The thick malaise of the fiscal cliff conversation in Washington, on Wall Street, and on Main Street is exhausting. Politicians have apparently forgotten what it’s like to lead a country through divisiveness and economic hardship, and market participants have sat on their hands so long they’re numb.
The big news each day is the barometric reading of sentiment: optimism, the markets swing up; pessimism, the markets swing down (because it’s that simple, right?), and in between traders and investors, business owners and consumers look at the facts and figures available to them and say “these are all meaningless without context.”
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That context is a reasonable level of certainty about the future. At this point it matters less what the details of any so-called grand compromise look like, and more that any solution is found. If it’s the best thing on the table, even a modest compromise would do instead of whatever economic terror waits on the other side of the fiscal cliff.
In this spirit, the chief executives from some of America’s biggest businesses have ducked in and out of Washington over the past few weeks to offer advice and try to bring back intelligence on how to prepare their enterprises for whatever future awaits. Honeywell International Inc. (NYSE:HON) CEO David Cote has been among the most involved and vocal of business leaders to participate in the discussion, and his insight into the situation is both concise and honest…