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What If It's Not As Bad As Everyone Thinks?

These are scary times. Including President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package, the total tally of projected government outlays now exceeds $10 trillion.

Even more frightening: Many economic experts doubt that this increased spending will have the positive impact that the politicians intend. And the public's confidence in Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner is fading fast.

Why? Bank of America (NYSE: BAC  ) and Citigroup (NYSE: C  ) may be insolvent. AIG (NYSE: AIG  ) is using federal bailout dollars to finance bonus payments to its executives. TARP funds recipient JPMorgan Chase (NYSE: JPM  ) plans to construct "the premier corporate aircraft hangar on the eastern seaboard."

And I haven't even touched on the shaky status of Eastern European banks, the sinking Japanese economy, or rising unemployment rates in China.

I admit, with all of the negative news coming in, it's difficult to see any semblance of a silver lining. But as a natural contrarian, I have to wonder: What if it's not as bad as everyone thinks?

The power of positive thinking
Right now, we don't know whether our economy faces a return to depression-like conditions. But Markel (NYSE: MKL  ) Chief Investment Officer Tom Gayner recently pointed out that "the stock market isn't waiting to find out."

The market already assumes that we're headed for a worst-case scenario -- but if it's not as bad as everyone thinks, there's opportunity there.

And Gayner agrees. "The low expectations and low valuations of equity prices might make for a pleasant surprise over the next decade," he said.

What is the nature of this opportunity?
Let's dissect Gayner's prediction -- because there are a few interesting takeaways.

First of all, he thinks of investment returns in terms of decades, not days or weeks. This probably helps explain why he consistently outperforms the short-term-oriented market.

Second, this has little to do with a market bottom, which Gayner isn't calling. He even acknowledges that the U.S. might enter another depression. But -- for the first time in 18 months -- he has begun buying stocks because he believes that today's prices are excellent even considering that risk.

If the doomsday crowd is correct and the U.S. does enter a nasty, prolonged depression, Gayner may lose a little capital, but it's unlikely he'll suffer significant losses, precisely because of those prices. And if the economic forecast isn't as dire as those negative Nancies believe, Gayner will probably be richly rewarded.

The upshot? The key to successful investing isn't buying shares of the world's greatest companies, or the market's cheapest fare. It's buying shares of great companies when they trade at a significant discount to their intrinsic value.

That doesn't happen that often -- but Gayner thinks now is one of those times.

So whatcha buying, Tom?
Gayner didn't mention exactly which stocks he was buying. But based on his history, I imagine he's snatching up shares of companies with simple business models, strong balance sheets, and shareholder-friendly management teams.

Those are some of the key characteristics that David and Tom Gardner search for at Motley Fool Stock Advisor. Two of my favorite opportunities from their scorecard are Morningstar (Nasdaq: MORN  ) and Costco (Nasdaq: COST  ) .

It's been a rough year for Morningstar, what with troubles in the financial industry and a sharp drop in investment consulting fees. Even so, Morningstar's mutual fund ratings remain the gold standard in the industry. And with scam artists like Madoff and Stanford dominating the headlines, the importance of trusted, independent investment ratings has never been clearer. Furthermore, the company has nearly $300 million in cash, no debt, and one of the most shareholder-friendly managers around in founder and CEO Joe Mansueto.

Costco, on the other hand, is one of those rare businesses that could actually benefit from a prolonged economic downturn. The warehouse company's stable 1.8% net margin isn't anything to write home about, but that's exactly the point: CEO Jim Sinegal is committed to passing savings on to consumers and making up the difference in volume. The end result is a loyal customer base that should hold steady even through an economic downturn -- as evidenced by Costco's 87% membership-renewal rate.

A pleasant surprise
Even if the bears are correct and we're staring at a lengthy and severe economic downturn, these two companies should be relatively safe. They boast significant competitive advantages, strong balance sheets, recurring revenue streams, and shareholder-friendly management teams.

Moreover, since dire economic predictions are already baked into their share prices, the downside risk is limited. And if the U.S. economy manages to recover faster than the market expects, buyers at today's prices will be likely to enjoy a pleasant surprise over the next decade -- and beyond.

If you're looking for additional superior stock ideas that are available at bargain prices, you can see what Fool co-founders David and Tom Gardner are recommending to members of their Motley Fool Stock Advisor service free for 30 days. Click here for more information.

