Your Money OR Your Life
To Mom and Dad, Kathleen and Patrick Cavuto. You‘ve left this world, but to this day you
remain the guiding force in my world.
1 Your Money, but Not Your Whole Life 7 2 Fighting Terror 23
3 The Iraq War 31
4 Foreigners! 47
5 Honor, Duty, Country...Gratitude 63 6 71
7 Taking on Taxes 81
8 Deficits 101
9 Greenspan or Green-spin? 109 10 Bosses 119
11 Responsibilities 131
12 What About Bill? Pondering the Man from Arkansas 141
13 Taking Issues...With the Day 149 14 Advice 159
15 Right to Life 179
16 Rants! 185
17 Being Upbeat! 193
18 Being Right 203
19 Being Wrong 217
20 On Death and Dying 227
21 ... And Depth 253
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Index 277 -About the Author -Other Books by Neil Cavuto -Credits -Cover-Copyright
investing folks, but everyday folks, with INTRODUCTION
everyday concerns. That means I‘m talking to some time back a friend of mine wanted
regular folks, not preaching to them. Over the to know how it was possible that I had the quarter century I‘ve been doing this—first in number one–rated daily business show on
print, then in broadcasting, then in print and cable television. ―I think I know,‖ he said. ―It‘s broadcasting—I‘m amazed at how many because you‘re so weird.‖
people seem to believe that if it‘s about Wall He meant that in jest. But it resonated Street, it‘s not about Main Street. with me, because I think he was right. I am
I think it‘s the other way around. Wall weird, and my show is weirder still. I don‘t Street is Main Street. It‘s why I don‘t have a problem with weird. I like weird. I like distinguish between them, and it‘s why I don‘t weird chief executives, weird politicians, and forget on which side my bread is buttered. The weird moments in life. Ithink weirdness
folks holding that butter knife aren‘t who you defines us, and that the best among us often think they are. They ‘re who we are.I‘m not are a little more unusual than the rest of us. saying I single-handedly democratized That‘s why I try not to distinguish between business news, but I think I have helped make business news and general news. To me, the it more mainstream. And trust me, that‘s not two are the same. Why distinguish and
because I‘m a genius, but precisely because compartmentalize as if one side of the brain I‘m not. I always tell people I was never the goes in one editorial direction and the other smartest kid in my class, but I knew the right side in another direction?
questions to ask. I work by an old rule of I don‘t. I don‘t think most people do,
thumb a dear editor friend of mine from years either. Just think of how business journalists back hammered into my head: ―If you can‘t limit themselves when they see the world
explain it to your mom, don‘t waste your time through a business-only prism. They almost telling it to America.‖ My boss and the invite the rest of the world to tune out. It‘s chairman and chief executive of Fox News why I say, without a moment‘s hesitation, that Channel, Roger Ailes, had another take: I value ratings. I really value the fact that a lot ― When you‘ve lost your audience, you‘ve lost of folks watch me—not just rich folks, or
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your show.‖ issues that don‘t seem very big at all, such as
He was right then. He‘s right now, the plight of a harried cashier at because about now people are hungering for Christmastime who gives her all to her context and meaning in the money they make, customers, or a snippy receptionist who does the place they make it, and ultimately the not.
places they spend it. That‘s what my show is When I started doing these little about each weekday, and what our powerful comments at the end of my show, way back in bloc of business programs on Fox are about on my days at CNBC, they got curious reactions. weekends. Some viewers thought them novel, others
Not only do we dare touch on issues reprehensible. But the reaction grew. And, as others avoid, we find fascinating angles on the availability of e-mail grew, so did the sheer issues others miss. I often tell viewers this is number of responses. Today I get thousands of where ―the spreadsheet hits the fan.‖ I want to e-mails each day on issues that are hot, and give viewers more—more meaning, more even on some that are decidedly not. Viewers hope, and more depth. It‘s why, soon after don‘t seem to discriminate. They relish the 9/11, I focused not on the obvious loss of tidbits on the retired CEO who misses the financial capital that day, but the very real, good life, or the friendly doorman just trying still undefined loss of human capital our to provide good service. Some cry. Some economy suffered on that day. Real people laugh. Still others scream. But rarely is the don‘t constantly spout statistics. Why should response lukewarm. They say in television that I? you want to generate heat. I want to generate
It‘s why I try to keep such nonsense to a thought, and do it with heat. There is a minimum. I‘ll admit it‘s not always easy, but difference. One assumes that you merely it‘s always my goal.That‘s why I do something entertain; the other appreciates the fact that special in my show: I editorialize. Only at the you can inform and entertain.
