On the day of the 2012 Presidential election, I thought I would skip the politics and talk about our financial futures. To me, it’s not so important which party or candidate is elected. What is really important is a brighter future for me, my family and my country. I’m not counting on the government to provide for my future. Anyone who does will likely be disappointed.
The Income Gap is Widening
One of the things that are unsettling to me is how unfair the economy seems right now. In the past couple of years conventional wisdom has gone out of the window. People who saved and planned diligently have been wiped out, while others have profited or coasted along on assistance. The wages of middle class working men have been stagnant for over 40 years, while the incomes of the very rich have increased dramatically. More than 1,000 people per day are becoming millionaires, while 15% of our nation now lives in poverty. I think it’s shameful.
No matter who wins this election, the income gap will continue to grow. The government doesn’t have many options to promote income equality, in a competitive global economy. Workers around the world can handle semi-skilled tasks for a fraction of the minimum wage of an American worker. Raising wages or taxes dramatically will cause companies and jobs to go overseas. If you don’t believe me, look at the unemployment rates in Europe. I predict it will get worse, instead of better.
Taxes are Going Up
The President is calling for the rich to pay more in taxes. The challenger has backed off a plan to lower taxes in order to stimulate the economy and create jobs. They both know taxes must go up after this election, in order to close the $1.1 trillion annual deficit. The fiscal cliff is looming, our country’s credit rating has been cut and our total deficit exceeds $16 trillion. Taxes must be raised and spending must be cut. Any other solution doesn’t add up to a balanced budget or future solvency. Unless we want to face our own austerity measures, our future Presidents are going to have to be much more responsible than those in the past.
Jobs and the Economy
Most economists believe the economy will improve, no matter who is elected. The economy moves in cycles and we are definitely due for the cycle to go up. This recovery has been the slowest in modern times and many are nervous of a dip back into recession. Most presidents, especially those who serve two terms, experience both an up and a down cycle. An improving economy would be a welcome site for the millions of people who are unemployed and having trouble finding work.
The Stock Market
Most of the Wall Street pundits predict the stock market will go higher, no matter who is elected. Jim Cramer says, “This election won’t affect most stocks.” Cramer believes good products and management are more important than politicians. A strong stock market would be welcome news for millions of Baby Boomers who are headed into retirement and counting on those investments for their future income. After the disastrous collapse in 2008, stocks are finally starting to seem like a reasonable investment again. Let’s all hope some future calamity doesn’t bankrupt our investments and destroy our futures.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that it’s more important to balance the budget, than to elect a political party. Raising or lowering taxes on the rich isn’t going to do it and neither is cutting the military. It will take a comprehensive and sustained effort from Congress and the President to put our country back on track.
“The Democrats think Republicans are stealing elections. The Republicans think Democrats are stealing elections. Those of us independent of the two old parties know they are both right.”
Kevin Zeese – American Political Activist