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.
Bulls & Bears
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; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Eric Bolling, Independent Trader
Trading Pit: Is It Time to Spend Whatever's Needed to Protect Our Students?
Students at Northern Illinois University are trying to gain some semblance of normal life after Thursday’s (2-14-08) deadly shooting spree. That tragedy raises a big question on campuses all across America: is it time to spend whatever’s needed to protect out students?
Eric Bolling: Absolutely! But spend the money before an incident, not after.
Pat Dorsey: Most university campuses are very open, so controlling access is physically impossible. We have to accept that these are public places, and we may not be able to stop these tragedies from happening every time.
Gary B. Smith: Security will be one of the “ala cart” options when choosing a University for our children. And we will have to pay a premium for it, but it’s worth paying a little more.
Tobin Smith: Enough is enough! We have adapted to TSA inspections in airports and now we need to have metal detectors at ALL schools.
Scott Bleier: There will always be a danger and no amount of money can protect that. Even if there were no guns, crazies would find a way. Throwing money at a problem after a tragedy is not the answer.
A "President Obama": Friend or Foe to American Capitalism?
Barack Obama putting corporate America in the crosshairs! The White House hopeful is bashing business for big profits and calling for more government oversight. Would a "President Obama" be a friend or foe to capitalism in America?
Gary B. Smith: He would be an enemy of capitalism. He would essentially be a failed FDR.
Tobin Smith: This is not the guy you want if you’re pro-business! Trade is the future of the United States, and he wants to come in and change agreements.
Pat Dorsey: What you do and what you say on the campaign trail can be very different from what you do when you’re in office. So I say let’s wait and see.
Eric Bolling: Rasing taxes are bad for everyone! And he plans on raising taxes to fund all his programs.
Scott Bleier: The answer is No. Barack Obama may be a classic liberal politician, but he does not propose anything major in his long-awaited business policy initiatives.
Exactly one year ago Pat Dorsey became the proud father of twins...and we're having another stock party for his little cuties — Bulls and Bears style! Birthday buys that could "double" your profits in the Stock X-Change!
Scott Bleier: Cypress Semiconductor (CY)
Gary B Smith: Johnson & Johnson (JNJ)
Tobin Smith: JA Solar Holdings (JASO)
Eric Bolling: FMC Corp (FMC)
Eric Bolling’s Prediction: Chavez Pushes Oil Past $100; “USO” up 25% By End Of '08
Tobin Smith’s Prediction: Clemens Ends The 'Roid Era; Under Armour (UA) up 50% in 1 year
Gary B Smith’s Prediction: Forget Yahoo! Google (GOOG) Still The One; Up 50% In 1 Year
Scott Bleier’s Prediction: "Insure" Profits With AFLAC (AFL); Up 30% in '08
Pat Dorsey’s Prediction: Still Getting Drunk With Molson (TAP); Up 30% In 1 Year
Cavuto on Business
On Saturday, February 16, 2007, Neil Cavuto was joined by Charles Payne, wstreet.com; Tracy Byrnes, FOX Business Network; Adam Lashinsky, Fortune Magazine; Marc Lamont Hill, PhD, Temple University Professor; and David Nelson, DC Nelson Asset Mgmt.
Bottom Line – Barack Obama v$ John McCain: Who Is Best for the Middle Class?
Neil Cavuto: Barack Obama says he’s the best candidate for the middle class. But, John McCain says not so fast! Who’s right?
Charles Payne: Right now, I’m leaning toward McCain. He’s saying all the right things. On Tuesday after Barack won, Barack was very charismatic. His speech went very well until he started talking about going after Wall Street, going after the oil companies, and going after the drug companies. That is where the middle class jobs come from! I think it’s unfair and bad policy to say “I’m going to help one class of Americans at the expense of another.” I’m against discrimination of any kind. I think Obama’s making a big mistake.
Neil Cavuto: Mark Lamont Hill, the fear is class warfare will resonate. Say what you will of it, does one candidate have an edge when it comes to wooing the middle class?
Marc Lamont Hill: It’s tough. I don’t think McCain or Obama’s done a good job of articulating a plan for the middle class. But, I think Obama’s made overtures toward the middle class by talking about tax credits, mortgage relief, and other things that will provide some sense of comfort to the middle class. Unfortunately, it is at the expense of other classes.
