Take a Free Trial
Try Charles' premium stock selection services free for 7 days.
Check it out in real time!
You will get actionable advice, trading ideas and email alerts.
7/31/2012 7:47 AM
Shaken and Not Stirring
By Charles Payne, CEO & Principal Analyst
Question of the Day
Are America's greatest achievements all in the past, or is there more to come?
The enemy increaseth every day;
Let me know at
Post your answer below.
We, at the height, are ready to decline.
There is a tide in the affairs of men,
Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
Omitter, all the voyage of their life
Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
On such a full sea are we now afloat,
And we must take the current when it serves,
Or lose our ventures.
Watching the opening of the Olympic Games in London, I felt at times like I was watching a Tim Burton movie. There is no doubt it had its moments, but when I summed it all up the games seemed like a post mortem on what was once the greatest nation in the world. It felt like a nation ready to say to the world that the sun does set, indeed. It felt like a nation, obviously proud of its past but living on those memories and a bunch of fictional characters (I'm not talking about the Queen) to carry the day. At least, the ceremony paid homage to the role of industry that put the Great in Britain. However, it was clearly an evening that admitted the height had been reached, and decline has taken over.
The Olympics have long become much more than sports, a tool for nations to make announcements to the world. It's been mostly a coming out party. A chance to tell the world to watch out because here we come. The 2016 games in Brazil promise to serve such notice like 1964 told the world Japan was back and 2008 said China had the population, the ingenuity and the will to be great. It was an amazing debut, and in my book, better than London. I understand in this new elite world we should embrace mediocrity, and in fact, frown upon efforts to be extraordinary. But, I don't think any nation can put it in neutral and think its future bright.
There is a new war, a kind of Cold War II, which sees a shift of power to the east from the west. While the west is fixated on closing income inequality gaps by punishing hard and smart workers, the east and other parts of the compass are simply plowing ahead. They understand the same tide will lift all boats and those that crest higher more than likely will have earned it and those that put in less elbow grease will still see an improvement in quality of life.
America won the Cold War with:
Strong US Dollar
England is continuing to watch this current struggle between east and west reminiscing about:
And what of America? I fear we are on such a full sea now and must dig deep to not only remember our great past, but honor it by continuing the legacy rather than living vicariously through it. The enemy that increases every day is the enemy of doubt, envy, and fear, stoked by harsh rhetoric which aims to remove all pillars of strength from self/individual, to religious to legal (constitution) and replace it with a Big Brother, Father, and Mother. The clock is ticking. If we don't change course, the next time we get the Olympic Games the tide will find us where the United Kingdom dwells today.
Hey, Jude, then it will be too late to make it better.
The Clock Stopped Ticking ...
... in the stock market yesterday. The session saw an amazing two-day rally come to a screeching halt, but there was no big selloff, which made the day a major moral victory. It seems nuts that a large part of this rally would be in anticipation of the ECB springing into action this week when it's 95% against the odds. Maybe Wall Street is living in a Danny Boyle-Tim Burton world where we know one thing but allow the imagination to warp our reactions. Of course considering this would be the third time for the ECB and Fed to step to the plate with something magical, the real trick would be to lure investors back on the assumption that it is coming rather than pull a rabbit out of hat that lays an egg.
On that note, however, there are so many stocks that are significantly undervalued. This earning season has served the purpose of exposing those stocks where traditional price discovery has failed miserably. It underscores a reality that can't break free of that same fear and self-loathing. It's a good sign when these stocks pop although it's frustrating to ride them lower or for many sell at a loss out of impatience or anger. For now, however, the bias has shifted to the upside and a large part of it has to do with fundamentals of great companies. While all eyes are on money printing machines on either side of the Atlantic, don't forget there are legitimate profits being made and too often ignored.
