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; Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research editor; Scott Bleier, HybridInvestors.com president; Gary Kaltbaum, Kaltbaum & Associates president; Mike Norman, BIZRADIO show host, Ephren Taylor , City Capital CEO.
Trading Pit: Would National Health Care Bankrupt America?
We're hearing a lot about national health care in the run-up to the 2008 election—especially from the Democrats. But can America afford it?
Scott: National health care would absolutely bankrupt this country! When the government does something, they do it at twice the cost and half the efficiency. If you think health care is expensive now, let the government to get involved. Medicare alone is going to bankrupt this country. National socialized health care will put this country under in ten years.
Mike: The cost of not having national health care is going to be enormous. We could potentially have millions of uninsured, sick people in our society. This would be tremendously chaotic. The government doesn't do every terrible. The government has done a fantastic job with our military, space program, and built the infrastructure of this country. The fact of the matter is universal health care is an investment, and we need it.
Gary B.: National health care wouldn't bankrupt the country, but like all government programs, it would be terribly expensive and inefficient. Health care would be much more efficient if the government would get out of the way and let the medical industry operate. The answer is not making more government because that has just not worked.
Ephren: A national health care program would absolutely not bankrupt us. We need increased accessibility to health care for working class families in America. Something has to be done. This needs to be looked at as an investment. However, most programs that are government run are poorly run like the Postal Service and Amtrak. This is why we must combine the efficiency of private companies with government accountability.
Tobin: The way the Democrats have presented national health care is absolutely insane. They talk about this program like it is a magic credit card with no bill. As long as they are going to use the "magic card" it will never work and it will bankrupt us.
Pat: Something needs to be done. As a society, we pay more for less health care than almost any other industrialized country. Some level of government involvement is necessary, but economic incentives don't always make sense here. You get the most societal benefit from preventative care; teaching people to take care of themselves. But you see the benefit from preventative care ten years down the road. It's pretty hard to get the economic incentives right, which is why some level of government involvement is necessary.
Hugo Chavez Plan to Undermine America?
Hugo Chavez at it again! Leading massive protests in South America to counter President Bush's goodwill trip. And don't forget the ads from the dictator's oil company, Citgo. Using poor people, in the cold, to praise Venezuela for cheap home heating oil. Is all this a part of a strategy to undermine America?
Gary B.: Chavez is on record as despising the United States and President Bush. Chavez is a friend of Iran. If he's not a terrorist now, it certainly sounds like he's a terrorist in the making. Citgo's profits are going to fund his operations. I think what he's doing is no different than if al Qaeda were selling oil here for low prices. But then, people would refuse to pay it. I think they should do the same with Citgo.
Scott: It's a free country. You can do this as long as you have people on your side, like how Chavez teamed up with Joe Kennedy. Chavez is doing his best to show us up. We are the richest country in the world. Poor people have the opportunity to get help on the local and federal level for cheap heating oil. This is a pure public relations campaign, plain and simple.
Tobin: Chavez is being a little shrewd here, but he may have fallen on the sword. He has scared so much investment capital out of Venezuela that production is low. The reason why they're shipping us this oil is because it's heavy oil. It can't be used for anything other than heating oil.
Mike: He's not fooling anybody. If he wants to lose money on every barrel of oil by giving it to poor people, then that's great for poor people in this country. People see Chavez for what he is. He's a buffoon.
Ephren: This is one of the biggest hustles of all time. We know what Chavez is doing. We know what he's up to. I refuse to be held hostage by foreign oil producers.
Pat: Chavez is a populist pure and simple. That's how he stays in power. Calling him a terrorist is going a little too far. He's a populist whose economic policies aren't doing his country any favors. He probably won't be around once oil prices come back down.
Politically incorrect stocks! These stocks are not "PC," but could make you a lot of money.