Tracy Byrnes: I think Marc’s right. I don’t get the feeling that McCain has any interest in the middle class. But, Obama practically sat someone down and said “What do you want?” Credits for college, a middle class tax credit/cut, reform the bankruptcy laws so that if your medical expenses put you into bankruptcy, he’ll relieve your debt to try to put you back on your feet. Now granted, it’s all rhetoric. But, as far as the middle class goes, Obama is saying what they want to hear.
Charles Payne: But, that’s ironically why I think McCain is better. McCain is talking about broad strokes that will help the overall economy, which should help everyone; whereas Obama is promising so many things, he won’t be able to deliver if he is elected.
Neil Cavuto: That’s right. First these guys have to get elected.
David Nelson: Obama captures my heart on this one, but I gotta tell ya… if you’re looking for a plan and a sound economy, McCain wins this round. Obama has a very populist message. Some of it is very true, but frankly it’s very short on details, very short on substance, and I think John McCain’s plan is well thought out and has some key bullet points.
Neil Cavuto: Gimme a couple of those bullet points.
David Nelson: Well, eliminating the AMT. That’s going to save $60 billion. That’s going to affect 25 million people.
Neil Cavuto: Well, they both say they want to eliminate the AMT.
Marc Lamont Hill: Yeah, they both say that.
David Nelson: You want another point? I think you have a brilliant stroke from John McCain in regards to expensing technology and equipment spending…
Neil Cavuto: Yeah, but for the middle class… that’s hard for them to grasp.
David Nelson: Obama’s message is not about the middle class. It’s about the very poor.
Neil Cavuto: Adam Lashinsky, it’s also about getting elected. Does Obama’s message resonate more?
Adam Lashinsky: Obama and we are talking about this as addressing the middle class. When you look at the specifics… like several thousand dollar tax credits or payments for education or allowing people to itemize their mortgage deductions… these really aren’t aimed at what I would call the middle class… it’s aimed at lower income people who are a lot of voters… which gets to your question about him trying to get elected. I think one of the biggest issues we haven’t discussed is each candidate’s position on free trade. John McCain clearly is a free trader. Obama is clearly less of a free trader…
Marc Lamont Hill: I think it’s wrong, but Obama said he’s not against free trade but he wants regulation which would protect middle class jobs.
Tracy Byrnes: And to Mark’s point… Obama’s offering tax incentives to keep people here. And Adam’s right… it’s about semantics. You can’t define the middle class anymore.
Neil Cavuto: Is semantics running? I thought we were talking about Obama and McCain…
Tracy Byrnes: I’ve seen definitions of the middle class going down to $35,000. No one knows what the middle class is any more!
David Nelson: A tax credit on the first $1000 of income is not approaching the middle class. They’re clearly going after the very poor. And not all of those people pay taxes. So I don’t see how it helps the middle class.
Tracy Byrnes: That’s not true! The tax credit is $4000 and it’s on a higher level on income. That’s going to hit the middle class!
Charles Payne: Marc, when it comes to protecting certain jobs… the greatest test-study of this is Detroit. Look at what’s happening in the auto industry. We protected an industry where salaries really should have come down a long time ago and they didn’t. What happened at the end of the day? More people lost their jobs and we’ve lost our might. If we did that to all of our industries… imagine where we might be in 10 years.
Marc Lamont Hill: I’m not sure the auto industry…
Charles Payne: It’s a perfect example of protecting jobs that shouldn’t have been protected! You can’t pay someone $300/hour for welding, if someone in the Philippines will do it for $3.
Marc Lamont Hill: I agree with you on that. What I disagree with is the idea that other industries are comparable to the auto industry in that those jobs should not be protected. Obama’s agenda is about protecting certifiable, middle class jobs.
Neil Cavuto: We’re getting a little off subject here. If you are the middle class and you’re listening to this… do you like Obama’s message or McCain’s message more?
Marc Lamont Hill: You have to go with Obama.
David Nelson: No, you’re wrong. If you’re a true middle class American, McCain’s message is going to affect you and your lifestyle and your standard of living more.
Neil Cavuto: John McCain is also one who was not for the tax cuts… and now says he was. He’s now saying he’d make them permanent even though he wouldn’t change his vote. Wouldn’t the middle class look at that and say he has an inconsistent record?
David Nelson: You can’t paint that with a broad stroke, Neil. McCain has some really sound policies. I look at a one page printout from Obama’s website… and it’s just rhetoric.
Marc Lamont Hill: The converse is McCain may offer a more direct message to the middle class, but changes it every 2-3 years. That’s also a very dangerous position for the middle class to be in.
