The Only Thing We Have to Fear?

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” FDR famously broadcast during the Great Depression. His speech didn’t end that economic slump, and the election next week won’t end this one. It will, however, help.

The Republicans are currently projected to win 10-15 more seats than they need for a majority in the House, and fall 2-3 short of that in the Senate. Given their recalcitrance in passing legislation this term, and the general lack of statesmanship in our national legislature, I don’t expect the election results to dramatically change our business climate.

But we will think it can, and that is always important. The stories of delayed decision-making in business abound. Contracts unsigned. Loans approved but not accepted by the borrower. Purchases delayed. Business owners throughout the country are acting like deer in the headlights.

Who can blame us? The tax burden for 2011 is still an unknown. We don’t know how much it will cost to hire another employee. I hear a lot of folks saying “I haven’t worked this hard in 10 years” because their business is picking up a bit, but they are too lean to staff for the increase and are taking it all on themselves.

The election won’t change anything right away, but people will feel that at least they have the power to make changes. Once again we will exercise our legal right to protest. That alone will make us more inclined to start moving forward.

Unlike the dip of 2001-2002, we won’t have debt-fueled consumer spending to pull this one out, so attitude alone won’t do it. But it will help.

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