Market Insight | The Pursuit of Happyness
The election of 1800 was one of the most bitterly contested in our history, pitting two of the authors of the Declaration of Independence against each other. Jefferson accused John Adams of being a Tyrant who wanted to make himself king. No less of a figure than George Washington suggested that Thomas Jefferson’s new party was seeking to “overturn the Government of this Country.” Both sides resorted to slander and vicious personal attacks. Shenanigans abounded. Adam’s Federalists argued that the Georgia ballots were defective. Vice presidential candidate Aaron Burr sought to steal the election in the House of Representatives.
Many thought that election would mark the end of our noble experiment. European powers licked their chops expecting to profit from the inevitable Civil War. In the end, Jefferson took power peacefully. Historians consider this to be one of the greatest moments in our collective history.
We find ourselves again in the midst of another tumultuous presidential election — one that promises to get even more contentious before it ends. Both sides are utterly convinced that the other is a danger to the future of our Republic. I believe that part of the angst stems from each side listening to a different news feed and being flabbergasted that anyone could feel differently based on the “facts” at hand. This election, we are told, is “the most important election ever.” It’s not. That hackneyed line has been used in every presidential election for generations and generations.
My concern is that many people are being scared into believing that on the outcome of this election rests the future not only of our economy but our country. Frankly, our country is bigger than the president. We live in a global economy. Large corporations, populated by individuals working for a common goal, will increasingly have more economic might than mere governments. Our country and our economy will continue to progress at a pace dictated more by the people than those we elect to govern. Government can help. Government can hurt. But the government alone does not make our country great.
I think we can expect some help from the government after the election. No matter who wins this election there are going to be a lot of angry people. Most of that anger is centered on jobs. After almost a decade of debt fears, the U.S. seems to be warming to the idea of stimulus. Stimulus is great. Every time you build a bridge or a road, you create jobs, profits, income and taxes. I expect our next president to work with Congress to produce a stimulus-based jobs bill that will help the economy and the stock market.
Scott A. Grant is President of Standfast Asset Management in Ponte Vedra Beach. He welcomes your comments or questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.