I find it to be no small irony that the party of fiscal responsibility has defined a modest amount of cuts to the federal budget as a cliff. Of course, only half of those cuts are deemed irresponsible -- those effecting the military budget. The other half of the cuts, though irritating, are deemed necessary, as they are not, according to the Libertarian wing of the Republican party, a constitutional function of the Federal Government -- or so that train of thought goes.
But what really bothers the party of Paul Ryan most is the reinstatement of the Clinton era tax brackets by rescinding the Bush era tax cuts. To these "fiscally responsible conservatives" we simply can't afford to negatively impact the job creators by adding to their already onerous burden. And while this sounds reasonable on the surface of it, peering into our recent history tells us something entirely different.
For starters: where are the jobs? Corporate America sits upon not millions, not billions, but trillions of dollars in profit. The Bush era tax cuts have created the wealthiest class of "job creators" the world has ever known. The reality however, is that wealthy Americans, while amassing more wealth, have not created more jobs. Motivated persons across all economic classes become entrepreneurs and they create jobs.
What's even more startling to people of good conscience however, is that we have fought two wars on a federal credit card with no observable balance sheet. And whether both of those wars were necessary or not, not paying for them was certainly an egregious absence of accountability, and giving ourselves tax breaks while our children died overseas was simply derelict. Though it would not have been possible to sell war bonds to defray the cost of these military adventures, it certainly would have been possible to refrain from greed. We simply chose not to.
To be clear, the fiscal cliff we are afraid of falling off of casts its long shadow over us -- for we have already fallen off. We are but the wounded souls at the bottom of the great precipice, whose careless actions have caused our own near demise. Our nation has been doped by monetary easements and federal stimulus while en route to the great ER of fiscal reckoning. And now, we are awakening to what our collective selfishness has wrought us.
And not to stretch this metaphor beyond its usefulness, but we must now begin on the path of rehabilitating ourselves by learning to walk again. And that is never easy. It requires discipline, effort and accountability by all persons involved. We must be willing to think not just as individuals, but as Americans working together. And by that I mean agreeing to let everyone partake in the solution by allowing the budget cuts to take place and the Bush tax cuts to expire.
The one thing that would have made matters easier for everyone involved, but most especially businesses in America, would have been the adoption of a single-payer healthcare system. That would have removed the uncertainty facing American business as they plan their budgets around a great unknown, and shifted the burden to all Americans as individuals. But again, the party of fiscal responsibility fought hard to make sure this never happened. Not smart!
And so in the midst of a difficult recovery and the uncertainty that accompanies it, what must we do to grow our economy? Everyone seems to agree that paying down the deficit is the largest part of the answer. But most of us would like someone else to carry the load. Consequently, the Republicans rebuff the thought of increased taxes, and Democrats only want those making in excess of $250,00 to pay them. Neither party is right. Both of them are wrong. The solution must come from everyone. And where I agree with the party of fiscal discipline is that to do this, the tax base must be enlarged. Where I disagree is that everyone must pitch in more by accepting a greater share of the burden. The Bush era tax cuts were an error in judgment that must be made right.
Against this bleak backdrop of aching reality, what are we as individual investors to do? Where are the opportunities for growth to be found? My answer: everywhere! But most especially in startup companies across all sectors that are willing to move ahead despite uncertainty. Larger, more established firms will be content to ride their historically unequaled wealth into the future with trimmed-downed and over-worked labor forces that are increasingly unhappy with them. You can see this taking place in the technology sector today, which is ripe with new companies that have pillaged older and more established businesses of their talent assets. This will make it easy for new companies to make inroads where, in the past, they might not have. Additionally, smaller businesses will benefit most from cross-party policies that will favor their hiring practices with tax deductions of all kinds.
Because costs cannot be reigned in quickly in the absence of a single-payer system, the healthcare sector will continue to grow disproportionately. Biotechnology will lobby for and receive government grants to help establish their businesses and fund their research. This makes investment in this sector very attractive, as it is less dependent on market success to advance growth. For instance, I recently wrote an article on Novavax (NVAX), a vaccine maker that has received over a hundred million dollars in such support, and is making tremendous progress towards its goals as a result.
These are just some of the areas that I'll be focusing on. In the main, I will keep my accounts liquid and buy equities on the dips. Value will be everywhere as old money runs for cover. My only hope is that they run far enough away to let me acquire cheaply that which they have abandoned only to sell it back to them when their fears have met the warm safety of a new reality.