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
On Saturday October 24, 2009 on "Bulls & Bears," Brenda Buttner was joined by Gary B. Smith, Tobin Smith, Eric Bolling, Par Dorsey and Mike Papantonio.
"Medicare for Everyone"; Fast Track to Bankrupt U.S.?
Eric Bolling, Fox Business Network: This is the fastest way to bankrupt America. Medicare is over $30 trillion in debt for the long term. You start talking about all the extra people who are going to go on Medicare over the coming decades, it's an even bigger hole. If you extend those benefits to everyone who's uninsured, the country goes bankrupt immediately. Not to mention, we'll probably see large numbers of people in medicine leave the profession.
Gary B. Smith, TheChartman.com: This would be like a new business saying it's going to follow the model of Pan Am Airlines, or Bethlehem Steel or Enron because they worked so well. Medicare is already ten times over what its expected budget was going to be. The Medicare trust fund is going to be bankrupt by the year 2017. This system clearly cannot work within its means. And this isn't even counting the tens of billions in Medicare fraud that goes on every year. This just can't work.
Mike Papantonio, radio talk show host: Medicare has been in business for decades, and we've heard it's going bankrupt for decades. It serves people's political purposes to say that. It works to scare the elderly by saying the Medicare system is bankrupt and they could lose their benefits. If the Republicans hadn't stripped money from Medicare to give away in tax cuts for rich people, we'd have more money to go around. We need a public option.
Tobin Smith, ChangeWave Research: In Tennessee back in 2005, the state almost had to file for bankruptcy because their Tenn-Care health plan was so financially upside down. They had to cut out 60 percent of the people on the plan to hold off bankruptcy. Massachusetts came up with a very similar plan. An overwhelming number of people enrolled in the state health plan. Premiums went way up, and many would enroll in the program after they got sick and their medical costs skyrocketed. And who's footing the bills? Taxpayers.
Pat Dorsey, Morningstar.com: When health care reform was being talked about in the mid-90s, everyone vilified the insurance companies because they weren't spending enough money on health care. Now everyone says they're blowing too much money on health care. The health insurance industry is one of the best cost-containment mechanisms we have. It keeps people on medicine so they don't have to visit the emergency room. It helps decide who's in need of medicine and who isn't. Health insurance companies have a very valuable function, and we should stop demonizing them.
More Offensive: "Excessive" Pay or "Excessive" Gov't Power?
Gary B. Smith: Excessive intrusion by the government into the financial sector is absolutely more offensive than excessive pay. The goal of giving bailout money to companies was so they would return to profitability. When you punish executives by slashing their pay, you are going to take away the best talent. Look at Bank of America--already a dozen top executives have left. The government is damaging the investments it has made on behalf of the American taxpayer. I don't think it's going to stop. Eventually we'll see these compensation restrictions by the government expand to other industries.
Tobin Smith: The problem with all this is that the government is assuming it knows what excessive pay is. I guess they know it when they see it. The banking system clearly has problems. But I think excessive pay plays a very small part in all of this, and it's impossible to accurately define. We can look at President Obama's book where he got millions in royalties. That seems excessive. But does that mean he wasn't entitled to those earnings?
Mike Papantonio: If you need guidance for excessive pay, it's when the CEO of a corporation makes 700-times what the regular worker does. The corporate heads have no reason to be complaining. They should celebrate the fact they haven't gone through "perp" walks yet considering the amount of money they stole or destroyed. I don't see how you can defend these executives right now. If we've learned anything, it's that one man with a briefcase can steal a lot more money than a man with a gun.
Eric Bolling: This is an incredibly frustrating problem. The government bailout of these companies really worked to destroy the free market system. I want all of the money used to bail out these companies back. Not 90 percent of it. But it's important to note these executives didn't sign any legal contract with the government allowing their pay to get cut, or that they could only receive a certain amount of compensation. There's no telling where the government is going to stop with these pay restrictions, and we could see them going after any bank or industry down the road.
