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.
RETIREES NOT GETTING WHAT THEY'RE PUTTING INTO SOCIAL SECURITY; TIME FOR AMERICANS TO BE ABLE TO "OPT OUT"?
JONATHAN HOENIG: Well Cheryl, they never opted in (to Social Security) to begin with right? I mean they were forced in. Of course they should be allowed to opt out. I mean, would you want to opt out of Bernie Madoff knowing it was a fraud? Knowing it was a collapse? Knowing that you'd lose money? Christian you are laughing, but that's exactly what Social Security is. There's no savings; there's no investment; there's no account with your name on it. It's just that money is stolen from you now in hopes that future generations are going to have their money stolen for you. Add it all up; it's an $8 trillion unfunded liability that needs to be transitioned to what we had before Roosevelt created it; a private system for retirement savings in this country.
JOHN LAYFIELD: I think people should be allowed to opt out. The problem is that this did not start as a Ponzi scheme. It has become a Ponzi scheme. The problem is that in 1968, they put the unified budget together, which Lyndon Johnson enacted for 1969, where Congress now has the legal right to steal the money that's going to future retirees. You have a person who makes $43,000 a year; they pay in more than they take out. This has eradicated poverty for the elderly. This is a wonderful thing except for the fact that since 1969, politicians have stolen this money and used it for something else.
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: Just going back to the report itself. It makes a couple of assumptions that are not actually consistent with the reality that most people experience. It assumes that people are going to work for 40 years consecutively with no breaks, making average income, and contribute all of that money and therefore; that's the payout that's going to exist, but what happens in actuality is that people have breaks in their employment and as we certainly know, people live a lot longer than 82 and 85. So in essence, Social Security provides a much greater benefit than that report indicated. Plus, it doesn't even go to talking about disability insurance for the survivor's benefits. It understates what Social Security gives to people and by the way; it's all guaranteed. That's something that you can't get on the private market. When you have people opt out of that, you have serious problems.
TRACY BYRNES: Regardless of what the numbers say, I can't find anyone in my generation who is expecting Social Security to be there because to John's point, they're stealing from it and they have no interest in paying it back. The entitlements in this country are so out of control. We can't afford them. So the best thing we can do for people is to allow them to opt out and take matters into their own hands, because if our generations and generations below us live our lives dependent on something we know is not going to be there. We're all going to be on welfare when we're old.
WAYNE ROGERS: Well you can talk about need, need, need, what it's going to do, and all that and Christian talked about that and rightfully so, but what is it going to cost? What is the ultimate cost of this? John pointed this out. A woman earning $43, 500 a year, she's going to put in $290,000 over this. Whether she's steady or not, this averages out and she's going to get back $260,000. It doesn't make any sense. By the same token, this act was enacted at a time when life expectancy was roughly 15 years less than it is today. You should index it at least to life expectancy or something. Make it rational. Don't make it a giveaway program that, as Jonathan says we're coerced to have to be a member of. It's crazy.
AS FOOD PRICES RISE FOR ALL AMERICANS, THERE'S A CONTROVERSIAL "FREE-FOR-ALL" FREE-LUNCH PROGRAM
TRACY BYRNES: This is so typical of what's going on in the administration. There's no checking, not eligibility proof. Anyone can walk in for these so-called free lunches. I can and just feed my three children. So you have to pick up the dime and pay for my kids just because no one is asking me at the door whether or not I qualify for welfare. These are for welfare kids. Feed them all you want, but if you do not qualify, you should be asked at the door and you should be turned away. I shouldn't be paying for free lunches and the high cost of food that's in the grocery store all at the same time.
WAYNE ROGERS: Well let me put it this way. I think it's a good program. It's once again in the execution of the program. It's like saying something about Social Security and health care and all of these things costing us a fortune. It's in the execution and the abuse of the program that's bad and the federal government has no way to check on it. They don't do anything about it. The schools themselves don't about it. It has to be monitored and it has to be just like everything else. Otherwise, everybody just shows up at once and says; give me a check or give me a hot dog or whatever the heck it is. It can't continue that way. We've got to stop it.
