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 CALLS TO REFORM WELFARE PROGRAMS AS PRES ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER FOR ILLEGALS
MIKE OZANIAN: America has truly become the land of the free thanks to these huge welfare payments. If you look at 2011 the last year for which there are results available. The bottom three quintiles paid no federal income taxes thanks to the tremendous welfare payments that they received. All federal income taxes were paid by just the top two quintiles.
RICK UNGAR: Look we can all get behind the idea of cleaning up waste in government no matter where it is, I'm with you all the way. What I don't understand though, is why the question focuses only on welfare. Where is the issue when it comes to defense, when we got way more waste and spending in defense then we do on the social side?
STEVE FORBES: Its way broken in so many ways, trying to rude out all of this waste. You know the bureaucrats know they're going to outlast those who supposedly rule them today. They know cabinet officers come and go; agency heads come and go, so it's very tough to do. But if there serious about it they can do numerous things, like little things, like study grants.
SABRINA SCHAEFFER: Not only are we spending $70 billion a year on our food assistance program, we are eroding our culture of self-reliance. And on top of that, people do want to see these entitlement programs here for the long term, especially woman.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: I mean they're really in a bubble land right? They look out the window and think that everything looks great, but Middle America is really hurting. Whenever people in Washington D.C take the moral high ground you know that tediousness of self-righteousness that Jim Michaels, a former editor of Forbes, talked about, hold on to your wallets. Cut the waste first before you raise taxes anytime.
PRIVATE HEALTH INSURERS MAY POSE BIGGEST OBSTACLE TO DISMANTLING OBAMACARE
JOHN TAMNY: If you show me any government program, I will show you special interests that form around it in order to perpetuate it. The good news obviously is that ObamaCare is dying before our eyes. But I think it's incumbent on the republicans to do everything possible to repeal as much of the law as possible, because the longer they wait the more likely it's going to be that these special interest forms such that we can't repeal it down the line.
RICK UNGAR: It's not the insurance companies who are the biggest beneficiaries. It is the people who are for the first time in their lives knowing that they have healthcare if they get really sick. Those are the beneficiaries and those are the reasons and the people that will keep this law from going away.
STEVE FORBES: Well it's all about cronyism, and that's why one of the things that republican congress should do and the next president should do is repeal the individual mandate and the employer mandate. That goes away with the program.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: During ObamaCare talks, you have the insurance companies; they saw that honey pot of government tax payers paid for subsidies right? So also the drug companies as well, saw that honey pot of tax payers paid for subsidies. And what the talk was, I didn't interview these guys, they said, "Lizzie, if you don't have a seat at the table you will be on the menu," So they saw it coming and they're making a lot of money.
SABRINA SCHAEFFER: If we actually wanted to help people, Steve said there are all sorts of market based solutions that we could've done. This has nothing to do with helping people. This has to do with federal law that mandates that we all have health insurance and it means that insurance companies have a built pool of customers that they are providing it to and the federal government is subsiding it with our dollars.
USA's 'PERSONAL FREEDOM' RANKING DROPS 5 SPOTS TO #21 IN THE WORLD
STEVE FORBES: What's going on David is people feel rightly that things are out of control. You can't trust the dollar, the tax code becomes more incomprehensible, no one understands what's happening in healthcare, the IRS goes on a rampage and is not called into account, who knows who's listening to your phone calls anymore, so people feel that they're not moving forward. No wonder they're unhappy.
RICK UNGAR: Look at a Wall Street that knows all the angles to make the big money, the regular guy doesn't get to know that. I do want to say something though about the freedom index. Does anybody think it's possible that it might have something to do with what we learned about the NSA? Yeah I feel less free when I know I'm being spied on.
MIKE OZANIAN: For decades now our politicians have been trying to get elected by pitting one group against another group, taking something from group and handing it to another group. I think at the end of the day, when the smoke clears, nobody is happy.
ELIZABETH MACDONALD: They feel that big government can do it. When the government is getting bigger and people are more unhappy. When government gets bigger, people feel more divisive against each other and that's bad too.
JOHN TAMNY: Economies are just individuals and so when they're free they do well. This survey just proves what we've long known. The economy is performing on a subpar level precisely because freedom has gone down, it's just that simple.