Neil Cavuto: He would not be the first candidate to do that…
Tracy Byrnes: McCain wants to give the salary difference to people who get laid off and have to take a lower income job… it’s silly! You’re going to give me a check because I got laid off? As far as the middle class goes, I don’t think McCain is addressing their needs.
Charles Payne: But, to Neil’s point… I think right now, Obama has captured the imagination of middle class more than McCain. McCain’s out there saying I can’t give you everything you want…
Adam Lashinsky: Charles, you are onto a very important point. And that’s why I bring up the issue of protectionism. Is it best for the middle class to protect their jobs? I think not. I think protecting their jobs is the worst thing for the economy. But, voters might not think so.
Head to Head – Wal-Mart’s “Wall”?
Neil Cavuto: Wal-Mart versus a border wall. The retail giant saying it will hire more than 20,000 people in Mexico. Is this proof capitalism is the best way to stop “illegals” from wanting to sneak into America by giving them incentives to stay in Mexico? It’s time to go “Head to Head.”
David Nelson: I think you’re kidding yourself if you think a stronger Mexican economy is going to stem the tide of illegals coming into this country! This is America. People are still going to want to come here.
Neil Cavuto: You have 20,000 people who might have looked at the United States… and might not now.
David Nelson: I want every man, woman, and child who wants to come into this country to have that opportunity. My grandparents did. You grandparents probably did, too. But, you know what? They did it legally.
Charles Payne: What you’re saying doesn’t make sense. What you’re saying is if people have a great job in Mexico, they’re going to leave that to come to America? I know we have a great country… but the immigrants aren’t here sight-seeing… they’re looking for work.
David Nelson: No, of course not. But do you really think the Mexican economy is going to come to that level? It’s not realistic!
Tracy Byrnes: No, it’s not realistic. Here’s what’s going to happen… the store’s not going to make money, they’re going to close their doors, and these people will be out of jobs again.
Neil Cavuto: You are beyond jaded.
Neil Cavuto: Adam, look at this. Do you see the trend as being favorable? If a Wal-Mart goes down there and opens up shop and a lot of Mexicans are hired to work there… at least the people with jobs have no reason to come to America, right?
Adam Lashinsky: Sure! There’s no reason why if Mexico had a vibrant capitalist system and a vibrant democracy, we wouldn’t have 12 million illegals in the United States.
Neil Cavuto: Well, David says that’s never going to happen…
Adam Lashinsky: You’re right that it’s jaded, cynical, and pessimistic… and I don’t agree with David…
Neil Cavuto: Tracy’s just as bad.
Neil Cavuto: Well, Marc Lamont Hill - is the feeling here that no matter what the US interests do to help out Mexico… it’s all for nothing? I can’t believe that’s right.
Marc Lamont Hill: I do believe it’s right. Of course if you incentivize people to stay, they’ll be more likely to stay. The question is do we have the economic capacity to keep people in Mexico? The answer is no. There’s just too much pull to come to America; it’s not just a push from Mexico. The Mexican economy cannot sustain an economy strong enough to keep people in Mexico!
Neil Cavuto: You can’t tell me that if a business like Wal-Mart realizes it can make some money by doing business in Mexico… that other companies wouldn’t do that same?
Charles Payne: They absolutely would do the same! I look at the miracle in Ireland. We’ve seen economies turn around. It starts with democracy.
Neil Cavuto: Very good point. All the Irish were immigrating here. And now when things started to get better… the Irish went back!
David Nelson: I think you make a good point. I can’t say that my point is entirely infallible. But, I don’t think it’s un-American to secure our borders.
Neil Cavuto: I’m not saying don’t secure our borders. I’m saying maybe one of the easiest solutions is providing incentives for people to stay where they are. They did it in Ireland.
David Nelson: If I believed for a moment that you could bring the Mexican economy up to the level of the United States…
Neil Cavuto: I’m glad Charles mentioned this, Tracy, because they used to call Ireland a joke. And I don’t think anyone’s calling Ireland a joke now!
Tracy Byrnes: Agreed. But you’re going to have to offer corporate America some serious incentives to move their business to Mexico. It’s so corrupt! It gives the Godfather a run for his money, quite frankly.
Neil Cavuto: Adam, do you think it was utopian for businesses to go to China or Eastern Europe when they knew there was corruption in both places?
Adam Lashinsky: No, it wasn’t. You’re right. Businesses saw big, modern markets about to grow. The problem with Mexico is there is a long history of slow growth and corruption. Things will get better when Mexico allows US and other foreign companies to invest.
