Do elections really matter to financial markets? Pt 1

Image Stock Market Trading floorI was further amused just now to learn that this article from the Minneapolis Star Tribune was printed on Oct. 22nd and ran in the Arizona Daily Star yesterday. This article seeks to calm investor jitters over the looming election. Naturally, both Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) and Donald Trump (DT) are painted as being completely disastrous to the economy. First, I think that elections DO matter. I don’t know if it is a violation of my securities license to weigh in on an election or if it is not. I think this is ethical as long as I am controlling my emotions and being as objective as I can be. I have no financial stake in the Presidential race or either candidate.

I think that HRC comes to us with two large shipping containers. Both say “10 tons” but only one weighs 10 tons. The other container is empty. It is perceived to contain 10 tons but it does not. The first container contains all of the mistakes HRC has ever made in public life. She is not a perfect human being so she has made mistakes; some serious mistakes. When you operate with responsibilities of a magnitude that only perhaps one or two dozen people in the entire world operate with; your mistakes can be measured in as much as lives lost. Some people are willing to accept such staggering responsibilities but they are rare individuals. HRC is one of those.

I believe that for the mistakes she has made she has owned up for the most part. I could not support her, regardless of how correct her platform was if she did not have integrity. She is honest, public-serving, especially hard working and dedicated to the welfare of her country. She has endured great burdens throughout her public lifetime. Yet, she continues to want to serve. That is an admirable characteristic.

That brings me to the second container. I believe the awesome majesty of the media has been able to fill a 10 ton container with nothing but suspicion and innuendo. HRC has been singled out for special character assassination for at least 25 years. She was especially loathed by the most self-serving 1% when, upon her entering the White House with Bill, she set upon constructing nothing less than the complete overhaul of the so-called US healthcare system. She was brutally punished, pursued wherever she went to hold town-hall meetings, and vilified until she crept back into the WH kitchen where she “belonged”. The extent and magnitude of the false image that is borne by HRC and constructed by those who wish only to roll back progress or at the least to preserve the status quo is of historical proportions. The Whitewater Investigation; a Congressional investigation pursued both the Clintons for ten years and cost at least tens of millions of taxpayer dollars only to uncover coincidences and possibilities. Not a single indictment came from this foray. Whitewater is just one example of the numerous legal attacks that have been levied against the Clintons over more than a quarter of a century.

By now, any reader who is still with me has a good idea of whom I am going to vote for and I haven’t even begun to address Donald Trump. I am not going to do that but, instead examine the possibilities that a HRC administration could bring. These musings are not going to contain exact figures just recollections and approximations if you don’t mind. However, the practical effects of these policies can be examined without exact figures. First, lets take the effect of one labor policy that will begin to be implemented upon her arrival on Penn. Ave. That is the restructuring of the overtime rules. Obama, as Chief Executive is the commander of all US agencies. One of those is the Labor Dept. The Labor Dept. rules govern business employment. Employers have to observe these rules or face fines or even imprisonment. Long ago, a labor standard was agreed upon by Labor and Capital in the USA. That was indeed called the “Grand Bargain”. That agreement held that workers can be considered “full time” if they work no more than 8 hours per day, five days per week. They could not be compelled to work more in a day or more days in a week without their consent and the employer was sanctioned by being required to pay the hourly wage and a 50% bonus for the overtime.

Currently, the limit to consider employees “salaried” and therefore exempt from overtime rules is more than $54,000/year. That means, all those workers earning this much or less can be compelled to work overtime and they receive no bonus for this work. Obama, by Executive Order, had the Labor Dept change the exclusion allowance to less than $24,000. That means that many, many workers will either receive more time off, a higher wage, or time and a half for overtime. The macro-economic effect of this is to create a very large pool of jobs AND to create a huge pool of consumer demand. This will result in increase sales of consumer goods and all the ripple economic effects in the supply chain. (to be continued)