Dow Sinks Day After Election; Obama to Inherit Bad Economy

He said the problems with these programs today are "much bigger" than what past presidents have faced.

"We've waited so long. You can't possibly increase taxes enough to deal with this problem," Smetters said. "We've actually exhausted all of our black powder at this point in terms of tax increases."

Next up, Smetters said, the president should work to cut the corporate tax rate.

"It's just not sustainable," he said. "We now have one of the highest statutory rates in the world."

India and China have a fast-growing middle class that now has money to invest. "It's going to be a lot less attractive for those countries to invest in the United States and for Americans to keep their money here," he said.

Keeping the tax rate at its current level would hinder investments and growth of our economy, Smetters said.

The third big economic area for the new president -- and Smetters emphasized that it was the third most important -- is the government bailout.

"In my opinion it is a far distant third," he said.

There is going to be a regulatory tangle administering the program and a call for a whole new set of oversight regulations for Wall Street.

But the key, says Smetters, is for the new president to determine what type of precedent the bailout sets for future businesses and investors.

"Does it allow for entrepreneurs and corporate executives to game the system?" he said.

A Global Economy

Lewis Alexander, chief economist at Citigroup Inc., said earlier this week that he sees a very significant set of economic challenges for the next president.

One key issue for the next president will be "getting the financial system back so that it is actually contributing to growth," he said

"In the last four weeks the situation has moved from what was a U.S. issue to a global issue, impacting emerging markets," Alexander said. Firstly, "the economy is contracting quite sharply, that would be challenge number one. The expectation is that the economy is going to be contracting through the middle of next year, with mild growth following that.

"The floor is just falling out from under, you saw that last week in the consumer confidence number," he said. "A lot of headway has been made with the [Troubled Asset Relief Plan] and other programs but that has yet to be played out."

Alexander commented before Tuesday's election that when Bill Clinton took office in 1992 and when Ronald Reagan took over in 1980 they faced a sort of cyclical challenge that is not the acute problem in the financial and global sector that is seen now.

"Inevitably whoever wins is going to have to focus on getting the economy going. That inevitably means they are going to have to rein in their priorities," Alexander said. "Both candidates have focused on health care and despite what has gone on economically, I think that focus will continue because unless you get your arms around that, it's going to be hard to make the long run work.

"If the economic situation weren't so bad you probably would have seen Obama ... come out with a big health-care push early on in the administration," he said. "It probably won't be that soon now but I think they will try to make a run at it."

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