Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Eve Thoughts - 11/3/08.

Obviously this election is critical in many ways, but the direction of Future Energy Policy is at the top of the list.

In the last few months we've seen Billions of Dollars come out of stock holdings of Exxon and other Big Oil Companies. We've seen literally Trillions of Dollars get pulled out of the markets as a whole, as fear of losses AND uncertainty in US policy direction has weighed on Investors' sense of security. This has been in addition to, and in part, caused by, massive losses and fear of losses in the Derivatives Markets, which will likely continue.

On the other hand, while Trillions of Dollars have been pulled out of the Stock Market, rather alot of it has been converted to various forms of Cash and Bonds. The money doesn't want to stay in these forms, it wants a place to grow. Without direction from the top, though, there has been no safe place to park this money; no safe place, at least, in which long term growth has appeared likely no matter who would take the Presidency.

Across the Globe, Governments and Central Banks have been dumping money on the immediate problems; to try to cover losses; and to try to stop the selling; but what is missing is an overall plan to stabilize housing prices, and get Americans (and Europeans, and Asians) back to productive and sustainable work. Obama has a plan in the US to do this through middle-class tax cuts, infrastructure / energy investment, and other common sense measures such as extension of unemployment insurance. The goal is to help keep as many people as possible in their homes while they find a way to adapt to the changing Economy, as well as to provide an overall stimulus for smart growth. In addition, an Obama Presidency will likely bring some confidence to Investors around the World that the US Markets will be regulated, open, and fair to all investors. The long term Naked Shorting of stocks is an example of a reason for Foreign Investors to be wary of investing in US Securities, or of offering their shares on US Exchanges. We've recently seen the shinking of the Naked Short Threshold List down to a very few companies, and in fact, LDK has fallen off. Now we just need a President who will assure that these regulations are enforced.

Overall market conditions aside, this election will mark a turningpoint in the direction taken in US Energy Policy. Though the immediate need for Fossil Energy will be unchanged no matter who wins, the future under Obama will be clear, and it will be green. The Markets must move to reflect this once the decision is made.

Under McCain, for instance, you'd want to be invested in Fossils and Nuclear. The fact that McCain has paid lip service to Renewables does not counter his history of inaction, nor his active opposition to these technologies. His prioirities as President have been quite clearly demonstrated by his Campaign Activities. A great symbol of the McCain Camp's Antipathy towards renewables is Sarah Palin's recent visit to a US Solar Manufacturer, and her entirely inappropriate and uninformed littany of sales pitches for Coal, Nuclear, and "Drill, Baby, Drill." The term "Solar" was used twice.

Obama represents a sharp departure from this position, and he's stressed over and over that Energy would be his TOP Priority, and at the top of this list will be investment in a "Smart Grid," which will modernize the US Power Grid. The modernized Grid will provide High Efficiency transport of Electricity across the Nation, irrespective of start and end points. This is critical to supporting a Decentralized Power Production Infrastructure, such as we will see with the implementation Green Energy Production. For instance, if T Boone Pickens wants to install a Billion Dollars worth of Wind Turbines, then Obama would let him do it, and would make sure that when Pickens sets up a farm, he'll have access to Electricity Markets all across the US, without the limits imposed by todays outdated grid. Simultaneously, Obama supports moves to get as many cars off of gas as soon as possible. The end result of this will be lower demand for gas and oil, and higher demand for electricity.

Is it any wonder that big money has left the market, and stayed on the sidelines? Who's going to bet Billions of Dollars that a black man would become President of the United States? And then again, who's going to bet their Billions on a 72 year old man backed up by an(other) Incompetent Dominionist? I think we know the answer. Nobody is making either bet, but they've got to be getting edgy.

The big decision is tomorrow, and the markets will respond appropriately to whatever certainty follows. I can't wait!

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