In 18 days we are (finally) going to elect a President. (Although given the seeming tightness in the key battleground states, as well as the two parties’ self-preserving intransigence of late, I have this strange feeling we are going to be doing something along the lines of counting chads in three to five of them for a little while after.)
From an economic point of view, it doesn’t really matter to me who we (or the Supreme Court) ultimately elects our next President. It’s all good, either way.
If the perceived pro-business Republican pretender wins, business leaders (right or wrong) will feel more comfortable. So that theory goes, they will start deploying the massive stockpiles of cash they’ve been hoarding into long-delayed investment projects, begetting the job growth we so desperately need.
If the Democrat incumbent wins, we’ll initially have the same anemic landscape that we’ve had for the last four years. But with one little difference. (I heard President Clinton say this some weeks ago, and I feel he is so right…)
The publicly articulated singular goal of the Republican leadership in Congress has been to ensure that the Democratic President does not get another term. If they fail here and he gets his second term, that goal (term limits what they are) becomes moot. The Republicans will need a new goal. And maybe – just maybe – they might want to consider focusing on things like averting the collapse of our full faith and credit. Further, the Democratic President, effectively done forever more with respect to campaigning for his election, might be more amenable to dealing with that presumably now less obstinate crowd.
And as I’ve contended, the greatest drag on economic progress in the world for the past few years has been the lack of leadership in the one nation that has led the world since at least the end of World War II.
If we can believe in that scenario now, then there’s no need to wait for it. Time to invest is now. Don’t be afraid of Europe’s sovereign crises; of China’s house of cards. They languish because we do not lead. I feel that it is time for our economy to begin emerging from the depressive effects of the financial crisis, primarily because I believe that the will to remove the greatest impediment to that will finally have arrived. Our political leadership will begin to do the hard things after this election, simply because it no longer serves their selfish interests to not. At least maybe long enough, before the next cycle, to get us on course again.
Just the appearance of working together – even if that work moves slowly, so long as it moves – in my view will finally be enough to encourage the world. Our economy is still by far the largest on the planet. It is the most integrated – economically, financially, geopolitically – into every other one of note out there. Our massive engine of consumption pulls the rest of the world along with it – up or down.
That includes Europe. Their teetering recessions will go away if we start back up again. With that, eventually their debt crises. China may have recently become the second largest economy in the world, but it still relies very heavily on an export driven model. So long as it continues to, its strength relies on the strength of those they export to – the US and Europe. In that manner, whatever their economy’s size, they do not lead economically. They are led.
I know it’s easy to get glum about it all, when surrounded by so much real and present negativism. But all you have to do is look a little bit further down the road at this point, and it really doesn’t look so bad.
So take heart. Get out there and vote for your guy, whoever that is. And believe that it’s going to get better either way. If anyone’s been reading my crap, they know that I have been rather jaded and cynical about all this. So if even I can get there in my head, maybe you can too.
Let’s lead the way.