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Buls Eye

Bruce Buls photo Celebration or commiseration?


November 6, 2012

As you may have heard, there’s an election today that is one, the most significant in your lifetime, and two, the most important ever.

As a partisan myself, I tend to occasionally overemphasize the importance of the choices we make today, but I’m also old enough to know that life goes on pretty much the same for most of us no matter who prevails.

It would be nice to think that the BS level will diminish starting Nov. 7, but I’m also old enough to realize that it won’t. Some people just can’t restrain willful ignorance.

If Romney wins, will that be better for the maritime industry? Would President Romney advocate billions for inland waterways infrastructure? Not if that money has to be borrowed from China, he says, and not if that money comes from raising taxes. Will President Obama be the champion of the inland waterways? Probably not. He’s talked about the importance of infrastructure, but I’ve never heard any references to inland waterways. He doesn’t seem particularly aware of tugs and barges.

Would President Romney be better for the offshore oil and gas industry? Maybe, but I don’t think that President Obama has been that bad. Sure, the moratorium hurt Gulf operators, but any president would have shut down the Gulf in the aftermath of the BP spill. And the so-called “permatorium” really wasn’t all that permanent, was it? Also, from what I’ve read, Obama has personally given the green light to offshore exploration in the Arctic.

Romney says he wants to increase the military budget by a couple trillion (even though we'd have to borrow for that too), so that would probably be good for shipyards and boatbuilders that specialize in government work (but bad for the deficit). Meanwhile, judging from the Navy and Coast Guard activity at Austal, Marinette and Bollinger, things aren’t all that bad.

Overall, the economy seems to be getting better and, baring unforeseen calamity, probably will continue to improve no matter who’s in the White House. These things tend to swing on larger timescales than presidential terms.

So, keep your beer cold because at the end of the day it’s either celebration or commiseration. And then it’s back to work. 

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