Rich Greifner was pleasantly surprised by the Washington Wizards' season-high two-game winning streak. Costco and Morningstar are Stock Advisor selections. Costco and Markel are Inside Value recommendations. The Motley Fool owns shares of Markel and Morningstar. Rich owns none of the stocks mentioned in this article, but he plans on purchasing several as soon as the Fool's disclosure policy allows.

Read/Post Comments (33) | Recommend This Article (63)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 5:21 PM, TheRockInEgg wrote:

    Of course it is not as bad as everyone thinks. The fundamentals of food production, manufacturing capacity, and (believe it or not) the soundness of the financial systems are all intact.

    Much of the Doomsday prophesies are openly propagated and spread by the mainstream media. I guess they need a sensational story and the entire collapse of the entire world is definitely an attention grabber.

    As for me, I will stay heavily invested in government bonds and cash (currently about 80%). I will do the side "speculative trades" committing no more than 5% of my "trading net worth". Once I see the market begin a modest recovery, I will jump back in buying stocks that pay decent dividends.

    I truly don't believe that this bear market is over. I believe that we will see a recovery beginning in June this year (perhaps people will come to their senses by then).


    1. You can't spend your way out of debt.

    2. Savings is the proper way to build and support investments (that is why it is classified as "capital")

    3. The US needs to do something about its increasing debt and the deficits that continually add to it.

    4. The Law of Supply and Demand is real.

    5. Therefore, you can't have everything you want.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 5:36 PM, FOOLBEFREE wrote:

    I agree. I bought more COSTCO at $39 two weeks ago. I alrweady own Markel and Morningstar.

    No brainer.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 6:43 PM, doug4nev wrote:

    It's not that I disagree with you so much, but it's that I'm tired of phases like "It's buying shares of great companies when they trade at a significant discount to their intrinsic value."

    For the past year I've watched "Inside Value" estimates of the intrinsic values of companies get trashed as the market went down. The estimates we make of intrinsic values are made using models which have a large number of assumptions. Hopefully the assumptions are valid in a normal market, but just how good are they in a steep prolonged recession/depression? The point is that there is no sure fire way to tell how a company will fare when things hit the fan. Using traditional evaluation methods might or might not be ok, we just don't know.

    A case in point, J.M. Smucker was a recent pick of Inside Value and one of the reasons given was the purchase of Folgers Coffee. Have you ever tasted Folger's coffee? It's crap! Unless Folgers reinvents itself over the next few years, there earning will go down the drain. Using past data as a guide in a changing world is a fools way to invest.

    I am not totally negative in this market, I bought Costco recently because I though it is a good company with a good business model. I also bought some GE because it looked like a good company at historically low prices and got burned badly. It turned out I didn't know as much as I thought I did about GE and it's business. Maybe GE will come back, maybe it won't. The point is that there is tremendous uncertainty in the market right now and you had better make sure you know a lot about a company before you buy it. Current evaluation criteria can give very poor results so be careful.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 7:19 PM, MAC4412 wrote:

    I have been a Fool for a number of years and it has only been within the last 4-5 months that I have stopped opening and reading my Fool email. I delete it because I am so tired of reading "doomsday" predictions. Predictions make news and I wonder how much of this doomsday news is purely individuals who want to make a name for themselves and go down in history as being "the one" who predicted correctly! I open this Fool article today because the headline sounded positive...wrong...............I am seriously considering cancelling my Fool subscription and saving $199/year...

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 7:48 PM, kurtdabear wrote:

    First of all, it isn't as bad as everyone thinks--it's worse, and what the government is doing will make it worse still.

    Second, stocks like Costco and Morningstar are still highly vulnerable to more major downturns. Costco markets mainly to small businesses and upper-middle-class conspicuous consumers, both of whom are facing increasing financial hardships. Over the next few years, Morningstar will find itself without a customer base as more and more people abandon 401-K contributions for stocks and mutual funds, and mutual funds begin liquidating and/or folding to cover rapidly escalating withdrawals.

    In addition, neither of these stocks is "cheap" in current market terms, with the former selling for more than two times books and the latter more than 3 times that (though at least Morningstar is debt-free).