Pat Dorsey: What is excessive? If you make a lot of money for shareholders, then by all means the executives deserve to be paid a lot of money. But this isn't the problem. The issue here is the disconnect between pay and performance. There was an entitlement culture that grew among executives demanding high pay regardless of performance, and it was abetted by company compensation committees. This is the problem we really need to solve, and this debate isn't being had right now.
Energy Star "Fraud": Preview of "Climate Change" Bill?
Eric Bolling: The self-regulation of this program is ridiculous. Get all the energy star stickers you want and put them wherever you want. It's this honor system that's fraught with corruption. No one is going in to say if certain appliances are actually saving energy and electricity costs. This really is a preview of the sort of abuse that would happen under the climate change bill. We'd be talking about massive levels of corruption.
Gary B. Smith: There's a problem with this energy star program, along with just about every other government program. There's no accountability. We just have bureaucrats hitting a check box marking off whether the job is done or not. There's not profit incentive. They don't have to report a bottom line. This is why so many government programs are wrought with waste and corruption.
Mike Papantonio: You don't throw everything out because you have a few dishonest people involved in a program. If that were the case, we'd have to close down Wall Street. We're faced with a major environmental crisis that has to be solved. We can't just focus on relatively minor incidents of energy star fraud to say we shouldn't pass meaningful climate change legislation.
Tobin Smith: The government constantly makes bad assumptions with any program, and it will with any new energy bill. It made horrible assumptions when it made its push to replace fossil fuel use with bio-fuels. But people failed to account for the fact that if you start growing and processing the products needed for bio-fuels, that actually makes a larger carbon footprint than just using fossil fuels. We have to stop this "shoot, fire, aim" strategy when it comes to energy policy.
Pat Dorsey: The current energy price increases being discussed in climate change legislation aren't high enough to change behavior. If you really wanted to accomplish that, gas prices would have to be raised to $7 or $8 dollars a gallon with say $30 to $40 per ton of carbons emitted. If you do that, then all these new proposed energy programs wouldn't be necessary, and of course you'd lower the risk for fraud and corruption.
Tobin Smith: Don't drink and drive a La-Z-Boy! "AMZN" drives up 50 percent in 6 months
Pat Dorsey: "Energy star" or not you still need power! "NGG" charges up 25 percent in 1 year
Gary B. Smith: Windows 7 kicks "MSFT" into overdrive w/30 percent gains by Dec. '10
Eric Bolling: Scuffle or snooze? "HON" keeps us airborne and flies 25 percent in 1 year
Cavuto on Business
Closed Senate Door in D.C.: Symbol of Health Care Debate?
Charles Payne: There is a lot of symbolism coming from Washington. The Treasury Department is being criticized for not being transparent, the White House is choosing what media they like and what media they don't like, and Congress is actually locking some of its members out—so I think the only thing missing from these doors is a hammer and sickle. We were promised transparency during this campaign, and we are not getting it.
Ben Stein: To the extent they can, all administrations try to operate in secret. This is not something that is any more unique to Obama than it is to Bush. What is so amazing is that the media allows the Obama administration to have a pass on it. Besides Fox and the Wall Street Journal, no one cares about it. What we are seeing here is the collapse of the media as a counterweight to government; that is a very serious issue in a free republic.
Dagen McDowell: Maybe other members of the media are starting to pick up on this, as we saw with the Ken Feinberg meeting on the pay czar issues. The frightening thing is the is the notion that the millions of people who watch Fox and the people at town hall meetings do not pay taxes, and that we have nothing to do with our children's money being spent. It's sad that Americans have come to accept this from Congress. More than half of people believe that Congress won't even read the health care bill.
Adam Lashinsky: Putting 1,000 page bills out and asking people to vote on them immediately is reprehensible behavior that shouldn't happen. As a professional journalist, I'm not going to sit here and defend close doors of any kind. In regards to town halls, they have become theaters where people hoping to get on television go to make a scene—not to discuss issues with their Congressmen. We have to get back to a dialogue.
