Some Words About the Election, and About U.S. Economic Performance Under the Two Parties

Every single component of a person’s life has a financial component to it. Now, I’m not saying that this is a good thing or a bad thing, but I *am* saying that, in the world in which we live, this is a true statement (see the video of me talking about this further).

For years I’ve been asking people — anyone who would care to listen and receive a question and think on it and respond — to come up with some aspect of their life that does *not* have a financial component to it. To date, 100% of those people have tried in vain to come up with an example.

So if you have an example — please! — let me hear it. It’d be really great to know that somewhere out there is something in someone’s life that is somehow outside the realm of the financial — something that exists in your world and that is 100% a-financial.

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This week’s election clearly lives and breathes in the financial part of all of our worlds. The candidates have said so, and then there’s Carville’s oft-repeated it’s the economy, stupid — the internal (and then external) tagline from Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 run against GHW Bush. And then there’s every talking pundit-head’s focus on the unemployment numbers. And the list goes on. And on and on.

Anecdotally, seemingly every everyday-Joe and everyday-Jean the media interviews says they’re voting for their given vote-getter because he (no shes involved . . . yet) will be best for the economy.

It’s interesting that people — sincerely, I believe, with rare exceptions — differ so much on which candidate would, in fact, best for the economy. It’s also interesting that, for most of us, it’s entirely self-evident which candidate that would be — even though something like half of everyone else in the country disagrees with us!

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Folks in the Financial Services Industrial Complex tend to be a bit more conservative than the public at large (and that is probably . . . a conservative characterization of the degree to which people in the FSIC are conservative). Right now I don’t have linkable data to support that claim, but I do have . . . a gut feel for it! . . . and I suspect that, if I took some time, I could find that data within a couple of hours. But not today. Other things to do.

Most folks in the FSIC do not, however, put that information out into the world at large, because doing so can alienate a good chunk of their prospecting base.

A few, though, do. They put it out there.

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Larry Doyle came through my Internet browsing yesterday, via an article entitled Why I am Voting for Romney. I haven’t the time to figure out Mr. Doyle’s place within the Financial Services Industrial Complex in any detail, but it looks like he mostly FSICs in the media end of things, and recently opened up an investment advisory firm. Mr. Doyle’s article makes it clear that he is very, very much in favor of a Romney presidency, and very, very much against a continued Obama presidency.

My hunch is that anyone who is voting for Obama would look at the Five Points (is there a theme here?) Mr. Doyle uses to support his case and disagree 180 degrees with Mr. Doyle’s thoughts (briefly, the five are: Romney is better for (1) the economy and (2) the military and (3) the free exercise of faith, and would (4) respect the rule of law and not violate property rights, all of which would (5) take us forward while the other guy would take us backward).

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I rarely step out from behind my a-political curtain, but I think today is an appropriate day to do so.

In keeping with the subject matter in the John Friedman Financial Blog, I’ll only comment on the first point Mr. Doyle makes: I am 100% confident that the Republican approach to the economy has been a disaster. Favoring capital over labor has not worked; favoring stuff over people has already been very, very bad for people and is heading in the direction of getting worse and worse for stuff.

I am also 100% confident that the reason many people think the Republicans are good at the economy has nothing to do with them being good at the economy, and everything to do with Frank Lutz and the Republican Party’s vast superiority at messaging (George Lakoff is no Frank Lutz) (and could George Lakoff be a good George Lakoff if he were as good as Frank Lutz?).

I could go on (who is better on defense comes to mind as being a place I’d otherwise like to go . . . ) but let’s stick to the financial realm, shall we?

There are plenty of graphs out there numbering-up which party is better for the economy. Most of them seem to be at least a bit cherry-picked, i.e., to support the notion that Republicans are better for the economy, it helps to compare periods during which each party controlled Congress while, to give the nod to the Democrats, it helps to compare periods during which each party had the presidency.

So that’s not much help.

But how about looking to a source proclaiming against its traditional interest? What would it mean if Fox Business, which, as part of Fox, most people would agree is Republican-leaning, published an article stating the Dems are better for the economy?

Here is what Matt Egan, writing an article in Fox Business called, History Shows Stocks, GDP Outperform Under Democrats, found, when looking purely at (a) the S&P 500 (which is a measure of how the prices of the stocks of a big chunk of the American stock market — a chunk  that includes most big American companies you’ve heard of — have done), (b) Gross Domestic Product (generally, and lay’y, the size of the economy), and (c) Earnings Per Share (a measure of the profitability of businesses):


FoxBusiness on Ds vs. Rs and the economy


If you find these numbers wrong, there are plenty of others that you will find right. But please do not put them into the same place, lest you have a matter/anti-matter explosion, as in, these two things cannot coexist

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So please do vote. It will have an impact on your overall financial health. It really, truly, will.

And now excuse me while I step back behind my a-political curtain.


1003 words (about an 11 minute read, sans links)


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