Why I bought Six Flags stock?

Wednesday, February 1, 2006 11:03 AM
Hey jan...

I know where you and others are coming from. I do not deny that there are inequities in capitalism. ALL economic systems have problems. I’m merely suggesting that the OBJECTIVE measurements (unemployment, inflation, growth, etc) have proven time and time again to be better under the United States form of capitalism. Look at any of the current European data where .05% growth of the economy would be considered good…?

There is indeed room for argument about the level of regulation. Safe to say that the levels of regulation Europe do not work as they’ve always lagged and certainly have their share of scandal in their economies. We would have to start at a level way below this in my opinion! This is the problem with this argument…nobody has an answer. Do you have a better system? I know I don’t, I know Europe doesn’t, and I’m sure Cuba doesn’t either. China is the gold standard of the moment and they certainly are running our direction more that we run to meet them…

Anyhow…I’m not sure our grandchildren are at any great risk. Our economy continues to grow at a healthy rate with inflation in check. If anything, I would think the data shows a better future for our children’s children!

…and I’m sure we can agree, with attention to the thread at hand, that a nice sell-off of SFMM as we presently know it…is definitely good for our grandchildren and ANYBODY who enjoys the amusement park experience! :-)

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 11:30 AM

RatherGoodBear said:

BTW, anybody notice that Google's stock dropped 16% immediately after the market closed today? How many "regular" people would have the chance to sell at that time? That just shows how fast things can change. *** Edited 2/1/2006 4:11:06 AM UTC by RatherGoodBear***


Yeah, I did notice this on my Ameritrade Streamer. I lost $546 with that damn near instant drop.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 11:46 AM
Do I have a better system? Sure, make me dictator. ;)

Anyway, I'm cool with it as long as we treat folks who really need our help decently, how fairly we extend opportunities (like education), maintain the environment for future enjoyment (and exploitation), and how we maintain trade rule with countries that have fewer restrictions on employment (longer work weeks, unlivable wages, child labor, etc.)

Pure capitalism is myopic if you ask me. But sorry to digress. To comment on the topic, with the price we paid for our house and childcare prices, owning stock in anything would be a luxury for me. Perhaps in a couple of years. *** Edited 2/1/2006 4:46:50 PM UTC by janfrederick***

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 3:05 PM
Must be me, but when the *proposal* calls for a MERE increase of 22% in alternative energy research, that's still laughably small consdering the times we live in...

China and India have been cited as being "in a period of enormous growth"...are we thinking that somehow the two most populous countries *on Planet Earth* are going to REDUCE their energy consumption...not as long as there's oil in the ground...

The environment demands it, our economy demands it, our national security demands it - I don't believe we can "kick the foreign oil habit" cold turkey, that's ridiculous (even if the oil INSIDE the US is largely untapped). But to suggest that it;s time for our federal government to START getting involved in alternative energy - isn't that what Jimmy Carter began with gasohol? That was only what, almost 30 years ago...

Sorry for the rant/tirade, but the notion that a 22% increase was going to "break the addiction"...perhaps our leaders need a reality check?

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 3:09 PM

Jeffrey R Smith said:


I’m a capitalist at heart who has nothing but love for the free market. I know the flaws and inherent unfairness that you speak of in the system. I just happen to believe that this is the best way to grow an economy. All objective measurements seem to indicate that capitalism with minimal regulation is indeed the best way to grow an economy.


Correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds like you're assumption is that economic growth is inherently good. I don't share the same assumption, especially when it means the rich get ridiculously rich and the poor get even poorer.

<= who would probably be classified as upper middle class

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 3:19 PM
^ Agree 10,000%.

When the rising tide DOES indeed lift all boats, that's good growth (or storm surge, you decide).

The WalMart economy, where full-time employees have to rely on Medicaid for their helath-care, that's something that everyday citizens should NOT tolerate.

You employ 'em, YOU insure 'em...I'll gladly pay the higher prices at the register to cut back on the bureaucracy, added expense, red tape, and humiliation that comes with relying on gov't assistance to pay for things that EMPLOYERS should cover...

