If the U.S. presidential election had only been about the economy, Barack Obama would not have been re-elected. The U.S. federal government runs a $16 trillion deficit, a historical peak of sovereign debt whose only precedent dates back to World War II. And with 23 million Americans unemployed, the unemployment rate has not decreased dramatically since the outbreak of the 2008 financial crisis.
Meanwhile, with regard to the policy issues raised by the crisis itself, there has been little follow through on the numerous decisions taken by the G-20 to better contain and control financial markets. To the contrary, financial concentration has worsened in the U.S. as well as in Europe, especially in Germany, with the world’s 10 biggest banks having increased their share in the global market by a third in the past two years. And regulatory policies, most importantly a financial transaction tax, have not been introduced.
But if the election outcome is any indication, U.S. voters were either unimpressed by these economic indicators, or else they based their votes on different priorities that undermined Mitt Romney’s insistence that he could perform better than Obama on the all-important job front.