Banking problems and “toxic assets” are major contributors to the ongoing decline in the stock market, but it is quite likely that investors took them into account last year. The 800 pound gorilla in the living room that nobody seems to want to talk about consists of Barack Obama’s agenda (per his State of the Union Address) to impose taxes on all fossil fuels, or require users of fossil fuels to buy carbon offset credits from the modern counterparts of medieval indulgence peddlers.
As long as this agenda continues to menace the United States, investors are rightly reluctant to invest in American manufacturing, transportation, and other energy-intensive sectors. If, however, enough Senators (including Democrats from coal-producing and manufacturing states) pledged to vote against and filibuster Obama’s cap-and-trade agenda, it would restore investor confidence, break the downward momentum of the stock market, and set the stage for an economic recovery. (more…)