Don't get me wrong, as an economist, capitalism kicks butt...providing incentive for hard work and innovation is irreplaceable. But growth at the expense of those who can LEAST afford it, that's plain immoral. IMO. YMMV.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 3:41 PM

The WalMart economy, where full-time employees have to rely on Medicaid for their helath-care, that's something that everyday citizens should NOT tolerate.

Yet they do by both working and shopping there. Wal-Mart has no responsibility beyond looking out for their profits.

It is your responsibility to provide for yourself. Not the government's, not big business, not anyone.

I agree that Wal-Mart stands for everything wrong with the way the world works today. But I have no sympathy for those who play into the system and then complain about it.

If Wal-Mart suddenly found themselves without employees and customers, things would change real quick.

The people aren't helpless, they have to quit acting that way.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 3:59 PM
You are correct. I believe economic growth is inherently good. It is certainly better than the alternative...

What country has the highest standard of living for those who you might call poor? And furthermore, what is the definition of poor? Everybody in the United States has seen standard of living increases since our inception.

I do home health for those who are in the Medicaid system, who I can only assume some of you would call poor since they are living off our generous government (i.e. we the taxpayers). Many have cars and television sets. Stuff that 20 years ago the “poor” never dreamt of having. I'm not saying that they are living the good life...but they certainly are not suffering in the classic sense of the definition.

My point is that the poor indeed have seen standard of living increases in the United States. You can argue (and probably would be correct) that the rich have seen more, but to deny that everybody has seen progress seems to fly in the face of the evidence I see in everyday living…AND the numbers.

Compare our economic progress across all classes (how ever you may define them) and I think you will find that our results are better than any other system out there. Where might those of you who have a problem with the United States capitalism suggest we might go to have it better?

I’ve never understood this type of logic and downright pessimism. The classism argument seems to work as a political tactic, but I’m not sure what good it does for anybody’s standard of living, as those who preach classism are never able to come up with a better system that works.

Wealth redistribution does nothing to promote economic prosperity. In fact, it does the opposite. All that one has to do is look at the old USSR to see this system in action (or Cuba, China, etc). It is a flawed ideal that has NEVER worked wherever it is tried.

Again…I ask anybody to suggest a better system. Are you suggesting that the best way for economic prosperity for all people is a system with negative economic growth Andy? Please elaborate… I can't imagine I'm interpreting you correctly.

Anyhow, we are getting WAY off topic. We can argue all day long about economics and I’m sure we’ll not agree…though I’m also sure that nobody will be able to point to a better system than what we have here in the good old USA! :-)

Somebody explain to me what Six Flags is doing or has done that is unethical? I think this is what started our perilous diversion into economic philosophies. As far as I can tell the new ownership is trying to right the ship. I/you/we may disagree with their mechanism, but it would be quite a reach to consider Six Flags unethical and worthy of mention with the Enron bunch. Somebody let me know what it is that makes Six Flags a demon bunch unworthy of consideration for investment. I must be missing something.

Andy, jan, et al…if you want to continue the economic discussion in general…drop me a private message and I’ll engage… Otherwise...I'm sure we've already bored the masses who don't come here seeking economics 101!

P.S. …jan---it took a good 6 years for me to get on my feet after college and buy my first stock (PG)! MasterCard was my beer money/music equipment financer/coaster trip friend/etc through 7 years of school. I wouldn’t do a thing different! :-)

I finally settled down and lived on Roman noodles for 2 years when I first came to Vegas. I worked for 3-4 companies per diem and got myself out of debt. It was this experience that shapes my economic conservatism today. There were many times I pondered declaring bankruptsy, as I was sure I could get away with it. Somewhere inside me there was a sense of shame in not “doing the right thing.” Of course my parents took me to Disney twice during those tough years so I was able to get my coaster fix! :-)

I worked my rear off and am a better person for it today! Through some good luck, and I might add quite a bit of effort and self-education, I’m now able dabble here and there with “house money” I’ve won in the market. Believe me, I still have made many bonehead market moves (this may be one). Luckily I’ve made a couple wise choices (Wynn, Latin America Fund, and China Fund come to mind) that keeps me in the growth territory. There is no shame in not having extra income…believe me I have been there. Work hard…and when you get out of debt…take your chances!

