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IN FOCUS: NLRB to vote for faster union elections: would faster elections help or hurt job creation?
STEVE FORBES: It would kill jobs David, for a couple of reasons. One, unionization means less jobs, more work rules, uncompetitive wages in the like, just compare Detroit with non-union auto manufacturers in the South. It is also a way to rush an election before workers can have a chance to get facts on both sides. The unions know they can't win free elections the way they used to, so why not rig it? They tried it earlier with card check, which would mean that you wouldn't have a free ballot, now they want to rush a free ballot before people can get information. That is like the Soviet Union. Come on!
RICK UNGAR: I am afraid I have to disagree with the Boss yet again. Look, I can't tell you it is going to create any jobs, but it is certainly not going to kill any jobs. What it is going to do is solve a problem, solve something that had been a long time coming. As it stands right now, only two thirds of all desired elections ever get to that point. Why? Because employers spend a ton of money litigating these issues, going in front of the NLRB trying to stop these elections before they ever happen. This has got to change. There is a true value to unions, like them or not and trying to tie them up by litigating them is ridiculous. This is something we needed to do for a long time.
VICTORIA BARRET: Yes, they have nice cash coffers full right now and they are trying to go back to the glory days when unions made up twenty five percent of the labor in Detroit, Michigan wide. That fact is that destroyed that state. I get so frustrated hearing Rick say 'You know this won't necessarily create jobs.' Well, yes this is what we are trying to do in this country. We are trying to create jobs right now and if you make it easier to unionize, employers are not going to hire. It scares them; it increases the cost of labor. We need jobs in this country not unions.
BILL BALDWIN: I think that union busting has gone a little too far and I think we ought to make it easier for workers to organize and harder for Boeing to hire scabs by moving production to another state. However, and this is a big however, this system only works if unions are competitive and they are in competitive industries. With that competition the Boeing workers couldn't get out of line because they would lose business to the McDonald's workers or to the Curtis Right workers. We do not have that right now. We have monopolistic unions in monopolistic industries.
RICH KARLGAARD: Well I am glad you mentioned the South Carolina Boeing case because that has just sent a chill over business owners across the United States. I travel around a lot and talk to them. The NLRB's decision against Boeing to prevent them from opening up a second 787 plant in South Carolina because the Washington plant is frequently struck. Boeing is the largest exporter in the United States. It is in a death competition with Airbus. You can't trust the NLRB on anything. The new rule, it would hurt the creation of jobs. Anything by definition coming out of the NLRB hurts the creation of jobs.
DENNIS KNEALE: Well of course David, it is going to hurt the creation of jobs. But can we just look at the issue. Why is it that we need a speedier election? A union, when you bring it into a business is like having the Sopranos move in and take a piece of your sporting goods store okay, once they get in they never leave. So can't we take our time? What are we rushing for? Oh, it is because unions are selling a service that workers do not want. Less than seven percent of the private sector in the U.S. is now represented by unions. If they had a service we wanted they would have higher representation. What industry is thriving weather thanks to unions or with unions? Autos, no. Steel, no. Construction, education?
FLIPSIDE: Help America's future by letting kids start working at a younger age?
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I am not talking about exploiting children and putting them to work in nuclear waste factories or as farm hands or putting them in coal mines, we are not talking about that. We're talking about, in fact this goes on very nicely in Asia in places like Japan, where students if they want to work, were also not saying indenture them or force them to work, we are saying if they want to work let them work. By the way these custodial jobs, I am not saying push them out of their jobs either because they have families and children to take care of. But some janitors do sleep on the job; you got a problem get a student in there.
DENNIS KNEALE: How about making rugs like eight years old do in India? This would make us look bad if we did something like this, but also it happens at a very bad time when a retiree who is in his 60's needs a job as a bag boy, I don't want him competing with a ten year old. I think the better fix here is to eliminate the minimum wage. That would allow more entrepreneurial jobs and more start up jobs for young people at the start of their legal job career.
