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; Matthew McCall, Penn Financial Group president; Marc Lamont Hill, Temple University Professor of American Studies
Trading Pit: Dems' Plan for Bigger Economy Boost: Good or Bad for Economy?
We need an even bigger caffeine shot to our economy! That's the call from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama on the campaign trail and from Dem leaders in congress. But would piling on billions more to Washington’s $150 billion stimulus plan make our shaky economy better or worse?
Gary B. Smith: More government handouts would be horrible for the economy! This is an insane idea. The government can’t give out money and expect it to prevent us from going into a recession. This is just political pandering at its worst!
Marc Lamont Hill: The Democrats are right this time! Whether we are in a recession right now is immaterial. The bottom line is people need money to pay their bills and pay down their debt right now.
Matt McCall: This is an emergency stimulus plan and the Democrats are trying to sneak in more unnecessary spending! This would cause us to go into a bigger deficit, which will hurt the economy even more in the long run.
Tobin Smith: This sets a dangerous precedence that big government can solve every problem. And when the proposed amount isn’t enough, just keep raising it until it is! In a bizarre way this will give us some stimulus, but it’s short term!
Scott Bleier: Buying votes never hurt any politician, and that’s what the Democrats are doing. Any government spending is a stimulate to the economy, but we don’t need it!
Pat Dorsey: With the 2001 rebates, studies have found that the money given to the lower income and people stretched with debt tended to spend it and not pay down their debts. So that will stimulate the economy, but it doesn’t solve the long-term problem with the economy.
Obama's Plan to Tax $tock Profit$: Good or Bad for Stocks?
Barack Obama expected to walk away with South Carolina today where he’s been talking up how to fix the economy. One of his proposals is to raise taxes on money you make in the stock market. But would this be the worst thing for Wall Street right now?
Gary B. Smith: Yes, this is a horrible proposal! If Barack Obama went to Harvard Business School instead of Harvard Law School, he would know that raising the capital gains tax harms the economy, new business growth dies, capital formation slows, and revenue from capital gains actually drops.
Marc Lamont Hill: It is immoral and unethical not to impose what Obama is proposing here. This could be a long-term fix to help the low income and poor in this country. The money raised will go to provide housing, education and health care for those who don’t have it.
Matt McCall: Obama is trying to redistribute wealth down to the lower class, which sounds great on the campaign trail! But it’s not going to work!
Can't resist a sale? The best bargain basement around is right on Wall Street! Our guys have your shopping list of stocks on sale in the Stock X-Change!
Gary B. Smith: TD AMERITRADE (AMTD)
Pat Dorsey: Waters (WAT)
Tobin Smith: Apple (AAPL)
Scott Bleier: Harman International (HAR)
Matt McCall: BHP Billiton (BHP)
Scott Bleier's prediction: No Fed cut on Wednesday; Buy New York Community Bancorp (NYB) on the pullback!
Matt McCalls's prediction: Housing bottoms this year; Bank of America (BAC) Up 35%
Gary B. Smith's prediction: Edwards drops out! "MDY" jumps 10% when he does!
Pat Dorsey's prediction: Don’t get caught with a cold! Pfizer (PFE) up 50% in 2 years.
Tobin Smith's prediction: More Maalox moments for stocks! Novartis (NVS) up 20% in a bear market!
Cavuto on Business
On Saturday, January 26, 2007, Neil Cavuto was joined by Charles Payne, wstreet.com; Tracy Byrnes, FOX Business Network; Gary Kaltbaum, Kaltbaum & Associates; Jill Schlesinger, StrategicPoint Investment Advisors; and Leigh Gallagher, Fortune Magazine.
Bottom Line: Do National Front-Runners Clinton and McCain Have Wall Street Running Scared?
Neil Cavuto: Forget the South Carolina and Florida polls, Hillary Clinton and John McCain are the big front-runners in the national polls. Is that why Wall Street has been running scared? Charles, what do you think?
Charles Payne: There are a whole lot of issues that Wall Street is concerned with. Let’s face the facts: Hillary’s going to take it to the rich with a vengeance and McCain may play it too close to the fence. Last week, I said the political winds were in McCain’s favor. A lot of people e-mailed me asking if I'm endorsing John McCain. I am not. Not that it really matters…
Neil Cavuto: Well, that Charles Payne swing vote… is substantial.
