoping for a stalemate because it's not either candidate pushing the other left. It's the left wing of the party pushing both candidates to the left because of the megaphone of the web. Because they can organize nationwide. So both candidates have gone to the left. Tuesday I think Wall Street would prefer a stalemate which means they continue to fight it out. Hillary wins. The party gets divided. And that helps McCain.
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief: I think Wall Street is like much of the country in realizing that we're in a tough corner here. Massive deregulation and ramped supply-side economics has failed for the second time. We have a housing crisis and huge deficits. Someone has to do something. Hillary represents gridlock because she'll fight both sides. Obama means we can get the problem fixed better. So Wall Street probably wants Obama.
Elizabeth MacDonald, Fox Business Network: If you talk to CEOs or Wall Street traders they don't like either Clinton or Obama. Both candidates want to get rid of capital gains tax cuts and dividend tax cuts which have really powered this economy forward. Hillary is outpacing Obama in donations for the twelve biggest firms down on Wall Street.
Neil Weinberg, Senior Editor: Obama in the general election wouldn't stand up well to McCain. I think he would come up very extreme on the left and I think he would lose. If Obama were to win, I think that he would be so far to the left that there would be gridlock and gridlock wouldn't be too bad for Wall Street. Bottom line, Wall Street likes to see their taxes low, so they like McCain.
Flipside: Best Thing for Economy: Force Americans to Buy Health Care!
Neil Weinberg: It kills me that many pro-market people say it would be unfair to make poor people buy health care. So it's fair to not make them go get checkups? So it's fair to let them end up in the emergency room? That's not fair at all! I think we need a market driven system in this country where the market serves these people. Where we make it possible to buy affordable health care.
Steve Forbes: That was a "sick" answer. They system itself is flawed because of third-party pay. Consumers don't control the resources and when that happens the system spins out of control. So if you force people to buy it you're going to have to do what Hillary Clinton is suggesting, garnish their wages. In Massachusetts they're trying it and guess what, costs are spinning out of control.
Quentin Hardy: There are a few things in this country that we don't force people to do. We don't force them to vote. We don't force them to own guns. We do force them to send their kids to school, to build their houses to code, to have insurance on their cars, to contribute to Social Security. What's the difference? If you don't do it you're hurting yourself or you're shifting the burden to other people. Health care is a lot like the things where we're shifting the burden to other people. If someone gets sick and seeks treatment at a hospital, it raises my costs. It everyone has to share in it, the costs are lower. I'm for that.
Elizabeth MacDonald: What's we're talking about is locking poor people into very expensive plans. That's what happened in Massachusetts. And the problem is, when you lock people into a plan, insurance companies can deny people coverage. That's not fair to the poor people at all.
Mike Ozanian: A lot of individuals can get the same deductions that companies get when they buy insurance. And even California floated this idea and it failed. And if it failed in loony California how are you going to push this idea on the rest of the country?
Debate: Best Bet for Your Money: Stocks or Homes?
Steve Forbes: A house should be a place to live, first and foremost. It shouldn't be treated as a speculative thing, that's what's got us in this trouble in the first place. But the stock markets it going to be under pressure until the Fed fixes the dollar. In the meantime, with so much liquidity out there eventually it's going to look for hard assets, including houses.
Evelyn Rusli, Forbes.com Anchor: I like stocks. There are also companies profiting from the weak dollar. If you chose companies that have a lot of global growth exposure, especially in the emerging markets, then you can make a lot of money.
Mike Ozanian: It's going to be a lot harder to get a mortgage if the Democrats win the White House because the legislation they want to put through will create a lot of lawsuits.
Josh Lipton, Forbes.com Staff Writer: I agree with Evelyn. The market is uncertain and there is pessimism right now. But the smart, nimble investor can play that pessimism. If you think he dollar is going to keep tumbling, then buy gold. If you think financials are going to keep tumbling, look for an ETF that moves inversely to the financials.
Quentin Hardy: Most people keep their house and weather the long troughs and in the end make money. They at least beat inflation and have money saved for their retirement. Stocks scare people. The average person doesn't have the steel nerves of traders so they get in and get out and lose money by trading too much.
Informer: "Big Stock Giveaway!"
Josh Lipton: Raytheon (RTN )
Victoria Barret: Family Dollar Stores (FDO )
Evelyn Rusli: Diagio (DEO )
Mike Ozanian: General Motors (GM )
Our Cashin' In crew this week: Jonathan Hoenig, CapitalistPig Asset Management; Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com; Dagen McDowell, Fox Business Network; Matt McCall, Penn Financial Group; Andrea Tantaros, Republican strategist; Meghan Scott, wakeupwalmart.com; Cooper Lawrence, syndicated radio host.
