News / Economy

Opinion: Washington's Scandals Won't Stunt US Recovery

An investor monitors the stock market at a securities brokerage in Taipei, Apr. 16, 2013.
An investor monitors the stock market at a securities brokerage in Taipei, Apr. 16, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
Scandal has visited the Obama administration, and thanks to the media narrative it's larger than the sum of its parts.
 
With a talking-point imbroglio after Benghazi, the IRS's discriminatory practices and the Justice Department's procurement of Associated Press phone records, the Obama administration and its allies are right to be worried.
 
But those of us invested in U.S. growth have little reason to fret. The past few years have proved that dysfunction in Washington has almost no effect on America's attractiveness to investors. As the yields on U.S. Treasury bonds prove, America continues to be the place for investors to park their money. That's because petty politics don't control the fate of the country.
 
In major emerging markets, politicians have to behave to appeal to investors. In capitals like Moscow, Delhi and Pretoria, this is largely an act of optics, but it's an important one for countries trying to earn the trust of investors who see opportunity, but not necessarily stability.
 
For further proof of developing countries' precarious position, look to Bangladesh, where a country's economy has been threatened by its politicians' negligence before, during and after the country's latest garment industry catastrophe.
 
Things are not nearly as volatile in the United States, and they won't be even if the Obama scandals metastasize. Growth has already been moving in the right direction, and the Unites States doesn't need a pristine Obama administration to ensure that it continues.
 
On energy, the Obama administration has wisely shifted regulation to the state level, allowing states such as Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota to create drilling jobs even as a state such as New York wrestles with the environmental impact of fracking. This has helped control unemployment and keep energy prices down, and solidify the country's long-term energy security. Nothing about that is likely to change.
 
On trade, Obama has led a remarkably pro-free trade administration, despite critics who say otherwise. His administration is remaking international trade architecture away from a failed Doha round and toward transatlantic and transpacific partnerships. None of that changes, either.
 
Finally, Congress has not actually been that dysfunctional recently - and the recent scandals should not set it back.
 
Policy items such as immigration reform, tax reform or another debt ceiling extension are framed by congressional incentives.
 
On immigration, it's a political win for both parties, one that has been driven by a bipartisan Senate initiative, not the White House.
 
Now that Senate tax chief Max Baucus has announced his retirement, his focus has shifted from a grueling 2014 reelection campaign to his legacy: a bid for comprehensive tax reform. That gives us motivated committee chairs in the Senate and the House, where David Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has already pushed for a revenue-neutral reform effort. Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling so as not to be remembered for crashing the economy - and Republicans will be in a position to tie its passage to reasonable demands (perhaps even tax reform).
 
With Congress finally making progress, an embattled Obama administration won't hurt, and could even help, the passage of these measures. That's because the administration's problems are just that - the administration's. If the 2014 coattail strategy becomes less palatable for congressional Democrats facing re-election, Democrats may be more eager to cut a deal with Republicans so they can run on their legislative accomplishments instead of their association with the president. Similar logic applies to a harried Obama, who may be more willing to get behind new legislation in the hopes of diverting attention from the scandals.
 
That a floundering Obama administration doesn't necessarily equate to a floundering country is an uplifting story. Washington is working as it should - ills affecting the executive branch can largely be contained therein. The congressional agenda and the health of the American economy don't have to suffer along with it.

You May Like

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid

World Currencies

EUR
USD
0.7217
JPY
USD
102.17
GBP
USD
0.5949
CAD
USD
1.1009
INR
USD
60.326

Rates may not be current.