Experts Weigh in U.S. Future Post Election; Would a Romney Presidency have Made a Difference?
November 9, 2012

by Tara Taffera,

Two days after the presidential election, Reed hosted a webinar in which economic experts discussed the impact President Obama's reelection will have on the economic recovery in the United States. What's the overall impact: not a drastic one, agreed the experts.

"It is incredibly modest," said Kermit Baker, chief economist. "Things look the same now as they did on November 5. There are no dramatic changes as to what we can expect."

"The election doesn't affect our forecast as much as you would think; it affects it as far as the impact on the economy but there is a lot that is baked in the pie already," said Bernard Markstein, chief economist for Reed.

Baker did, however, say that one thing has changed: "We can't use the election excuse anymore for delaying decisions," he said.

He added that during the election many serious issues were put off such as the fiscal cliff, tax issues and these now must be made a priority.

"Quite dramatic spending cuts will be made but they won't come until the eleventh hour," said Baker.

Ken Simonson, chief economist, Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) agreed that a decision won't come early.

"We are getting ever closer to that cliff," he said. "We won't know if we are going over the cliff until New Year's Eve and that is very worrisome. That will affect investment decisions by companies, stock market, etc."

Another issue President Obama will have to contend with is implementation of the president's healthcare plan. "With the election settling we now know we won't repeal ObamaCare though we still don't know how we will fund it," said Markstein. "Whatever it is there has got to be problems in it and future legislation will deal with that."

He ended with some dismal news telling attendees they need to stop thinking there will be major additions of manufacturing jobs.

"The idea that there will be tons of employees in manufacturing is a dream we have to let go," he said.

In a poll posted on on election day, 62 percent of those in the auto glass industry who took the poll said they voted for Mitt Romney. In fact, in a story posted on on November 5, reaction was mixed on who would win the presidency.

But if Romney was elected would it have changed things? Webinar attendees asked this question and experts agreed that it wouldn't. "We would have seen gridlock with either candidate," said Markstein.

"The differences are really more long term, shaping fiscal policy, etc.," added Baker. "In the short run it's hard to make an argument that there would have been significant differences [if Romney was elected].

Another economic expert agrees. Dr. Peter Linneman, principal at Linneman Associates, said today, "We have essentially the exact same players to deal with these problems and that's who we voted for … Until something happens this is a fundamental challenge to deal with and it basically comes down to whose ox is going to get gored."

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