Editor's Note » Dec/Jan 13

Depending on one’s point of view, 2012 provided several positive building blocks from a business standpoint; or one could surmise it as missed opportunities due to the never-ending political bickering emanating from Washington.

On the upside, America has weathered the ongoing economic storm that has enveloped many nations, not the least of whom are in Europe where many remain in a flux over how to move ahead. Germany has led the charge to try to salvage the European Union from a monetary standpoint, all the while making harsh but necessary austerity demands on countries like Greece, dangling on the edge of economic collapse.

With President Barack Obama retaining the White House and his Democrats controlling the Senate, there’s reason to believe we’re in for a four-year extension of the bumpy ride we’ve been through as the Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives.

Senate Majority leader Harry Reid uttered this statement upon hearing his Democratic Party would maintain the Senate: “Now that the election is over, it’s time to put politics aside and work together to find solutions. The strategy of obstruction, gridlock and delay was soundly rejected by the American people. Now they are looking to us for solutions. Democrats and Republicans must come together, and show that we are up to the challenge. This is no time for excuses. This is no time for putting things off until later. We can achieve big things when we work together.”

“When” being the operative word. Taking it one step further: when – and how often? The U.S. economy simply won’t be able to endure another four years of complete dysfunction coming out of Washington without perilous economic consequences.

It will come down to American businesses and consumers to save the day but they need effective government policy. The good news is that consumers are becoming increasingly confident about the job market. Rising home prices, increased job creation and somewhat lower fuel costs have stimulated consumer confidence to its highest level in nearly five years, which has led to steady consumer spending after somewhat of a summer pullback.

According to recent government statistics, the national economy is improving. Let’s hope stubborn politicians don’t knock genuine progress off course.

Angus Gillespie