A View into the Future: Post Script to June-November 2012

Using the previous 4 years experience as guide we may expect:

The national economy will continue to languish with low growth and high unemployment. I do not believe we will enter another recession during the next four years but we will be becalmed. Some states – New Jersey under Christie/Sweeney among them – will continue to apply the brakes on the nations’s economic growth. Neither Obama nor Romney, and certainly not the U.S. Congress, will address the factors in the U.S. tax code which encourage capital export.  Accordingly, regardless of who wins, Wall Street will remain disconnected from Main Street.

Needless to say, the national debt will continue to grow with either one.

Even if president Obama wins in November 2012, we already know his capability for abdicating postulates made while campaigning. We should expect that there will be negative effects on Social Security and Medicare, two social programs which candidate Romney has on his hit list, even if Obama is victorious. Obama will adopt some of Romney’s proposals. Such effects would most likely be cuts in both programs, perhaps somewhat smaller under Obama than those which would be implemented by a hypothetical President Romney.

We should also expect a re-elected President Obama to slightly reduce other social programs that he is now, during the campaign, defending with vigor. Either Obama or Romney will sweeten draconian cuts by phasing them onto the younger generations.

I would also expect that a re-elected President Obama would abandon at least some of his tax positions in support of the lower and middle classes, all for the sake of compromise. Similarly, there will be retreats in issues such as the environment and Wall Street regulatory statutes.

As a rule of thumb, President Obama will cede ground wherever big money is involved. He will hold out better in social issues such as birth control and same sex marriage.

President Romney would be very negative on the social issues mentioned above and similarly or even more accommodating toward big money.

Income gap would grow more under Romney than under Obama although the difference between the two will not be large.

We should expect that either President Obama or Romney will continue making inroads into our civil liberties using terrorism as excuse, even after Al Qaeda is wiped out.

A President Romney would be more likely to get the United States involved in another major foreign war.

With either president, New Jersey should expect very little help from Washington and that is why our own gubernatorial election of 2013 is so important: We will be basically on our own. We can hardly afford irresponsibility, demagoguery, and incompetence any longer.

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The German miracle: At what price?

Le miracle allemand, à quel prix?.

I tried to convert this to English but it did not work so I will attempt an abridged translation.

“Germany is a true economic miracle: Low unemployment, flourishing trade and exports, more growth than France, new technologies, enough said.

But at what price? Germany is also the developed country with the greatest increases in both accumulated wealth and poverty. 20% of the working poor are retirees forced to return to work in little jobs at times for as low as 1 euro an hour.

That hidden fact may be one of the reasons of the miracle.

Germany is also dealing with the drop of the birth rate which affects industries with a shortage of qualified workers.

At this time of the proposed Franco-German convergence, these questions must be asked: Retirements, immigration, demographics, and precariousness of life.

We must study the German model, its weaknesses and contradictions, before adopting it.”

My note: President Sarkozy has said France must imitate the German model. The German model, it appears, is resembling more and more what is happening in the U.S. German companies are adopting the U.S system of hiring part-time workers to avoid providing them with benefits. Many part-timers make €400 per month – certainly not living wages.

We are also experiencing a drop in the birth rates in the U.S. Couples can not afford to have children early in life and women are often forced to take costly fertility treatments as they grow older.