Saturday, July 26, 2014 11:10am
North Adams, MA now: 73 °   
Send news, tips, press releases and questions to info@iBerkshires.com
The Berkshires online guide to events, news and Berkshire County community information.
SIGN IN | REGISTER NOW   

Home About Archives RSS Feed
The Independent Investor: Presidential Power in an Election Year
By Bill Schmick On: 07:35PM / Thursday September 13, 2012
Important
1
Interesting
1
Funny
1
Awesome
0
Infuriating
1
Ridiculous
1
"Executive power has been regarded as a lion which must be caged. So far from being the object of enlightened popular trust, far from being considered the natural protector of popular right, it has been dreaded, uniformly, always dreaded, as the great source of its danger."
 — U.S. Sen. Daniel Webster of Massachusetts, 1834


In the heat of this year's presidential election campaign, voters usually lose sight of one of the most important facts surrounding that office. American presidents, for the most part, have much less power than we think.

Recall the high hopes you may have had in 2008 when candidate Barack Obama promised that "Yes we can" fix the economy, get Americans working again, etc., etc. In his first two years in office. there was plenty of action in translating his vision into reality. We had the stimulus package, Obamacare, clean energy initiatives and a rising deficit as a result. Of course, his party controlled both houses of Congress so passing legislation was a breeze.

But the Tea Party and the mid-term elections of 2010 revealed just how little power the Obama presidency (or any presidency) can muster in the face of a divided Congress. Sure, blame Obama. After all, some of his predecessors managed to get legislation passed despite a hostile Congress, but not many. The historical truth is that the founding fathers designed the office to disappoint those of us who want a powerful leader. You see, those Colonial revolutionaries distrusted government in general and the presidency in particular and our political system evolved accordingly.

The Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve Bank, Congress and don't forget the states all detract from the power this one individual might have held over our life. In order to change anything, let alone move the country in a new direction, the president must create a coalition of interests throughout the other branches of government. This is exactly what the founding fathers, fresh from their battle with King George and the British monarchy, intended.

Yet we still expect the person who succeeds to the presidency to be someone with the power of Superman, the charisma of the Messiah and the personal life of Mother Theresa. The candidates understand this. They are forced to promise us the world knowing full well that they do not have the power to deliver it. If they actually told us the truth — that the office holds little power and voters should not expect much of them — would anyone vote for them?

In foreign policy, the president does have somewhat more authority, but once again it is limited by public opinion, Congress and geopolitical realties. As an example, George W. Bush, despite his adversity to nation-building, became an unwilling hostage to a strategy he appalled thanks to 9/11. As for the Obama presidency, it has failed to change public opinion in any decisive manner despite the great expectations of many around the globe when he was first elected.

Mitt Romney appears to want to take a more proactive stance in foreign policy, citing the re-emergence of Russia as a threat as well as viewing China as both an economic and military adversary of sorts. Like his predecessors, if elected, how well he will do in actively balancing the various chess pieces on the world board is far more dependent on what other parties do.

Presidents are far more successful as messengers; some might say visionaries, who can guide the nation along a path while orchestrating the various political players in the band to acquiesce (via compromise) to his point of view. The problem with that role in today's politics is that both parties now reflect the increasing polarization of American society. Neither side is willing to compromise, believing deeply that their way is the right way. The next president might well achieve history but not on his own terms. It would be wise if we all remember that when we vote.

A note to my readers in the Berkshires:

I have volunteered to teach a course this fall at Berkshire Community College at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). The classes will be on Mondays from 2:45-4:15 p.m. throughout September and October. The course, "America's Future: Buy, Sell or Hold?" will teach students to think critically about such events as this year's presidential elections, wealth and women, our education system and much more. For more information or to sign up for the course call the OLLI office at 413-236-2190.

Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative with Berkshire Money Management. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own. None of the information presented here should be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. Direct inquires to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com.



0 Comments
     
News Headlines
Lanesborough to Celebrate 250th Birthday
Officials Celebrate Progress on Williamstown Housing Project
Berkshire Kings Gear Up for New Season
Adams Historical Society Exhibits Massive Civil War-Era Flag
iBerkshire Tag Sales: July 25-26
Tanglewood to Unveil Leonard Bernstein Sculpture
Governor Honorary Chair of Hancock Shaker Fundraiser
MCLA Receives STEM Scholarship
Next DownStreet Art Set for July 31
Emergency Drill Planned in North Adams July 29
Bill Schmick is registered as an investment advisor representative and portfolio manager with Berkshire Money Management (BMM), managing over $200 million for investors in the Berkshires. Bill’s forecasts and opinions are purely his own and do not necessarily represent the views of BMM. None of his commentary is or should be considered investment advice. Anyone seeking individualized investment advice should contact a qualified investment adviser. None of the information presented in this article is intended to be and should not be construed as an endorsement of BMM or a solicitation to become a client of BMM. The reader should not assume that any strategies, or specific investments discussed are employed, bought, sold or held by BMM. Direct your inquiries to Bill at 1-888-232-6072 (toll free) or email him at Bill@afewdollarsmore.com Visit www.afewdollarsmore.com for more of Bill’s insights.