end, and only over an issue that matters that To me, these reactions prove that certain day, that moves me that day, and that I trust issues resonate. I don‘t need people to agree will move others as well. Sometimes they ‘re with me—just to come along and think with big issues, such as 9/11. Sometimes they ‘re me. Whether it‘s about being rich or dying
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young, about the powerful guy who lost it all life that you might not have . . . so that you or the little investor who won it all, I think I appreciate the little things, the unusual things, just try to strike a chord, for good or ill (which and yes, the weird things.
is why I also feature blistering and Those are the things I notice. And those complimentary e-mails alike on the prior day‘s are the things I highlight in this book—a look
comments). I want to engage viewers. Let the back at nearly a decade‘s worth of ref lection debate begin. Let the thinking continue. One on everything from Bill Clinton‘s scandals to friendly viewer expressed concern that his successor ‘s war. In its pages I cover the
allowing damning e-mails from ―crazies‖ on gamut, of careers made and careers lost, of the show wasn‘t the stuff of highbrow fortunes scored and fortunes gone. I look back anchordom. I agreed then; I agree now. But I and remember the things I was lucky enough didn‘t care then, and I don‘t care now. Look, to get right—like warning about something with my slightly chunky, big-headed called an Internet bub-ble—to the things I got
appearance, I don‘t seem like someone who wrong, like AOL and Time Warner coming stepped out of anchor central casting. So why together in a ―stunning‖ merger that was should I act like I did? It‘d be an act, and bound for greatness.
viewers would see through it quicker than I
make my way through a Ponderosa dessert INTRODUCTION
bar! I disliked the people others liked,
I am weird. But as I wrote in my last including Alan Greenspan, and liked the book, More Than Money, that‘s the way I am. people others disliked, including Al Dunlap. I Because I‘ve survived cancer and am currently was late to some parties, early to others, but I battling multiple sclerosis, I‘ve learned to be put it all out there, warts and all, and let the philosophical about life‘s gives and takes. I world know that day how I felt.
don‘t say that to win your sympathy, but to These are quick snapshots on days where give you an understanding of my thinking. the image paled almost as soon as the shutter Illnesses can whack you out, but they needn‘t was released. Some issues made me mad, freak you out. Sometimes they can force you others made me cry, still others made me howl, to think, not about the life you have, but the but all made me think. It‘s up to you now to
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decide whether, in the end, any of these made intertwined. Every-thing‘s connected: Our
a difference. I hope, gamely, that they did, and lives. Our money. Our...everything. that now, for you, they do. That‘s why I always remind my staff that
we should never forget the value of life, first,
and doing something with it, second. It‘s why CHAPTER 1
I like to put things in perspective. I‘ve never
“YOUR MONEY, BUT NOT
hidden the fact that I‘ve dealt with illness in
YOUR WHOLE LIFE” my life—first cancer, now multiple sclerosis.
One of the issues I wrestle with every day I‘m no stranger to the ravages of illness; many in my profession is money versus life. What in my family succumbed years ahead of their does money matter if you‘re sick, or even time. Sadly, such things have shaped me and worse, dead? What does all the wealth in the made me—as a man and as a journalist. world matter if you have no one with whom to They‘re why I can be such a sentimental share it? One of my biggest challenges in moosh. I am moved easily. I cry even more doing my job is figuring out how to handle the easily. Such are not the qualities you‘d expect show on those days when something horrible in a tough, seasoned journalist, but I argue to has happened before my hour. It could be a the contrary. They have helped make me a plane crash, terrorist act, a kidnapping—you better journalist, more willing to think outside name it. the box—perhaps because I know that, in the
Suddenly, in those moments, a show that end, we‘ll all end up in a box.
talks about money seems to matter less, and That sounds strange, I know, and I don‘t the potential for appearing callous and mean to come off as grim or glum—just as a
indifferent bothers me more. That‘s why I guy who sees life as a fleeting, wonderful argue to my bosses at Fox that mine is the opportunity, to be savored and enjoyed. But toughest job at Fox—keeping loyal news most important, to be put in perspective. It‘s viewers loyal to a business product as well. why some in my business have called me the It‘s a tough juggling act, but I try to keep it antibusiness reporter. They‘re partly right. I‘m simple. For me, it‘s not about the money, not just about numbers and figures. I‘m not
Stupid. It‘s about life, Stupid. Everything‘s married to earnings and acronyms. I am
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married to life and to everyday and evil that day.
lessons—things that don‘t change like profit Some say it‘s not a business journalist‘s reports but from which we can all profit job to blather on about such issues. I disagreed immensely. then. I disagree now. After all, from my days
Nowhere and at no time in my career back at CNBC more than a decade ago, I had have these two issues—money and no problem putting my emotion into my work life—collided as they did on September 11, then. I have had no problem putting my heart 2001. The sheer enormity of the disaster into the stories, particularly tragic stories like defined generations and seared our conscience 9/11, since. One could argue that anchors must in a way that few events ever had. Ostensibly be passive, even emotionless, observers. By my job as a business reporter was to give the that definition, I guess I do not measure up. financial take on this disaster. But in covering this story, from its sad first
Clearly, the site of the New York moments, to the legions of funerals and attack—but a stone‘s throw from the center of eulogies and tragic anniversaries that would capitalism itself—was no accident. The World follow, I‘d cover it somewhat differently—not
Trade Center embodied that capitalism; indeed, as a television anchor, but as something more: it housed many of its most prominent players. a human being.