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 6:23 PM
Gonch, I have to disagree with you on the statement that Wal-mart, or any company for that matter, has no responsbility beyond looking for profits. At least the ones who get built with lots of goodies paid for by the local community. Road upgrades, intersections and interchanges built for them, sewer and water lines extended to them, relief from paying school or real estate taxes, etc.

I'd say those boys and girls are quite beholden to the communities that supported them. Not only that, but existing businesses in the same category in the same area have to struggle while paying their share of taxes that the new guy gets relief from. No actually more, since they probably get hit with tax increases to pay for Big Box's infrastructure.

To relate to this site, I'm not in favor of using my eastern PA tax dollars to build a highway that will make it easier for people to get to Kennywood. No more than I'm in favor of financing stadiums or arenas. (We've already paid for 2 each in Philly and Pgh). How much popcorn would they have to sell to recoup the money Mario wants us to give him to build a new igloo for the Penguins?

Jeffrey, I have no problem with capitalism and see nothing wrong with a business earning a profit. BTW, I've visited several former Eastern bloc countries several times, so I've personally experienced the failure of socialism.

I should also mention that in those countries where capitalism was introduced without the foundation of rule of law, and a basic understanding of things like property ownership, the result has been chaos. Instead of the state owning everything, you now have a small group of "businessmen" (aka, gangsters) owning everything. They've become filthy rich, I mean multi-million or even billionaires, while the rest of the people live on less than 100 dollars a month. Not to mention the leading cause of death seems to be the "arranged accident." Now THAT'S unregulated capitalism. But according to your line of thinking, that's simply the market at work.

Of course, SF hasn't gotten to that point... yet. :) I'm not sure where your unethical comment comes from, I just don't like their apparent attitude that we'll get the customers' money by hook or by crook. I won't go into it here, since there are at least a half dozen threads dedicated to those issues. I just choose not to give them my money to play with. It doesn't make me a saint or do-gooder. I wouldn't want to be treated that way as a customer, so as a shareholder I wouldn't believe it's right to treat someone else the same way and make profit off of it. It's simply a variation of the golden rule.

In fact, I think everyone who's bought stock in SF since the takeover should get to spend at least one day in an SF park and see their investment at work. Maybe they'll Ooh and Aah at some new paint or a new show, b**** about paying 10 bucks to park half a mile from the entrance, be entranced by the costumed characters and the bathroom attendants, gripe about poor quality expensive food, or wonder if the website still said it was OK to head out to the car for 10 minutes and get back in.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 7:31 PM
I understand RGB...I really do. I respect anybody who stays away AND refuses to buy the stock! There is a lot about this company to not like. In my weak moment...I've thrown priciples aside in the chase for God Money!
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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 7:40 PM
<= didn't go to PM because I think there are a few interested parties. If the mods think it's getting too off topic just say the word.


Jeffrey R Smith said:


What country has the highest standard of living for those who you might call poor? And furthermore, what is the definition of poor? Everybody in the United States has seen standard of living increases since our inception.


Built on the backs of slaves and exploited sweat shop workers in other countries. Our (American) poor are seeing standard of living increases but the entire continent of Africa is getting pooped upon (and has been since slavery) by the Western world. Somehow, while we're all driving around in cars and having TV's, we can't find the money to teach a continent how to prevent AIDS.

My problem isn't so much with the system (capitalism) as it is with the extreme mentality (profits at any ethical, social, environmental cost) which is a byproduct of that system and isn't measured in statistics.

Thus, my solution isn't to change the system to a socialist or communist system, but more of a grassroots "vote with your money" idea. Boycott corporations whose ethical, social, or environmental practices you don't agree, even if they are cheaper than the competition. Don't invest in companies who do things which you find questionable, even if they are good investments.

This doesn't really apply to Six Flags per se, but I think it's more of the "if it makes me a buck, I don't need to know where the buck came from" mentality that caught my attention.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 10:18 PM
I can respect that...
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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 10:57 PM

RatherGoodBear said:
Gonch, I have to disagree with you on the statement that Wal-mart, or any company for that matter, has no responsbility beyond looking for profits. At least the ones who get built with lots of goodies paid for by the local community. Road upgrades, intersections and interchanges built for them, sewer and water lines extended to them, relief from paying school or real estate taxes, etc.

