Friday, November 16, 2012

The Post Election Beatdown

So what now?

After watching the election coverage and slowly coming to terms with the defeat of the free market champion I wanted to see captain the ship for the next four years, I am left wondering what to do from here.  It sure didn't take me long to feel the effects of the re-elected status quo...

In the first 24 hours after the election I saw the stock market plunge close to 3%.  As if that wasn't enough of a financial hit, that same day my truck was stolen right out of my work parking lot in the middle of the day.  Four days later my vehicle returned, no back seats, seemingly having competed a successful human trafficking run across the border.  I'll let you make the judgement on how that speaks to the issues of illegal immigration, border control, and the rule of law, but I will make the simple judgement that this is another sign the economy stinks.  But lets be honest, everyone knew the economy was weak when they cast their vote.  No one voted for Obama because they thought he would grow the economy.

You do not really have to look too far for reasons why Romney was defeated and you could read a thousand articles in that vein, so I will not go down that road.  Instead I will look out into the future and make some calls about the good and bad things that we can expect to see in an Obama second term:

The Good:

1)  Energy:  While this will happen despite Obama's best efforts, it will happen none the less and Obama will be there to take the credit.  Thanks to fracking technology we are going to continue to see a boom in domestic natural gas and oil production.  Further, the boom in natural gas may help force solutions in natural gas in transportation, which would be the golden ticket to reduce dependence on foreign oil.  Amazingly, Natural gas is a win-win for both energy costs and the environment (much cleaner than coal/oil), though I don't think the tree-huggers like to admit that. Further, the lower energy costs are a nice benefit to manufacturers who produce in the US, so they may finally have some new incentive to invest here.

Sadly, the Natural Gas gains will likely be more limited than they otherwise would have been and coal production and pipeline creation will be stunted, but I think we will see a net gain in energy production.  

2) Education:  I like 'race to the top' a hell of a lot better than 'no child left behind'.  I barely know much about them beyond their names but I cannot argue that one seems like capitalism and the other like communism.  Further, several republican governors have made strong efforts to reign in the outrageous control teachers unions have over compensation (See Chicago) and budget deficits.

Now, we will see if Obama can do something underhanded to payback the teachers unions like he did with the auto unions in that bailout.  I am sure we will have expenditures here at a federal level we cannot afford.  Even better, I would bet these go to states that have completely mis-managed their budgets like Illinois, New York, or California (Hmmm, how do those states vote?).  Rewarding horrible behavior is a flagship principle of the left.

3) Immigration: I am hard pressed to see Obama ignoring immigration for a whole new term.  And while I may not agree totally with the policy, I say we move forward with some version of the 'Dream Act' and let children of illegal immigrants have a path to citizenship based on their record.  This way, in four years we can actually talk about the real issues of illegal immigration like border control, work visas, and implementing laws for deporting those illegals we do not want to grant a path to citizenship.  

The Bad:

1) Entitlement Spending:  Apparently the majority of people cannot see or do not care to see the dire situation we face with Social Security or Medicare.  They are both on very poor financial footing and will create a dire future fiscal issue that can only be solved by soaring inflation or massive tax hikes.  Obama has never lifted a finger in proposing fixing entitlements, and thus I worry we will be four years closer to bankruptcy when he is done.

2) Higher Taxes:  I suppose that the majority of Americans think that the rich can afford to pay more taxes.  What great sacrifice to vote to take money from other people so you can either directly benefit from a government handout or your favorite pet cause can benefit.  Just remember that these are people who directly invest in our economy (either through small businesses or with capital investment).  So instead of them using their money to ultimately create jobs, we would prefer they hand that money out to people who did not earn it and will not produce anything with it.  Jobs will suffer.

3) Obama Care:  We will finally see the full implementation of Obama-Care conveniently effective AFTER the election.  Hard to argue more people will be covered.  But who pays for that?  If small businesses have to pay for health care, can they afford to hire more people?  If hiring suffers do the reduced number of tax payers have to pay a higher burden?  Yikes.

The Ugly: 

1) Freedom:  Increasingly forcing certain groups of people by law to pay higher taxes, buy health insurance, join unions, and bailout certain companies subject us more and more to government control over our lives.  I know that many of you like the idea of a nice safety net.  But I urge you all to pick up a history book.  They are loaded with examples in modern history of central authority trying to take control of the economy because they know better than free markets.  It didn't work for Mao, it didn't work for the Soviet Union, it is not working for the socialist economies of Europe. 

I know the election is over, but economic principles don't just die because people were lured to vote for the promise of free stuff.  More importantly, I want people to understand they are better off in the long run if they adhere to free market principles as more jobs and higher growth have always followed.

Finally, I know I rarely talk about the more emotionally titillating issues like abortion or gay marriage or free contraception or the spotted owl or racism.  The truth is that I just do not think these issues rate in importance anywhere near the economic and freedom issues that threaten our very existence.  You may think I'm heartless, but turn on the news tomorrow and the next day and the day after, I bet you will hear infinitely more about the 'Fiscal Cliff', the economy, debt, and taxes than you will about these social issues.  Maybe all the politicians you just voted for are heartless too, or maybe its hard to worry about consequence free fornication when people are struggling to put food on the table.