    Both have falling earnings and high PE's and pay low--or no--dividends.

    By current--and future--stock market standards these are both overpriced boobietraps waiting to ensnare the unwary foolish optimist who wanders in--just as "doug4nev" got drawn into GE by believing it was still an industrial company rather than an over-leveraged financial firm.

    Smuckers has possibilities. It sells below book, pays a dividend over 3%, has improving earnings, deals in consumer staples and is only being shorted about 2%. When it falls another $10-12/sh., it might be worth taking another look at (and Folger's ain't all that bad).

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 8:06 PM, oldblue64 wrote:

    What if it's worse than "everyone" thinks. What if the radical Dems get card check after all, and then destroy the economy through their cap and trade program, health care nationalization, and tax increases? What if we drown in debt, and China and others refuse to buy our bonds, and for cause?

    Barack Obama is the most inexperienced and most radical president in American history. His plans to interfere with our free enterprise system are limitless, and the result, I believe, will be the steady erosion of every creative impulse that has defined this great country.

    I will not put a dime in the stock market so long as he and his radical allies are in power.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 8:10 PM, JPerryE wrote:

    I may need help with my reasoning. The United States government is printing and spending trillions of dollars (what ever that means.) The only thing backing the currency is the ability of the government to tax its citizens.

    The increased spending will cause a short term surge in the economy. One of my questions is, who will continue to buy our debt when the debt exceeds the country’s ability to tax its citizens? It seems likely that interest rates will have to increase in order to keep attracting investors to our debt instruments. Increased interest rates result in declining values of existing debt. Increased rates also lead to increased costs of production. Corporate rates will have to rise to compete with government rates. We may also see shortages of products if production costs increase dramatically.

    Will increased rates alone be enough to pull the excess (inflationary) money from the markets? And, how much damage will the increased rates have on production. It may take ten or more years to undo the damage being done by the government’s gratuitous borrowing and spending.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 8:28 PM, ecoloney wrote:

    I'm probably not going to renew my subscription. I've invested and re-invested and re-invested using Fool guidelines and I'm nearly out of money from so many losers. I fully understand not all are going to be winners but I can no longer support so many losers. I've got to eat.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 9:06 PM, anotherspectator wrote:

    I love these guys; catching headlines, then some of THEIR picks, then a link to subcribe to their 'insider' info. I skip to the comments as they provide more usefull information, even if it is only speculation.

    Anyways, my guess is the market will drop to a familiar amount after the g20 summit. sure if we get a little recovery in the market we'll sure see another significant recession in a couple years when the money runs out. No one of us knows how bad this thing is; afterall, we only know what we are told. Obama has seemingly changed his strategy after all of the critics pointed out what his negative forcasts were doing to the market. Now he only speaks of optimism; I personally prefer truth.

    I can't help but wonder that maybe the 2012 predictions may come true afterall. Is anyone else discusted that we measure how well we are doing based on how much we are spending? Take it for what it is, just another opinion

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 9:15 PM, trenton1ryan wrote:

    <I may need help with my reasoning. The United States government is printing and spending trillions of dollars (what ever that means.)>

    You do. Call 867-5309 and Jenny will straighten you out ;)P

    Or, call 467-4653 (that's GOT-GOLD?, any area code will do).

    Just kidding. You're reasoning is sound imnsho.

    <It may take ten or more years to undo the damage being done by the government’s gratuitous borrowing and spending.>

    I agree. This is OUR lost decade-or will be. Think TANGIBLE ASSETS people. Costco, maybe. But you're not going to get much out of them in the next few years imnsho.

    As for the other, who's gonna care about ratings for MFs and the like when so many people are out of work and paying the electricity is the primary concern??

    Be ready to hold for a MINIMUM of a DECADE if you're going to buy stocks like these-esp MORN.

    Tangible assets people-things people absolutely cannot live without.

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 9:56 PM, timarchibald wrote:

    I went to TD Ameritrade on Monday to fund the SEP and Roth and was told by the rep that the individual stocks that I own in a non-IRA account should be exchanged ASAP to reposition the 65K into the Amerivest ETF. After waiting this long with shares of GE BAC PG J+J EMC UNH BIIB and the mutual funds like Vangaurd and Old Mutual in large caps,small caps and mid capsl,does anybody out there think it would be a good idea moving forward to do this?