Why Accept Even a Little Waste With Any Government Program?
Dagen McDowell: No, it is not okay that any amount of money is being wasted. When you start adding all of those numbers up, the amount of fraud that seeps into these programs becomes utterly disgraceful. For example, with the first-time homebuyer tax credit—there were 19,000 people (who got $139 million) that never even bought a house. My personal favorite is that 500 people below the age of 18 applied for this, including one who is four years old.
Charles Payne: It is amazing to think that we can add 47 million people to the health care system and simultaneously take fraud, waste, and abuse out of the system. In the retail industry, about 1.6 percent is attributed to people stealing products, whereas 7 percent has been stolen with the first-time homebuyer tax credit alone.
Ben Stein: There is a great shortage of jobs for young lawyers coming out of law school. Let's have the inspector general's office hire them to go after the people who stole money from these programs. Let's nail their butts to the wall and throw them in jail. But we shouldn't kill the program—it is very much needed. The home-building industry is completely on its knees.
Adam Lashinsky: We should not be encouraging people to buy homes that can't afford to pay for them. That's what got us into this mess. When it comes to encouraging things that are good because it works most of the time, this is not a reason to do away with all government programs, because there is going to be some waste.
Will Government Use Cancer Screening Study to Cut Health Care Costs?
Charles Payne: One thing I am very worried about is the idea of a 'new normal,' where this government really wants us to make less money, drive smaller cars, and maybe even have lesser heath care. It's ironic that they want to change the health care system without any tort reform, and that is going to lead to even more lawsuits and higher costs.
Ben Stein: The government hasn't said that they are not going to have preventive tests, this was just one group of doctors questioning the validity of certain preventive tests. These stories appear every few months in the New York Times and it is a regular staple of medical news coverage. I'd like to say there is something sinister going on here, but I don't think that there is.
Dagen McDowell: No one in Congress wants to touch Medicare, which is essentially government run health care. Nobody is going to say no to the seniors. But the day will come when Medicare is completely broke and this country is going to be boom busted bankrupt. When that day comes, the government is going to have no choice but to cut your health care.
Adam Lashinsky: In a parallel universe where there is an intelligent debate about health care reform, it has long been a suspicion that doctors order too many tests because they can get them paid for. This mammogram and PSA test debate has been around for a long time. All this is saying is let's do the right preventive care, not the wrong preventive care.
Stocks to Unlock Profits
Charles Payne: NETGEAR (NTGR)
Adam Lashinsky: SUNOCO (SUN)
Ben Stein: ISHARES MSCI EAFE (EFA)
Forbes on Fox
On Saturday, October 24, David Asman was joined by Steve Forbes, Neil Weinberg, Mike Ozanian, Quentin Hardy, Victoria Barret, Elizabeth MacDonald, Mike Maiello,
Jack Gage and Mark Tatge.
In Focus: Is The Government Using "Bribes" And "Threats" to Get Government-Run Care?
David Asman: Talk about dangling a bribe for a healthy motivation. Some here say a Twinkie is nothing compared to the bribes and threats lawmakers are dangling in D.C., all to motivate folks to jump on their health care plan. This week, Democrats are pushing a quarter of a trillion dollar Medicare payment for doctors while voting to take away anti-trust protections for insurance companies. Both groups are not so keen on the Democrats' health care plan. Steve, you say this goes beyond business as usual in D.C.?
Steve Forbes: Yes, in terms of both the scope of the bribery, the openness of the bribery. They must think this is still Chicago or Russia. Al Capone would love this. He would be in his element. But also the threats against companies like Humana who dare to speak up about the threats to Medicare Advantage – they threatened them with ruination and so this is way beyond what you've seen before. You have always had pork barrel stuff like that to move something along but threatening ruination, threatening prosecution, threatening to put them about of business – that's a little different.
Quentin Hardy: Shame on you, David. This Medicare payment has been going on for years. The fact is this administration is being honest about the Medicare payment. [The payment] had been lied about for years and years.
