Obama's Course Appears Uncharted
Every so often there occurs a political event that is a particular focus for the business community, as the economy is often impacted when the government tips its hand with regard to future policy. Such an event occurred this week with State of the Union addresses by President Obama and others.
Obama's State of the Union, obviously the most significant, was also the most vague and conceptual of the headline addresses. While it gave few concrete examples of changing policy, it was not entirely inaccurate.
The President's remarks on education and industry in this country were especially interesting, and sounded hardly dissimilar from many articles we have recently written expressing many of the same thoughts. Many of the President's words echoed those penned in The Next Motor City, The Heresy of Higher Education, and most tellingly Obama Caught Between a Tax Cut and a Hard Place.
Unfortunately for those seeking some amount of guidance from Obama's State of the Union, Representative Paul Ryan's (R-WI) rebuttal was also lacking in specifics. Responses from Michele Bachmann and the Libertarian party, on the other hand, were far more specific on suggested policy changes. Transcripts are available online for anyone looking for more information.
Some may recall that, oddly enough, during his campaign President Obama said specifically that he didn't want to hand the keys back over to Republicans. Now, ironically, it seems he has done just that. Anyone listening carefully to his State of the Union and reading between the teleprompter lines can tell that he is no longer in the driver's seat.
Procedurally this is true, as he can do little to initiate any kind of policy change since Democrats lost complete control of Congress. Since all new spending bills must originate in the House, which is now under Republican control, Obama's allowance has essentially been cut off.
Instead, all Obama can do going forward is react to what Congress puts in front of him.
However, Obama's loss of control may also be applicable to his own Administration. With Rahm Emanuel being replaced by Wall Street insider Bill Daley, and Robert Gibbs having announced his own resignation, only David Axelrod remains from Obama's original White House inner circle - and even he is expected to leave next month.
What many are left wondering - and what should concern many Americans - is just who is at the controls of this White House and who will guide its policy going forward. With the balance of economic power among developed nations in a state of flux, and this economy still struggling to completely regain its post-2008 footing, the final years of the Obama administration are not to be taken lightly. The impact that government policy will have on business in this country and around the world in such uncertain times is not to be underestimated.
Nevertheless, the recovery of the US economy remains a work-in-progress, and though the speed at which jobs will return is still in question, we expect plenty of opportunities for prosperity - and profit - going forward. And while the recovery may seem slow to some, rest assured it is occurring and can even be helped with the right policies.