The campaign rhetoric is over, the election won by some, lost by others. Barack Obama will lead the nation through a second term. Generally, regardless of who won and who lost — from the presidential race to congressional to state and local campaigns — most agree the economy remains in tough shape.
Further, there are threats on the horizon that could throw the nation back into a tailspin:
The so-called fiscal cliff — a dual tax whammy that will hit after the first of the year, largely because of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. Short of congressional action, the outcome will be a significant increase in taxes that could trigger a renewed downward spiral into recession.
Economic troubles that persist in the European Union will continue to have an impact on global markets. More recently, some economists have expressed concern about China’s economy and the implications a slowdown there would have worldwide.
Three local small businesses in recent days shared diverse views about the outcome of the Nov. 6 election, ranging from hopefulness to skepticism about the future, to a confident resilience about making the best of whatever comes down the road.
“I am hopeful for the future of the country,” wrote a partner in a local business consulting firm. “I believe that the president has done his best with what cards he was dealt. I think that the economic crisis that we are in is going to take a long time to rebuild.”
The problem, she writes, is that Americans are not patient and want an immediate solution. “No matter who was in office, they would not be able to pull our economy out of the mess that it was put in long before Obama took office. Also, how do you work with a House and a Senate that cannot pass anything? Our country is so divided that no one is reaching across party lines to get anything done. It will be nice to see what Obama can do in the next four years to change things.”
With his second election behind him, Obama no longer has to consider another presidential campaign, “so he will be in a better position to make a decision without worrying if it will affect his ability to be re-elected. I think the country has been pretty clear that we are sick of all of the petty bickering and childishness of the Democrats and the Republicans. It is time to reach across the aisle and get something done for a change! Frankly I hope Obama gets mean and pisses people off and makes people make a decision on something, ANYTHING!”
The owner of a tech-based company expressed some skepticism about the future, even as he expressed hope for improvement. “I really don't feel like Obama has my interests in mind based on the last four years, but I am hopeful that it will change.” he wrote.
One small-business partner shared an unbridled optimism about the coming four years — but her statement was based more on personal choice rather than dependency upon the president and other elected officials.
“Of course we are optimistic about the next four years. What alternative is there?,” she wrote. “No matter who got elected, we still create our future based in large part on the choices, plans, and actions we take.
“Even if we were handed lemons from the government regarding small business taxes or reforms, it's still up (to us) to make lemonade out of it,” she continued. “Guess that's just the small business owner spirit that resides w/in us!”
All three expressed confidence about the jobless rate improving, although none were certain how quickly that might change.
“I think the unemployment will get worse before it gets better,” said the tech company owner. “I do think we will see more jobs by the end of (Obama’s) four years. Again, that is me being hopeful.”
“We think jobs will grow to some degree, but maybe not to the extend we were at in the late ’90s,” wrote another businesswoman. “A part of that though, is if folks cant find jobs doing what they used to do, they move on and figure out what they are great at, and then create a market for that,” as many have done repeatedly in the course of the nation’s history. “It’s been done before and can be done again.”
Whatever happens, improvement will not come simply with Band-Aid approaches to fixing the economy, the business adviser wrote. “Jobs are starting to increase, but it is slow. I am under the assumption that if you want something to last and be around for a while, you have to put time into making it right,” she wrote. “If we just put temporary patches on the employment issue, then what happens when we rip off those patches? Bad news.
“I think Obama is right by creating jobs to help our infrastructure. Isn’t that what (President Franklin D.) Roosevelt did to help create jobs during Depression? He sent people into the national parks to create roads, trails, housing, etc. He helped build up the railways. History repeats itself.
“Our roads, railroads and infrastructures are in total disrepair. Our national parks are losing funding, and; therefore, their infrastructure is deteriorating. We need a new way to create energy,” she wrote. “These are just a few ideas, but one thing is for certain — it is time to create MORE jobs to rebuild! I think he has started to do that, but should focus more on doing that.
“Also, obviously, let’s quit exporting production around the world. Let’s throw higher taxes on imports, and less on exports,” she concluded. “Keep people wanting to buy locally and American.”