Again, I put responsibility back on the communities that let such things happen. Why give a compnay like Wal-Mart all of those breaks if they're only bringing jobs that the community is going to complain about in the first place? I still fail to see how it's Wal-Mart's fault when they're invited with incentives to do business.


I'd say those boys and girls are quite beholden to the communities that supported them. Not only that, but existing businesses in the same category in the same area have to struggle while paying their share of taxes that the new guy gets relief from. No actually more, since they probably get hit with tax increases to pay for Big Box's infrastructure.

I'd say the community is bordeline retarded for supporting something that gives so little back while kicking the established businesses in the shins along the way.

---

See that's the textbook answer. I understand that you're talking that they're morally obligated to a degree. But morals are a big grey area and honestly, morals and business have not co-existed for ages, if ever. I don't have a problem with that.

If someone has a problem with the way someone else does business, the answer is simple. Don't do business with them. No one is obligated to do anything on either side.

I personally think Wal-Mart is one of the worst things to happen to this country ever. I don't shop there, I'm smart enough to do my own thing without expecting 'obligation' from anyone. The problem is that for every one person like me, there are thousands who simply know they saved 3 cents on toilet paper and that's good enough. I'd argue that these people are morally obligated to stop businesses like Wal-Mart from raping their community.

The real bad guys aren't the businesses that operate this way, it's the people who let them.


Alan Thicke wrote:
Now, the world don't move to the beat of just one drum
What might be right for you, may not be right for some
A man is born, he's a man of means
Then along come two, they got nothing but their jeans

But they got, Diff'rent Strokes
It takes, Diff'rent Strokes
It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.

Everybody's got a special kind of story
Everybody finds a way to shine,
It don't matter that you got not alot
So what,
They'll have theirs, and you'll have yours, and I'll have mine
And together we'll be fine....

Because it takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world. Yes it does.
It takes, Diff'rent Strokes to move the world.


Indeed. :)

*** Edited 2/2/2006 3:58:23 AM UTC by Lord Gonchar***

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Wednesday, February 1, 2006 11:01 PM
That was awesome :)
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Thursday, February 2, 2006 1:45 AM

ApolloAndy said:...I think there are a few interested parties. If the mods think it's getting too off topic just say the word.

My problem isn't so much with the system (capitalism) as it is with the extreme mentality (profits at any ethical, social, environmental cost) which is a byproduct of that system and isn't measured in statistics.

This doesn't really apply to Six Flags per se



Someone always gets to say what I wanted to say, but they do it better...thanks Andy! bold for emphasis is mine...all mine...LOL) :)

My take on this is that somewhere in "Reaganomics 101 - Life on the Supply Side", they totally LOST any connection to anything remotely resembling ETHICS...businesses provide JOBS, what else need they do? In exchange for providing jobs, every benefit imaginable is heaped upon "Big Box" (love that name, LOL)...without REGULATION from *disinterested parties*, businesses were left to police themselves (where'd my pension go?), or even more laughably, government oversight involved industry insiders with well-placed employment in Washington, as lobbyists by another name...

...maybe that's a by-product of the fact that *in the good old days*, the Vanderbilts and the Carnegies were KNOWN in their communities and were generally philathropic by nature...nowadays nobody knows who their next-door nrighbors are, much less who the players are in their communities, everyone's anonymous.

As always, your mileage may vary, and probably does... ;)


P.S. Never intended to suggest that SF was in the previous era, or is presently, comparable to Enron in any way. I do intend to suggest that there's really VERY little to keep individuals from taking advantage of the current system the way that some of those did. That's a piece of the *current capitalism* that needs fixing, post-haste.

/end rant

:)

*** Edited 2/2/2006 6:57:36 AM UTC by rollergator***

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Thursday, February 2, 2006 10:35 AM
Jeffrey, we can agree to disagree. But "Where might those of you who have a problem with the United States capitalism suggest we might go to have it better?" smacks of "America, love it or leave it."