But I couldn‘t look at this as just a After the Terror—Searching, Hoping
financial event. I had interviewed too many of September 18, 2001 Finally, this hour, a small the very people who died that day, some of perspective on a huge event. A few little things whom had been on my show just days earlier. that may help make sense of this big national No, this was more than simply a loss of pain. So many of you have shared so many financial capital. This was an enormous loss of wonderful stories that speak volumes on the human capital. I wanted that to be the story, American spirit. Like Sally Anne Novak from and my message was to tell that story, again Greensburg, Pennsylvania, who tells me of and again—the cruelty of it, the barbarity of it, taking her mom out to lunch just to, as she the senselessness of it. I was sure then we says, ―Get away from the television for a would recover from that tragic day, but I while.‖ She mentioned the two policemen wanted to remind all that this was about good eating lunch behind her at the restaurant, and
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the stranger who quietly picked up their bill. here. Then, like that, they were not. One of
There‘s the trader on Wall Street who life‘s cruel little twists that leaves a big, attached a picture of his buddy, feared dead, gaping void. And me, still wondering what it on his lapel. ―I‘m here for him,‖ he says, all means. I have no idea.
―even though I‘m not really here at all.And 9/11 and My Dad September 24, 2001 I‘ll those kids with the lemonade stand, raising never forget one of the saddest days of my life. hundreds of dollars for the relief effort, nickels It was my father ’s funeral. A lot of important and dimes and quarters at a time. And the people were there—the heads of a lot of
grade school students in New York who companies, including his own, and some decided to draw flags and hand them out politicians.
because there were no real flags to be found. I They impressed me, both by coming and know. Small stuff. But, I think, big stuff. by saying so many nice things about my dad. Important stuff. More important than stocks or But I‘ll never forget the other folks who came. money or investments or price earnings or Truck drivers and restaurant owners who knew EBIDTA, or any of that stuff. A lot of my my dad well, and just wanted to pay their usual business guests talked about that stuff. A respects. Some literally came right from work, lot of them are gone. hardly dressed for a wake or funeral, but
Like David Alger of Alger Management, hardly caring. Certainly I didn‘t. They were as warm and funny as he was prescient and the salt of the earth, the most decent folks just plain smart. A guy who once said of this you‘d ever want to meet. Some gathered to market, ―Neil, it‘s like life. Better things come say nice words. Others to say nothing at all. along.‖ They said they ‘d set up a memorial. And they
Or Bill Meehan of Cantor Fitzgerald, did. They meant what they said, they said always offering me health advice with a smile what they meant.
and a wink, and one time inquiring about my Little guys who stand for big things. Just favorite chocolate snack, ― What exactly are like little investors who we‘re now told did in Yodels?‖ fact buy stocks last week, while those big
And the many others I talked to, listened important guys sat on their hands. The folks at to, and learned from. It‘s as if they were just market research firm Biryini Associates
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confirming what I already knew...that small bath water, so be it. They can‘t do it forever, trades under ten thousand shares were positive so let‘s let them do it now. Here‘s why.
last week right after theattacks.Tradesoverten There‘ll be plenty of time to scrutinize thousand shares were negative—actually, very and attack. Now is not that time. There‘ll be negative. plenty of time to truly hold management
Let me say that again: Small investors accountable.
were buying. Big investors were selling. Small Now is not that time. There‘ll be plenty
investors bought what they could. Big of time to see if all these layoffs were investors sold pretty much anything they could. justified.
Both aimed to show their patriotism. I‘m not Now is not that time. So I say, give ‘em a saying it‘s un-American to sell. But it is pass on this quarter. A lot of us do the same for un-American to say you won‘t, and then you our kids. Some are acting a bit
do. Some big guys did that. No small guy that strangely—maybe not doing as well at school, I know of even considered that. Proof that the maybe more frustrated at home. A lot is going little guy has a big heart and doesn‘t make on in their little lives. Who are we to play the light of something called ...his word. heavy in their lives when they ‘re dealing with
Forgive, but Don‘t Forget October 15, all this heavy stuff ?