    The guy made a good case for low expenses but if the market isn't as bad,wouldn't I stand to do better going forward in equities rather than a mix of bonds and whatever the risk ratios they have set up at Amerivest?

  • Report this Comment On March 31, 2009, at 11:07 PM, paxgaea wrote:


    Initially, for fool disclosure (yes, lowercase) I voted for Obama.

    It is interesting though, that you and your ilk are still griping about how socialist the US of A is becoming whilst people of my ilk (who voted him in, in numbers I think not seen since Reagan swept in) are so very disappointed to see a President not look after the little guy, but continue to look after the likes of B of A, JP Morgan, Citi, AIG, and even GM (despite Wagoner, WHY AREN'T THEY LEGALLY BANKRUPT ALREADY? They were bankrupt in reality almost a year ago), etc., etc., etc. Quit your griping about socialism, because it doesn't reflect reality. Socialism might be a fine substitute for the oligarchy, aristocracy, fiefdom, etc. that we have been devolving into the for essentially the past X number of decades or more...

    You should be delighted that Obama is doing what he can to prop up your debased stocks. They are worthless, and yet somehow people still think they are worth more than the food on their table.

    On another note, I have never bothered in the years I have been a member of Motley Fool to reply to any comment posted. It might just show how ignorant you are, and those like you that keep bleating about SOCIALISM.

    Unfortunately Obama turned out to be just another pawn of the system.


  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 12:54 AM, tonester2k wrote:


    I wanted to reply to the typical Obama bashing as did you, and just am sick to death of defending the man against FOOLS (all caps...) who agree with the policies of the last decade or so that got us into this sh*t hole we are in. Cronies and buddies and pals all screwing the average American - this dude should be PISS*D at the Repubs!

    As the poster claimed, Obama is FAR from the "most least experienced" president ever. He's not perfect, but read your history or don't comment! I don't see him staggering around the lawn like Grant, for example, or getting BJ's in the oval office (just to show I am "bipartisan"...) I think he is gathering the best crew together that he can and trying to get us out of this crap the only way most economists agree on - in 60 days!! The problem as I see it is politics as usual - repub or dem - in Washington. A bunch of useless idiots who wouldn't know a bail out from a bale of hay. Pork in the budget? That's a most appropriate term for these pigs.

    I know the difference, and I am/was a Republican all my life (I'm 50), big surprise? I'm ashamed and embarassed by the way "my" party has taken advantage of the "people" to fill their own damn pockets in recent history, you want an assh*le to pick on, try Cheney!

    Regards & good luck out there... you'll need it.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 12:59 AM, roamabit wrote:

    I'm so thankful that our media is providing us with sufficient factual, unbiased information we voters need to make sound political decisions.

    Based on such informed voting decisions, I'm sure this country elected just exactly the leadership we all deserve.

    After all, socialism is absolutely self-limiting. It ceases to function when we run out of other peoples' money.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 1:19 AM, GravityProof wrote:

    You guys supported the first bailout. So, your vote is already in: "I'm stupid!"

    Team Obama is stupider. There are things of real value. Those are masked by the market, but the market is masked by the politics.

    Repeat after me: "No policy without economics; no economics without price tables; no price tables without markets; no markets WITH government intervention."

    Look at the markets. Obama just fired Rick Wagoner. Now, granted, Wagoner was an incompetent douche. But think for a second: if Obama wasn't a Senator, could he have really gotten an EVP or higher level job at a Fortune 50 company? That answer is "No" and loudly "No." President New Guy is a great politician and otherwise a worthless douche.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 1:51 AM, wrkdiver wrote:

    A crook for Treasury Secretary, Hell the guy's surrounded by crooks - and his national debt will be higher than ALL THE PAST PRESIDENTS COMBINED!

    Have you watched him talk without his teleprompter?

    Look what they did to the REAL Messiah when he didn't do what the Jews expected - they crucified him!

    Poor Obamaramlamajamayomama! The Looney Lefty Libbies are already turning on him 'cause he's going to send MORE troops overseas.