STEVE FORBES: These laws were designed when child labor meant working in coal mines and the like so there is no harm today, as long as it is not great physical labor, to lower the age by a year a year and a half. You do learn things that enable you to do better in life. Again, it is voluntary. Now I know in terms of janitor, I am not sure about that since kids can't even keep their own rooms clean, but most other jobs why not?
MORGAN BRENNAN: I think it is a nice idea, do I think it is actually going to fit into reality right now? No, I don't and I will tell you why. The teenagers that are already legally allowed to work, you are talking about 16-19 year olds, actually already have the highest unemployment rates, 24 percent as of October. The next highest rate belongs to 20-24 year olds that is 14 percent. That is so much higher than the 9 percent unemployment which is the national average. So you flood more young people into that jobs market, I mean what jobs are they actually going to be able to get? I mean Newt Gingrich talks about giving janitor jobs to kids, now you are taking jobs away from adults.
MIKE OZANIAN: If you do it through giving small businesses a better opportunity, I think you would see a lot more young adults working. That is the biggest problem in this country right now. Small businesses are dead and that is where mostly where young people tend to work. They work for family businesses.
BILL BALDWIN: I don't think the job market right now needs to be flooded with a bunch of 14-year olds willing to take a dollar an hour less. I think what we need is more apprentice programs and the emphasis should be on acquiring skills. We should have 16-year olds out there learning on the job as plumbers and the way you do that is not in the classroom. You do it by putting a plumbing torch in their hand.
12 days of Christmas expected to cost more this year: is this proof inflation is here?
STEVE FORBES: It is there, all you have to do is go to a store and you see it. Now the government fools around with the consumer price index. Crazy ways they do things like with housing. But if you look at what they call the cash index, which is actually paying for real things like energy, food and toys, you are paying more than ever before. David this is a good time to say it, Obama's policies on this like the Federal Reserve, are turkeys. They are gobbling up people's real purchasing power. Not nice, not fair and it hurts us all.
RICH KARLGAARD: I am going to rue the day I ever tried to argue against Steve Forbes on inflation. That is like boxing against Muhammad Ali. But I think what we have is really more of a stagflation environment. Tuesday we found out that economic growth is only 2 percent for the third quarter, inflation is not bad at 3.9 percent, but when it is below economic growth what you have is stagflation.
MIKE OZANIAN: David, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and his counterfeiter and chief Ben Bernanke have borrowed and printed so much money over the past two years that they have sent the CPI from increasing at a 1.7 percent annual rate to 3.9 percent at an annual rate over the most recent month. This kills earnings for seniors and people on fixed income because the interest rates they are earning on their savings accounts and so forth is basically zero. So why the president is waging war against seniors right now and destroying their living standards I have no idea.
VICTORIA BARRET: It is in the Fed's interest to have some inflation to get us out of our asset debt problem, so they are engineering this to some degree. The inflation we have is very uneven. David, you mentioned toll prices and gas prices, the toll prices have to do with city insolvency probably and the gas prices are because we are importing gas and the dollar is weak abroad. But overall, we are not seeing a lot of inflation. We are not seeing it in wages; we are certainly not seeing it in housing. We still have a lot of slack in the system, so I do not think it is the biggest threat.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I agree with Steve. Inflation is the product of money supply and that is why the Federal Reserve tends to knock out food and energy and relies on core inflation. I have to say you can't eat an iPad or an iPhone. You have to eat food. So it is showing up in food and energy and the Fed's boomerang on the money supply and money printing is going to hit it in the head someday sooner than later. It is not like you are going to hear an announcement that the dollar will collapse two weeks from Thursday, it will happen suddenly.
A new report showing stocks receiving stimulus are soaring.
Dennis Kneale: Honeywell (HON)
Elizabeth MacDonald: Market Vectors Agribusiness ETF (MOO)
Morgan Brennan: Philip Morris (PM)