I prefer "America, love it or change it."

Or, "America, love it, change it, love it some more, smoke a cigarette." ;-)

By the way, as for digressing, why is it our conversations with you always seem to end up here? Not that I don't find it intersting. Seems that Coasters and parks have been launching points for all types of discussion from soup to nuts (to pancakes).

*** Edited 2/2/2006 3:37:02 PM UTC by janfrederick***

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Thursday, February 2, 2006 11:39 AM
^ Really though, isn't that what MAKES the discussion here interesting. God forbid we all agreed, we'd have nothing to talk about...

Besides, even though the discussion may have *wandered* from the initial SF stock topic, the impact and relevance is still very clear to me...

...and yes, I agree with jf...that we CAN, and SHOULD try to do better, for the benefit of ALL our citizens, for society in general, and the entire world. I believe we CAN "lead the world" once again, but instead of leading by force, can we lead by EXAMPLE instead? ;)

:)

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Thursday, February 2, 2006 3:07 PM

rollergator said:


Someone always gets to say what I wanted to say, but they do it better...thanks Andy! bold for emphasis is mine...all mine...LOL)


It's almost like I should get paid to preach...oh wait...

*** Edited 2/2/2006 8:07:50 PM UTC by ApolloAndy***

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Thursday, February 2, 2006 3:31 PM
I heard from someone on the radio "America is great because America is good. When America stops being good, America ceases to be great". What make America good is that we (at least tacitly) strive to make an opportunity for everyone to succeed. Though I fear that lately, we are losing sight of that.

Un-checked captialism is an untennable position in this country for no other reason than everybody doesnt begin at the same starting line. In order to at least give the *opportunity* to advance, there does indeed need to be some 'balancing'.

Truth of the matter is, nobody, no matter how hard working they are, can fully attest that they "made it" on their own. Those that truely believe that are living in a self-delusion. We have all risen on the backs of others before us. Whether it was our parents, our business community or our government, we've all gotten a "hand-out" that didnt have to be offered.

While people decry socialism as being rife with problems, one cannot deny that capitalism has its own set as well. Truely, there is an incentive to cheat. We see it everyday. People are not infailable so you get insider trading, bribes, sweat-shop conditions etc. The "market" itself does not correct for these things.

And "letting Wal-mart into a community" is not exactly what happens.... at least not by the citizens. Lobbying is a *huge* industry and often, the money talks. Sure, the people can vote out the politicans, but the failable human nature predicts that it will happen again somewhere down the line.

Simply put, an un-checked "free market" society is as much of a utopian pipe dream as full on socialism. As always, the right answer is somewhere in the middle.

To put it in coaster perspective, this is why Sandusky thinks its only right that Cedar Point, which boosts the local economy, and strains the local goverment is ripe for taxing to support the community.

Okay, that was way rambly....

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Thursday, February 2, 2006 6:08 PM
Edited to paste the whole article as I could not get the link option to work on CB?

Read this European's views...they are quite related to the subject at hand...


TWO CEREMONIAL events occurred in Washington on Tuesday evening that shone a spotlight on one of the most important but paradoxical features of a modern democratic society.

The more widely reported was President Bush’s State of the Union address, a weak and defensive speech even by his undemanding standards. At the other end of Washington, meanwhile, Alan Greenspan, the retiring chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, was bidding farewell to the institution whose skilful management of US monetary policy made him the dominant figure in the world economy for the past 18 years. What connects these two events is a paradox that has baffled many people, especially in Europe, ever since George W. Bush became President.

NI_MPU('middle');Forthe past five years, America has been led by a president who is clearly not up to the job — a man who is not just inarticulate, but lacking in judgment, intelligence, integrity, charisma or staying power. Yet America as a nation seems to be stronger, more prosperous and self-confident than ever.

As the State of the Union address made clear, President Bush has more or less given up on all the grand goals that were supposed to define his presidency: social security reform, peace in the Middle East, even the axis of evil doctrine, which was supposed to disarm North Korea and Iran. Most embarrassingly, President Bush seems to have given up on capturing Osama bin Laden or bringing to justice the perpetrators of 9/11.