Mike: Bank of America (BAC )
Gary B.: Marriott (MAR )
Tobin: Time Warner (TWX )
Pat: Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B )
Scott: New York Times (NYT )
Tobin's prediction: D.C. madam $crew$ health care reform; buy UnitedHealth (UNH )
Gary B's prediction: Buy "basket" of sub-prime lenders that got crushed
Mike's prediction: Groceries skyrocket! Kroger (KR) up 40 percent by Labor Day
Scott's prediction: Brazil's Ultrapar (UGP) gains from Bush trip; up 25 percent
Pat's prediction: Marsh & McLennan (MMC) $afe way to make 50 percent in 2 years
Cavuto on Business
On Saturday, March 10th, Neil Cavuto was joined by Ben Stein, "Yes You Can Get a Financial Life" author; Gregg Hymowitz, FOX Business contributor; Leigh Gallagher, SmartMoney senior editor; Ben Ferguson, "The Ben Ferguson Show" host; Jack Welch, "Winning: The Answers" author.
Neil Cavuto: Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards says Americans are selfish and Jesus would not approve:
"I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs. I think he would be appalled, actually."
-- John Edwards, Beliefnet.com interview
Edwards wants to raise taxes on the rich to provide healthcare for the poor. Would Jesus do the same?
Jack Welch: I think Jesus is too smart to raise taxes. On the other hand, Jesus would expect us to be a generous people. And in fact, we are the most generous people from Bill Gates and Warren Buffett and all the way down. This country has a great spirit of giving.
Ben Stein: Jesus disliked rich people very much. He really, really disliked tax collectors who were called publicans in those days. Not Republicans, but publicans. But he did say: "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's." I would like to respectfully suggest that we don't need to bring Jesus into this at all. And the idea of a trial lawyer bringing Jesus into it is really, really funny. Just on the basis of arithmetic, we need to raise taxes, but I don't think Jesus is a source we need to consult.
Neil Cavuto: I'd just wonder what Jesus would have thought about trial lawyers, but that's a different show.
Ben Stein: Yes, you're not kidding!
Leigh Gallagher: Jesus was born in a stable. He identified with the poor. He believed in impartiality, and for that reason I think he would really want to level the gap between the haves and the have-nots. I think he'd want everyone to pay their fair share.
Ben Stein: Right on!
Gregg Hymowitz: John Edwards never said that. If you listen to the interview, he wasn't talking about raising taxes. What he was referring to was national health insurance.
Neil Cavuto: But he's advocated raising taxes.
Gregg Hymowitz: But Neil, they are two totally different issues. Edwards comments related to Jesus were about the 47 million people in this country who do not have health insurance and the way to pay for some sort of national health insurance. A lot of that happens to come from the tax credits he's proposing. Jesus did say: "Whatever you do to the least of my brethren you do to me." And it's that kind of community that John Edwards is talking about. He wasn't talking about increasing taxes.
Neil Cavuto: By the way, I've interviewed him and he has talked about raising taxes.
Gregg Hymowitz: But the comments weren't related.
Neil Cavuto: Jack Welch, here's what I want to get straight: Invariably, candidates bring Jesus into this race. I don't know why, but they do. Is that a wise idea?
Jack Welch: Well, I don't think so at all. What we're looking for in a presidential candidate is personal leadership, someone who can take charge, and someone who has confidence. I think that's going to be the measure by which we're going to pick.
Neil Cavuto: Ben Stein, I think Edwards is a very smart guy. I think he calculated that if you go ahead and align yourself with the extreme left, that hits a chord. The haves, the have-nots; that's who he's reaching out to. There are a lot of Democrats who feel disaffected, if not stomped on. He's reaching out to them.
Ben Stein: People will try to use religion to sell anything. People try to use religion to sell vacuum cleaners. I saw in the Wall Street Journal that Mr. Edwards is a huge recipient of donations from Wall Street. That doesn't quite square with this idea of trying to level the playing field. Wall Street is not exactly all about leveling the playing field. I don't know. I really do not like the idea of bringing religious figures into debates of fiscal policy. It just makes me a little uneasy.
