Why Financial Markets Shouldn't Fear Obama

I cannot tell a lie—I did my fair share of dancing in the streets Tuesday night. Something, along with my general tendency toward optimism, that I should disclose before I say what I have to say here.

I know many of you who make your living in the financial markets fear having a Democrat in the oval office. And if you happen to fall into that bracket of the highest earners in the country, your taxes are heading up. But the financial markets themselves should not fear our new president, and I’ll tell you why.

Despite Republican name calling, Barack Obama is not a socialist. In fact, if I had to put money on it, I would bet that his presidency will prove itself far more centrist than his critics would have you believe.

I will admit I base part of this feeling on my perception of his personality traits.
First and foremost, I see him as completely reasonable. For example, when speaking on the button-pushing issue of abortion, he said we may not all agree on abortion, but certainly we can work together to prevent unwanted pregnancies. These do not sound like the words of someone who tends to the extreme. Extremists are rarely reasonable.

Moreover, throughout his nearly flawless campaign and his time in the Senate, he has continually demonstrated strong judgment (i.e. his opposition to the war in Iraq from the beginning) and an unshakable temper. And he listens to the opinions of others and considers what he has learned before making a final decision. (His economic advisors include moderates such as former Fed chairman Paul Volcker, billionaire investor Warren Buffett and former Treasury Secretary Richard Rubin).
And all of these qualities speak to someone who walks along the center of the road.

But you don’t have to trust my gut. Tangible evidence exists that Obama will prove himself a friend to the financial markets. First, he voted for the $700-billion government bailout package. And second, he is currently looking to fill economic posts and considering more than one former Clinton official in the process. And Bill Clinton was, at heart, a centrist. 

For the role of treasury secretary, Obama is reportedly considering Rubin and former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, both of whom served under Clinton, as well as Timothy Geithner, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Bottom line? We all know we are entering an era of increased government regulation and oversight of the financial markets, but that was destined to happen no matter who won the election. Obama has proven himself a reasonable person of solid judgment, and that’s what we need to lead us out of this mess.

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