David Asman: Have you looked at those figures – you're talking honesty? Oh come on Quentin. The figures that the CBO came out with show that it is in fact going to add a lot of money to the deficit.
Quentin Hardy: David, this Medicare payment came up every year and there was a special rider every year that Democrats and Republicans just put in and didn't count against the budget. This time, they're actually counting it as a payment.
David Asman: Shame on you for suggesting I am less honest than those crooks inside the Beltway.
Elizabeth MacDonald: David, what you're talking about are sleights of hand. What we're seeing now is they took the $250 billion cut to doctors and said, "You know what doctors? You will get paid, but you know what we're not going to count that toward the scoring of the bill – we're going to set it aside and add it to the deficit." This is after the president telling ABC's George Stephanopoulos that an insurance mandate fee is not a tax. That's like saying ketchup is a vegetable. But let's get right to it. Steve is absolutely right – gag order on Humana, forcing things down the throats of the Chrysler investors and the Chrysler bondholders having to take on the union ownership, delaying cuts in Medicare, no drug imports from Canada to appease the drug manufacturers, no negotiation through Medicare with drug manufacturers with a lot of backroom dealing… and now it's getting nasty.
Neil Weinberg: David, as we all know, government is just a way for people to take more of the system than they put into it. And you look at the previous administration under President Bush, they basically fired General Chenseky for saying we can't do the war on the cheap. When we had the Medicare drug benefit, the actuary for Medicaid was threatened for being fired if he actually gave the real numbers and when it came to the Attorneys General when President Bush didn't like them, he threw them out. This is just business as usual in Washington.
Jack Gage: These Chicago guys are some tough hombres. We've seen a certain brand of hard-nosed politics on Washington before, but this goes above and beyond. They know that this bill cannot pass on its own merits. Witness the president's own media blitz and other measures to try and convince the public that this bad medicine is going to be good for them. This is just another indication of how well folks like Rahm Emanuel and Harry Reid and Chris Dodd -- these beg, borrow and steal Democrats -- understand they're pushing a lousy product.
Mike Maiello: That's a result of all the horse trading that's already happened. Jack wants to talk about tough hombres – how about America's health insurance plans? Those are tough hombres. That's a huge lobby group that got in on this discussion and got the public option that I wanted ripped out before we even got to this point. I mean you want to talk about hardball tactics now – what about what happened then? What about what's already missing from the plan?
Flipside: Carnegie Hall Stagehands Making $500K/Year: Proof Unions Are Good for Middle Class!
David Asman: How much do you think a theater stagehand makes? $35,000? $50,000? What if I told you half a million bucks! Would you believe me? Well you better. That's what the top union stagehand in New York City's renowned "Carnegie Hall" brought home last year! And Mike Maiello says this proves unions are great for the middle class?
Mike Maiello: I love it when I see highly skilled and highly trained workers making bankers salaries in an activity that actually enriches the society rather than imperils it. They never had to bail out Carnegie Hall.
Victoria Barret: Maybe these guys deserve it. These are technical jobs. They were supposedly working 80 hour weeks – props to them – but this isn't where unions help America. If you want to look at what unions do to America, let's look to Detroit - 17.3 percent unemployment. That's a heavily unionized city. It doesn't help the middle class. It costs jobs in the long run.
Quentin Hardy: I think it's great because it finally solves our argument about whether or not salaries should be capped. If you think these salaries should be capped you must think Wall Street's salaries should be capped? Those five guys add up to 1/6000th of what Goldman Sachs is going to pay out in bonuses. You know what the big difference is? These guys didn't need government money to survive.
David Asman: So Steve, if it's good enough for the stagehands, it's good enough for Wall Street? There should be no caps at all?
Steve Forbes: Well, in terms of that they should have better negotiators. But saying that's good for the middle class is like saying the mafia is good for the middle class too; they extort the money. Where does the money come from? Why are these ticket prices so high? Why are they so unaffordable? Why don't we have even more stage plays in New York City? Because theses guys get so much that it makes it impossible to get the money to do it and middle class pays for it – less culture for the middle class.
