The 2008 U.S. Presidential election was historic itself owing to the candidates' profile. But the timing of the> elections as the U.S. and global economy are in the midst of the worst financial crisis and recession in> decades reminds us of the Great Depression era and the 1980s recession when incoming Presidents Roosevelt and> Reagan faced immense challenges to cure the economy's woes.> > By the time Obama takes his oath in January 2009, he will face an economy which is still in a middle of a> severe and prolonged recession where households will continue to face unaffordable mortgage and other debt,> declining value of homes (that financed their consumption all these years), risk of debt default or> foreclosure, tight access to credit with stringent borrowing conditions, erosion of their retirement savings> amid the bearish stock market, over a million lay-offs taking the unemployment rate to 7-8% and critical> foreign policy challenges.> > Therefore, immediate challenges for Obama will include cushioning the consumers (who account for over two> thirds of GDP) from the economic slowdown by means of a large fiscal stimulus package and acting on a> government guaranteed mortgage modificationprogram. In fact, he has already called for fiscal stimulus in the> form of grants for state and local governments, infrastructure spending to create jobs, scrap tax on> unemployment insurance, tax cuts for lower income-groups and small businesses, tax credits for firms that> create jobs and government aid for the ailing auto industry. Some of the tax cuts would be financed by taxing> the windfall profits of oil companies. Part of his program would allow households to draw up to $10,000 from> retirement funds during 2008-09 without any tax penalty. Obama also called for a ninety-day moratorium on> foreclosures, modification of bankruptcy laws, a $10 bn foreclosure-prevention fund and 10% mortgage tax credit> for the middle-class. But more importantly he has emphasized preventing taxpayer funded bailout of banks and> giving golden parachutes to CEOs of failing institutions. He has also strongly endorsed greater financial> sector oversight, control and reporting with the creation of a financial market oversight commission to oversee> liquidity, capital and disclosure requirements and plans to streamlining regulatory agencies to prevent overlap> and assign greater role to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to prevent market manipulation and to> the Federal Reserve to carry out regulation.> > The Democratic Congress will also influence on asset markets, business sentiment and financial sector> regulation, as well as on the country's energy policy and oil sector, health insurance and pharma sector, tax> incidence on high income-groups and corporate sector, pre-conditions under trade talks and role of labor unions.> > > > Tax Policy and Fiscal Deficit> > Obama will face a swelling fiscal deficit which might be pushed over $1trillion in the next few years. Mounting> fiscal costs of the housing and financial sector bailout and fiscal stimulus measures to sustain aggregate> demand will impact the budget while the downturn puts a dent in tax revenues. Ballooning Medicare and Social> Security bills will only add to his challenges.> > > > A redistribution-oriented tax policy which gives larger tax cuts to a greater number of low and middle-income> groups while raising taxes on the high-income group is at the center of Obama's proposals. When Bush's tax cuts> expire in 2011, Obama plans to raise the federal individual income tax rate from the current 33% and 35% to 36%> and 39.6% for the over $200,000 and $250,000 income-groups respectively. Tax cuts would be kept at the current> rate for the rest of the income groups. However, the total tax incidence might be higher when combined with the> State and other taxes. The new administration also plans to remove various exemptions and deductions for the> high-income groups while extending several tax breaks and credits for the low and middle-income groups,> retirees, homeowners, and students.> > For the corporate sector, the plan is to cut the tax rate to below 35% and act stringently to broaden the> corporate tax base and reduce loopholes, crack down on international tax havens and tax distortions and have a> shareholder vote on CEO pay. The plan also includes tax breaks for firms that keep headquarters in the U.S.> Capital gains and dividend tax rates are expected to go up to 20% for the above $250,000 income group.> Moreover, carried interest of private equity and hedge-funds will be taxed as ordinary income (at a higher> rate) rather than as capital gains.> > > > In order to finance the Social Security shortfall from the oncoming fiscal burden of baby boomers, the new> president plans to raise the earnings cap on payroll taxes from the current $102,000 income cap to the> over-$250,000 income-group. The Social Security plan will also include a job-portable and tax-deferred> Retirement Fund.