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SPECIAL POLITICAL FOCUS
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Obama vs. Romney, cont ...Published: October 01, 2012

Who will occupy the White House
after the next inauguration?
Talk business, however, and you will touch a nerve and discover why this county has remained one of the reddest when it comes to its brand of politics. When the topic is taxes, job growth, regulation, the balance of trade and the national debt, the chatter turns much more conservative, and it is here that Republicans are hanging their biggest hopes for Romney to prevail come Nov. 6, not only in Orange County but nationally.
   
The big issue, of course, is the economy, and Romney hopes to ride dissatisfaction with Obama’s performance to victory in November. There’s ample reason for dissatisfaction – unemployment over 8 percent for 43 months, while unemployment and underemployment together are above 14 percent. The workforce participation rate is at its lowest in 31 years, while personal income is back to the same level it was in 1995.
   
That’s enough for many to declare this president a failure. But is he? He inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, with job losses of 800,000 a month when he took office and a Dow Jones Average below 7,000.
   
To distill the differences between the two candidates when it comes to business and economic issues, OC METRO compiled a file folder of information on each one and, in the case of Obama, what has happened to key sectors and indicators during his four years in the White House. Although this is far from a complete scorecard, it may shed some light on what is a difficult evaluation of the two candidates because both have avoided – some clearly believe intentionally – a full disclosure of the economic course they will follow if elected.
   
What is clear to the editors at OC METRO is the level of uneasiness in the business community about what lies ahead, particularly among small- and mid-sized businesses. The fact that the national unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for 43 consecutive months is troubling, and even in Orange County, one of the nation’s top job generators during this slow-moving recovery, the sense of uncertainty remains particularly unsettling as world affairs remain cloudy and unpredictable. §

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