Charles Payne: I want those two guys who are influenced by me to wait to vote.
Tracy Byrnes: Wall Street wants the tax cuts to stay. Wall Street wants the corporate tax rates to come down. If these people aren’t going to do it, then yes, Wall Street is afraid of them. I don’t think Hillary’s going to give Wall Street what it wants, quite frankly.
Neil Cavuto: We’ll see about that. Gary, what do you think?
Gary Kaltbaum: The market is a discounter for the future. And you have John McCain, who has not had a great record with taxes, and Hillary Clinton (via Charlie Rangel) putting the highest tax rates to 44%. Pro-government and high taxes are going to kill the market and economy going forward.
Neil Cavuto: But, was that the phenomenon this week? Or did this week’s wild market swings have to do with the foreign markets?
Gary Kaltbaum: I think it’s all of the above. Look, it’s not just the foreign markets… it’s also housing. And we have to remember we’re going to have a new president who’s going to set new policy and the markets are looking at that.
Leigh Gallagher: I think the market is responding to things that are not related to McCain or Hillary. What’s affecting the market right now is the deepening crisis we’re in. I think Bernanke and the Fed and the moves they’re making have a lot more to do with what’s going on. I do think Wall Street with very few exceptions is hardly affected by what goes on in Washington.
Neil Cavuto: Just so you know… we’re doing a segment on this.
Leigh Gallagher: I know that. But, I think Wall Street want to see some change.
Neil Cavuto: I think in the grand-sense, when you step back… Wall Street is looking at these candidates as either pro-government or pro-tax cuts. And there are very few that are in the latter category. Is that not a worry?
Jill Schlesinger: I think it’s interesting. I don’t think the candidates moved the markets this past week. But, are the candidates an underlying concern? Absolutely. I am interested in seeing how Romney’s campaign moves forward. I think of everybody, Romney has the resume of the guy who’s the most eloquent about speaking about economic needs. I’m a little worried about the protectionist sound bites coming from everybody.
Charles Payne: Let me say one thing about this week in particular: We know there are a whole lot of other problems, but if we knew there was going to be someone we thought was going to be really great with the economy, lower corporate taxes, and show leadership, it would have mitigated the damages.
Neil Cavuto: Wait a second here. I want to be clear: If that person was deemed the front-runner?
Charles Payne: If that person was deemed the front-runner. Yes, we had a nice intra-week recovery, but the fact that we were down as much as we were down and the fact that Microsoft could have great earnings and the market still goes down shows that there’s a fundamental fracture…
Jill Schlesinger: You don’t think that has to do with the political landscape, do you? I think it has more to do with…
Charles Payne: If we had a strong candidate…
Jill Schlesinger: Who is that person? Over the last 50 years, who is that person?
Charles Payne: If we had a re-incarnation of Ronald Reagan and he was the front-runner, the market wouldn’t have done what it did.
Tracy Byrnes: Don’t you think it’s too early in the process for the market to be relying on a candidate?
Gary Kaltbaum: Look, we had this program coming from the government about giving money to people. I think George Bush missed a great opportunity to extend the tax cuts and make them permanent. I think the markets are looking at this. The president had nothing to lose. I’m absolutely amazed that he didn’t try to fight for that.
Neil Cavuto: To be fair, and I agree with you Gary, but this stimulus thing is beyond ridiculous… and had the president tried to make anything permanent, he would have gotten knocked down anyway. I would have liked to see him stand up and say, “You know what? This stimulus thing is asinine. And it’s against our Party credo; it’s against my credo.” But he didn’t. Now, the Republicans signed on for something that sucked them right into liberal spending. That’s my view.
Gary Kaltbaum: I think the market’s worried that the Republicans aren’t even fighting for lower taxes. The only one who’s really trying to force the issue is Rudy Giuliani and his poll numbers have been going south lately, which is kinda scary.
Tracy Byrnes: There are short-term blips, and you can see it after the primaries. For example, the day after Hillary won, the health care stocks and the oil stocks all took a hit because there’s a concern of what she could do.
Neil Cavuto: So the markets sometimes ride these primaries?
