Winner will have to take office RIGHT NOW!


No time for post-election monkey-wrenching.

The economy’s in such a freefall that the winner of today’s election won’t have time for a transition — he’ll have to start taking immediate action to stanch the bleeding.

You think the stock market is down? You don’t know the half of it. The New York Stock Exchange itself is a publicly traded company, and even it is crashing. As the Wall Street Journal‘s Heard on the Street notes:

One of hardest-hit stocks on the NYSE is that of the exchange itself. Shares of NYSE Euronext, the Big Board’s parent, have fallen nearly 70 percent this year, leaving it with a market value of just $7.6 billion.

The steep decline could make NYSE an attractive target to be acquired.

But the real story this morning sits atop the WSJ‘s news pages: “New Economic Ills Will Force Winner’s Hand”:

With a fresh blast of bearish news hitting just before the presidential election, Tuesday’s victor will be under rising pressure to put his stamp on U.S. economic policy well before his Jan. 20 inauguration.

It really has turned out to be true that, as Charlie Wilson (the former GM CEO, not the drunken pol) once said, as GM goes, so goes the nation (“Charlie Wilson’s War is Over. He Lost,” Press Clips, January 23, 2008).

GM’s vehicle sales have dropped 45 percent compared with this time a year ago. Guess where we’re headed?

Whatever the case, Senator Chuck Schumer stands to be a big winner. Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, Schumer will be the golden boy in the new Democratic Congress, even if McCain were to win.

For good or ill, the New York senator will be one of the most powerful people in the country.

And, as he certainly should, he’s already making plans. The WSJ story notes:

[Schumer] says an Obama win would mean the Democratic Congress will take up a small stimulus package in a lame-duck session soon and a bigger one in January after inauguration.

Even if Sen. McCain were to win, Sen. Schumer says, expected Democratic gains in Congress will help the party leadership push through a package in November.