The American President

Who will win tonight, and what does that mean for the economy?  I voted a couple of weeks ago, and I do feel strongly about my vote, but when it comes to the economy I think that there are only so many tools that anyone has at their disposal to fix the problems facing us in the short term.  What a president wants to do and what he’ll actually be able to deliver on are two distinct things. When you break a glass in your kitchen, how much differently will you clean it up than would I?  There’s really only a limited amount of ways we may do it differently, but in the end we want to achieve the same result – to clean it up.  (I’m tempted to make jokes here about how Democrats would clean it up vs. Republicans, how many people would be involved, what machinery and lobbying would be done, etc., but I won’t)

We are facing a fiscal cliff, and much like Thelma and Louise we are headed toward it at full speed.  The only way to avoid going over the rapidly-approaching edge is to make a dramatic turn.  For the last several years our politicians have seen this, and yet nothing has happened as no one seems willing to compromise.  We are now at the 11th hour, and there are few choices.  Indeed, as I write this, this headline just appeared, promising compromise and a fix to the situation that has loomed for years.  We shall see.

Back to the president: what will the stock market do next based on who wins?  Some industries’ stock prices will initially benefit more than others under each candidate.  This article discusses this, and CNBC even created Obama vs. Romney portfolios which presently give the edge to Romney.  All in all, though, betting your portfolios on one person or the other is just that: gambling.  Plus, that route only leads to disappointment as it assumes that those companies won’t be smart and make the changes that are needed to perform under the new rules.  So the best answer isn’t to gamble, but to stay diversified and seek out the most growth for the cheapest price.

I remain confident that our country will go on, regardless of the winner.  I’ve already heard people on both sides say that they’ll leave the country if their man doesn’t win.  I hope that they do, because I’ve never really liked quitters, and quitting is not the road to compromise.  This isn’t the first time we’ve had opposing viewpoints in this country, and that’s what makes this a great place.  The only way we all agree is if we have a dictator telling us that we must all agree, and we certainly don’t want that.

When we wake up tomorrow, there will be a few certainties about the next four years, and certainty (even if we don’t like it) gives us the ability to move forward.  We will also be facing the same problems that need fixing.  Let’s work together to pick up the broken glass and move on.  I’ll grab the broom if you’ll hold the dustpan!

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