Mike Ozanian: I need all the culture I can get. Steve is right. The average union worker makes 16 percent more than his counterpart not in the union. But it's bad for the overall economy. If you look at the countries with the highest union memberships Sweden and Germany versus countries with low union memberships like Hong King and the United States, the United States and Hong Kong have a much higher GDP per person than Sweden or Germany.
David Asman: Let's broaden it again. Are the unions – which represent about 7 percent of the private workforce – good or bad for the middle class?
Elizabeth MacDonald: If they were so great then why is it just 7 percent or 12 percent of the workforce? Why is the membership declining? I looked at some numbers from former CBO Director Peter Orszag who put out a report while CBO director which found that the middle class did really well while union membership was declining. From 1991-2005 middle and poor class wages went up what he's saying about 35 percent. Art Laffer also put out a book saying 8 of the 10 worse performing states in this country have the most unionized workforces while 7 of the 10 best performing states have rules where they don't allow unions to step in and stomp all over management.
New Plan for Uncle Sam to Subsidize News Industry; Will It Create Pro-Government News in America?
David Asman: They did it to GM and Chrysler. They did it to AIG and Bank of America too. Now some want lawmakers to throw your taxpayer money at struggling newspapers.
Mark Tatge: I think we need to give newspapers the same deal we've given to GM and a lot of other fat-cat corporations and that is low-interest loans. I'm not saying take equity stakes in the newspapers because that would create a problem, but low-interest loans which allow them to pay them back and get back on their feet. I have one other proposal and that is to basically rebate their taxes in the same way we have given tax cuts and rebates to major corporations and allowed them to expatriate their earnings from foreign sources and all the interests of the newspapers are good for our society and good for our democracy.
Steve Forbes: Government Monday does not come with out strings. It comes with chains. And do you think you will get good reporting with the government writing the paychecks? And who decides who gets the money? Rupert Murdoch at the New York Post? Are they going to give him money? Who's going to decide that? Reverend Moon at the Washington Times? Phil Anschutz billionaire – Washington Examiner? This is a can of snakes.
Quentin Hardy: I think at first pass you really get worried about this. Remember when the Pentagon hired a PR agency to figure out which journalists were friendly? That's dishonest and stupid. At the same time, I think Downie's Op/Ed made a certain point which is the internet model, which is killing the newspapers, really kills an important part of journalism. It's great for hits and pundits and big op-ed pieces. It's lousy for deep investigative, long, boring slog work that no body really wants to pay for anymore which really is the most important function in journalism.
Neil Weinberg: If you believe in a free market for ideas, you should also believe in a free market to deliver them and that's what we have right now. Quentin or anyone else can say that newspapers need help. The average person doesn't care where they get their news from a newspaper or online or whatever – they want to get good news. I think you'll have a very hard time arguing right now that people are not getting a lot of information.
Victoria Barret: We are getting tons of information, but I think Quentin does make a great point that a lot of investigative journalism just isn't profitable right now because of what the internet has done to our industry – it's driven down what newspapers can make.
David Asman: Does that require a federal bailout, Victoria?
Victoria Barret: I don't think a bailout is the answer because of that conflict of interest that Steve brought up. You can't be getting money from the government and at the same time be trying to pursue corruption that often exists in government.
Informer: Stocks That Will Pay You Off
David Asman: We're back with the stocks set to give you a huge payoff! No strings attached:
Mike Ozanian: Sigma-Aldrich (SIAL)
Jack Gage: State Street (STT)
Mike Maiello: Bank of Montreal (BMO)
Dems Push for Health Care Tax Breaks for Federal Workers: Fair?
John Layfield; nutritionmarket.com: Absolutely not. This is politics as usual. You wonder why the president's approval rating has dropped percentage wise more than any other president in the past 50 years. Take out the union employees and federal employees, and you are taking 25 percent of the workforce out from paying the taxes. These guys are playing politics with this, just like politics do with the solders in Afghanistan. You are seeing that in the poll numbers. This screams special interests!
