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The Status Quo

Posted: 11/07/12 at 5:05 PM

By Bill Allmond, Vice President, Government and Public Relations -

Now that the most expensive (and bitterly fought) presidential election of our lifetime is over, it is necessary for us to assess the damage.

A key takeaway of Election 2012 is the level to which our nation is divided. One hundred eighteen million votes were cast and President Obama was re-elected after winning only 50% of them. Governor Romney captured 49%, and nearly two million votes were cast for “others.”  Hardly a mandate for change.

Then there is the money that was spent. More than $4 billion went into the campaign, which is the most any democracy has ever seen. Adding insult to injury, the Dow lost 2% the day after the election, underscoring a heightened level of economic uncertainty here at home and abroad.

In addition to President Obama’s re-election, Democrats increased their grip on the Senate, and Republicans held on to their control of the House. In other words, this status quo election ensures continued gridlock in Washington. Moreover, moderates in both parties were defeated and, in some cases, replaced by strong partisans. For example, Massachusetts chose to throw out moderate Republican Senator Scott Brown, who was well-liked, in favor of an untested liberal, Elizabeth Warren.

What this means for the issues important to specialty, batch and custom chemical manufacturers will become more apparent after the 113th Congress is seated in January. There are, however, a couple of certainties about which we know.

First, the top two priorities next year will be agreeing to a federal budget and ways to improve the economy. Serious consideration of many of the industry’s specific priorities will have to wait in line until President Obama and Congress battle out these two issues.

Lastly, with more than 80 new members elected to Congress, your participation in grassroots activity next year becomes a necessity. The questions of who you are, what you do and why you matter must be answered by you—a representative of our industry. Otherwise, they will be answered for you by those who support policies that adversely impact your business. SOCMA has the tools to ensure your success in communicating with your members of Congress, and we encourage you to join us in our efforts to support policies that make your business more competitive and expand markets for your products.

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