Tracy Byrnes: They do! A little bit. Wall Street is paying attention. But, it’s too early for Wall Street to rely on a certain candidate.
Leigh Gallagher: I think voters respond to what candidates are saying. The economy has trumped Iraq as the biggest issue in the election. But, what’s going on in the economy right now… the candidates have nothing to do with!
Charles Payne: I have to disagree. First of all, the voters are swayed through the media, which is largely liberal, and through advertising / campaign spending. Six months ago, Iraq was the number one issue but until the tide turned there and the media stopped covering it…
Leigh Gallagher: Well, the economy took a turn!
Charles Payne: And then 5% unemployment became “disastrous.” We’re living in a “disastrous” time right now. You’d think John Steinbeck was writing about us.
Gary Kaltbaum: Do not underestimate tax policy going forward. You know what? I have here in my hands the 1975 tax schedule. You paid 70% on the high end. We don’t want to go back to that way. I have to tell ya, some of these candidates seem like they want to take us that way and that’ll be killer for the economy and markets.
Neil Cavuto: I gotta tell ya, I talked to a prominent Democrat off the record who said we have a real long way to go before we get back to 70%... as if to say, even if we go up to 40 – 45%, that’s a deal!
Jill Schlesinger: I have to say my friends at the Brown Alumni Association may drift toward that extreme… but I don’t think most Democrats are there. By the way, I happen to know that what Gary was holding up was a racing line and a sheet on the Giants…
Jill Schlesinger: I really think the final analysis is to come. What we’re seeing right now is general anxiety, and people are going to vote for the candidate who makes them feel the most secure overall… whomever that candidate may be.
Head to Head: Mortgage Rates Drop to 30-Month Low; Time to Go House Shopping?
Neil Cavuto: This week: Mortgage rates get near historic lows with the 30-year fixed rates under 5.5% and 15-years are below 5%. There was a historic drop in house prices. And something historic tucked inside that over-the-top stimulus bill… relief for homeowners.
Is now the time to buy homes? It’s time to go "Head to Head."
Jill Schlesinger: Absolutely! It’s a great time to shop and I think it’s very important that you get out there. Mortgage rates are down. And inside the stimulus plan, it looks like mortgage loan cap is going from $417,000 to $725,000.
Neil Cavuto: For one year.
Jill Schlesinger: For one year.
Neil Cavuto: So it’s like a one-time to shop.
Jill Schlesinger: Yeah! I think this is a tremendous opportunity. I think you really need to shop around and know the market you’re in.
Neil Cavuto: Gary, you’re in Arizona today. And that’s a market, much like your home state of Florida, where homes and condos are just sitting. But, the trouble I’m told is getting people to qualify for loans because the standards are much tougher. Do lower rates and home prices change that?
Gary Kaltbaum: Look, isn’t it a great concept? The lenders have gone back to where they were in the first place. It’s great interest rates are down! Interest is a big part of people’s payments. But, I think prices are going to continue to come down for years to come.
Neil Cavuto: How long?
Gary Kaltbaum: Five to ten years. Look, the last one was 12 years. It’s a great time to buy because there are so many foreclosures and there’s going to be a lot of no-minimum bid auctions. So, go out and buy and get a great deal!
Neil Cavuto: Up to 10 years?
Gary Kaltbaum: Absolutely.
Charles Payne: I don’t know. We had some housing data out this week: Supply dropped for the first time since March of last year. I agree with Jill. If you can find the home of your dreams, you’re in a position to drive a hard bargain. I think people are going to be too cute about this whole thing and really regret that they waited. Same thing with the stock market in 2003.
Tracy Byrnes: As you said, it doesn’t matter how low rates get… you have to qualify now! You’re going to need your 20% down. You need clean credit. It’s a different market than it was a few years ago. So whether your dream house is for sale, you still need the money and the credit to get it.
Neil Cavuto: But even with the re-financing boom that we’ve been seeing, it’s gotta be very tough because people can’t get their homes appraised… so homeowners are kinda in a catch-22.
Leigh Gallagher: That’s true. But, I think for the prime borrowers, this is a great time to buy. I’m putting my money where my mouth is. I’m meeting with a real estate agent tomorrow. Apartment prices are falling.