Neil Cavuto: Well, that’s a very good point. Marc Lamont Hill, all I’m saying is in addressing this immigration debate, we always fail to see simpler solutions. Are you saying that capitalism is not an option?
Marc Lamont Hill: I don’t think it’s a reasonable option right now. We have to work on reorganizing the Mexican government, eliminating corruption, and creating the mechanism to sustain a strong economy. None of that is in place. To put big-box retailers in Mexico is not going to yield what we think it will. The companies will shut down.
Neil Cavuto: They didn’t shut down in China, they didn’t shut down in Eastern Europe, and they didn’t shut down in Ireland. They weathered it and they’re profiting off of it. So capitalism came before the corruption walls came down. Are you saying the message from the Democratic Party will be “We don’t care. We give up on capitalism”?
Marc Lamont Hill: No, I think the message from the Democratic Party will be we need to re-imagine free trade agreements, and we need to support the Mexican economy so people want to stay there. The Dems would agree to incentivize people to stay, but not by putting Wal-Marts and other retailers there. It’s just too simple.
Neil Cavuto: I love you, Marc… but I disagree with everything you just said.
Marc Lamont Hill: I love you, too.
More for Your Money – $tocks on $teroids!
Neil Cavuto: Stocks on steroids! Juiced up names that are legal… and will help you get “More for Your Money” without the threat of a Congressional hearing!
Charles Payne: Google (GOOG)
*Charles owns shares of this stock.
David Nelson: Genco Shipping (GNK)
*David owns shares of this stock.
Adam Lashinsky: Hansen Natural (HANS)
FOX on the Spot
Charles Payne: What's Old is New Again! Juniper Networks (JNPR) Up 30% in 1 Yr
Adam Lashinsky: Housing Trouble Not Over, BUT Countrywide (CFC) is a Buy!
David Nelson: Get Out-of-This-World Returns with “WFR”
Tracy Byrnes: Bosses Are Watching You! Look at Monitoring Software Makers
Neil Cavuto: If you like big government, you’ll love these next couple of weeks. Congress is poised to keep the stimulus coming. My only annoying question is how the heck are we going to pay for all this?
Forbes on FOX
Flipside: Obama Should Bash Super-Rich Hollywood $tars Not CEOs!
John Rutledge, Forbes Contributor: Obama should attack the Hollywood guys. I wouldn’t give my money to George Clooney to manage or to run my company either. The reason Hollywood care as much about Obama’s tax plan is because they earn ordinary income. They don’t earn capital gains or dividends. Obama is attacking the income from capital. That is really stupid because that’s the one resource that can leave town any time it wants. We need to have a destination resort for capital here.
Steve Forbes, Editor–in-Chief: Well, the thing is that Political pandering 101 says don’t bite the hand that funds you. Political pandering 102 says don’t attack the base that feeds you. Hollywood is backing Obama so they can overlook his political transgressions.
Victoria Barret, Associate Editor: If you’re going to go after one group, go after the other. They both suffer the same ill, that isn’t really an ill, which is a competitive market for talent that rewards celebrity name. We have celebrity CEOs just like we have celebrities in Hollywood. Some of them don’t deserve every dollar they get, but most of them do across the board. If he really wanted to do a good thing for middle class America, lower taxes on small businesses. That’s where most job growth comes from.
Mike Ozanian, National Editor: Obama is not interested in creating jobs but he is interested in getting elected. If he wants to get elected, he needs an enemy, a target. People don’t perceive Hollywood as being rich. They look for a scapegoat; it’s corporations and CEOs.
Rich Karlgaard, Publisher: I think it’s foolish to pick enemies anywhere across the board. I disagree with my good friend Mike on that. If he is a candidate of hope, then he should be a big tent candidate. That’s the way you win this huge Reagan like approval numbers.
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief: Obama raises a different point which is a successful star is much more like an entrepreneur or some other creative person who is using his talents to bring people happiness and value. That does create jobs. We saw how many people were out of work because of the writers’ strike. There are a lot of jobs created in Hollywood because of the stars.
In Focus: MLB Steroids Hearing: Waste of Taxpayers' Money?
Mike Ozanian: They are wasting our tax dollars. The sporting fan has ruled with the free market over the last two years. They strongly suspected that many baseball players were taking steroids. They knew that some were, and they didn’t care. They flocked to stadiums in record amounts, and this whole hearing is a sham. It’s not going to change how people feel about steroids.