Gregg Hymowitz: Ben brings up a very good point. John Edwards has a lot of support from Wall Street. And you're right. The reason why he's able to do that is because a lot of folks on Wall Street agree that things are out of whack. There needs to be more equality.
Neil Cavuto: Maybe there are a lot of lawyers on Wall Street?
Gregg Hymowitz: Well, that's a whole separate group of donors. What we're talking about is a lot of folks on Wall Street who support John Edwards because they believe things are too disparate.
Ben Stein: Isn't that wildly hypocritical? Gregg, please. I mean, I have as much respect for those people as you do, and you are one of them, but those people are siphoning money out of the system as fast as they can. If they want to give back, they can give back through charity.
Gregg Hymowitz: Ben, and as Jack said, they do give back through charity. But they also recognize that the tax system has gone a little bit out of whack.
Neil Cavuto: Alright, I want to bring Ben Ferguson into this. Ben, you've heard the back and forth on Jesus now entering the race, not to run himself, but to how he would reflect on it.
Ben Ferguson: I think anytime you have a candidate who comes out and tries to talk about God and Jesus, it connects with most Americans. But for this guy, who's an ambulance chaser, who's taken tons of money from poor people to build his multi-million dollar house, it's a little hypocritical when he's basically made a career off the poor.
Gregg Hymowitz: That's ridiculous! He's helped the poor! He's helped the people who have been injured. What are you talking about? He's defended the poor people.
Jack Welch: Gregg, stop that! They find a case and grab a third off the top! C'mon.
Gregg Hymowitz: Jack, do you think people who are injured deserve to be represented?
Jack Welch: Yes, I do.
Gregg Hymowitz: Ok, that's what he's done! So what's wrong with that?
Jack Welch: Oh Gregg.
Neil Cavuto: So you think getting hundreds of millions of dollars over a career is something Jesus would look at and say, "Nice job!"
Gregg Hymowitz: Neil, listen. He's represented many, many people who've been injured. I don't want to speak for Jesus quite frankly.
Leigh Gallagher: As long as he's paying taxes on it and as long as the taxes were going to the poor, I think Jesus would be fine with it.
Neil Cavuto: Ben Stein, what were you going to say?
Ben Stein: Neil, I was going to say, I've been doing this show for about 5 years now, and that was the best line you've ever had.
Neil Cavuto: I don't know. I was just thinking! Ben Ferguson, let me get a sense of where this is going. Religion has typically been used, maybe fairly, maybe unfairly, by a lot Republicans, and now Democrats are using it… say what you will about this whole Edwards/Jesus reference, it did connect with a lot of folks. I'm wondering if Republicans are worried that religion, which used to be their mantle, is now being shared?
Ben Ferguson: Yeah, it used to be that Christian conservatives were the people of religion and you had to have the religious base to get elected. Religion's changed in this country. You see a lot of churches going with contemporary services and no longer with traditional ones. Some of the biggest mega-churches are very contemporary. Look at some of the issues we've had in the churches with pastors being gay and lesbian. So yeah, I think the Democrats are making major inroads with the religious community and I'm sure that concerns the Republican Party because that's been their solid base in the polls. John Edwards is saying look, I'm for the little guy, I'm for the minority, I go to church just as much as anybody else, and I'm going to stick up for you and make sure you get money.
Head to Head
Neil Cavuto: Global warming. Is it real or a multi-billion dollar fraud? It's time to go head to head. Big corporations like Wal-Mart and Starbucks already spending big bucks to appease global warming alarmists like Al Gore. But now a new documentary called "The Great Global Warming Swindle" claims that man has nothing to do with heating the planet. If true, are we wasting a lot of money?
Ben Ferguson: Yeah, we're wasting a bunch of money. I think corporations know they need new technology. Car makers know oil is going to run out, so what better way to get new technology than to convince Washington, DC there's a global warming problem so it will subsidize new technology. You look at all these companies. They get huge tax breaks for coming up with new ways to run this country. But the taxpayers are the ones who have to pay for it because of "global warming."