Neil Cavuto: A realtor? You don’t even have to sign! “Oh, Leigh Gallagher?? Please! How big??”
Leigh Gallagher: We’re starting to see evidence of prices dropping in markets like New York City and hopefully they’ll fall a little more.
Neil Cavuto: They have to fall a lot here. What’s the average? $10 million?
Leigh Gallagher: Might as well be.
Neil Cavuto: If Gary’s right and this sort of bleeding goes on for a long time, you’re telling people who are in homes they bought in the last couple of years that they’re not going to get a return on the investment for a few more years?
Jill Schlesinger: I don’t see that. Most of those people bought their homes to live in. They don’t consider it an investment. The guys who were looking to flip, they’re taking a bath, I hope. If you want to buy a home and you want to live in it for the next 30 years, whether the price falls 10 – 15% over the next couple of years should not prevent you from buying.
Neil Cavuto: What if you want to live in it for the next 10 years?
Jill Schlesinger: I just don’t see this downtrend lasting for 10 years. Maybe I’ll be wrong, but I just don’t see it happening.
Gary Kaltbaum: I just try to deal with facts. Charles was mentioning the stock market. There’s a big difference. Bear markets for stocks usually last about 1 – 1.5 years. That’s their history. Bear markets in housing last 8 – 12 years. And due to the fact you had ridiculous speculation at the top, it’s going to be a lot tougher to get out of this one.
Neil Cavuto: When you say a bear market… when we had the 1987 crash in the northeast, prices were rebounding by 1992. So, that was five years, right?
Gary Kaltbaum: It’s all regional. California took 8 – 10 years. It all depends on regions. The good news is this is a buyer’s market! So go out there, find what you want, and bid under. There are deals all over the place right now. In Orlando, two condos that were built are now totally foreclosed on, they’re 80% empty, and now they’re going to start handing them out for like $1.99.
Charles Payne: Throw my name on the list!
Tracy Byrnes: I’m movin’ to Orlando!
More for Your Money: $tocks on $ale!
Neil Cavuto: Wild swings in the market means it’s time for you to make wild money! Or at least get your money back! Our pros name the best "Stocks on Sale" so you can get "More for Your Money."
Leigh Gallagher: Intel (INTC)
Jill Schlesinger: iShares Russell 1000 Growth Index (IWF)
Charles Payne: Amazon (AMZN)
*Charles owns at least one share of this stock.
Gary Kaltbaum: United States Oil (USO)
FOX on the Spot!
Gary Kaltbaum: Fed cuts rates AGAIN; 3% before end of January
Charles Payne: Bill Gates' "Kinder Capitalism" will hurt the poor
Leigh Gallagher: Bill Gates has it right; "Kinder Capitalism" is a must
Jill Schlesinger: Forget Gates; "Ratatouille" shows how to $ucceed
Tracy Byrnes: McCain wins GOP nom, picks Lieberman to be VP
Neil Cavuto: The election is over, folks. It ended this week. Democrats won. Republicans lost. Big government is back. The Grand Old Party is pathetic, signing onto a stimulus plan they know does nothing. They’ve lost their conviction. And this week they lost something else: their soul.
Forbes on FOX
In Focus: Fresh Face v$ Pro-Politician: Who Is Wall Street Rooting for?
John Rutledge, Forbes Contributor: Well, voters are tired of earmarks, of spending, and people who don’t respect the constitution. They want something new. That’s why the message of an outsider has been working so well in the primaries. McCain’s been selling himself as the guy who exposed the bridge to nowhere. Romney is the outside manager, Obama as the healer. Hillary, of course, sells herself by crying and hugging Hispanics and talking about her first presidency. But, fresh faces are good as long as they don’t raise tax rates.
Neil Weinberg, Senior Editor: I think people would like fresh, but they don’t want too fresh, and if we’re talking about Wall Street, I think they’re very happy with the way things are. Right now, if you’re an investor the tax system is very good, if you’re a worker, it’s not so good. The capital gains tax is very low right now. Right now, we have an 800-pound gorilla in the room – Medicare and Medicaid, and nobody is talking about that, and Wall Street doesn’t want to talk about that. So right now Wall Street is very happy. We’re living on debt; things are good for investors, life is good.
