Tags: Ross | Obama | fiscal | cliff

Wilbur Ross: Expect Obama to Reach Across to Republicans to Build Consensus

Thursday, 08 Nov 2012 08:11 AM

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President Barack Obama will likely spend the next four years reaching across the aisle to build consensus with Republican lawmakers on economic policy, said Wilbur Ross, chairman and CEO of WL Ross and Co.

History tends to suggest such bipartisanship.

“The first term for a president is mostly about politics. I think second term logically should be about the history books, and I think given the fact that Congress is relatively unchanged, the real question will be if President Obama wishes to start reaching across the aisle and working on a consensus basis — I’m optimistic that he will be looking toward the history books,” Ross told CNBC.

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

A chance to extend an olive branch will come in a matter of days.

At the end of this year, tax cuts are scheduled to expire at the same time automatic spending cuts are due to take effect, a combination known as a fiscal cliff that could send the country sliding into a recession if left unchecked by Congress.

“I think what we’re trying to figure out is what will be the initial moves that the president makes. Will he reach across? Will he start discussions with [Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio]?” Ross told the network.

“Since things are not changing, leadership presumably in both houses of the Congress will be the same. So there’s no reason for the president and the Congress not to be beginning to interact constructively, even during the so-called lame duck period — I think that’ll be the big test.”

Wall Street analysts have warned the government must steer the country away from the fiscal cliff or see markets and the economy suffer.

“Tackling the fiscal cliff will be the first order of business,” Craig Johnson, a market strategist at Piper Jaffray, told USA Today.

“If we can get any sort of sign that the cliff will be avoided or minimized, it would lift another piece of uncertainty from the investment landscape.”

Wall Street would applaud successful navigation away from the cliff, while failure to craft policy to keep the country from rolling over it would roil markets and bruise corporate earnings.

“We have to remove the fiscal cliff uncertainty,” Hugh Johnson, chairman and chief investment officer at Hugh Johnson Advisors, also told USA Today.

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

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