What Obama’s Second Term Means for Philly

From Penn to labor unions, the city has a friend in the White House.

President Obama has been re-elected for another four years. Philly, you got what you wanted. And so you shall reap the rewards! I like the President, but I didn’t vote for him. I don’t think he’s as friendly to the business community as his opponent (what was his name again?) would’ve been. But, unlike others, I don’t think this is the end of the world. Here’s what I think the business community in this region can expect for the next four years.

A boom in health and health services. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, is law, and the individual mandate, which requires businesses with more than 50 employees to carry health insurance or pay a penalty, will be effective in just over a year from now. Insurance carriers are and will now continue to be required to cover more preventative treatment procedures, employees with pre-existing conditions, and kids living with their parents until they either turn 26 or their parents quietly move away without leaving a forwarding address. Thirty-four million more people are forecasted to enter the health-care market. This surge in patients will create a surge in health-care-related services and technologies. Benefits firms in the area will see their consulting services mushroom. Drug firms can sell their pharmaceuticals to a larger base of insured customers. Tech firms that help create efficiencies and integrate electronic health-care records from disparate systems will be in demand.

A shot in the arm for labor and unions. Yo! Think they were confident before? Now those guys have their man for another four years in the White House. So forget about getting that light bulb changed anytime soon. Philly is a union town, and the unions’ support of the President will not be forgotten. This means potential legislation that will favor labor over management and a Department of Labor that will continue to be very friendly to the working man over business interests. Now is a great time for employees to file discrimination lawsuits and challenge workplace practices. It’s a great time for unions to recruit more members and flex their political muscles. It’s a great time for labor and union-friendly projects.

Help for manufacturers. We have thousands of manufacturers building equipment, melting plastic, assembling machines and punching holes into metal plates. And these companies, along with their partners and contractors, are employing tens of thousands of people from Moorestown to King of Prussia. The President is big on protecting and increasing jobs in the manufacturing sector. He will offer tax and other incentives to manufacturers who keep people employed in the U.S. He supports manufacturing technologies and is trying to increase our exports overseas.

Growth for Penn, Drexel and Temple. The President has pledged that Americans will regain their place as one of the countries with the most college graduates. He wants his government to provide more funding and assistance to those in the middle class to get college loans. Of course, he’s warning colleges that they will need to abide by higher financial standards to be eligible for assistance. But in the end, a second Obama administration will favor more government-backed loans and grants to those that need them. Uh, never mind how this will be paid for. More importantly those who do business with those in the higher-education industry will benefit. Penn, Drexel, Temple and our other local universities will potentially see more applicants who are not only qualified to go to their schools, but who will hopefully have the ability to actually PAY for their increasing tuition as well.

Help for Philadelphia schools. The President wants to hire more teachers, and he supports grants to help fund schools. He has proposed programs to improve early childhood education. And he’s not too crazy about the No Child Left Behind Act. All of this means more money for education. And Philadelphia schools will only benefit from this attention. But it won’t be just the kids and employees who will benefit. It will benefit the hundreds of Philadelphia-based businesses, from cleaning services to temporary employment agencies to technical support firms that rely on the school system for their livelihood.

A friend in the White House. President Obama, like any good Democrat, loves Philly! He has a strong base in the area. We’re a union town, a working-class city, an example of the middle class. Our academic community mostly leans to the left and drives environmentally friendly cars. So when things happen here that need support from D.C., our newly energized President will have our backs over the next four years.

So Philly, you got your man. Let’s hope it’s a good thing for the region.