Quentin Hardy: Congressman Waxman said on Friday that he regretted the hearing was held, but Clemens himself and his lawyer insisted upon it to clear their names. Most of the country doesn’t believe Clemens, so I guess he’s sorry he did that. Baseball is a monster huge business. If you take steroids and growth hormones, you’re distorting it. You’re lacking transparency in a marketplace. If steroids were on the record like a stat no different from an RBI – he takes this many steroids – then I would be fine with it. The fact is, these guys are deceitful when they take it and don’t tell.
Steve Forbes: The hearing was a waste of money. Congress is on steroids for publicity hunting. That is why they held the hearing, not to get the facts. If they were doing it to get the facts, Congressman Shays of Connecticut put it very well - they would have had every player up there asking did you or did you not do it? When did you do it? Who did it and who were trainers? This was a sham - publicity mongering.
Rich Karlgaard: All my libertarian instincts want to agree with Mike and Steve on this, but the fact is baseball enjoys an anti-trust exemption, a lot of the stadiums are funded with public money. There is no free market in baseball and you live and die by the sword.
Josh Lipton, Forbes.com Staff Writer: If there’s an investigation, it should be left up to baseball, law enforcement officials and the courts. There is so much on the national radar – fear of recession, hot wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and this is what the policy makers want to spend their time and money on?
Lea Goldman, Senior Editor: I’m scratching my head saying Clemens who? I haven’t been following this, and I think I represent millions of Americans who really don’t care, who are left scratching our heads wondering why are they spending time and wasting my money on this? I hope when these guys run for reelection that the newspapers and the flyers that are given out show that this is what they spent our time and money on.
In Focus: Is Voting Online the Best Thing to Help Democracy and Save Money?
Lea Goldman: The answer is internet voting. Cast your ballot over the web, not only is it cheaper but they’ll be no more carting out those big bulky boxes. It’ll raise voter turnout. But the best reason of all is imagine not having to miss work, not having to leave early to cast your ballot. It will increase productivity. Employers benefit.
Steve Forbes: New phrase- ‘vote early, vote often, vote online’. Real security issues there. We have electronic versions of Chicago style fraud, people forgetting passwords. If you have a glitch you call India or China call centers. The hackers will kill it.
John Rutledge: Technical problems aside, it strikes me that if you could get people to vote online and increase participation, long-term it would be good for the stability of the country. Short term, though, it’ll elect Obama president because of the young kids and independents on the internet are Obama types. That would raise tax rates. That would be bad for the economy and the markets.
Mike Ozanian: If people want to vote, get off your butts and go to the polls and vote. Ten million people a year are victims of fraud online when trying to conduct business. That’s way, way too much. Besides, I kinda think I realize what John’s saying about young people, but wouldn’t this disenfranchise some poor people? It doesn’t seem like all of them have computers and technology that the rest of us have. Or the elderly.
Quentin Hardy: Hacking is a serious problem here, it’s already been shown. And the poor are disproportionately underrepresented in voting. They don’t have internet access. This wouldn’t help them at all. We should be thinking about having a national holiday so you don’t have to leave work early or whatever. Couple that with, as in New Zealand, mandatory voting. The obligation of the citizen to vote should be backed up.
Informer: Be$t $tock$ for Retirement
Josh Lipton: If you plan to retire in 20 years buy, Rayonier (RYN )
Victoria Barret: If you plan to retire in 15 years, buy Vanguard Global Equity Fund (VHGEX )
Rich Karlgaard: If you plan to retire in 5 years, buy Google (GOOG )
John Rutledge: If you plan to retire in a year, buy Citigroup (C )
Our Cashin' In crew this week: Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co; Jonathan Hoenig, CapitalistPig Asset Management; Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com; Dagen McDowell, Fox Business Network; Tyson Slocum, Public Citizen Energy Program; Vikki Ziegler, Trial Attorney.
Global Warming vs. Global Terrorism: Which is More of a Threat to America and the Economy?
Possible presidential candidate New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg says global warming is more dangerous than global terrorism because global warming has the potential to kill everyone on Earth. Is he right?
Jonathan: I think he’s crazy. The mayor is the mayor of a city where thousands of people were killed in cold blood by a known enemy: militant Islam. Ultimately I think global warming is going to go the way of Clear Pepsi or the Macarena. To me, it’s not a real threat.
Wayne: The mayor isn’t crazy. The only difference is Jonathan and I aren’t going to live long enough. 15,000 years ago we had an ice age where New York City was covered with 2 miles of ice. Changes in world climate can be disastrous. But right now, Jonathan is right: terrorism is a greater threat.
