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State of the Union: Good or bad for savers?

Here's a look at how some of the president's proposals could affect rates on CDs and savings and money-market accounts.

By MSN Money Partner Jan 25, 2012 7:59PM

This post comes from Richard Barrington at partner site on MSN MoneyAfter four years of economic weakness, the 2012 election may well hinge on how voters feel about Washington's handling of the economy. For his part, President Barack Obama tried Tuesday night in his State of the Union speech to make the case that his administration is up to the challenge of reviving the nation's finances.


But since the last election, depositors in savings accounts, money market accounts and certificates of deposit have seen their interest rates dwindle to virtually nothing, meaning that savers are sure to be among the frustrated constituencies of the next election.


The question is, who will they blame more: Obama, who has failed to get the economy back up to speed, or the Republicans, who played a bigger role in creating the economic mess than they have in trying to solve it? Post continues below.

Here is a summary of how some of the president's major proposals could affect CD, savings, and money market rates:

  • Corporate tax reform. The president suggested rewarding companies that create jobs in the U.S., while punishing those who use foreign workers. That populist tone will play well to many ears, but represents the type of interference that can hamper growth and raise prices. Net effect on savings accounts: negative.
  • Foreign trade. Protectionist talk is always a good way to get votes, but it is also a good way to fuel inflation. Net effect on savings accounts: negative.
  • Infrastructure projects. Well-placed infrastructure projects can create jobs in the short term, while helping commerce operate more efficiently in the long term. Net effect on savings accounts: positive.
  • Mortgage assistance. The president proposes charging large financial institutions a fee to fund a refinancing program designed to help homeowners keep their houses. As nice as that sounds, the business reality is that customers of those banks will ultimately have to absorb the cost of those fees. So if you are not one of the people receiving this mortgage assistance, you could well end up paying for it in the form of higher bank fees or lower interest rates. Net effect on savings accounts: negative.
  • Bank regulation. Bashing bankers will probably remain a popular tactic for years to come, but there is a cost to it. On top of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Obama announced a special financial crimes unit. This sounds like crossing the line from reasonable protection to piling on costs. Net effect on savings accounts: negative.
  • Personal tax reform. There is an increasingly narrow constituency for protecting the wealthiest taxpayers at the expense of tax reforms and lower tax rates for average earners. Because lower earners have a higher marginal propensity to spend, the president's proposal should help the economy. Net effect on savings accounts: positive.

Perhaps the most useful asset you have in making your decision about the election is the several months of time left until you cast your vote. With the economy seemingly at a turning point, whether it can generate any lasting momentum may well decide the outcome of November's contests.


More on and MSN Money:

Jan 26, 2012 9:39AM

To me, the choice for president is very simple. President Obama is a person of integrity and has a clear agenda to improve the lives of all Americans.


As opposed to:

Gingrich - A certifiable Cuckoo, a philanderer and a person with an obvious lack of integrity.


Romney - Wants to be president to round out his personal ego resume and  is a universe away from being in touch with the vast majority of Americans. Same old "let the rich get richer".


Santorum - A nasty, mean spirited, perpetually sneering, dogmatic, narrow minded creep who brings back the concern of papist and papal influence on government. Shades of the Spanish Inquisition.


Paul - A pre-Alzheimer's, closed minded old man with ridiculous, simplistic ideas that can't work in the real world.


However, Obama or the Republican gang of weirdoes makes no difference to the subject of this article. Keeping interest rates at zero is only good for the banks. The economy certainly has a lot of issues but there are millions of retirees and the baby boomers following with plenty of cash. They are intent on keeping it and as long as interest rates on risk averse, safe investments are at zero, this group will spend zero beyond their cost of living.


In 2008, 2009, 2010, according to my credit card summary, I averaged $8000/yr on the Travel, Hotels, Restaurants category. Then I got pissed off at the ridiculous interest rates and in 2011 that spending dropped to ZERO.


We "OLD FOLKS" have a ton of disposable income from which the economy could vastly benefit if Ben Bernanke and Company would pull theirs heads out of their collective asses.




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