Bill Baldwin, Editor: As an investor, I would love to see a really fresh face - somebody who said ‘I’m tired of these phony rebates, phony stimulus plans. Let’s shrink the government.’ The only guy saying that is a fringy character who is not going to win any general election. So, what do we have for fresh? Maybe Mitt Romney. He changes his policy every couple of weeks. That’s fresh.
Lacey Rose, Forbes.com Markets Reporter: I just think the last thing Wall Street wants is a fresh face. They want predictability. They want somebody that’s deeply entrenched in the political system, beholden to special interest groups and lobbyists. They want people that they know where they’re coming from, and what they’re moves are. I think a lot of what Wall Street is really scared about is uncertainty.
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley Bureau Chief: Well, let’s look at the record because in this case it’s in my favor. George Bush comes into office and he hires experienced people like Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, and it doesn’t work out. So, maybe experience isn’t playing in our favor. Hillary talks about her experience, she sinks in Iowa, and then she changes her message. Obviously the people themselves, which is the broader market of the country, are hungry for a radical change from the way things are going and they think that will produce a better result.
Lea Goldman, Senior Editor: I don’t think Wall Street gives a hoot if they guy is fresh or if the gal’s a seasoned, veteran, political hack. At the end of the day, they want someone who is not only going to deliver the message but also believe in the message that smaller government is better, that universal healthcare is going to undermine growth and business. It doesn’t matter if they’re right or left, old or young. It could be a leprechaun with a bowl of Lucky Charms, but they have to have that message.
Debate: Should Tax Rebates Go to People Who Don't Pay Income Taxes?
Mike Ozanian, National Editor: This is crazy. We shouldn’t be giving tax rebates to 35 million Americans who don’t pay taxes. I realize that many of them pay social security taxes, but they already get a rebate through the income tax credit, so this is total welfare and it’s wrong.
Lea Goldman: I think these are exactly the people who should be getting the rebate because you know what’s going to happen? As soon as that check comes in, it’s going out the door because these are people that live paycheck to paycheck. They’re going to pump that money back into the economy, which is really the goal of the stimulus package. It hasn’t happened in the past because they didn’t get it in 2001. That money’s not going into savings if you’re making 10 or 15 grand a year,
Victoria Barret, Associate Editor: This stimulus plan is political pandering at its worst, it’s bad policy, but why would you just limit it to the middle class? Why not target the working poor, folks who do need this the most. They are paying taxes. I know it’s not income taxes, but these are taxpayers and that’s what matters.
Quentin Hardy: I think it’s a P.R problem – they’ve given it the wrong name by calling it a rebate. Basically, they’ve declared a second Christmas for the country. Everybody’s going to go out and shop one time. That’s fine. It’s a one-time shot. It’s not going to hire a single greeter more at Wal-Mart, but we have to pay attention to a very important fact. Earlier this week, Wall Street’s boyfriend, Ben Bernanke cut three-quarters of a point and the market still ended the day down.
Elizabeth MacDonald, FOX Business Network: I’m for it. I’m for, first of all, cutting corporate taxes because that would do more to get people jobs, and for cutting the upper bracket, again that would do more to get people jobs because it’s small businesses in those brackets. Companies never pay taxes. Usually, it’s the workers who pay it or the customers or the shareholders. We’re talking about the ‘leave no consumer behind’ act. We give tens of billions in foreign aide. We give hundreds of billions down a rat hole in Iraq. Why not give them the money?
Bill Baldwin: It could be worse. At least it’s aimed toward the working poor. But let’s get one thing clear – all stimulus plans like this are stupid. The question is how stupid they are? If you could increase the wealth of the country by throwing money out of helicopters, why stop at $600? Why not give everybody $6,000 or give everybody $60,000. Your answer is, ‘Well, that would create inflation.’ It would be very stupid. My answer is $600 is the same thing; only it’s a little bit less stupid.
Debate: Bull vs. Bear: Which One Will Come Out on Top This November?
Josh Lipton, Forbes.com Staff Writer: It’s a bull. I’ll tell you why. First, since 1940, 81% of presidential election years reportedly have seen a gain in the S&P 500. Secondly, you have an alert, supportive fed. You are now riding an aggressive fed easing. That’s going to continue. That’s going to be more investing and consumption.
