Weekend: Morning in America

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted February 6, 2011

Welcome to the Wealth Daily Weekend Edition — our insights from the week in investing and links to our most-read Wealth Daily and sister publication articles.

I was working Jack Watkins over when the word finally reached us.

Down the steps and through the mud, every eye on the team was watching as Mr. Darnaby suddenly appeared. Taking Coach Davis aside, he broke the strange, unexpected news…

And just like that, lacrosse practice was over a mere 15 minutes after it began.

It was March 30, 1981, the day President Reagan was shot outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. It’s a day I’ll never forget.

And while I can tell you with certainty where I was, I can’t really tell you how I felt that day. Too young to be Left, Right, or anywhere in between, I wasn’t connected enough to be deeply moved by it.

Sure, it was tragic… But it didn’t really go much further than that for me.

At that point in my life, presidents had been nothing more than crooks and bunglers; like most kids, I didn’t have many deep thoughts about anything besides sports, girls, and adult beverages.

So I slapped my gear on my stick and headed quietly for the locker room.

Things weren’t so groovy

What I do remember about those years is how bad everything was. The economy was in the tank, inflation was rampant, the ranks of the unemployed were growing, the dollar was under attack, and the energy crisis was in full bloom.

On top of that, the Iranians had been holding American hostages for 444 days and the threat of a Soviet attack was as real as the cooling towers at Three Mile Island…

Back then, America had certainly seen its better days, and was in what I remember as a pretty dark place. Even at seventeen, that much was impossible not to notice.

But then something unexpected began to happen…

The man Hinckley’s bullet failed to kill survived. The policies he ushered in would go on to change the nation.

After a rocky start, it really was “Morning in America” again…

From malaise years of the 70s bear market, America emerged “prouder, stronger and better.”

Over time, inflation was tamed, interest rates fell, tax rates were lowered, the unemployment rate dropped from 10.8% to 5.5%, and the longest period of sustained growth during peacetime (lasting 92 months) started to take hold.

Along with it, the greatest bull market in history began.

From Reagan’s inauguration in 1981 to his final days in 1989, the stock market jumped by 180%. And from there it climbed higher still — adding gains that would total 1603% in all before the recent fall.

But for those who lived through it, that’s not the end of the story… not by a long shot.

Not long after challenging Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!”, the graffiti-covered barrier actually collapsed from its own weight.

What seemed completely unimaginable in 1981 eventually came to pass: the Soviet Union — which had kept us on the edge of a date with doomsday for my entire life — simply dried up and blew away.

For my younger readers, I can’t even begin to explain how monumental that was…

Today, I’m actually dumbfounded by the idea that I have to explain to my kids what the Soviet Union was. In my day, mutual assured destruction (or M.A.D.) was a very real possibility. Al-Qaeda is a veritable pipsqueak compared to the Soviets.

These days, I’m happy to say, it’s all something of a historical footnote.

Morning in America Redux

So why am I invoking the name of Ronald Reagan today?

Well, two reasons. The first is to remind investors that it is always darkest before the dawn.

The reality is that today’s headlines are really not that different than they were in back in 1980. People didn’t know it then, but what followed was the beginning of the greatest bull market in American history…

So the light you see at the end of the tunnel today isn’t a train; it’s the end of the bear market — and it’s coming faster than you think. Believe it or not, it’s about to be morning again, just as it was in the early 80s.

The second is to honor the man himself.

A hundred years ago today, Ronald Wilson Reagan was born in an apartment on the second floor of a commercial building in Tampico, Illinois. From those humble beginnings rose a man who would not just mark time, but would make a difference.

Doing so, he left me with what became, in a nutshell, my view of the American miracle.

In his farewell address in 1989, he wrote:

Ours was the first revolution in the history of mankind that truly reversed the course of government, and with three little words: “We the people.”

“We the people” tell the government what to do, it doesn’t tell us. “We the people” are the driver, the government is the car. And we decide where it should go, and by what route, and how fast. Almost all the world’s constitutions are documents in which governments tell the people what their privileges are.

Our Constitution is a document in which “We the people” tell the government what it is allowed to do.

“We the people” are free.

From our founding fathers to Ronald Reagan and to present time, I still believe those are the most powerful three words ever written. They are what sets us apart from the rest of the world.

So sure, we’ve got problems… But as Reagan once showed us, they are nothing that we can’t overcome.

Needless to say, I felt a lot differently when he passed twenty-three years later. Rest in peace, Mr. President.

All in all, not bad. Not bad at all…

As for some places to invest in the next great bull market, our editors have put together a few of their best investment ideas for the years to come.

Below you’ll find this week’s top-read articles from Wealth Daily and Energy & Capital.

Have a great weekend.

Your bargain-hunting analyst,

 steve sig

Steve Christ
Editor, Wealth Daily

Solar Power at Night: The Future is… Now
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Pocketing Options Profits: It’s Easier Than You Think
Ian Cooper explains why his secret “R-4 Trigger” options system can predict which plays will jump 68% or more in the next 27 days.

Mongolian Jackpot: China’s Energy Grab
“The Hammer” explains how the energy in this Mongolian wasteland could make you $10,950 richer this year.

The Oil Trap You Can’t Fall For: Facing Peak Oil Realities
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The Metal People are Dying For: Copper Prices to Spike Higher This Year
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The WSJ’s Most Controversial Article… Ever: Why a Tiny Chinese Lady Scares the Crap out of Americans
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Far-Off Energy Advances… Today: 3 Trends You Need to Know About
Editor Nick Hodge offers three seemingly far-off energy trends available or being developed today.

Why Egypt Matters: Reading Between the Geopolitical Lines
Analyst Adam Sharp talks about unrest in Egypt and why investors are smart to pay attention.

Buying Blood in the Streets, A How-To Guide: The ATMs Are Out of Cash
Editor Chris DeHaemer details his latest: an edition of “Blood in the Streets for Dummies: How To Trade a Revolution.”

Obama Pep Rally: Don’t Buy the Obama Illusion!
Editor Jeff Siegel discusses Obama’s State of the Union Address.

2011 Gold and Silver Predictions: Gold to Hit $1,700/oz, Silver Over $50/oz
Analyst Greg McCoach weighs in on gold and silver prices in 2011, and tells investors where the best place to put their money in the precious metal market right now.

A Welcome Return for $100 Oil: High Prices, High Profits
Editor Nick Hodge discusses the bump in oil prices after Egyptian unrest and why it’s only a sign of things to come.

Population’s Effect on the Future of Energy: Oil, Uranium, and Thermal Coal
Editor Chris DeHaemer talks about the three hottest trends in energy as the world’s population balloons and with it, energy demand.

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