    Survival - Land in Brasil, stock in Embraer(Orders for all the planes they can build next Year), I donno - wish I did - I'd start a stock touting company and get rich off the hopeful whether MY predictions went up or down - just like some others we know1

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 2:11 AM, ReillyDiefenbach wrote:

    Have any of you dittoheads checked the standard of living in Sweden lately? France? Canada? No? Didn't think so.

    "Significantly, the U.N. report found that the United States has one of the highest rates of relative child poverty of all OECD members. In the US, 22.4 percent of children live in poverty, a number second only to Mexico, with 26.2 percent. Countries with high rates also include: Italy (20.5 percent), the United Kingdom (19.8 percent) and Turkey (19.7 percent). Countries with slightly lower poverty rates include: Canada (15.5 percent), Australia (12.6 percent), Germany (10.7 percent) and Hungary (10.3 percent). The lowest levels of child poverty are to be found in countries with relatively high social expenditures, including: France (7.9 percent), Finland (4.4 percent) and Sweden (2.6 percent)."

    We have 22 percent child poverty in this country. Twenty two percent. How proud are you now?

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 5:44 AM, corev wrote:

    You cant define standard of living based on one statistic, but I agree that USA needs to add a lot of measures of EMPATHY and compassion---we are mute on too many topics, we are FEARFUL of action.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 11:13 AM, jesse2159 wrote:

    There may also be an opportunity found in being hit by a truck, but I wouldn't recommend it. There are opportunities everywhere. But, there is only one way to invest: ONLY USE MONEY YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE. There may be pockets of opportunities, but, unless you can move at lightning speed to get out, don't get in. Wall Street has BS'ed the public more often than a three-card-monty dealer ever thought was possible.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 11:18 AM, jesse2159 wrote:

    One more thing that investors should consider when being robbed by banks. The Accounting Board is about to suspend the mark to market rules that will allow banks and other flim flam artists to value their assets at whatever they want them to be,...transparancy, you say,,...yeah, like mud.

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 3:05 PM, anotherspectator wrote:

    Standard of living based on child poverty? Maybe because the poor keep popping out kids while the 'well off' seem to have only one or two children. No stats here just look around

  • Report this Comment On April 01, 2009, at 4:08 PM, pumkinbrat wrote:

    I'm curious as to whether anyone else has noted that the folks who are now predicting that things will get much worse are the same ones who correctly forecast the current situation, while the ones who are saying things are now on the upswing were those who never saw it coming in the first place (or saw it, but refused to admit it).

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2009, at 12:42 AM, simonkathrein wrote:

    Since none of these fellows writing these articles will 'personally guarentee' your money based on their opinions, i think it's wise to use a bit of caution. Leave the bulk of your money in guarenteed investments, and trade right now. Learn to play both sides of the market with option strategies. if you treat these companies as buy and hold... you will probably get drawn down another 50% before this is all over. trying to call the bottom is like trying to catch a falling knife... you usually get cut... badly.

    i quote from this article: "Even if the bears are correct and we're staring at a lengthy and severe economic downturn, these two companies should be relatively safe"

    relatively safe? What does that mean? i'll lose a smaller percentage than i normally would? We all know that when the market is in panic...ALL COMPANIES GET POUNDED AS PEOPLE ARE PANIC SELLING! That's been proved time and time again.

    Historically market lows are always re-tested before a turnaround, so I'll wait until the S&P has made a double or triple bottom... and starts to have rising tops and rising bottoms with optimism coming back into the market before i would even consider a buy and hold strategy.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2009, at 12:51 AM, simonkathrein wrote: an addition to the previous post... read this article. Dent predicted this mess 16 years ago with obvious logic that makes total sence. The dow could hit 3800 at some point, and probably won't be over until 2012 or 2013. I found it very interesting.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2009, at 6:03 PM, TheRockInEgg wrote:

    OK, OK….

    The standard and quality of life may not be measurable by “a single statistic”. But it is really time for many people in the United States to wake up to the fact that while the US may be the most powerful country in the world, it certainly lags behind many of the countries of the developed world in a number of areas. This is likely to be because the US has spent so much on “defense” and two wars in the last eight years.

    For example, the Human Development Index (admittedly redundant in some cases) shows the US ranked as 15th – after a number of European Union and Scandinavian countries as well as Japan and Switzerland (

    Quality of Life indices also show that the “quality of life” in the United States was below that of many other developed countries in 2005. The US was at 13th place following several European Union countries, Australia, Singapore and Switzerland.


