In the next four years, drug makers, health-care companies and financial-service concerns expect to benefit from Bush efforts to rein in legal costs and extend dividend and capital-gains tax cuts. Wall Street companies are looking for a flood of new investment if Mr. Bush succeeds in opening the Social Security system to privately owned accounts. Fast-food chains are less worried about a higher minimum wage and auto makers about tighter fuel-economy standards -- both areas where a Kerry administration planned to make changes.
Many industries invested heavily in the Bush campaign as much to avert a victory by Sen. John Kerry as to help ensure four more years for Mr. Bush. Health-care and drug companies contributed $26 million to Mr. Bush and the Republican Party, knowing the Massachusetts Democrat planned to have the federal government bargain directly with drug makers on Medicare prices and allow drug imports from Canada.
While Congressional Democrats will probably continue their push for such measures, Mr. Bush's victory, along with Republican gains in the House and Senate, greatly diminish the Democrats' chances. Another Kerry proposal, to change the way pharmacy-benefit managers do business, seems unlikely to go forward.
The election news pushed shares up, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average posting a gain of 101.32, or 1%. Drug, oil and defense stocks -- all anticipated beneficiaries in a second Bush term -- posted sharp gains.
In other words: Your retirement money will mysteriously vanish when CEOs like Enron's Ken Lay decide they'd rather tank the stock and invest in Aspen real estate. Your paycheck will not even remotely keep up with the cost of oil and natural gas. Your expensive-to-fuel car will pollute more. Your medicines and health care — when you can get them at all — will be dramatically more costly.
Health care and drug companies paid only $26 million to loot billions from consumers and the US Treasury. The Bush administration is truly the bargain of the millennium — if you're a big business.