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 poll shows America's global image slipping under President Trump
Rich Karlgaard: Consider how it works out. President Obama had soaring approval ratings around the world while he led us to eight years in the row of sub two percent growth, let North Korea have eight unimpeded years in developing a nuclear weapon. And then you look at Ronald Reagan who is called a cowboy and was going to start World War III. So there's a negative correlation here. Too that degree, I'm happy that the world thinks, is mad that we're looking out for ourselves.
Bruce Japsen: I think Reagan and Donald are quite different and that's one story, but the other thing is I think ahead of this G20 meeting, you don't want these other countries to have to think we have an unpopular leader. The good news for the president is that he's more popular around the world then he is at home. I mean people could use this as leverage. We need these people when we're fighting terror and selling our goods and products I don't think it's a good thing.
Steve Forbes: They're all focused now on Trump's persona. The bottom line is policy and performance. If they get this economy moving again in the next year and a half, first two years, like they did under Ronald Reagan, those perceptions change. Then how you deal with problems around the world like China and North Korea and other issues, performance is the key. You start to get that in line in and these polls change as they did under Ronald Reagan.
Elizabeth MacDonald: The head of NATO, the secretary there, he's the European head, he said we really have shifted gears, the trend is up and we intend to keep it there. This is after President Trump really cracked down on NATO he said listen you've got to increase your own spending on defense. So here's what's been going on for the last eight years we've had this finger waggling demoralizing President, he won a Nobel peace prize before he destabilized the middle east creating a dramatically catastrophic migrant flow into Europe. The President is now saying yes we will help Europe with terror and yes we will help defend you Europe against Russia so he is drawing a line. That's his red line in this sand. He is sticking to his promises.
John Tamny: I think Trump's done some very good things like exiting the Paris agreement and I think he's done some really awful things like exiting the Trans Pacific Partnership. Whatever the foreigners think, I really don't care. That doesn't mean a lot to me. At the same time all of this America first stuff from Trump doesn't mean anything to me either. I judge a president based on how much he accomplishes legislatively, if Trump's distracted I'll probably like him.
Sabrina Schaeffer: I think she's talking directly about him and the trade policies and some of the trade proposals that have been floated out there. If you look into some of the numbers specifically countries like Mexico, that's where we've seen a drop in their opinion of the United States and I think that's because there's been a lot of talk about NAFTA and changing NAFTA and that something that's benefited our neighbors to the south. I think we have to think about this at the granular level, how different countries are perceiving the United States.
President Trump raises questions with tweet about "internet taxes"
Steve Forbes: There used to be a restaurant in New York with the motto "Too much is never enough" and that's true of the politicians. They are never satisfied with what they have; they always want to find an excuse for more taxes. And for small businesses this would be a disaster. There are over 10,000 taxing jurisdictions in the United States, and so for smaller businesses this would be horrible. Now the advocates of the tax say, "Oh, we'll exempt small businesses" great so you start to achieve success you get taxed, bad thing, leave it alone, we have too many taxes.
Bill Baldwin: No, mail order vendors should not get a free ride on taxes. The big ones can easily work the software to collect from those 10,000 jurisdictions, and the little ones should be given the option of paying them at a flat rate of seven percent with the money going into a national pool which would be divided up among the states. Easy, solves Steve's problem.
Elizabeth MacDonald: I would trust investment advice from anybody in these scam operations in Nigeria than any bureaucrat trying to enact and do anything that Bill Baldwin is saying. You know the Supreme Court did say in 92 that you internet company do not have to collect sales taxes if you do not have a physical presence meaning a store or warehouse there. So what a clever way for bureaucrats to glum onto that the internet operation around the country and just remotely harass the mom and pop shops.
Bruce Japsen: Nobody wants to pay more taxes but with this Congress and White House we've been waiting months now in the second half of the first term and we have had no talk, serious talk about tax reform and what would they use this money for? I mean this could potentially be a good idea, if it's for cyber security or whatever.
Sabrina Schaeffer: This is an insane idea, the economy has been barely chugging along for nearly a decade. The idea that you would put any kind of speed bump in the way of economic growth seems crazy to me, makes me want to pull my hair out. And on top of it, it has sort of this strange looking through the looking glass sort of mentality, if we have stores that are getting certain benefits, we don't even the playing field by making internet the bad guy, we even it for everybody.
Rich Karlgaard: Well they love it. It is absolutely true that the digital companies are taxed less and regulated less than legacy companies, and that is a problem. Sabrina's exactly right level the playing field make it easier for the legacy companies. I think Trump's comments on Amazon has more to do with Jeff Bezos owning the Washington Post than it does Amazon.
Report: Seattle's minimum wage hike hurting low-wage hourly workers
Sabrina Schaeffer: I hate to say I told you so, but I do know that when you artificially manipulate wages or benefits, it's going to lead to fewer jobs, less flexibility and a less good work place for everybody. I think this should be a lesson for other states like Washington's neighbor Oregon that's currently trying to push through scheduling and overtime regulations, it's going to have the same backfiring effect.
Bruce Japsen: Well listen I've seen studies that go the other way, but I'd like to say to some of these CEOs who make a lot of money is generally a better wage attracts a better worker and that's generally the rule of thumb that I'm abiding by maybe some of these companies need a better marketing plan to pay a higher wage.
John Tamny: Any kind of artificial wage restrains the ability of people to offer up their services and that's shameful. I think the right of over done it, and blaming automation, automation is always a good thing but the minimum wage is inexcusable.
Bill Baldwin: Minimum wages are always bad for a simple reason they make it illegal for somebody with low skills such as teenagers to work.
Rich Karlgaard: I want to agree with Bruce Japsen, I'm all for higher wages and I applaud the companies that are paying more than minimum wage to attract a high caliber level of person, but that's got to be the decision of the company if it's mandated it's going to backfire.
Steve Forbes: The bottom line is it hurts people with the least. And in terms of paying higher wages, you've got to get the skills. With the people with no skills being able to go into the work force originally get a low wage and work their way up to get higher wages, that's the way it's done. If laws could make us prosperous we'd all be zillionaires years ago.
Financial "Freedom" Picks
Elizabeth MacDonald: VANGUARD VALUE INDEX FUND (VIVAX)
Bill Baldwin: Fitbit (FIT)