But now comes the paradox. While America has been run by one of the most doltishly ineffectual governments in history, it has forged ever further ahead of Europe in terms of wealth, science, technology, artistic creativity and cultural dominance.

Why does America’s prosperity and self-confidence seem to bear so little relationship to the competence of its government? The obvious answer is that America, founded on a libertarian theory of minimal government, has always had low expectations of politicians. In America, it is not just business that thrives independently of government, perhaps even in spite of government. The same is also true of other areas of excellence which in Britain are considered quintessentially in the public domain — higher education, leading-edge science, culture and academic research. Because Americans expect so little of their government, they are rarely disappointed. They do not slump into German-style angst when their governments fail to find solutions to the nation’s problems.

This anarchic spirit was summed up by Ronald Reagan: “The ten most dangerous words in the English language are ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help you’.” In Europe, by contrast, the public expect government to solve all problems, and the media try to hold politicians accountable for everything. The result is a culture of dependency that extends far beyond the welfare state, to business and to the worlds of education, medicine, arts and science.

The American approach has a powerful advantage rooted in human nature: private sector activity is powered by economic incentives, while the State must operate by rules and sanctions. Since incentives, as Adam Smith observed, are much more likely to stimulate creativity and effort than sanctions, private enterprise tends to achieve ambitious objectives, while government often fails.

But while the weakness of US government may in some ways have helped to widen the gulf of achievement between America and Europe, there is another and opposite side to the story — which is where we must return to Mr Greenspan. American politicians may be incompetent and venal, even by European standards, but this is not true of the public realm as a whole. America has a host of public institutions, ranging from government bodies such as the Federal Reserve and the National Institutes of Health to charities such as the great universities, museums and hospitals, that are driven by a sense of public service that puts British and European bureaucracies to shame.

The American system recognises that a capitalist economy has areas of market failure where incentives alone will not produce socially desirable results. But American public institutions try to maximise private activity and incentives, rather than rein them in, within their realms — whether it is universities encouraging professors to start businesses, or health administrators creating incentives for drugs companies to do medical research. It is in this respect that Mr Greenspan most clearly represented the genius of the American system.

Mr Greenspan realised that his job at the Fed was not just to control inflation, the goal that other central bankers recognise. His real task, he explained last year, was “to achieve the maximum sustainable economic growth, with price stability pursued as a necessary condition to promote that goal”. Although a passionate advocate of small government, he realised that well-judged public intervention was necessary, not just to maintain stable prices but also to create the incentives for private enterprise to accelerate economic growth. He also understood that the best way to deal with the imbalances in the changing world economy was by supporting growth and allowing the greatest possible freedom for financial markets. Private investors, he believed, were more likely to find solutions to the complex challenges created by globalisation than central bankers or politicians.

But while Mr Greenspan believed that private incentives solve economic problems more successfully than government diktats, he also understood that capitalism works at its best if it operates in a sound, simple framework of ambitiously pro-growth monetary policy. His genius was to understand that public policy could be simultaneously minimalist and ambitious. In a sense, this is the genius of the American system. And this is why America does not need a genius in the White House.


http://www.timesonline.co.uk/

I lifted the article above from this link...

This European hit the nail on the head for me. He is fervent anti-Bush, which should help the credibility with some of you…but in his attempt to explain the United States superiority in terms of economic growth he gets it…better than most.

This is perfect timing for our discussion at hand…

…as an aside…it is nice to see that so many of you can at lease agree that capitalism is the best, and frankly, the only option. Sometimes when I read some of your posts I come away thinking that you hate our own country and believe that there is someplace out there that does it better. When explained deeper I see you just want to improve on the system and make it better. I applaud that goal. With so much polarization in political thought these days, it is hard to tell sincerity from kook. My intentions are only that everybody sees the forest through the trees. If you concentrate solely on the negatives, you certainly spend a lot of undo energy for nothing. In relative (key word) terms we are doing it better than the others. Don’t take my word for it…read what this Bush hating European type has to say about America! It is brilliant and right on in analysis...

*** Edited 2/2/2006 11:21:28 PM UTC by Jeffrey R Smith***

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