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  • Writer's pictureDoug Lagerstrom

Political Picture | Winter 2015

President Obama has officially entered, as he calls it, the fourth quarter of his presidency. While Congress and the President have not seen eye to eye over the past four years, there are some signs that both parties would like progress on a few issues in the next couple of years.

Undoubtedly the President would like additional legislative accomplishments added to his legacy. Additionally, some believe it is in the Republicans interest to pass legislation to avoid the “do nothing congress” label.

Regardless of the political motivation it appears likely the following items will be addressed by Congress, and subsequently the President, next year:

Keystone Pipeline: With Oil now close to $50 a barrel the motivation isn’t quite as strong, for this controversial bill, as it was a year ago. However, Congress will likely pass legislation on this and the President will likely veto it.

Immigration reform: A bill may or may not be passed, but the executive order by the President will likely be challenged in court. This is a real hot button issue as politicians begin to eye the white house in 2016.

Tax Reform: A simplification of our tax code would be a very welcome bill by Wall Street in our opinion. The current code is a garbage disposal of political favors and tinkering designed to give certain people benefits over others. There appears to be some support from both sides of the aisle on this issue. We believe there is a real chance for a bipartisan bill this calendar year. Of course we have to acknowledge that, when you get down to nuts and bolts, it can be difficult to make any real progress.

Minimum Wage: This issue appears to have mostly local appeal and will likely be relegated to the individual states to address. It may become a national issue later this year as the Presidential hopefuls adopt their platforms. As far as effect on the financial markets goes, it’s really anybody’s guess. However, historically the last two years of a two term president have been favorable for the stock market. Some have theories about this phenomenon, but I’m not sure there is much to it. We will see.


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