    In education, the United States is one of the most expensive countries to obtain a higher education in the developed countries ranking 15th in “affordability” of 16 surveyed countries. (

    The questions really become:

    “Where are your priorities?”

    “Do you want to have a long, healthy life with a comfortable environment, good health care and usable public transportation?”

    “Do you want to invest in education so that future generations, including your own children can remain economically competitive?”

    No, the end is not near, but we need to examine our priorities very seriously and make the right investments, both as individual investors and as countries.

  • Report this Comment On April 02, 2009, at 7:24 PM, cubanstockpicker wrote:

    Fedex was a major stock to make it out of a bear market. If I am throwing my money in the trash it will be for small cap companies with solid business models and strong cash with no debt.

    Costco might give you a 20% upside or a 20% downside, but all in all best performers are small caps, and small cap emerging will be even hotter.

    We might get a big fat bear, but if we arent dropping below support levels in next sell off, we are done with the pesimistic bear. we must then start buying into the weakness offered by bear runs.

  • Report this Comment On April 04, 2009, at 3:20 AM, crlowryjr wrote:

    "Quality of Life" is a very subjective thing. I'm an American who has lived in Germany, Saudi Arabia, India, have 'gone local' in Thailand, have spent a decent amounts of time in China, Singapore, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia and visited many other countries like Sweden, France, Spain, Mexico, Cambodai ... and have never gone anwhere as a pampered tourist.

    My observation is that in general American's are unable / unwilling to adapt to the lifestyle of anything other than America. This isn't to say anything particularly negative about America ... we've just grown acustomed to our way of life. In Most other countries I've been, housing conditions are tiny, cramped affairs; sidewalk food is the norm; public transportation or good old fashioned walking is how people get around and you don't have every possible electronic gadget known to man (believe me when I say it's easier and cheaper to get electronic goods in the US than the fabled Singapore or Bangkok markets ... unless you're looking for fakes or low cost knock-offs...and yes I've spent numerous hours in places like Pantip Plaza marveling).

    Would I declare any of this as bad and American standards as superior? Nope ... just 'very different' to what has become the expectation in the US.

    One example...

    Having lived these last 2 years in India, I constantly spend a good 25% of the time without electricity or running water ... and this doesn't really bother me ... too much. The road conditions and 'human congestion' is absoutely mind boggling. What's 'normal' here is pretty much everythign the average person in the US is tryign to avoid ... power goes out for 3 hours in a US city and it's headline news.

    How about the need to haggle when purchasing jsut about anything when you'r on this side of the globe ... I had read once that buying a car is listed up there with the same stress / fear as dying for most Americans.

    My only point is that it's easy to say one country may be better or worse than another in quality of life by looking at some statistic ... but when it really comes down to it ... would you actually want to pick up and move? Bangkok is probably my favorite city on the planet...but with completely open eyes I recognize both the pleasant and unpleasant parts and ackowledge a lot of that 'categorization' comes from the cutlure I was raised in. There are simply 'other' ways to live ...


  • Report this Comment On April 04, 2009, at 1:15 PM, wapitidropiti wrote:

    Isn't this the same guy (motley fool) who claimed BAC as his best stock pick? It was in the fifties at the time now it is in single digits. I rest my case.

  • Report this Comment On April 04, 2009, at 1:45 PM, Alex1963 wrote:

    The RNC spin machine is working overtime. I guess the latest smear getting traction is that Obama cannot possibly lead because he hasn't been a CEO or a business major? This country has had plenty of great presidents who weren't. I believe it does take the same qualities to lead as it does to run the country however.

    1) A unified and well articulated vision. Obama has laid out and stuck to the very same themes for over 2 years consistently. He has followed thru on the vast majority in even the short time he's been in office. Thsis vision has resonated with the vast majority of Americans

    2) An ability to delegate. while monitoring for results. You might quibble about Geithner etc but there is plenty of evidence lately that progress is being made. 3) A willingness to stay flexible as results demand. I see Obamas adjustments in Iraq an in other areas as adaptation not "lying" as the Right likes to spin it.