Leigh Gallagher: That is absolutely not true. "The Great Global Warming Swindle" filmmaker really likes to stir the pot. It's fun to be contrarian. You get a lot of headlines. But it is beyond an established fact that global warming is happening. And it is an established fact that man is causing it.
Neil Cavuto: It's an established fact that it's getting warmer, but it's not unequivocal that man's causing it.
Leigh Gallagher: Well, you know there was a ruling about a month ago by a very cautious, conservative panel that has to agree by consensus. It ruled that mankind is what is causing this warming.
Gregg Hymowitz: Look, I don't know that we're going to solve the debate whether mankind is causing global warming or not.
Neil Cavuto: I guess we're getting to the issue of should companies spend a lot of money to fight global warming?
Gregg Hymowitz: I think we should move toward alternative fuels regardless because I think we want to reduce our dependence on Middle East oil, and the I think we know the alternative oil sources are cleaner. It's a move in the right direction.
Ben Stein: I don't think there's a consensus at all. I love Leigh Gallagher. She's my secret crush.
Neil Cavuto: Careful, careful.
Leigh Gallagher: Oh Ben!
Ben Stein: But I don't think the consensus is there at all. To be sure, Gregg is totally right. We've got to do something to get off of Mideast oil, and the sooner the better.
Neil Cavuto: Jack, GE is now part of this consortium of companies looking to do something about global warming. Obviously your successor think there's something to it. Do you?
Jack Welch: Well, I can't tell if it's real or not real, but if I were a CEO, I sure as hell would bet that it is real. What worries me on this issue is the process of this carbon emissions measurement. If we end up with United Nations getting involved in allocation and allotment and verification, we will have a bureaucracy that will make the "Oil for Food" scandal look like baby steps.
Ben Stein: Amen!
Neil Cavuto: What I'm worried about is if we start spending money for a problem that I'm not saying isn't real, but for very expensive solutions that are very wrong… that's what I'm worried about.
Ben Ferguson: Well, I think part of it is marketing, and I think most companies know that if they can sell you on the problem of global warming, then our conscious is going to take over and make us want to start buying products and automobiles and everything else that help make the environment a better place to live. I mean it's the biggest scandal I've ever seen in my life: To get all of us convinced that we're hurting this earth, so therefore, we're going to change our lifestyles and pay more for products the companies sell to us. I really think it's that simple.
Inside Jack's Head
Neil Cavuto: Congress has approved a bill that would deny workers the right to a secret ballot when unions try to organize. If this becomes law, Jack Welch says it will bring America's economy to its knees. It's time to go inside Jack's head. Jack, why do you say that?
Jack Welch: We have seen over the last 25 years, unions in the private sector drop to less than 10 percent. So the unions have come up with this unbelievable law called "Employee Free Choice Act" which will take away the right of a secret ballot of an employee to vote, and we'll end up with unionized plants like what we had in the 70s and no productivity and this will put us at a very big disadvantage in the global market.
Neil Cavuto: But you've written in the past that some businesses deserve to be unionized if they mistreat their workers, if they take advantage of them, if they screw them… so some of them had it coming.
Jack Welch: I totally agree with that. If you've got a horse's ass running a plant, you will get a union and you deserve one! And if you got a company that has bad practices, you'll get a union. But that's not the way it is today in a global world. I'll tell you Neil, this is very dangerous. They're not going to get it through in this Congress, but in the 2008 elections, for the Democrats to get elected, they're going to have to vote for this crazy legislation that takes away one of America's most sacred things, the secret ballot. And we have to stop it!
Neil Cavuto: We should say there's more than majority support in the House and in the Senate, and Ted Kennedy says he's close. You don't buy that for this go-round?