|God! I hope there is more greatness to come.|
Grace on 7/31/2012 10:17:23 AM
|We are in danger of that happening. Just remember, Liberty is never given, it is taken!|
Z on 7/31/2012 10:32:54 AM
|I don't know if we can do any better than what we did in WWII, but I know we have the people and the resources to be similarly fantastic in the future. Everybody needs to do better than we're doing right now - politicians need to do what's best for the country instead of serving their own interests, businessmen need to return to a code of honor, and citizens need to vote out the bad guys and work their butts off. There are no secrets to succeeding any more, we just need to do it!!!|
Mike on 7/31/2012 10:37:52 AM
|America is still producing winners, we still have great institutions of higher learning, although the cost is starting to burden far too many. We also have many companies with outstanding ideas that are in progress. China is coming on, however the emphasis is more on taking plagiarizing technology rather than developing free creative minds. There is a mind set in China that taking other's ideas is okay, making knock-offs is okay, unfortunately I also see that same mentality starting to roost in America. I hope we can keep a good higher education affordable. The whole world is becoming more competitive; we need to foster that competition, creativity and initiative that has made this a great country, and stay on the hard path the path less taken then the easy road that really goes downhill and nowhere. If we take the prize away (rewards for success), will any one try to get it?|
David Huber on 7/31/2012 11:04:05 AM
|The answer depends on what you mean by achievements. If you mean will we figure out ways to make more war on more people, you can count on that. If you mean greater social justice, we're moving in the right direction but still have a long way to go. If you mean accomplishments in education, that one's a tossup and may depend on financial giants like Gates and Bezos funding private education - in effect doing what the government can't. If you mean technological accomplishments, we're just getting started. Remember the story of the patent office worker who quit his job because he thought everything had been invented. That was in the 1890s. We will continue to invent new tech that will influence our lives in unforseeable ways. Remember all those brainiacs who lost their jobs in the tech bubble crash? They didn't stop inventing stuff, the media just stopped reporting it. New tech never progresses in a linear fashion. That's why the nature of progress is always unpredictable. We've got a bright tech future as a country.|
Art Fox on 7/31/2012 12:35:53 PM
|Perhaps the greatest accomplishment of all mankind was and is the U.S. Constitution. It is, in itself, a small wonder. It set about a framework of small government with limited powers so that a seed of an idea could sprout and grow into the mightiest nation the world has ever known. It produced a nation of rugged individualists who succeeded on their own merits and who tended the needy through their own charity. The simple idea of a free people honestly pursuing life, liberty and happiness with minimum impediment or interference from a well defined and constrained central government - that was the seed of our greatness. That seed germinated in the Declaration of Independence and took root in the rich nourishment of the Constitution. For years the Constitution was revered and carefully tended so that the seed that was rooted there, our nation, could grow strong and healthy. But we-the-people who founded this great nation and who established our limited form of republican government have failed to tend to the needs of the very document which gives our society life. What was once carefully tended has grown full of weeds. The well defined and fully constrained central government that was supposed to impose minimum impediment and impact has grown to an unrecognizable power wielding behemoth bent on interfering and impeding in every way possible while fully recognizing and freely admitting that most of what they do is well beyond the bounds of their constitutional authority. In the final analysis the seed is still there and the Constitution is still there all that remains is the question "are we as citizens up to the task of putting big government back into its little box so that America can get back to the task of growing in greatness through the merits of rugged individualism while being ever respectful of the shared hope that spawns common charity."|
George on 7/31/2012 1:14:51 PM
|wouldn't it be fantastic if the federal government were to publicly acknowledge the unbelievable amounts of oil in North America. Combining the gulf, ANWR, the Bakken, the Utica, the Mississippian, the oil sands, Permian Basin, the Eagle Ford, Green River and others i calculate upwards of ten trillion barrels. As recently as two months ago Obama's David Axelrod announced that the U.S. has 2% of the world's oil and we consume about 20%. About all i could say to myself is: why doesn't this powerful man join the 21st century?|
paul meyerhoff on 7/31/2012 2:14:46 PM
|I agree with Mike, who wrote: "There is a mind set in China that taking other's ideas is okay, making knock-offs is okay, unfortunately I also see that same mentality starting to roost in America." In fact, that mentality took root here in the '60's and '70's as we entered a new narcissistic age. The difference between us and China used to be the difference between pagan and Christian values. We won't regain our former greatness until we have a resurgence in traditional values that provide a foundation for a civil society that can grow and prosper. When our President is both Celebrity in Chief and Liar in Chief, we're in trouble. Romney's great speech in Poland is a cause for hope, yet it has been barely noted here.|
Dennis Howard on 7/31/2012 2:43:52 PM
|My faith in America's young people is unshakable. They exhibit a great collective spine, and a sense of humor. All that despite the wretched mess they've inherited. We will see great achievement from them. Watch for it.|
Patricia Flynn on 7/31/2012 2:47:32 PM
|More to come---of course.|
Richard on 7/31/2012 3:32:30 PM
|The opening of the Olympics was the most Socialist based event I have seen. Even the producer, Boyle, said the highlight was the torch running into the stadium between the 500 "workers".|
Terry O'Connor on 7/31/2012 5:18:09 PM
|I am speaking as a New Zealander, greatful for the US intervention and action in the Pacific during the second World war.Otherwise we could have ended up being a state of Japan.|
Right now, America still has many more wonderful achievements to contribute for the welfare of its own people and for the world.
Our best wishes and prayers have been and are with you and your leaders at this time.
Malcolm Boyd on 7/31/2012 7:42:22 PM
Add a Comment!