What do the next four years hold in store for the economy?

November 7, 2012 10:53:16 PM PST
The second honeymoon is already over for President Barack Obama. The Fitch credit rating agency warned of a downgrade Wednesday and Wall Street marked its ballot with a 300 point downturn, the worst one-day loss in almost a year. So what do the next four years hold in store for the economy?

By some estimates, $6 billion was spent on the presidential campaign. Now that it's over, will the economy improve?

"The economy's just kind of limping along, and I don't see any change; we have the same leaders at the White House, and where's the change," San Jose resident Brian Franklin said.

Investors got their say Wednesday, and the big selloff seemed to send a message.

Ash Wagner owns a small solar business in Campbell.

"I know several friends who started selling stock this morning," Wagner said. "It tells me people are not excited about the future of our economy."

Wagner's company, Provoltz, has six employees. He hopes to expand next year, but much will depend on whether taxes are raised or tax cuts are extended. He doesn't want to bring on new employees now and lay them off later.

"I'm really concerned about our tax situation next year; more taxes simply means less money left over to build jobs," Wagner said.

The CEO of cloud-based software company Coupa in San Mateo is hoping the partisan divide in congress can be bridged now that the campaign is over.

"This is the opportunity now to bring that bipartisan nature in front of us here and deliver on the promises he's been talking about and we all want to see delivered on in the coming years," Rob Bernshteyn said.

Bernshteyn's company makes software that helps companies trim their spending on goods and services.

While most of its clients are major American firms, it's expanding rapidly in Europe. It just scored new deals in the United Kingdom, Sweden and Denmark.

But the Wall Street selloff also signaled new concerns of a widening European recession. Coupa management is confident its cost-saving service is needed in a European downturn.

"The demand for getting arms around the spending that happens at companies and using best-in-class modern technology to do so, and Coupa is delivering just that," Bernshteyn said.

Some analysts are suggesting that in the weeks ahead there might be some tap dancing in Washington. Delaying decisions for new taxes, budget cuts and extending tax cuts in order to avoid slipping back into a recession. But that could only increase investor jitters.

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