In defiance of the predictions of countless right-leaning pundits and some recent polling, U.S. President Barack Obama was re-elected on Nov. 6 in a surprisingly strong showing, particularly given the prolonged weakness in the U.S. economy that would normally be an incumbent’s undoing. And it generated an immediate and predictable response in the global currency, bond and commodities markets.
Obama’s win was convincing, taking 332 out of 540 electoral-college votes and picking up more than 50% of the popular vote compared to Republican candidate Mitt Romney’s 48.2%. Obama even took most of the much-discussed “battleground states” by margins as high as 2% to 3%.
The Democrats improved on their majority in the U.S. Senate while the Republicans held their majority in the House of Representatives, ensuring continued divided government.
However, by Nov. 7, Republican House Leader John Boehner had already met with Obama, and they had pledged to strike some sort of compromise to deal with looming spending cuts and tax hikes that threaten to derail the U.S. economy’s fragile recovery. In particular, Boehner seems to be showing more willingness to raise tax revenues, which are already scheduled to rise by some US$500 billion in 2013 as Obama’s extension of former President George Bush’s tax cuts are due to expire, at least for the rich. However, that’s still not nearly enough to bring to an end the now-routine annual federal deficits above US$1 trillion.
The newest post-election buzzwords are “fiscal cliff” — used to describe the long-ignored and growing fiscal mess that awaits lawmakers as they return to work in Washington, D.C.
Obama’s win couldn’t show any more clearly that the US$16-trillion federal debt isn’t the primary concern of U.S. voters.And that paves the way for continued annual deficits that in the end can only be resolved by massive currency devaluation.
Indeed, with U.S. unemployment rates set to stay high, and given the lack of any new policies from U.S. leadership, there will come a time when a significant stepping up of the controlled devaluation of the U.S. dollar (a.k.a. quantitative easing) will be sold politically as a social good in that it would lower unemployment rates. And that is true, to a degree, as Canadians experienced during many of those years of austerity during the mid-1990s.
And as for the sharp market reaction on Nov. 7, you know it: gold prices up, U.S. coal stocks down, oil prices down and the U.S. stock markets down in their worst trading day of 2012. Welcome to Obamaland 2.0.
• To further engage you, our readers, and reach out to new ones, we’re taking a more active presence in social media, and tweaking some of the ways we provide stories on the web to non-subscribers.
Our regular online subscribers should know that we now allow non-subscribers past our pay wall to read one article per week for free. So if you’re a subscriber, and you’d like to forward a web link to an interesting story to a friend or colleague who’s not a subscriber, that option is now available to you. (The story can be viewed just once that week, though — if the non-subscriber even reloads the story, he or she will be locked out of it for a week.)
Our main Twitter feed with almost 3,000 loyal followers is at www.twitter.com/northernminer. On this feed, we’ll send you the headlines and links to our daily and weekly web stories, the latest job postings from www.northernminerjobs.com, and anything else we think might interest you mining-wise. On top of that, various TNM staffers have their own Twitter feeds accessible at our homepage www.northernminer.com.
And, as always, a subscriber is free to set up “alerts” on our website, so that if a particular commodity, company or other term that interests you is written about, an email is sent to you.
Another way to get at our stories in an interactive way is through our new Facebook page at www.facebook.com/NorthernMiner, where we have almost 2,500 “likes” (that’s pretty good).
Again, a subscriber can forward to a non-subscriber one of our tweets or Facebook posts that link to one of our stories, and the non-subscriber will be able to read one story a week for free.
If you haven’t seen our Twitter or Facebook pages yet, please give them a try, and let us know what you think. And if you want to get at our stories as soon as possible, they always appear first on our homepage before later being tweeted or posted to Facebook.
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