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The Election: Can Everyone Finally Stop Whining About "Uncertainty"?

By Dr. Joe Webb
Published: November 12, 2012

There was no uncertainty about the election results, but there was plenty of whining about "uncertainty" for months and months prior to the election. Now that the election is over, is there really any less "uncertainty"? Why do executives get the big bucks? To make decisions when there's uncertainty, real uncertainty. Dr. Joe explains what's uncertain and what's not... at least we think he does. Guess you'll have to read it to be sure.




Dr. Joe Webb is one of the graphic arts industry's best-known consultants, forecasters, and commentators. He is the director of WhatTheyThink.com's Economics and Research Center.

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By John Zarwan on Nov 12, 2012

While your comments on "uncertainty" have been consistent and on the mark, there is one major area of uncertainty - and that's what the rules and regulations actually will be. This isn't just related to the "Affordable care act" but also Dodd-Frank (which is more far reaching than just financial firms), EPA, etc. Whatever one thinks about the legislation, the rules are still being written. So that also argues for "efficiency" (which I can bank regardless of the laws) versus "expansion" (which is not only perceived to be riskier but may cost me more because of rules yet to be written)


By Joe Webb on Nov 12, 2012

Unfortunately, for the past decade or so Congress has taken the path of writing legislation that is purposely ambiguous on technical details, and giving the responsibility for clarification to regulatory departments, or believing that courts will sort things out at another time. This puts another risk on the net present value horizon, as you say, which means that to take that risk, expected ROI has to be yet higher. Some have described it as playing 21, and then the dealer says, "oh by the way, we've been playing 17 for this hand, but we undecided about that until three cards ago."


By Wayne Lynn on Nov 12, 2012

If company owners and executives read between the lines here, there is even more pressure for improving margins than there has been in a long time.

Another way of addressing the issue is to state the importance of finally giving up the notion that things will get better with an improving economy. First, it will get better painfully slow. Second, it will not lift the printing industry like it once did.

If you depend on your company to support your family, you'll need to run a better business with higher profits so you have enough to pay taxes and then take care of yourself. And Joe, as you so ably point out, the risk equations going forward demand better margins to offset them.


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