Being a blue man from a blue state in the bluest part of the country, the election turned out to be a stunner. I keep looking at maps of the country and am amazed at the sea of red covering the South and most of the Midwest as well as the Rocky Mountain states.
In actuality, of course, there was very little color differentiation this year from the contest four years ago, but the fact that President Bush won by some 3.6 million votes this time made the red seem that much deeper somehow.
And the margins in some of those states! The president carried Nebraska (no surprise) with 67% of the vote to John Kerrys 32%. In Utah (again no surprise) 71% voted for the president, while only 27% went for Kerry.
When you look at the map with its colossal red heartland between blue bookends (and a blue pocket in the north Midwest), its hard not to think that we really do have two different countries existing within one border.
With such stark differences, I am putting a lot of hope (probably naively, considering his track record) into Mr. Bushs statement that he is “humbled by the trust and confidence of my fellow citizens. With that trust comes a duty to serve all Americans, and I will do my best to fulfill that duty every day as your president.”
And what might the industry expect in a second Bush term? Im certain that there was widespread happiness with the voters verdict among the executive and agent cohorts. But this jubilation should be tempered with the recognition that many of Mr. Bushs proposals could cause severe harm to the butter on the industrys bread, if not the bread itself.
I dont think this is an exaggeration. And neither do industry leaders.
The coldest wind is the proposal for Lifetime Savings Accounts, those tax-free vehicles that the administration has pushed off and on. Industry leaders fear, and rightly so, that such accounts would eviscerate the market for life insurance and other industry savings products such as annuities.
The tax-free inside cash buildup might come under attack in any case, but these LSAs would be a direct attack. After all, if tax-free alternatives proliferate, any tax-free vehicle already in existence becomes discounted, just one of a number of options.