BUSINESS
11/07/2012 08:06 am ET

America Hearts Big Government: Seven And A Half Things To Know

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Thing One: Obama's America: The people have spoken: They like this big-government thing.

President Obama won re-election last night in a more emphatic way than many people probably expected -- although if you simply believed in Nate Silver and The Huffington Post's own Mark Blumenthal, the night's other big winners, along with "math," you would not have been all that surprised. Giving Obama a slim popular majority and a fairly large electoral majority that may soon include Florida, voters saw four years of stimulus packages, zero interest rates, auto bailouts, government health care, and higher regulation and said, "More of that, please," the Financial Times writes. Along with gay marriage and legalized pot. It really is, as BuzzFeed's Ben Smith and Zeke Miller write, a liberal America, Obama's America. Republicans can keep fighting a rear-guard action against it, when they're not turning their guns on each other, but at some point, maybe the 2016 election, it may dawn on them to try a different tack.

Obama's re-election means, first of all, that the liberal economic policies of his first term will now be set in stone, writes Ezra Klein of the Washington Post. Obamacare is a thing that will happen, providing insurance to 30 million more people by 2014. The Dodd-Frank financial-reform law will stay. Rich people are getting a tax increase. Any Supreme Court opening in the next four years will be filled by a Democrat.

Doing more than that will be a little tougher, however: The Democrats tightened their grip on the Senate and sent the reform-minded Elizabeth Warren to Washington. But the GOP kept its hold on the House of Representatives, as the last firewall to more sweeping change from Obama.

But Obama really hasn't indicated that he wants more sweeping change. In fact, listen to the list of priorities in his acceptance speech last night: "reducing our deficit, reforming our tax code, fixing our immigration system, freeing ourselves from foreign oil." Those sound like they could have been cribbed from Mitt Romney's acceptance speech -- they are conservative priorities, if anything. Was that just a rhetorical olive branch to the right, or a sign of some kind of shift in priorities away from what won him re-election? We'll find out very soon, with the battle over the fiscal cliff, where Obama will have his first big chance to keep re-shaping the country in a more liberal way.

Thing Two: Let's Settle Down: In one hopeful sign that the economy is still climbing out of its hole, people are slowly climbing out of their parents' basements and forming new households of their own, the Wall Street Journal writes. Americans formed new households over the past year at the fastest pace in six years, according to new Census Bureau data.

Thing Three: Fab Freddie: Things are even looking up for beleaguered government mortgage giant Freddie Mac, which turned a $2.9 billion profit in the third quarter and didn't even have to go begging for more government assistance, the Washington Post writes. In fact, it paid a $1.8 billion dividend to the Treasury Department. A little context, though: The taxpayers spent $170 billion rescuing Freddie and Fannie Mae during the crisis.

Thing Four: JPMorgan To Take Care Of This Right Here In Brainerd: JPMorgan Chase is in talks with the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle charges that its Bear Stearns unit, which it bought during the crisis, misled investors about the quality of toxic mortgage-backed securities, the WSJ reports. The bank could end up shelling out hundreds of millions of dollars to settle the case, in what would be a rare win-like event for the SEC. JPMorgan would still have other such cases still to handle, including a similar lawsuit by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Thing Five: Goldman Partners Make Money: There may be fewer Goldman Sachs partners now, but those that remain are just a little bit richer. More than 30 of them have recently cashed in stock options left over from the Squid's IPO in 1999, netting themselves a cool $22 million, the Wall Street Journal's Liz Rappaport writes.

Thing Six: Europe Continues To Happen: In an effort to make its business more competitive, France is offering businesses a payroll-tax cut worth more than $25 billion, the New York Times writes. France plans to make up the lost revenue by raising sales taxes and cutting its budget. Just what a struggling economy didn't need. Meanwhile, Greece's parliament votes today on its own economy-squeezing austerity measures.

Thing Seven: Rotten Apple Bet: Connecticut brokerage firm Rochdale Securities is fighting for its existence after a massive bet on Apple stock went horribly wrong, DealBook writes: "The trader, David Miller, bought roughly $1 billion of Apple stock, a far larger position than Rochdale had ever handled. After the trader bought the shares, Apple — a notoriously volatile stock — dropped in value, costing Rochdale million of dollars."

Thing Seven And One Half: GIF, Memory: Are you sad that the 2012 presidential election is over? Then seek help immediately. Or relive some of the best moments from this marathon of awfulness, in GIF form, brought to you by BuzzFeed.

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