Jack Welch: No, not this go-round. But next time around! This is going to be the unions' biggest issue and they're going to tie their funding to a commitment of support. They already did that with Congress in November and you saw what they did!
Neil Cavuto: Ok, Jack Welch. We'll see what happens! Maybe not this go-round, but in the next Congress.
FOX on the Spot
Jack: Economy slows, Fed cuts rates by end of Sept.
Ben: If you can't handle the ride, get out of the market!
Leigh: Rudy's too "New York" for GOP; loses nomination
Gregg: Rudy is too "New York" but Bloomberg isn't; he runs!
Ben: Credit card companies promise to cut rates is baloney!
Neil: Hedge fund blow-up will ignite market sell-off!
Forbes on FOX
In Flipside: Walter Reed Le$$on: National Health Care Would Be a Di$a$ter!
Jim Michaels, editorial vice president: We shouldn't need Walter Reed to show us that National Health Care is a disaster. In the end it hurts more people than it helps. It tends to lower the quality of health care. You're driving the best doctors out of the system. The Canadians, who have national health care, come to the U.S. when they want good health care.
Quentin Hardy, Silicon Valley bureau chief: Lets put aside the fact that Canadians live 2 ½ years longer and have lower infant mortality rates than we do. I think the 40 million Americans without any health insurance wouldn't be happy to hear that they are better off without national health care.
Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief: National health care would be a disaster. It kills innovation. Look at the VA hospitals. Do they have updated medicine for their patients? No! Walter Reed is not the exception, it's the rule.
Dennis Kneale, managing editor: This is not an indictment of government health coverage, this is an indictment of poor office management. Walter Reed is providing great care. The problems occurred after patients got out of the hospital and stayed in apartments that were a mess. They had to go get 20 different documents with 16 different incompatible computer systems. It's the military!
Victoria Barret, associate editor: The bigger point here is the conflict of interest. The doctors and the organizations providing disability benefits are all pulling out of the same pocket. That's the danger.
Bill Baldwin, editor: Health care is a basic right, education is a basic right, big government is a basic bad. My solution, vouchers. What if every American had a $2,000/year credit. They could either spend it on health care at a badly run government clinic or, if they had income of their own to add to it, they could buy a private plan. Just like private schools.
In Focus: Would Jesus Think America Is Selfish or Generous?
Steve Forbes: Earlier this week, John Edwards said that Jesus would be disappointed with American's generosity. When John Edwards talks about Jesus, hold onto your wallet and pray. He personifies hypocrisy with his 28,000-foot mansion. He got rich with medical malpractice suits based on junk science. How many big checks has he written to charity? Bottom line is, Americans are the most generous people on earth, both in money and the time they donate.
Quentin Hardy: There is always more to do. I walk to church past homeless people and I don't feel great about how things are in this country.
Rich Karlgaard, publisher: John Edwards he was recently making news because he hired bloggers who mocked Christians. Now he's done a 180 invoking Jesus' name. He's worse than a hypocrite, he's a phony.
Elizabeth MacDonald, senior editor: Anytime you hear a politician doing this Jesus take the wheel thing, that's when they are going to drive their campaign right into a ditch. It isn't a negative about the giving we've done, but we still have more to do. Our infant mortality rates are below the level of Malaysia. We're the wealthiest country in the world and we still have homeless people on the street.
John Rutledge, Forbes contributor: In America, we're generous people. But sometimes generosity in the terms of welfare programs actually traps people in poverty. Our biggest generosity is giving ideas and technology to the rest of the world. Our ideas of freedom and individual rights have ended the Soviet Union and freed Eastern Europe and they're doing wonderful things in Asia. Our technology, medicines and communications are lowering prices, improving living standards and expanding life spans around the world.
Jim Michaels: John Edwards made a vast fortune harassing the medical profession, ripping every American who pays insurance policies. He takes the money, builds himself a mansion and then tries to buy himself a political career. Is that generosity?
Hillary or Rudy: Who Is Wall Street Betting On!