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: A couple of things. This program has been around since 1975, so this is not an Obama-administration program. By the way, would you also prefer that we spend money on bureaucrats determining eligibility or providing food for poor kids? Thirdly, anybody who doesn't need a free lunch who goes and gets a free lunch; the problem is with them not with the program. The fact is that these programs are in communities where half of the children are eligible for and reduced lunch. So this is a very real need and instead of devoting money to determining eligibility, they're devoting money to food to provide to these poor kids.
JONATHAN HOENIG: I have to chuckle because I didn't graduate college, but I did learn that there is no such thing as a free lunch. So here everyone is talking about the free lunch; the free lunch; the free lunch. It's not free. Someone pays for it. Of course it's taxpayers and as the panel points out, the system is abused regularly. No one has done more to alleviate poverty among Americans of any age than business and when we spend five percent of our income in this country versus Iran; they spend 25 percent of their income; Jordan they spend 40 percent. So we need free market solutions not more entitlement programs. That's what the Department of Agriculture has become.
JOHN LAYFIELD: Hey I'll give you a news flash. This has nothing to do with President Obama. Government officials have sucked for decades and I don't care if this thing has been around since the Civil War. It's run poorly. Look, I run a charity for kids. I'm there most days handing out the food myself. It comes from private enterprise. Government cannot run anything effectively. This needs to be going to kids that need it. They need to partner with somebody like our group or somebody else. I'm not asking for them. I don't want government involved at all believe me, but they need to partner with somebody to make sure that the food is going to the right kids not to Angelina Jolie's kids that might just show up.
NEW PUSH TO BAN EMPLOYERS FROM DOING CRIMINAL BACKGROUND CHECKS
WAYNE ROGERS: Yeah it's a very dangerous idea. By the way, I'm not against trying to get former felons jobs and making them useful members of the community, but I know of a personal case where an employer found out after-the-fact that the employee had a criminal record. They had to notify the insurance company and then the insurance company says we can't carry that because this person has access to certain files and you either have to get rid of that employee or you have to drop your insurance. So it's a scary point.
JOHN LAYFIELD: Businesses don't have time to spend a month vetting someone and then find out that they have a criminal record. This guy in Detroit; look, he is what is wrong with politics. This guy, from his Fine Arts degree from Cornell, he's been in politics his entire life and now he's going to make regulations and rules on people like Wayne Rogers who built businesses their entire career. They don't know what they're doing. That's why they're in politics and by the time a guy vets somebody for a month, then they find out they've got a criminal record, you have wasted that business's time. That is a terrible piece of legislation.
CHRISTIAN DORSEY: I'm not in love with the federal legislation, but I applaud the effort because this is a serious problem. Sixty-five million people in this country have criminal histories and if we do not make it possible for them to get jobs and employment so that they can be self-sufficient, then what we are in effect saying is that we want to encourage those people to either be on public assistance or be recidivists and go back to a life of crime, which we also pay for. So, while I don't agree that the federal route is the way to go, I think it should be done at the state and local level. I think the effort is serious and we ought to consider it.
TRACY BYRNES: What kind of message are we sending to the kids coming up the ranks? Hey, you can screw up all you want. No one's going to ask. I think this is crazy. Look, I was raised Roman Catholic. I'm raised to forgive, but I have a right to know what I'm forgiving.
JONATHAN HOENIG: It's a degenerate attempt Cheryl, to basically ruin the business. What makes a business successful is the business person's mind. They're making the right decisions. So when government comes in and says no you can't think like this and you can't act like this. I mean, that's like asking somebody to run a business blindly. They don't have the tools that they need to actually make smart decisions. It's suicidal for business and it's a tremendous infringement on people's rights.
WHAT DO I NEED TO KNOW?
TRACY BYRNES: "Ruff" economy leads to fewer pet owners in America.
JOHN LAYFIELD: Don't bet on soccer yahoos; bet on Yahoo! (YHOO).
WAYNE ROGERS: Get solid returns with hard disk drive makers and (STX).
JONATHAN HOENIG: (IGS) rises as corporate bonds fall.