> > > > While Obama has pledged to follow the pay-as-you-go rule to contain the fiscal deficit, his proposals to> increase spending on lower and middle income groups, infrastructure, research and technology would nevertheless> raise the national debt with possible impact on Treasury yields and sources of debt financing.> > > > A Democratic Congress might strengthen the stance to raise taxes especially amid criticism that recent tax cuts> dented the fiscal deficit, created investment distortions, and raised income and wealth inequality. But the> economic slowdown might limit or delay the administration's ability to raise taxes. Moreover, there have been> concerns about possible impact of these policies on U.S. competitiveness and impact on investment and small> businesses.> > Health Care Reform> > > > In a country with around 47 million uninsured and the middle-class battling with rising health insurance> premiums and job-immobile coverage, Obama will face an immense challenge to undertake the impending health care> reform and ensure quality healthcare - that presently fails to match with even other developed countries. The> President has endorsed a universal health insurance coverage which will have mandates only for children. The> plan includes the creation of a regulated National Health Insurance Exchange where individual insurance can be> purchased. Low and middle-income households will benefit of subsidized premiums. Firms that do not offer> insurance to their employees will face a tax penalty. The improvement in the insurance coverage, in the next> few years, might come with a high price tag.> > > > Trade Policy> > > > Regarding trade, Obama has pressed on including on labor and environmental standards in trade agreements. He> has also proposed to raise duties on Chinese imports to offset the undervalued Yuan and dumping of goods and> also take measures against their violation of intellectual property rights. Part of the plan also includes> greater scrutiny of investments by Sovereign Wealth Funds.> > > > Even as the global recession is increasing risk of slowdown in global trade and possible rise in protectionism,> this might be exacerbated by a Democratic Congress that favors conditional trade agreements. The current> financial crisis and rising significance of Sovereign Wealth Funds might also increase Congress' aversion to> financial globalization and inward foreign investment. But aversion to trade might be overrated as they realize> the risk of unilaterally withdrawing from global trade.> > > > While fair trade might be the way for survival ahead, U.S. insistence on non-tariff barriers to protect some> sectors and jobs from import competition might isolate it from trade deals and possible gains from multilateral> trade talks.> > > > Labor and Middle-Class> > However, the most important and significant challenge that Obama will face is alleviating the American> middle-class woes due to the recession but also due to the impact of globalization on workers in the recent> years. While the lower and middle-income groups have benefited from trade via cheaper imports, the net benefits> from globalization are still being heavily debated.. In the most recent years, real wages have remained> stagnant for the middle-class in spite of rising cost of living.> > > > In this respect, Obama has offered to raise the minimum wage adjusted for inflation and introduce laws to make> organizing unions easier. He has proposed to reform the Trade Adjustment Assistance, wage insurance and worker> retraining programs.> > > > Foreign Policy> > > > While economic policy issues make take the fore and constrain foreign policy, many global leaders will be> watching the new foreign policy team for clues of the new administration's priorities. No shortage of> challenges await – a resurgent Russia resenting NATO's involvement in its near abroad, an Iran that remains> dedicated to nuclear proliferation despite sanctions etc. Obama's foreign policy vision has centered around> multilateralism and revived diplomacy - something for which European allies have been longing - to further US> interests at a time when the U.S. military is engaged in two wars. Iraq and Afghanistan will likely consume> much of the administration's focus - Obama has pledged to withdraw troops from Iraq within 16 months of taking> office and counter resurgent Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, economic and not political> ties may continue to define the U.S. relationship with key Asian economies, including China, its largest creditor.> > > > But finding common ground with China, the second largest consumer and importer of oil, may be required to meet> energy policy and anti-climate change goals. Obama has stressed conservation and use of alternative fuels to> meet America's energy needs in order to reduce US oil imports and its trade deficit. However, the lower price> of oil and worsening economic outlook expenditures may reduce some of the political will around cap and trade> policies as well as reducing pressure to begin offshore drilling.> >
Comentários: by the way, o que os brasileiros estão comemorando tanto??? Já que o único ponto que nos diz respeito do programa dele é o que pretende sobretaxar nosso etanol proveniente do álcool??
By the way