    4) The quality of personal responsibility. Obama has gone on record taking full responsibility for the state of the economy at the end of his 1st term and also called cabinet appointment snafus by himself & his admin "boneheaded". Something Bush has never done that I'm aware of.

    5) The ability to effectively handle multiple complex tasks as events require. I think even the Right concedes he is certainly not shy about tackling many problems simultaneously. He at least is trying. And I doubt he will come anywhere near Bushes record of "days off "during his presidency (Bush easily holds the record for most "vacation days") so at least he is on the job and taking actions on many fronts.

    So I ask why so easily this "company line" that Obama is bad by virtue of having no business leadership or MBA under his belt? I understand how some critics feel the direction may be wrong or that his policies may be flawed but to regurgitate this particular critique is overly harsh and really just naive. I realize for some there are far deeper and uglier reasons why they don't and may never support Obama. Nothing to be done for that. Some people will hate him even if he turns the country around and leads the world back to prosperity in his 1st term. That's a fact. But Bush was an MBA and failed at nearly every business he ran besides the Texas Rangers. His business training apparently did nothing to help him effectively manage the growing problems as he exacerbated things by further inflating the housing bubble with low rates and expanding the lending practices of FNMA & FNMC (this was not spearheaded by Frank & Dodd or Dems as spoon fed by the RNC-do your research) Credit Swaps exploded under his presidency, Derivative sales exploded on his watch. On & on. With all we've seen lately does corporate experience or a business education really make for the best qualifications? I honestly think that if president Obama were an economist or a former CEO or a business major many of you would still loathe him & probably for those very reasons. Too bad because you may be blinding yourself to his many excellent qualities and qualifications. And it certainly seems to lead to a general inability to acknowlegde any good in the policies he is effecting. So many were sure the stock market would tank. It hasn't and though I'm sure we're due for a correction the overall trend is likely up. Completely contrary to the RNC's line that Obama would immediately crash the economy with his "socialism". Look around you! How long can you keep claiming that the only reason America isn't crippled is the stupidity of everyone in the US and around the world who doesn't have your infallible grasp on our inevitable doom? Maybe it's actually you that is out of touch? Or at least a little too harsh or quick to judge. Give it a little more time for pete's sake. Buy your guns and gold and bottled water if you must but their is plenty of reason to be optimistic in the world that I, and millions of well informed and intelligent people like me, see.



  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2009, at 4:56 AM, ronpaulite wrote:

    What if it is worst than everybody thinks?

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2009, at 6:51 PM, vriguy wrote:

    Thank you alex1963. There is way too much Obama bashing for stuff he could not possibly be responsible for. Give him time. We'll have our say in a little under 4 years.

  • Report this Comment On April 07, 2009, at 8:17 PM, DanielMack wrote:

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong. But it seems to me that the bashing of the current administration as "Socialist" is a bit short sighted. In a perfect "Capitalist" system these crippled financial institutions should be allowed to fail. Also the industries that rely on them will have to fail as well, a victim of "Market Forces". A hands off govermental approach would almost certainly bring on the doomsday scenarios which people claim that Obama's "socialist agenda" will bring. The truth is at this stage we have very little options but to take action. No sense complaining about the cost of the operation when your'e about to flat line.

  • Report this Comment On April 08, 2009, at 12:00 AM, texjammer wrote:

    You Rebublicrats keep blaming each other all you want, but BOTH parties have been at fault. The REAL BLAME should be on the voters that keep re-electing these Politicians-for-Life. If the USA is ever going to straighten itself out, there must be TERM LIMITS to keep the House and Senate from being full of "Representatives" that are so out of touch with their constituents. 12 years for the House and/or Senate combined, then they go home.

    With all the recent outrage about the AIG bonuses, where was the outrage about Congress' raise this year??? They can give themselves a bonus, but scream about someone else's? Take away their Golden Parachute! Once they leave their office in Washington DC, they never get another cent of taxpayers money! Put them on Social Security and cut off their healthcare and paycheck for life!

    If you really want to fix this country, VOTE EVERY INCUMBENT POLITICIAN OUT OF OFFICE STARTING IN 2010. Demand Term Limits!

    And don't forget that we haven't had a "Capitalist" market system since Woodrow Wilson. We've had a "government-controlled capital" system. And no Government in World History has ever figured out how to run ANYTHING efficiently for a prolonged period.

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