Scandal has visited the Obama administration, and thanks to the media narrative it’s larger than the sum of its parts. With a talking-point imbroglio after Benghazi, the IRS’s discriminatory practices and the Justice Department’s procurement of Associated Press phone records, the Obama administration and its allies are right to be worried.
But those of us invested in U.S. growth have little reason to fret. The past few years have proved that dysfunction in Washington has almost no effect on America’s attractiveness to investors. As the rates of U.S. Treasury bonds prove, America continues to be the place for investors to park their money. That’s because petty politics don’t control the fate of the country.
In major emerging markets, politicians have to behave to appeal to investors. In capitals like Moscow, Delhi and Pretoria, this is largely an act of optics, but it’s an important one for countries trying to earn the trust of investors who see opportunity, but not necessarily stability. For further proof of developing countries’ precarious position, look to Bangladesh, where a country’s economy has been threatened by its politicians’ negligence before, during and after the country’s latest garment industry catastrophe.
Things are not nearly as volatile in the United States, and they won’t be even if the Obama scandals metastasize. Growth has already been moving in the right direction, and the Unites States doesn’t need a pristine Obama administration to ensure that it continues.
On energy, the Obama administration has wisely shifted regulation to the state level, allowing states such as Texas, Oklahoma and North Dakota to create drilling jobs even as a state such as New York wrestles with the environmental impact of fracking. This has helped control unemployment and keep energy prices down, and solidify the country’s long-term energy security. Nothing about that is likely to change.