Quentin Hardy: Well, some more history, George Bush would have to be the first ever, as far as I can tell, two-term president to end up with the DOW below where it was when he started eight years ago. Nonetheless, he’s defied all my expectations so far. I think he’s capable of doing it. The stimulus package is inflationary. My poor dollar is going to be so beat up. It’s going to affect business; it’s going to affect the market. We’ll be ok in the end, but it’s a long, slow workout.
Elizabeth MacDonald: Listen, let’s also blame solar flares and El Nino on Bush. By the way, it was Greenspan who guided the market from one acid bubble to the next. I’m a bull long term. I’m a bull because it’s going to be two years of weakness, but we are just now on the cusp of true globalization. Emerging markets overseas are helping all sorts of income classes coming up stream like lower income classes moving into the middle classes. And, for people like Quentin, you get the idea that we’re on the verge of a national nervous breakdown with the wheels coming off the economy. No, we are the deepest, most liquid stock market in the world. The economy is going grow a weak 1.5% this year, but listen to the bulls.
Mike Ozanian: I’m not as cranky as maybe Liz thinks that Quentin is, but I’m a bear. I think we’re in a period of slower corporate profits. We still have a long way to go through this mortgage meltdown and the dollar is getting weaker. The fed is trashing the dollar. Stagflation, Jimmy Carter, remember that? That’s where we’re headed.
Victoria Barret: It’s going to be a lamb. It’s cute, it’s cuddly and it’s pretty harmless. Like a hamster, I think the market is going to be where it was when we started last year, which is higher than it is now by several percentage points. There’s a lot of god news, but also a lot of bad news. Unemployment? Still very low. Subprime? We’re working it out. We’re going to start to see some of the affects of the interest rate cuts in a couple of months. That’s going to act as a steroid shot to the economy. The market’s going to like that. We’re still going to have global growth. I don’t think it’s going to be a disastrous year. It’s going to be a rocky year, but we’ll end up where we started.
Informer: $tock$ on $ale!
Evelyn Rusli, Forbes.com markets reporter: Garmin (GRMN)
Neil Weinberg: SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB)
John Rutledge: The Bear Stearns Co. (BSC)
Josh Lipton: JPMorgan Chase (JPM)
Crazy Market & Shaky Economy: Good for the GOP or Dems?
Cheri Jacobus, Republican Strategist: Right now, the polls show that Americans trust the Democrats more than the Republicans in terms of the economy in the long haul. I think the Republicans have the edge. I think the lack of confidence with the GOP right now with the economy is because of the out of control spending we’ve seen by the Republicans. But if you notice now, you see all these Republican candidates in the debates talking about tax cuts, strangling regulations in businesses. Businesses are what create jobs. I think Republicans know they can turn this around because Republicans are ultimately responsible for turning the markets around and keeping the economy steady over the long haul. The Democrats aren’t coming out with any ideas that actually make sense. They’re not talking about real tax cuts, they’re not talking about tax cuts for businesses which create jobs, which will help the middle class, they’re just trying to play a lot of rhetorical class warfare. So I think ultimately this will hurt the Democrats and help the Republicans because they do not have real solutions.
Dagen McDowell, FOX Business Network: People are not talking long term here. People want this fixed and they want it now. If you look in recent history, after the Clinton administration, the Nasdaq bubble bursting in 2000, we were in the cusp of a recession. President Bush wins the White House, Bush 41 loses in the middle of a recession, and Ronald Reagan came in at the end of a decade which was horrible for our country. These is the one thing which causes the party in power to switch.
Wayne Rogers, Wayne Rogers & Co.: A recession is never a good time for the incompetent party to run. Even the Republicans are talking about change. I think all of us are suffering from electile dysfunction. It’s very difficult to get aroused by any of these candidates. I don’t see any way for the Republicans, given the current state of the markets, to get out of this and they’re going to have to suffer with the responsibility of what has happened.
Jonas Max Ferris, MaxFunds.com: I like to think that the Republican party thinks in long term strategies and wants to create jobs, but is writing and sending checks to people a long term job creation strategy? This is the second time we’re getting a check in the mail and it doesn’t seem that’s the way to reassure people of creating jobs and looking out for the economy in the long run. In terms of the market, this type of volatility creates a lot of concern for people. They don’t like the uncertainty and they’re going to blame whoever is in power. I don’t think this is going to reflect well on the Republicans but if the Democrats were in power, this would be a great boom for Republicans.
