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Reasons To Be Optimistic About America

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The Daily Ticker headed to Los Angeles this week to cover the Milken Institute's annual Global Conference where many of the world's most influential investors, economists, CEOs, innovators and policymakers met to discuss some of the most imminent and dire problems facing America and the world.

For a change of pace, we asked our guests to tells us what makes them most optimistic about the America today. We got a wide-range of responses, but many added one caveat to their answer: the hindrance of political dysfunction in Washington and its negative drag on prosperity in America.

Here's what they said:

Niall Ferguson
Professor, Harvard University

"The thing that makes me optimistic about the United States is technology and the ability of the United States still to be at the cutting edge. But of course that is quite geographically localized. That is a Silicon Valley story."

T. Boone Pickens
Founder, BP Capital

"It's energy. I mean, today the United States has the cheapest energy in the world. We got the cheapest oil. We got the cheapest gas. And we got the cheapest gasoline."

Mitch Daniels
Governor, Indiana

"The resilience of the American economy over time. We still give birth to more new businesses than other places [and] that we still have a core of innovation."

Raghuram Rajan
Professor, University of Chicago

"I think the strength of corporations [and] how much cleaning up they have done of their balance sheets, their work force and improving productivity is a hidden upside for the U.S. economy. If we can realize that over the years to come, I think there is substantial potential for growth."

James Barth
Senior Finance Fellow, Milken Institute

"I would agree (with Rajan) but I think that strength depends upon eliminating a lot of uncertainty. I think that's the biggest barrier right now to the growth and after all it is an election year and one would expect a lot of uncertainty. There's much more than there needs to be."

Richard Fisher
Dallas Federal Reserve President

"We are growing our population. We have an enormous Hispanic population that's coming in. We are still the magnet for anybody that wants to work hard in the world. And we create, and we innovate, and we are masters of creative destruction. As long as government won't interfere with that adjustment, and let the American genius go to work, we'll win."

Charles Murray
Author, Coming Apart: The State of White America

"The Tea Party to me is certainly as originally developed was this utterly spontaneous movement and all of my connections were that these were not racist, these were not homophobes, all those social issues were off the table. They were talking about free enterprise, opportunity, liberty in very traditional ways. And that that much energy could be sparked with no direction just welled up is for me…wonderful. That's my source of optimism."

Tell us what makes you most optimistic about America on Facebook or in the comments below.

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