Is the Republican sweep — giving the GOP control over the House and Senate — good news for your money?
That’s what USA Today’s Adam Shell asked. But Bob Doll, chief equity strategist at Nuveen Asset Management, gives the GOP sweep just a shoulder shrug.
As Doll tells Shell, “We wouldn’t say this election is a game changer.” It’s more like a “modest shift.” Shell writes: “While the election results might not be a game-changer, it does open the door for policy changes, new laws and other moves that could affect businesses — and specific sectors of the economy.”
The stock market isn’t so lukewarm about midterm elections. On Wednesday, the day after the election, the Dow Jones Industrial Average and Standard & Poor’s index closed at all-time highs.
“Midterm elections tend to be bullish for stocks,” Shell reports. “The benchmark Standard & Poor’s 500 stock index has performed much better in the final quarter of the year after a midterm vote. In the past 80 years, stocks have risen 2% in November and 1.8% in December during midterm election years, according to data from Strategas Research Partners.”
But how might the midterm affect your money? Here’s how, Money’s Jacob Davidson writes:
— Minimum wage was a hot election topic. “Many conservative economists say a higher minimum wage will slow job growth and price low-skill workers out of the job market,” writes Davidson. “Liberals, on the other hand, see little evidence that a higher minimum wage will mean fewer jobs.”
— The Affordable Care Act. As Davidson writes: “There is bipartisan support for a handful of Obamacare reforms. Currently, those applying for an insurance subsidy under the program must estimate next year’s income to determine how generous their subsidy will be. If you underestimate next year’s earnings, you’ll have to pay at least some of that amount back when you file taxes. That’s a big problem for anyone . . . but it especially affects low-income families.”
— Taxes. “Among the provisions in need of renewal are tax incentives for electric cars and energy-efficient appliances, meaning anyone who purchases said items this year will lose money if the provisions aren’t reintroduced,” writes Davidson.
I’m not holding my breath that Congress will make money moves to help the masses.
Color of Money question of the week
Do you think the midterm election results will affect your personal finances? Send your comments to email@example.com. Please include your full name, city and state.
An expensive election
While we are taking stock of what happened on Election Day, CNN investigative correspondent Chris Frates had a sober take on the amount of money spent by and for candidates.
Ready for the number?
Frates notes some things we could have spent $4 billion on instead:
— Pay for more than 12,000 students’ K-12 education and have enough left over to produce a summer blockbuster.
— It’s 10 times more than the government has committed to fighting Ebola in West Africa and would be enough to build 100 treatment centers and run them for years.
— Buy 25 F-18 fighter jets.
What does $4 billion in election spending get you? “The bulk of that money is being spent by parties and candidates on the nuts and bolts of campaigning, things like staff salaries, advertising and get-out-the-vote efforts,” Frates says. “But $1 billion of it is being spent by outside groups not formally tied to candidates or parties. And much of that money comes from groups that don’t disclose all their donors — known in politics as dark money groups.”
Live chat today
Join me today at noon ET. I’ll be answering your personal finance questions. But I’ll also have a guest today, Washington Post business reporter Jonnelle Marte. We’ll be talking about student loan debt.
Ask a question or join the conversation here.
Here are some recent Post stories about the more than $1 trillion in student loans on the books:
The payoff for strict parenting
Roberto A. Ferdman, a reporter for The Washington Post’s Wonkblog, looked at a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research about the trend of authoritarian parenting. The study “found that the more unequal a society, the more likely people were to favor strict parenting,” Ferdman wrote.
So for last week’s Color of Money question of the week I asked: How do you feel about pushy parents who hover to make sure their kids succeed?
“As a first generation college graduate from a poor family, I grew up in a strict family and I was also a relatively strict parent,” wrote David Chetlain of Beaverton, Ore. “My parents emphasized hard work and character, and indeed they worked me hard on the family farm. I emphasized the same with my own children, and each of them have graduated from college, as well, and are early in their careers. I consider my parents’ ‘strict’ parenting a key element in my rise from growing up in the lowest economic quintile to my permanent residence in the highest quintile as an adult.”
“We need to love and nurture our kids and help them grow up confident,” wrote Elvira Garnett of Springfield, Va. “The flash cards when the kids are months old is ridiculous. Let the kids be kids. Help them pretend and imagine and be creative, and the rest will come.”
Paul Follett, a father of three and grandfather of six from Wakefield, R.I., wrote: “A parent’s role is to set the moral compass, implant a work ethic and provide the resources for a good education. It is the child’s responsibility to stay on course and take advantage of the opportunities. A parent assuming accountability will only assure a long-term dependency on the part of the child.”
There were so many comments on this topic that I’m going to continue the conversation next week. But for now, I’m going to end on this note from Vickie Wilkins from Locust Grove, Va.: “The ones that needed the extra push — I was there to push. The more independent ones — I stepped back and allowed them to fly, but I was there to give advice when asked and sometimes unsolicited when I felt they were going in the wrong direction. Parenting is a balance act. We should learn from the clowns how to balance different balls at different times.”
Readers may write to Michelle Singletary at The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20071, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Personal responses may not be possible, and comments or questions may be used in a future column, with the writer’s name, unless otherwise requested. To read previous Color of Money columns, go to www.postbusiness.com.