What Matters Most

As November quickly approaches, politicians are beginning to ramp up their fundraising efforts and campaigns for midterm elections. This midterm in particular should be interesting given the never-ending scandals coming out of Washington, foreign policy troubles with the Middle East and Russia, and Congress’s abysmal approval rating. As of the beginning of September, Gallup reports that the Congressional approval rating is a mere 14%, one of the lowest figures ever polled by Gallup in 40 years heading in to a midterm election. This figure has elected officials scrambling to rally their respective bases and play the blame game for the nation’s troubles. If any sitting senators or house members want to maintain their seats, they better pipe down and listen to their constituents, because 80% of the country is focusing on one issue alone.

Some pundits believe that foreign policy is the number one concern of the country, while others feel that social issues are the number one focus of voters. According to the Wall Street Journal and the Global Strategy Group, the economy remains the number one priority of the American people.

With the Dow Jones Industrial Average hovering around 17,000, many economists presume that gains in equities are correlated with an economic recovery, when in reality gains have been a result of loose monetary policy by the Federal Reserve and the United States Treasury. According to the article, the labor force participation rate is just 62.8%, which is the lowest since the days of Jimmy Carter. Furthermore, median family income dropped by 5% from 2010-2013, and only 16% of Americans polled believe that the next generation will have better job opportunities than this generation. From these figures we can deduce one very clear fact; the economy is not improving.

Congress can make changes to encourage job growth within the United States and put us back on the right track. Some simple changes can be made to our government’s view on regulation and energy policy for starters, but our elected officials seem more hell-bent on fighting amongst each other rather than passing legislation that will encourage hiring. If politicians listened to voters, they would know that inaction will not fly this midterm.

The Global Strategy Group found after surveying 3000 Americans that 78% found it important that Congress focus on an economic based agenda benefitting all Americans, while strategies to spread wealth more evenly and reduce income inequality received the least support in that poll. When asked about economic growth and income inequality, 53% said that economic growth was extremely important, compared to only 30% feeling that way about income inequality.

The single most important statistic from that article was this; 80% of respondents favored candidates that were more geared towards economic growth, compared to only 16% who favored candidates that were campaigning on reducing income inequality.

The people have spoken loud and clear; Americans are tired of gridlock, tired of infighting, and tired of feeling like their elected officials do not share the same values and concerns. This election is going to be all about the economy, and given how dismal numbers have been over the last 12 months, it would not surprise us to see some new faces heading to Washington.

Ben Treece is a partner with Treece Investment Advisory Corp (www.TreeceInvestments.com) and licensed with FINRA (www.Finra.org) through Treece Financial Services Corp. The above information is the opinion of Ben Treece and should not be construed as investment advice or used without outside verification.
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