Mike Ozanian, senior editor: If you're an investor you'd love to have Rudy, not Hillary. While Rudy was mayor personal income went up 50 percent in NYC, taxes on average were down 17 percent and spending rose less than inflation. Hillary wants to run this country as a Socialist President. That would be terrible.
Bill Baldwin: I think the wheelers and dealers on Wall Street would like Hillary because they love big government, big taxes and big tax credits. There is a guy on our rich list who made a billion dollars by taking a housing credit that was suppose to be for poor people and turning it into a big tax shelter.
Rich Karlgaard: Hillary is double damned. She is a closet Socialist and she can't lift the animal spirit of investors, producers and consumers. She's so hostile and negative. I give Rudy a B. He's good on taxes, he's probably a zealous prosecutor and an over regulator, but he's sure better than Hillary.
Lea Goldman, associate editor: I think it's a draw. Everyone knows what Rudy's record was in NYC but in regards to Hillary, what's discounted is her voting record which has been kind of positive for business. And keep in mind the Wall Streeters are closet lefties.
Steve Forbes: Wall Street will root for Rudy but they love hedge funds and will hedge their bets by giving money to Hillary to cover themselves. They're not interested in electing someone, they're interested in protecting themselves.
Quentin Hardy: I think Wall Street likes to manage risk. And with Hillary I think you know what you get at least. She has a record. Rudy was a mayor. He doesn't know anything about China or international stuff. They're not going to go for an X factor.
Informer: Forbes 'Billionaires List' Bets!
Victoria Barret: Michael Dell, Dell (DELL)
Dennis Kneale: Carlos Slim Helu, America Movil (AMX)
John Rutledge: Steve Jobs; Apple (AAPL)
Mike Ozanian: James Tisch; Loews (LTR)
Elizabeth MacDonald: Ken Tuchman; TeleTech (TTEC)
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 News; Charles Payne, Wall Street Strategies; and Tracy Byrnes , New York Post
Stock Smarts: Would National Health Care Hurt 85 percent of America?
Right now, 85 percent of Americans have health insurance, but the top democrats running for President are pushing for national health care. Would universal coverage bring down the quality of care for the vast majority?
Jonathan: National health care would bring down the quality of care for all. Nationalized health care is French for "Socialized health care". People will be waiting months for the simplest procedure and the quality of care would suffer. Do you want the government running health care like they run the IRS, post office, or social security?
Wayne: Jonathan is right. The government cannot run anything. They can't even manage Medicare/Medicaid right now. Plus, take a look at the scandal involving Walter Reed Army Medical Center, a government based hospital. Turning our system over to the government is one of the most insane ideas in the world. Great Britain and Canada both have national health care right now and it's a disaster. Ask anyone in Canada about their system and they will tell you that they come here to the United States for care. This is such a bad idea.
Jonas: A national system would break the budget more than bust the quality of health care. Some people may pay for their own doctors outside of the national system. No one is going to mandate that you have to have the government care. It would help those with a lousy government plan. In general, it's a budget buster and not going to destroy health care for the wealthy.
Tracy: There are 48 million people that are uninsured now. If they are added into the system, what we have in place now will come crashing down. It's hard right now to get an appointment with your doctor. Of the 48 million without insurance, 15 million make $50,000 a year or more. They can afford insurance, but they are just opting out of it by choice. It's a waste to offer all of this to them because they don't want it.
Charles: You walk into a hospital and they serve you, despite your age and income. Take a look at the publicly traded hospitals. The amount of uncollectible debt is outrageous. These hospitals know they may never get paid, but they are sure not going to turn people away. Overall, in our country we have this sense that we should bring everyone to the "mean". We should bring the rich down and the poor up and somehow our country will function. If national health care comes to pass, it will be a disaster. This is the wrong direction for this country.
