Barack Obama and Mitt Romney agree on one thing: they have very different views of where they want to take the American economy. Neither concedes that reality will constrain his pursuit of that vision, but confrontation with reality is a post-election chore, to be considered at a later date.
The looming reality of the fiscal cliff - the impending cuts in spending and increases in taxes that will probably produce a recession - was not even mentioned by the candidates in their debates. Obama reserved that topic for the safety of a campaign rally.
After the debate he announced that he would take America over the cliff into recession if the Republicans refuse to raise taxes on "millionaires and billionaires", in practice anyone earning more than $200,000 a year ($250,000 in the case of families). He would also raise taxes on dividends and capital gains, the latter even if the rise reduces total revenues to the Treasury. Romney would do none of these, lest entrepreneurs' incentives to grow small businesses be reduced.
The candidates also have differences on the three Gs: God, guns and gays. On God, the president would require many Catholic institutions to make contraceptive services and abortion available to their employees, Romney would not. Obama would ban the sale of automatic assault weapons, Romney would not. Obama favours gay marriage, Romney does not. An economist can't shed light on these.
On the economy, however, there is much that can be said about the competing visions. Broadly, Obama would grow the government, Romney would try to grow the private sector. Obama's tax policies would be guided by a pursuit of fairness, which in his case means raising taxes on the wealthy, while Romney's would be guided by an effort to increase incentives for private-sector investment and job creation. Both want to eliminate tax loopholes, but one man's loophole is another man's tax incentive, and neither candidate is prepared to be specific about just which current advantage he intends to snatch from which constituents.
David Fuller's view This is the best template that I have seen to date on market sectors which could be affected by the US election outcome.Back to top