 

 

 



Categories:
@theMarket (140)
Independent Investor (190)
Archives:
July 2014 (2)
July 2013 (1)
June 2014 (6)
May 2014 (9)
April 2014 (8)
March 2014 (6)
February 2014 (6)
January 2014 (7)
December 2013 (8)
November 2013 (7)
October 2013 (6)
September 2013 (6)
August 2013 (8)
Tags:
Markets Rally Debt Crisis Europe Federal Reserve Euro Taxes Recession Commodities Jobs Retirement Fiscal Cliff Japan Fed Selloff Pullback Election Debt Ceiling Stock Market Greece Housing Deficit Bailout Congress Stocks Economy Oil Metals Energy Banks Stimulus Interest Rates Europe Currency
Popular Entries:
The Independent Investor: Understanding the Foreclosure Scandal
The Independent Investor: Don't Fight the Fed
The Independent Investor: Does Cash Mean Currencies?
@theMarket: QE II Supports the Markets
@theMarket: Markets Are Going Higher
The Independent Investor: General Motors — Back to the Future
The Independent Investor: How Will Wall Street II Play on Main Street?
The Independent Investor: Will the Municipal Bond Massacre Continue?
@theMarket: Economy Sputters, Stocks Stutter
The Independent Investor: Why Are Interest Rates Rising?
Recent Entries:
The Independent Investor: How Much Is Too Much to Spend in Retirement?
The Independent Investor: The Fed Turns Off the Spigot
The Independent Investor: Should You Pay Off Mortgage Before Retiring?
The Independent Investor: Retirement should be a part-time job
The Independent Investor: Unhappily Ever After
@theMarket: June Swoon
@theMarket: Europe Is a Good Bet
The Independent Investor: A Road to the Future
The Independent Investor: Holy Cow
@theMarket: Flirting With Record Highs Again


View All
Mingo's Sports Bar & Grill...
Over 50 cars packed into the Mingo's Sports Bar & Grill...
BYP Networking at Naumkeag
The Berkshire Young Professionals met at the historic...
Pittsfield Shakespeare...
Pittsfield's Shakespeare in the Park free performances at...
Lanesborough Kids Fire Camp...
Lanesborough Fire Department held its annual Kids Fire Camp...
Lanesborough Fire Drill
The Lanesborough Fire Department trains on basement fires...
Pittsfield Polish Picnic
Crowds lined up for golabki and kapusta at the annual...
North Adams Kids Emergency...
The North Adams 21st Century Community Learning Center...
Gather-in Festival 2014
The 42nd annual Gather-In festival was held at Pitt Park in...
BFAIR Mini-Golf Fundraiser
Berkshire Family and Individual Resources held its annual...
Lanesborough Seeds of Harmony...
Bradly Farm in...
Hinsdale Block Party
The Hinsdale Fire Department hosted its annual block party...
Arrowhead Country Craft Fair
Arrowhead, Herman Melville's home in Pittsfield, is hosting...
Pittsfield 3rd Thursday July...
Shakespeare was the theme for this month's 3rd Thursday...
State Little League:...
Pittsfield South defeats Holden, 3-2, in the state...
Live On The Lake Concert
Greylock Band played at Burbank Park on Onota Lake in...
Summer Softball: Force vs....
Berkshire Force beat the Adams Thunder 27-7 at Russell...
Mingo's Sports Bar & Grill...
Over 50 cars packed into the Mingo's Sports Bar & Grill...
BYP Networking at Naumkeag
The Berkshire Young Professionals met at the historic...
Pittsfield Shakespeare...
Pittsfield's Shakespeare in the Park free performances at...
Lanesborough Kids Fire Camp...
Lanesborough Fire Department held its annual Kids Fire Camp...
Lanesborough Fire Drill
The Lanesborough Fire Department trains on basement fires...
| Home | A & E | Business | Community News | Dining | Real Estate | Schools | Sports & Outdoors | Berkshires Weather | Weddings
Advertise | Recommend This Page | Help Contact Us | Privacy Policy| User Agreement
iBerkshires.com is owned and operated by: Boxcar Media 102 Main Street, North Adams, MA 01247 -- T. 413-663-3384 F.413-664-4251
© 2000 Boxcar Media LLC - All rights reserved