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Competition Alive and Well By Charles Payne


"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." - Michael Jordan

The quote above made the rounds yesterday, and it underscored the beauty of competition and what separates winners from losers. The quote reflects the underpinning of capitalism and what a lot of young people really seem to fear, as they are so focused on missing their shot that they never take it, or worse, claim it doesn't exist. Of course it exists now more than ever before.

But I do understand anger at bailouts of failed businesses. It's just awful even when there are deep enough roots that failure reverberates throughout society. How many great regional banks toiling away out there could be the next Goldman Sachs in ten years given the ability to strive rather than being seduced into making stupid bets just to keep up with their larger brethren?

Maybe MF Global believed it had the right pedigree and connections to make those irresponsible bets that had to be enhanced after it became a primary dealer with the Federal Reserve of New York. Of course, there was a real cocky aura at the firm; after all, Jon Corzine is a political heavyweight and a major financial bundler for President Obama.

Ironically his fellow democrats are using MF Global as an excuse to maybe widen the net of Dodd Frank rather than make its overbearing reach more limited in scope. Be that as it may, crony capitalism is being blended with the real thing these days, and that has everyone angry. When Michael Jordan missed a shot, points were not put on the board.

But when he made those shots, it was a thing of beauty.

Beyond the Washington DC-Wall Street notion of capitalism where banks are bailed out and solar companies that create no jobs are given billions of taxpayer dollars, the notion of competition is alive and well. Sure, the stock market was great yesterday with advancers outpacing losers 4-1 on the NYSE and 3-1 on the NASDAQ, but this isn't a dart-throwing extravaganza. Winners are rewarded big time and losers are punished big time. It's the way the market works and how capitalism works. We aren't talking just survival of the fittest, but rewarding the fittest. We are talking about rewarding risk-taking, grit, smarts, and economic evolution.

Today's Session

Okay the payroll numbers are out, and the street isn't sure how to react. On one hand 80,000 net jobs is still too low to spark the kind of economic growth that propels the economy. There were big revisions and other pluses that might help equity futures improve a bit. We will dissect the data and have greater detail in the afternoon report.