Out with the old, in with the new, goes the standard cliche every year about this time. No, this is not a reference to Nancy Pelosi’s age, although incoming House Speaker John Boehner is 9 years younger. Speaker Boehner does represent a new attitude and the resulting optimism is being reflected in the markets and the broader economy.
- Retail sales, Christmas sales, were up significantly over 2009
- Consumer and business confidence for November and December have inched higher
- Jobless numbers are moving downward, evidenced by today’s ADP employment report that suggested 297,000 new private sector jobs were created in December (this is a big number!)
This is not a coincidence. This is, however a direct result of increased optimism in the country due to the November election and subsequent Republican control of the House. It is a direct result of Congress extending the Bush tax cuts in November. It is a direct result of the repudiation of the Obama/Reid/Pelosi economic agenda. Republicans have a huge opportunity to make the economy and employment the primary issue in 2011. In the words of that great philosopher James Carville, “It’s the economy, stupid”.
In addition to repealing the two collosal and horrid pieces of legislation, (ObamaCare and Financial Institutions Reform), Congress needs to deal with several other hangovers from the Pelosi/Reid years. First, Julian Assange should be tried and convicted of being the cyber-terrorist that he is, and he needs to be treated like any other terrorist. Second, the federal government needs to be starved into submission. Follow the model Chris Christie has set in New Jersey. Get the unions under control (and with it, the unfunded pension liabilities). Finally, any free trade agreements with valued allies and trading partners, such as Colombia and South Korea, should be ratified and signed as soon as possible.
Movement in these directions will reinforce the current optimism prevailing in the country, promote private sector job growth, encourage banks to lend again, and as a result, generate revenues for not only the federal treasury, but state and local governments as well. The last two years nearly ruined us as a nation. We have an opportunity to correct the damage. 2011 is a new year. Let’s hope the new Congress can build on it.