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.
AMERICAN COMPANIES GETTING HIT BY EUROPE'S ECONOMIC CRISIS
Ben Stein: I'm worried; I frankly say that as a 67 year-old man who's been following public policy for about 45 years, I am extremely worried. Slow-down in China; extreme slow-down in Europe. Looks like the recovery is slipping in the United States. Commodities weakening all through the developing world. There just is not a lot of good news out there, despite massive fiscal and monetary stimulus. Where we would be without that stimulus, I have no idea, but I am worried.
Dagen McDowell: It's not just Tiffany, it's Bridgestone, Abercrombie and Fitch, Best Buy, even Cisco. But, here's what you need to start worrying about, because it's just like the realtors and the weather. Some of these companies are going to be blaming Europe, worries about Europe for a sales pullback, when it's their own execution problems. I'm worried, but as Ben mentioned, I think you have to throw in other regions of the world, particularly trouble in China, if you want to start talking about a recession-there or even here.
Charlie Gasparino: We are the tallest midget in the room right now, that's how they describe it on Wall Street. I went to a major hedge fund meeting the other day. Major investors on the panel who basically said and predicted either a moderate to a severe recession here in the U.S. over the next 12 months, triggered from Europe and China. This is baked in; the only question is when it comes.
Adam Laskinsky: I don't disagree with anything that anyone has said about Europe, I just think that we need to keep things in perspective. Europe has been failing for several years, several decades if you want to be really uncharitable and it doesn't have as big of an impact on us as several things that Ben mentioned. A slow-down in China would be far more important for U.S. exporters than it would be for a slow-down in Europe. It's a big and important market, but it's not nearly the most important market. Europe has been on this precipice and they have been on it with their crisis literally for a solid year. It has hurt their economy and clearly it has hurt some of our companies who are doing business there. I am just making the observation that they keep standing on this and they don't fall over it. I am hopeful that they won't.
GOV. ROMNEY'S EDUCATION PLAN TO INCLUDE VOUCHER-STYLE SYSTEM
Dagen McDowell: I think that Mitt Romney is first of all going after what has been one of President Obama's successes, and that is education. But, I think the fact that teacher's unions hate voucher programs so much, is a testament as to how genius they are. You give a kid a voucher-and in the D.C. voucher program, by the way, they are very popular. The kids outperform their public school peers and it actually saves money. The teacher's unions hate it, because it shines a light on their failures in the public school system. From personal experience, it was a gift to me from my family to send me to private school for three years, the last three years of high school, and I certainly would not be here today without the kind of education I got in just those three years.
Charlie Gasparino: Working class people are so for this and poor people are for this. My wife is an interesting example. She grew up in an area of Brooklyn that was pretty rough. Her parents made just enough money so that she didn't have to go to Eastern District High School, which everyone knows about that place. That place was a horror story. They sent her to a Catholic School, Christ the King High School. That gave her the upward mobility to go to college and graduate school. But, the poor kids from the other side of the track who couldn't afford it were stuck in this horrendous place. Metal detectors, they used to have classes in who's in first place in baseball-it was just a joke. That is what I think this addresses. We need to level the playing field and we need to end the teacher's monopoly.
Adam Laskinsky: Alternative ideas for financing education is a great topic and I applaud Romney for bringing it up. There is a bit of a supply and demand issue when you're talking at 60 thousand feet. In other words, tell people that they can go wherever they want to go, doesn't necessarily mean that they will be able to go wherever they want to go. But, that doesn't mean it's a bad conversation. I just want to make one observation. I don't think education policy is going to be a defining policy of this election. Not saying it shouldn't be, but I don't think it will be.
Ben Stein: I spent a lot of time speaking at colleges, sometimes high schools and sometimes universities. I think the real catastrophe of education is beyond what anyone of my generation or even a young person of your generation could imagine. I am totally with what my friend from San Francisco just said. If everyone in the Washington School District said, "We want to go to a better school," there wouldn't be enough better schools to accommodate them. There aren't enough better schools anywhere. There isn't a miracle solution to this, there just aren't enough good quality schools to save this situation.
FAMILIES FLYING TOGETHER GET HIT WITH HIGHER FEES
Charlie Gasparino: American airlines are facing bankruptcy and all sorts of financial issues. They need to squeeze something out of it and as much as I hate the airlines, I think that it's a necessary thing to stay in business.
Dagen McDowell: Why is anyone surprised by this?! They've been tacking on fees for years now, and if you bring some screaming kid on the plane, you should have to pay extra-just because the kid is screaming.
Ben Stein: Why should they show respect? They're barely alive and they need to do everything they can to survive. I don't blame them at all. It's a free market. If they want to travel by car, R.V., or stay home, let them stay home. There are entirely too many people traveling.
Adam Laskinsky: This is clearly a free-market way for the airlines to try to get more money that they need. Secondly, I do fly a lot, including with my family. They are very accommodating and diligent with the parents when they need to be. They go over and above and that obviously angers Dagen. I have no beef with the airlines.
Adam Laskinsky: Cambell's Soup. I really like this strategy. People need to have income in their portfolio. This isn't a great company, but it pays a three plus percent dividend yield, which is better than you're going to do in your money market account by far. That's predictable and that's good.
Ben Stein: I believe Cambell's Soup is run by some of the greatest geniuses of all time. Their tomato soup is as good as any food in the world. Mine is RQI, the Real estate Investment Trust. It doesn't use dividends, it used to; it took a huge beating during the crash, but it has come back very strong and I love it.