Friday, November 9, 2012

Election 2012: What Happens Next?

Well, the election is over. Only two and a half years until we have to go through this again. Except it will be worse next time because both the Republicans and Democrats will have primary elections.

In the short term, we have the "fiscal cliff" to deal with. We have many options but basically it means either taxes go up and defense spending goes down, some long term compromise happens, or the government delays doing anything about it by simply extending the extensions. Extending extensions is what they do best. In the words of a teenager, "Just another hour please! All the other kids..."

Longer term, unemployment looms. I expect 0.4% to 0.7% improvement over the next few years, which is improvement. How to fix it faster? I don't exactly know. Just a theory, develop apprentice programs for skilled positions which enables in the short term cheap labor and in the long term highly skilled labor.

Longer term (5-30 years), the budget looms. All things considered we get such a low interest rate now (less than 1%) that we might as well keep borrowing until unemployment is close to 5% or 6%. Yet it is something we have to deal with and the most effective way to deal with it involves some sort of entitlement (social security, medicare, medicaid) reform. Interesting article and video from the WSJ.

The elephant in the room is climate change. You thought Sandy was a big deal? Or maybe Katrina was eye opening to you? Either way, we are going to have more storms like that. Not all will hit cities, but some will. It wasn't really mentioned during the election, unfortunately, but it's a big deal, and something that I hope we work on correcting. Frankly, it is appropriate that a portion of natural disasters around the world hit major industrialized cities. We can learn from the devastating effect of natural disasters in the third world, such as the 2004 tsunami killed over 230,000 people. On the other hand, Sandy kills somewhere a little over 100, and we know enough about it to talk about how one 78 year old man died. I mean, this is one of the best Wikipedia pages I have ever read. We (my generation, this country) don't really know hardship and serious natural disasters. Granted not all will be attributed to your tail pipe or electricity bill, but if any are, I say it is a problem worth working.

Back to politics, I am not surprised that Obama won. I mean, taxing those making over a quarter million a year a little more doesn't seen like a bad idea. Along the money line (isn't that all we talk about in politics anyway?) Romney lost it for me with his comments about borrowing money from your parents.  Ryan lost it for me when he said he ran under three hours for the marathon, but ran over four. When I started Janzen Gear in February and March 2010 I tried to raise money from everyone I knew. Parents, relatives, professors, coaches, friends, and anyone I thought had money or knew someone who had money. I had a few interested people, but not enough money to really get the $25,000 that I needed to up production and buy some casting molds. The point being, if a guy who has two engineering degrees and won a business competition for this idea and had two patents pending could not get money from friends and family, then it would probably take some pretty unique (wealthy) family members to have $25k to spare on a hair-brain idea.

Lest everyone think I voted for Obama, I did not. That is all I will say for now. Happy not election season!

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