Tyson: Andrew Marshall, the guru of long term threat assessment at the Department of Defense, commission a study in October of 2003 which found that global climate change is a threat to national security because it threatens food supplies, fresh water so the Department of Defense is planning on this.
Dagen: These are not mutually exclusive topics. They go hand in hand. You wean yourself off of oil and you fight terrorism at the same time. You take money out of the hands of militant Islam. You’re killing two birds with one stone.
Jonas: Heroin consumption puts a lot of money in their pockets too and that doesn’t effect the environment. Let’s not even get into what’s causing global warming. The reality is, long run, global warming is a bigger threat to the typical person in the world, who will be in the world in maybe 200 years. Terrorism is a current threat. It’s like saying the real estate crisis is a current threat to the stock market. But long haul, the social security crisis is a bigger threat. Bloomberg is one of the few politicians that focuses on problems 50, 100 or 200 years out. If you don't live in an urban area that’s highly dense, terrorism is not as big a threat to you as weather situations. Maybe global warming hasn’t affected it enough yet but 50 to 100 years down the line, it could be bad.
Should Employers Fine Employees With Bad Health Habits?
Some companies are experimenting with docking the pay of workers who are overweight, smoke and have other health problems. Is that a bad idea?
Wayne: Yes. It is a bad idea in the following sense: I don't think any company has the right to impose on its employees or on any individuals. Grant you, if I’m smoking inside and it affects somebody that is one thing. But if I want to go outside and smoke a cigarette or big stogie, that should be my business. You do have the following question: does the fact that I am smoking affect your health care payments? Maybe my insurance payment should go up because I am a smoker, but you shouldn't be able to stop me from smoking.
Dagen: Not “stop” you but hit you where it hurts and put a financial penalty on people who participate bad habits or behaviors that drive up the cost of health care for everybody. Economists have looked at this, commitment contracts, like putting money on line and putting a financial penalty in place if you don't change your behavior and it works. There are books coming out about it. It is fascinating.
Vikki: I disagree completely. If you want to reward as a employer, give out gym memberships, you want to give people incentives to stop smoking, that’s great. Punishing people because my cholesterol happens to be higher than most, because its genetic, what does this have to do with my performance at work?
Jonas: You charge them more when they have kids. Why not when they smoke? Their health care costs, which are borne by the company by and large, are going to go up. If you are liable for someone else's health care cost, that is the government and employees, you have a say in how they behave health-wise.
Jonathan: Vikki, I think the employer has the right to discriminate. They offer a trade. The employee can take it or leave it. I am amazed that you seem so surprised that people should have to take responsibility for their own actions. Smokers cost more. Why shouldn’t they pay more? If you don’t like penalized for being a smoker, take a walk.
Did Heather Mills Shortchange All Women By Low-Balling Paul McCartney?
Heather Mills asked for far less than half of her former husband the former Beatles’ fortune in their divorce. Is she setting a bad precedent for other women?
Vikki: First of all, they didn’t enter into a prenuptial agreement so 1.6 billion dollars is in the pot, so to speak. They were married for four years. He created a lifestyle that she was accustomed to. This is something he has to ultimately be responsible for, for a term. We’re talking about alimony, not for the child. They have a child in common. He is going to be supporting her at least until 18. College, all of those extras that go along with having a child. So he’s exposed himself. So five percent of a $1.6 billion fortune does not seem to be great at all.
Wayne: How is one to determine what is fair? Fairness is a relative term. So it is very hard for somebody to say “This is fair that he gets 5% or 10% or whatever he may make.” One thing for sure: there are a number of expenses. You line them up, like you do in any business, make a budget and say you are responsible for this. That's fair.
Jonas: I don't know his exact finances, but he probably earned 99% of his wealth before this woman came into the picture. It is one thing if you’re someone’s wife for 30 years and they get rich, you have a claim on half of that. But to walk in there for a few years and all the wealth is already there, what stake do you have for half of that? It’s preposterous.
Jonathan: I am not married. But when I hear all these stories I feel like a marriage contract is more dangerous than the most esoteric derivatives contract I could dream up. I hear these stories and I think: prenup. Must have.
Best Bets: "Best in Show" Stocks
Our money experts give you the picks that deserve a blue ribbon!
Jonas: Logitech (LOGI)
Jonathan: CurrencyShares Canadian Dollar (FXC)
Wayne: VCA Antech (WOOF)