The noise from the election machine is at 120 decibels. If you don't wear ear plugs you'll damage your hearing. Campaigns and their surrogates are misquoting statistics, rewriting history and are carpet bombing Ohio with ads and armies of campaign workers knocking at the door.
We're acting as a filter to bring you some select articles on the financial sector, the economy and jobs. Read at your leisure for we won't call you, profile you, spin you or lurk in your shrubberies for a last minute talking point ambush.
No Honey, Obama Did Not Shrink the Banks
The campaign spin has been Obama reformed the banks. That's actually false. Banks are bigger than ever and most of the financial reform bill was woefully inadequate. Derivatives were not regulated and the Volcker rule was not implemented. In fact most of Dodd-Frank has not been implemented, left to regulators who are now besieged by lobbyists. Naked Capitalism, who has been at the forefront of the financial crisis helps dispel some myths:
In the final hours of the 2012 Presidential campaign, Obama backers have been trumpeting the case for their candidate, and like most electioneering, some of the claims don’t stand up well to scrutiny, particularly regarding the impact of regulations on big financial firm profits.
The Progressive Case Against Obama
If you are someone who really is concerned about the banks, the economy and especially the U.S. middle class and workers you might want to read Matt Stoller's take on this election. According to Stoller, who was working in Congress at the time of financial reform, President Obama didn't earn his vote. Stoller uses graphs and economic data in his arguments.
Bottom line: The president is complicit in creating an increasingly unequal -- and unjust -- society
So why oppose Obama? Simply, it is the shape of the society Obama is crafting that I oppose, and I intend to hold him responsible, such as I can, for his actions in creating it.
Ya Know How Medicare Is Supposed to Bankrupt the Nation?
By now we've all heard that Medicare and Medicaid will bankrupt the nation if we do not cut benefits. A new study shows that's not the case and the Congressional Budget Office has been wrong in their estimates.
The fundamental beef of Follette and Sheiner with the CBO model is that it naively assumes past growth in health care spending as the basis for its long-term projections. The result is that it shows that trees will grow to the sky. One of the things anyone who has build forecasting models will tell you is you come up with assumptions that look reasonable and then sanity check the output (for instance, does your model say in year 10 that your revenues will be 3x what you can produce given your forecast level in plant and investment? If so, you need to make some revisions). The Fed economists point out numerous ways that the model output flies in the face of what amounts to common sense in the world of long term budget forecasting.
Neither Romney or Obama Will Stop Bank Bail Outs
New York Times Columnist Morgenson points out neither party will shrink too big banks or stop the next financial crisis:
ELECTION Day is upon us, and neither President Obama nor Mitt Romney has really addressed one of the nation’s most pressing economic issues: the risk that one day taxpayers might have to bail out swashbuckling financial institutions again.
Another Undecided Makes His Case
David Sirota famously claimed Obama would become more progressive upon taking office and four years later he's an undecided voter. He too sits with his ballot on the coffee table staring back at him.
A confession: I recently received my Colorado ballot but, even though my state will play a key role in the presidential election, I still haven’t voted. Yes, I’m one of the oft-ridiculed undecideds, and here’s why:
I am a left-leaner who previously voted for Barack Obama with clear eyes. Having looked at his record, I knew he was no progressive, much less a Marxist, as his conservative detractors claim. He has always been a thumb-to-the-wind politician who shrouds corporate-backed policies in the veneer of altruistic liberalism. But I voted for him because in 2008 he presented the best opportunity for change.
Sadly, that opportunity was missed. Obama betrayed many of his campaign promises, not merely by turning over his economic policymaking to corporate-connected insiders, but, as the Washington Post this week documents, by additionally championing more-extreme versions of the Bush-era civil liberties and national security policies that he once criticized from his platform as a venerated “constitutional lawyer.”
Specific Group Policy Comparison Sheets
Honestly, we've looked at so many sites claiming to comparison/contrast the two candidates on issues and bias is simply everywhere as well as factual inaccuracies.
There are a few non-partisan groups out there trying to compare the facts. The Alliance for American Manufacturing has an infographic on trade for your review.
If you're concerned about illegal immigration and disgusted claims only an unlimited migration policy position can win the election, you can check out NumbersUSA candidate sheets for pretty much anyone running, not just the Presidential campaigns. NumbersUSA breaks positions down by guest workers, illegal immigration, border security and so on, so one can pick their nuance from the menu of immigration related issues. When dealing with immigration as a topic, the choices are usually presented as one is either for open border policies or a racist xenophobe.
Computer World did a reasonably fair comparison of the two candidates on offshore outsourcing and specifically they recognize both have advisers and a track record that really shows they are both for it.
Ralph Nader is hosting another third party debate tomorrow and we highlighted the last one here. I wouldn't recommend voting third party in a swing state and right now, instead of discussing policies and issues, there is literally a war out there arguing over polling data and who will be the winner. These people are ridiculous, they cannot wait 48 hours?
What's In It For Me?
Barry Ritholtz has put together a very detailed investor guide to the election. The focus isn't necessarily what's good for the country, instead what's good for your portfolio and pocketbook. That said, Ritholtz has dug out some details that are rarely mentioned.
What does the outcome of the Presidential election mean for the investing public? I refer not to things that impact investors indirectly, like estate taxes or income tax brackets; rather, what are the specific areas of significant disagreement, where substantial policy differences exist, and where the candidates’ different approaches have a meaningful impact to investors.
1. Sectors: In particular, Energy, Healthcare, Defense Policy
2. Federal Reserve Philosophy and Appointments (re: Interest rate policy)
3. Investment Taxes (Dividend Treatment/Capital Gains Taxes)
4. Regulatory Approach / Legal
The Case to Vote for Third Parties in Swing States
We have an argument to vote for third parties in swing states, which has our sympathies. The claim is the illegal immigrants threatened to not vote for Obama (and someone please explain how people without U.S. citizenship can vote?) and this is how they obtained some deportation deferrals plus two year work Visas for some. Ignore the issue and think about the method.
We don't have one. It's up to you on which way to go. We just list a few articles to show if you cannot make up your mind, you're not alone and there are very good reasons why some cannot make up their minds, both parties are not addressing the real national interest and especially the economic interests of the citizenry.