Dagen: I agree with Jonathan and Wayne. Anyone who has ever been treated in a country with a national health care system or socialized medicine knows what happens. You have to wait in line and much of the equipment is falling apart. It's an economic issue. If there's a government health care system in place, the price of health care is going keep to going up and up. We just need to figure out some way to cut our costs.
Fighting Chavez with Cash: Smart Money for America?
America and democracy are good and Hugo Chavez and socialism are bad. That's the simple message President Bush is delivering on his tour of Latin America. He's also delivering millions of dollars in aid. Is it good for us to be investing all of this money in Latin America?
Charles: It's a great move for President Bush to go down to Latin America. Forget about the popularity thing. I'm so sick of people saying that we're so unpopular in the world. We shouldn't give in to foreigners in order to be popular. The main thing the President needs to do is promote capitalism.
Dagen: Helping develop these economies is part of promoting capitalism. It involves money and we give money to many countries around the globe. We could also open up trade with these countries.
Wayne: I don't know what President Bush is going to do with all this money down there. If it inspires capitalism, that's fine. The problem with Latin America is the two extremes: poor and rich. There is no middle class. Until you create a middle class, you cannot have a democracy. The biggest danger with Chavez is that he is so much like Castro. We had a Cuban Missile Crisis. This guy is capable of doing that kind of stuff, which is what we have to worry about.
Jonathan: Should we support the fact that George Bush goes down to Latin America with a billion dollars of your tax money and my tax money so that a Brazilian street kid can get a hepatitis shot? That's the bottom line. Is that a good use of our tax dollars? Our tax dollars should be spent on protecting American rights.
Tracy: That's exactly what we're doing. We have to look at this like business insurance. There are so many leftist regimes aligning themselves with countries like Iran. If we don't get in there now and take care of it, we're going to be paying for it later on.
Jonas: The reality is our government takes money from these countries in the form of tariffs, like ethanol exports, and gives it back to them as gifts and welfare. Instead, cut the tariffs on their exports to our country. That will help the average person in Latin America so much more than giving back.
Is Congress Putting Unions Ahead of Keeping Us Safe?
Congress is voting to give airport security screeners the right to unionize. President Bush has said he would veto the bill because it would make America less safe. Would it make us less safe?
Tracy: Yes. Giving airport security workers the right to form a union, would make America less safe. Terrorists don't collectively bargain and they are not going to wait for us to collectively bargain. The last thing we need is a union delegate to show up in the middle of a terrorist attack and say, "My guys can't do this." It doesn't make any sense. We should be able to do things when we need to do them without having to go to the bargaining table.
Wayne: I don't think it matters as long as these workers don't have the power to strike. If you recall the air controller's strike during Reagan's term, he just told them it was against the law and everyone was fired. What difference does it make if security screeners are unionized or not?
Jonas: I'm not anti-union, but I don't think government workers should be able to unionize. It's not a corporation. It's not a profit-seeking employer. We don't need that kind of balance. A union would lower safety and raise the cost of labor. Anything that raises homeland security costs lowers the safety of America.
Jonathan: The TSA is already inefficient. They are the ones who won't let me take a Diet Coke on the plane and shake down granny, but possible terrorists could just stroll right by. Adding unions will make it even worse. The real answer is to privatize airport security. It's like that all over the world and things would be much safer and efficient in the long term.
Charles: Have you ever tried to buy a stamp at a post office? It's a nightmare and the wait is so long. There's no sense of urgency among the workers. If you empower them with a union, it will just get worse. It's ok for certain industries to have unions, but this is so critical to our security. There are so many problems with unions. For example, some kids in our country aren't making it because teachers can't be fired. We don't need to have that situation with airport security. If someone is not doing their job, we need to be able to boot them.
Best Bets: $tocks for Barack
Dagen: PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (PBW)
Friday's close: $18.29
Charles: Kansas City Southern (KSU)
Friday's close: $33.44
Wayne: HealthExtras (HLEX)
Friday's close: $27.36
Jonathan: PowerShares DB US Dollar (UDN)
Friday's close: $24.97