Jonathan Hoenig, CapitalistPig Asset Management: I think Cheri’s claim that a stimulus package is great for the Republicans is total BS. This is what the Republicans sold their souls to. They’re getting a bad rap with the Democrats who want to distribute income. And that’s what this "stimulus package" is really about.
Oprah's Money Lesson: Stay Out of Politics?
Jonathan Hoenig: Oprah doesn’t need a money lesson, she knows exactly what she’s doing! It doesn’t affect her in any way for supporting a candidate that she likes. I think she’s judged Obama on his character and I think even if you’re a Hillary supporter, you support someone who judges a candidate on character. What I think is disgusting is this whole notion that if you’re a woman you have to support Hillary and if you’re black you have to support Obama. That’s tribal collectivism which I think has no place in American politics.
Cheri Jacobus: I don’t think the jump in Obama’s polls have anything to do with Oprah Winfrey. She did get backlash from her fans because we don’t go to her for her religion or her politics. We go to Oprah for what books to read and what diet is the best. And I think a lot of her fans thought "Hey, we don’t need you for political advice!" Celebrity endorsements are fun, they’re junk food for the campaign trail, and I think Oprah has no intention for being junk food.
Dagen McDowell: I think some celebrity endorsements can actually hurt the candidate rather than help them. But with Oprah, it definitely looked like she helped Obama, particularly in Iowa. And she doesn’t need to worry about whether this hurt her business... she’s worth $2.5 billion! Who cares!
Wayne Rogers: I don’t think celebrity endorsements mean really much. Whether it’s good for Oprah or not, I don’t know. Whether it’s good or bad for Obama, I don’t think it matters. Obama is going to carry himself. He’s doing very well on his own and in terms of a celebrity endorsing him, will neither help nor hurt him.
Jonas Max Ferris: Trust me, I’d be a very happy man if Oprah endorsed MaxFunds.com. Oprah has a lot of fans and most of them go to her for more than just book advice. They listen to her just as much as any other commentator on television. Oprah helped Obama and his campaign. Unless she did something terrible, I don’t think its going to hurt her any more than it’s going to help her.
Are Lawyers Killing the Housing Market and Your Home Value?
Wayne Rogers: Home prices are going to go down further and the absorption rates are going to stretch out no matter what. That has nothing to do with lawsuits. However, lawsuits are going to proliferate. The good part is, I don’t think because of the derivatives in all these contracts are so different from each other, that you wont have a lot of class action lawsuits. The class action lawsuits are the ones that just murder you…those really cost society a bundle of money. Shakespeare had it just right: Kill the lawyers! A lot of the lenders have left the market…you hardly have any lenders left who are willing to give out loans. A lot of them who were sucked into the mortgage crisis don’t have any money left to make these loans. The borrowers were hung out to dry.
Tara Nicholle-Nelson, RethinkRealEstate.com: My firm or real estate agents has a disclosure which is called Market Condition Advisory which a buyer must sign before they offer a price to buy a home saying I recognize that it is my responsibility to understand that markets go up and down. It is ultimately the home buyers decision what to offer for their house. This is not hurting prices. I will say this: consumer confidence is going to be the ultimate thing in getting our housing market back on track. There is so much fear mongering going on in the media that even though there are many amazing opportunities to buy right now, a lot of them are just paralyzed with fear…they’re unable to do anything.
Jonathan Hoenig: I think this whole Kill the Lawyers thing is terrible. First of all, it’s so 1980s. Second of all, lawyers are representatives of people so unless you want to kill the people, you can’t say blame the lawyers. Whenever the market goes down or money changes hands, there are always lawsuits. But lawyers are the effect, they’re not the cause.
Stocks on $ale
JONATHAN HOENIG: CurrencyShares Swiss Franc – FXF (Friday’s close: $91.36)
WAYNE ROGERS: Ichan Enterprises – IEP (Friday’s close: $112.08)
JONAS MAX FERRIS: Fidelity Nasdaq Composite Index Tracking – ONEQ (Friday’s close: $91.27)