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Excerpt: Bad news (and hope) on the fiscal cliff

By Ed D'Agostino, Publisher, Mauldin Economics | November 7, 2012

By this time, the election is no longer breaking news. America chose four more years of Obama, yet that may not be the most consequential part of last night's election. What may matter most—in hindsight—is what happened to Congress. Or what didn't. Vote by vote and district by district, America kept a split Congress. While the players have changed (somewhat), it's this split Congress that paralyzed American politics for the last two years. It was this split Congress that could not come to terms on the debt ceiling and made the fiscal cliff bigger. It's this split Congress that made predicting what comes next out of Washington—and what happens in the markets as a result—so difficult. Bad news. With no big changing of the guard in Washington, we may see more uncertainty. More gridlock. More wrangling. One commentator said that the next election cycle starts today. He may be right - and that's unsettling news for our economy. We've said it before: we can't afford partisan bickering and kicking the can for another election cycle. Enough is enough. We have to take serious action to address our deficits, or we may be seeing Reinhart and Rogoff's "Bang Moment" faster than any of us expect. And yet, there may be a glimmer of hope. An article today in the Financial Times quotes John Boehner, Republican Speaker of the House of Representatives. He said: "With this vote, the American people have also made clear that there is no mandate for raising tax rates... If there is a mandate, it is a mandate for both parties to find common ground."

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