News Column

Corner Office: Solutions in Sight?

Dec. 13, 2011

Jesus Chavarria, Editor and Publisher

Not many on the weekend prior to the deadline facing the congressional deficit select committee. Monday's news confirmed what many had expected, that a solution to the $15 trillion deficit was not likely to come from a bipartisan effort. The co-chairs of the deficit reduction admitted failure to break a bipartisan stalemate and thus no plan would be submitted. The immediate effect? Stock markets in the United States and Europe headed south. Gold and crude oil prices dropped. The euro fell. Failure also triggers automatic spending cuts of $1.2 trillion in 2012. Those would come from defense spending and government spending on domestic programs. But whether those spending cuts come about remains an iffy consideration. Republicans already have said they would seek to keep defense spending from being trimmed.

Most sources are reporting the super committee could not come up with a tax-driven revenue solution to match proposed cuts to Medicare and Social Security. Apparently, Democrats had agreed to cuts in Social Security and health care. One version was that the discussions broke up over the unwillingness to "balance" cuts with new revenue.

It is expected that the country will be contemplating a return to volatility both on Wall Street and throughout the financial markets. Small-business markets will surely be included. The immediate question is how will the latest chapter in the long-playing narrative of congressional intractability be resolved? It is now clear there can be no bipartisan solution to the deficit crisis. Over the next year everything will revolve around the upcoming national election. Electoral politics are sucking up all the political oxygen. Little will happen not connected to the election (certainly not solutions to the recovery or to the country's mounting social and economic problems). The governing concern for the political class is the election. The only apparent alternative for the administration has been to embrace the practice of governing through the use executive orders.

We know where this leaves the recovery and the country: Waiting for the electoral process to decide its future. Is it any wonder the Occupy Wall Street movement replicated itself throughout the country in a matter of weeks? In the same vein, the state of Wisconsin faces the possibility of a historic recall election of its governor. Millions of signatures will have to be obtained if it's to happen.

People, constituencies, interest groups are coalescing and pursuing their own solutions.

This does not mean all comes to a standstill, as the annual HispanicBusiness Media Markets Report shows. Though advertising spending slowed in the second half of the year, sending the expected spending growth up by a mere 0.6 percent, that is still a 2.7 percent increase from the dismal spending in 2009. The Association of Hispanic Advertising Agencies' Report on Hispanic Advertising Spending, released in October, showed a connection between consistent investment (of 14.2 percent) in Hispanic marketing and high levels of overall topline revenue growth. Social media and the Internet are proving to be challenges for Hispanic media, prompting Spanish-language TV networks to hone new skills and the print medium to consider integrated operations.

As with everything, time will tell.

Source: (c) 2011. All rights reserved.

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