Steve Leser; opednews.com: The president's last couple of polls are on the way back up, but I have to tell you, these type of exemptions are absolutely fair. Look at the folks being exempted, unions, federal workers, all folks who have given up significant amounts of wages. To get the Cadillac healthcare plans tax them on top of that is patently unfair.
Tracy Byrnes; Fox Business Network: What have they given up? What about the wealthier people that are getting taxed at 40 percent at the federal level then again at state level, real estate taxes, and they basically take home 50 percent of anything they earn. You are saying these hard-working capitalists don't deserve a break but just because you happen to work for the government you do, so the choice I made in my career determines my tax breaks? That makes no sense.
Jonathan Hoenig; Capitalistpig Asset Management: Well, you know, listen, the whole idea of all these healthcare proposals, none of them are based on freedom. They are based on force. I don't understand what is fair about forcing you to pay into a system but then exempting at the same time certain favored groups from that system. It is straight out of animal farm where all animals are equal except some are more equal than all the rest. In this administration, essentially you are expected to sacrifice for the poor, for the union workers, for federal employees for the public good, which means whatever Barack Hussein Obama says it is at the time.
Jonas Max Ferris; Maxfunds.com: It is not fair. I mean, the fair has nothing to do with it. Does it make sense? It does make sense because they're federal workers. What's the point of taxing them more if we pay have them more with federal money. Federal workers shouldn't have to pay taxes. We should just pay them less. It would be less paperwork, less money going out and coming back to the IRS. It doesn't speak to unions as special interest groups because the stomping out of the Cadillac plan thing by removing the tax exemption is a good idea. Companies shouldn't be paying for healthcare anyway.
Wayne Rogers; Wayne Rogers & Company: Well, I just think the whole thing is silly. Think about congress themselves, they have their own clinic, for example, right outside the Congress. They can get their own health benefits anyway they want. They don't have to be in a plan that the rest of us are in. It is an elitist government who treats us like we're, you know, once you cross the Potomac River, you get a disease, and the disease is I'm more important than anybody else in the world. The whole world revolves around me. Let's talk about me, you know, that's all they think about. They don't think about their constituencies. They're only interested in power. Look at Charlie Rangel. It is one fiasco after another. You have to break it up and start all over.
White House Says We've Seen the Best of Stimulus 1: Time for Round 2?
Jonathan Hoenig; Capitalistpig Asset Management: Well, that's the funny thing about stimulus, right, Cheryl, it's if it is not working, we need more, but if it is working, let's have more stimulus. The thing to keep in mind is that regardless of what the economy is doing, stimulus has meant control. Two years after all this stimulus and bailouts began, we've got government deciding pay packages of banks and government deciding who gets loans whose mortgages are modified. It is synonymous for control. If you believe in a free market and individual rights and capitalism, you should oppose stimulus because at the end of the day, it puts more decisions into government hands and not of those who earned the right to make them in the first place.
Steve Leser; opednews.com: Most other people say we will see the maximum portion of the benefit from the stimulus in the first half of next year, but the thing about the stimulus is it saved us already from a complete collapse. A year ago that's what we were talking about, a complete collapse of the economy. The stimulus has worked to stave that off.
What we're talking about now is an effort to accelerate job growth, which I think most people should be in favor of. We're looking at really bad unemployment numbers on a personal note since I predicted the unemployment rate would be much lower in August.
Jonas Max Ferris; Maxfunds.com: It goes both way; that kind of argument. People use the argument that we haven't been attacked to say we need more protective spending. That stimulus is gone actually. We don't need a general economic stimulus. We need support in the housing market to prevent a death spiral in homes, but general spending to boost the economy, I don't think it's needed anymore.
Tracy Byrnes; Fox Business Network: Jonas is right. We don't need the stimulus money.