Oprah & Ellen: Abusing their Media Power by Endorsing Candidates?
Ellen Degeneres recently appeared at a campaign event for Democratic presidential hopeful Senator Hillary Clinton, following in the footsteps of Oprah Winfrey who has been stumping for Sen. Barack Obama.
But is it a responsible use of the talk show hosts' media power to push political views on their viewers?
Andrea Everyone has a right to endorse whomever he or she wants. It's a democracy and everyone's vote counts. But these women know they have millions of followers and they know a lot of women will follow what they do. From a business perspective I think it's a bit irresponsible. They are isolating consumers: Republicans and Hillary Clinton supporters.
Dagen: Oprah Winfrey is where she is, and she's as powerful as she is because she also thinks about her business. If for a second she thought doing this would hurt her business, she wouldn't have done it. And there's nothing wrong with that. They earned this celebrity. If they want to make that decision and get behind somebody, more power to them. They earned it.
Jonathan: It is unbelievable. If they weren't talking about politics, they would be talking about Jamie Lynn Spears. So let's have people talk about politics. I think the more debate about these issues, the better. The fact that Ellen drops in and asks Hillary Clinton about banning glitter kind of shows you the extent of her political interests. But political debate is good. The more, the better whether its from Ellen or Republican strategists.
Matt: I think it is highly irresponsible that they are exploiting the consumer and the person who's actually watching television. Think about it. Why is their view any more important than the housewife sitting at home taking care of her children or the blue collar worker who's home watching? The viewers right now -- especially here in America -- we are not putting our time into really deciding whom we are going to vote on. The hosts aren't saying why they are endorsing who they are.
Jonas: There are advertisements, celebrities tell us who to vote for, other politicians endorse other politicians. People endorse people. What's the big deal?
Wal-Mart's Energy Fix: Putting Government to Shame?
The National Governor's Association has asked Wal-Mart to send the company's energy auditors to evaluate the energy efficiency of several state capitols and suggest where changes could be made. Is this proof that business can fix the nation's energy problems better than government?
Jonathan: Wal-Mart is the undisputed king of efficiency. These people know how to make money. They're the ones almost single-handedly who've kept inflation in this country so low for so long. So yes, let them give the government a lesson.
Dagen: They are on a major green kick, improving the energy efficiency of all its stores, really putting pressure on its suppliers as well. The savings could be phenomenal here.
Meghan: We'll see how this particular program works out. But I suspect this is going to be another case of all hat, no cattle with Wal-Mart here. They have been touting their greening effort for the last few years, since back in 2005. Yet last fall they put out their own sustainability report about this progress in this arena and in every single market in the world, their carbon emissions were up. It was 107 percent is South America alone.
Jonas: Wal-Mart has been on a P.R. campaign for a couple of years trying to change the perception of politicians against the business and the public. I will say corporate America does solve energy problems. The government doesn't. The government creates the framework—whether it's emission rules or whatever-- that then companies solve with better technologies. When the government actually spends the money trying to fix the problem, that's when you run into problems. I don't have a problem with the government acknowledging problem, setting a rule Let corporate America fix the problem under that framework.
Should Taxpayers Pay for Prisoners' Sex Change Operations?
Michelle Kosilek (birth name Robert Kosilek) is a convicted murderer who has sued the state of Massachusetts to pay for his sex change operation Kosilek argues the treatment is medically necessary because of the severe emotional distress caused by Kosilek's gender identity disorder. So should taxpayer dollars be used for this?
Jonathan: When he gets out of prison—which will be never-- he can go and pay for the sex change operation. He can be whatever he wants to be. He is in prison for killing his wife and jail should be emotionally distressful. Just the notion of spending taxpayer dollars on this totally elective surgery is a joke. Entitlement state run amok.
Cooper: It is not elective surgery. It is the same thing as if somebody has schizophrenia or depression or anorexia. They don't choose to be this way.
Jonas: The good news is if you're not in Massachusetts you probably won't have to pay for this. It's their taxpayers. I am not a doctor. Personally, I am for treating prisoners poorly. I like chain gangs. I am not for the death penalty, but I think we should get money out of prisoners as a payback to society so I don't like lavishing money on them. However, if it can be proven to me it is a medical condition like having a heart transplant and then taxpayers pay for that, then that is what is going to happen.
Best Bets: Slam-Dunk Stocks
As the new Will Ferrell comedy "Semi-Pro" tips off this weekend, our money experts dole out their slam-dunk stock picks.
Jonathan: SPDR Lehman Intl Treasury Bond ETF (BWX)
Jonas: BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ)
Matt: PowerShares DB Base Metals ETF (DBB)