2001 What I‘m about to say sounds like So I want to treat companies just like we financial heresy. But here goes. A lot of do our kids, with a bit more leeway and a lot companies are going to come up with a lot of more understanding. I‘d much rather hold
excuses for a lot of lousy sales and earnings them accountable for what they can do now, numbers these next few weeks. I say we than for what they didn‘t do then.
cut ‘em slack. And let ‘em. I know more than Like our kids, they might be making a few of them are going to use the September excuses. But like our kids, for now I‘m gonna 11 ―event,‖ as they‘re calling it, as a reason for let ‘em. Two Months After the Terror, the all these troubles. Some are justified. Some Crash of American Airlines Flight 587 are not. I just don‘t think at this time we November 12, 2001 Sometimes statistics don‘t question them. Not now. If some of those really mean much. That‘s crazy for me, a companies want to throw in the baby with the business news guy, to say. But on a day like
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today, they mean even less. I know you‘re a can turn you away. From shopping malls. thousand times more at risk in a car than on a From movie theaters. From restaurants. And plane. More likely to get hit crossing the street sporting events. It can take a sunny disposition than flying above the street. Precisely because and make it miserable. It can take hope and they are so rare, plane crashes garner so much turn it into despair. It is a cancer that eats at attention. Especially now. Especially with a our very soul. And inf licts all souls. nation in fear. I‘m not here to judge what It is the stuff of which depressions are brought down American Airlines Flight made, on a mind and on an economy. It stops 587 ...though all signs, at least early on, point people from buying stocks. It stops people to some sort of mechanical failure. For the f from buying socks. It stops people, period. lying public, I don‘t think it matters. They ‘re And terrorists know it. They delight in it. They plain scared ...of planes. But you can bet your relish it. They look forward to it. And when bottom dollar it very much matters to the they kill our people, they plan on it. I say, people who run our airline industry. Just as enough of it. If for no other reason than they were enticing people back into their because it gives them something to gloat over. planes, another reason for people to avoid We are stronger than they are cruel. We them. are more hopeful than they are awful. We are
Had this happened prior to September 11, as good as they are evil. They hope that by it might have given people pause. But it likely startling us, they can stop us, or at least slow would not have given people panic. Now, us. I say, they don‘t know us. The greatness of many say they won‘t f ly. I think that‘s a a people is defined not by the good times they mistake, but a natural reaction. Rallying the enjoy, but by the tough times they endure. public‘s opinion is one thing. Overcoming A good stock will always come back. their fears is quite another. They ‘ll fight the Fundamentals dictate that. A good people will good fight, but today that fight has become a always come back. History proves that. The lot tougher. short seller will try to stop the good stock. But
Don‘t Let Evil Win October 12, 2001 fail. Murderers will try to stop the good people. Fear is a powerful emotion. It can stop you. It But will also fail. Miserably. Response to an can paralyze you. It can turn you inward. It Ass October 3, 2001 (Responding to an e-mail
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from one Mr. Abraham, who condemned me They did nothing wrong. America has made its for characterizing the September 11 attacks as mistakes. But for the life of me, I can‘t ever
recall our dancing in the streets after killing a “acts of terror.‖ He argued that they were
acts of war against a country that had bunch of innocent people.
victimized an oppressed people. For good I‘m a business guy. So I see things as
measure, Mr. Abraham called me clueless and pretty black and white. And this much is clear. fat.) Fat? I much prefer hefty. But to your There‘s nothing heroic about being evil. bigger point, Mr. Abraham, you‘re an ass. And Sometimes it‘s like a lousy stock. You know here‘s why. If these attacks were military it . . . just looking at it.
actions, then I‘m Jack LaLanne. I‘m not, and Why Not Call Terrorists What They Are? they ‘re not. Killing innocent people whose October 1, 2001
greatest sin was showing up for work isn‘t There‘s something almost as ridiculous as justice. It‘s cowardice. Storming planes not letting your employees wear American f doesn‘t make you Patton. It does make you lag pins if they wish. How about not calling pathetic. And spouting your cause by ramming terrorists what they are—terrorists? In case
those planes into buildings doesn‘t make you you haven‘t heard, a couple of news awe-inspiring. Just awful. organizations, including one of those other
This is not the time to try to explain evil, news channels, are refusing to use the “T‖
but to combat it. Not to justif y attacks. But to word to describe those guys who hijacked counter those attacks. Save the hand wringing planes three weeks ago and changed life as we and psycho babbling about what this country know it here. They ‘re now ―suspected did and didn‘t do for someone with a hijackers.‖ That‘s like calling me ―allegedly sympathetic ear. I‘m not that guy, Mr. hefty.‖ Please.
Abraham. You call me brainless and ignorant. What‘s happening to my profession? Are Well, I‘m smart enough to know this: The we that stupid? Let‘s be clear. When you seize thousands who died three weeks ago weren‘t a plane and start killing passengers, you‘re a soldiers. They weren‘t terrorists. They were terrorist. When you take that same plane and just average Joes and Joannes unlucky enough ram it into a tower at the World Trade Center, to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. you‘re a terrorist. When you do the exact same
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