They should keep it and potentially pay off our debt with it. But maybe we can get these banks to start making loans. The money is there. The liquidity is out there. If the banks start loaning to small businesses, you can have your instantaneous job growth within seconds. John will tell you that small businesses are where job growth belongs. That's where we should focus our attention and not this TARP crap.
Wayne Rogers; Wayne Rogers & Co.: First of all, I'm not so smart that I know we're out of the recession. Secondly, none of that money has gotten down to doing what it is supposed to be doing anyway. Steve, with all due respect, I think you're wrong in the sense that you said this hasn't worked. We don't know if it has worked or not yet because the jury is still out.
John Layfield; nutritionmarket.com: What Wayne says is brilliant. Look, greed in D.C. is more contagious than H1N1. They promised 3.5 million jobs and we have lost 2.7 million. If we get this stimulus going forward, it has not worked and these banks right now are being buoyed by the government buying mortgage-backed securities which is buoying the stock market. Many big banks are getting money for nothing and the small banks having to pay through the nose. That's why smaller banks are not loaning now.
Did Walmart Just Save Shoppers From Price Hikes Everywhere?
Jonathan Hoenig; Capitalistpig Asset Management: I mean, Walmart, anytime you have seen capitalism and Walmart is a great example of that. You see amazing deals for consumers.
Capitalism is productive. It creates value and lowers prices. It has been what Walmart is doing throughout the recession. Everyone from Amazon to Denny's and K.F.C. is giving away fried chicken in the next couple of days. We have companies creating massive values, led by Walmart, and consumers will be getting big deals this holiday season.
Tracy Byrnes; Fox Business Network: Jonathan's right. We will see massive discounts. But we do have to worry about inventories. They have been dropping for 12 months. Any product you're looking for may not be there come Christmas time. You may want to get out there earlier. Not to mention, though, the hot products might potentially see price increases because they haven't made that many. It could be a little more "iffy" than I think people are anticipating.
Jonas Max Ferris; Maxfunds.com: The prices will plummet this holiday season because demand is not there. It is not just because the economy is weak. It is because the government actually moved a lot of spending to other favorable items, like the cash for clunkers. My holiday spending will be for insulation and waterproofing doors for my house because there are incentives to do that. When you create incentives on some things you take them away from spending elsewhere.
Wayne Rogers; Wayne Rogers & Co.: You look at all the pricing going on in the market right now. Yes, everybody is coming down in prices, and they do have inventories that they say are dropping. Yes, inventories have. People are stuck with all kinds of stuff. I walked into target the other day, and they had a big sign right by the cash register, "We'll match any price advertised on any item." That's going on all over the place, and for example, in our wedding business, we don't see, that because people get marry when they get married.
John Layfield; nutritionmarket.com: Walmart, this is not the first time they have done this. They did it last year, the year before and the year before that. Every year they announce the fact that they're lowering prices because of the economy and people like us on Fox News give them great publicity for doing it. It is a great marketing scheme by Walmart. They do it every single year. We did a show on it last year and the year before. Inventories are correct, like Tracy said. They don't want to sit on it over the year because of tax evens but you will see great deals.
What I Need to Know for Next Week?
Tracy Byrnes: Totally optimistic for Sarah Palin and Oprah Winfrey, November 15. Sarah Palin's book comes out on the 16th. They are purely kissing each other's butts to make money.
Jonas Max Ferris: IBM is a great company in Internet fraud detection software.
John Layfield: Fitness has been shown to improve cognitive fitness. Amazon.com is my main competitor in nutrition. Amazon.com is a leader in fitness and nutrition. They are a great company to buy.
Jonathan Hoenig: Sony Playstation3. I'm not a gamer, but this thing, they can't keep them on the shelves. It is outselling Nintendo's Wii and Microsoft's xBox for the first time in this country, so take a look at Sony. The consumer isn't as bad as we expect them to be, and Sony, which I own in my fund, could get a pop above 30.
Wayne Rogers: States are also wasting money just like the federal government. The governor in Michigan says he will never raise taxes again and that promise lasted 18 months. Look out there! Because of all the waste on the state level, look for taxes to go up!