In Case of Financial Crisis: Counsel for the Next President

Of the United States’ 44 presidents, half have faced a major financial crisis during their administrations, and eight of those in the first year. Should the next president face such a situation, there are, naturally, a number of things to keep in mind.

Many events may be dubbed financial crises, but not all call for presidential intervention. Sometimes the markets stabilize themselves, and agencies, including the Federal Reserve and the Securities and Exchange Commission, are in place to help them find balance. Those events that challenge the security of the real economy, however, may call for action and influence from the president: advancing reforms, emphasizing transparency with the public and stimulating the economy.

Taking such action means working with opposition, and in the context of a financial crisis, they’ll be aware that the crisis might foreshadow a regime shift, as it has in the past. That’s not the only potential landmine, politically; the situation demands flexibility, and the president may need to stray from campaign promises or otherwise strongly held tenets, which could antagonize voters.

Overall, the president must bear in mind that the effects of a crisis vary across industries, geography and socioeconomic status, and proceed based on context and scale.

Read more about what the next president should take into account in a financial crisis in Darden Professor and Dean Emeritus Robert F. Bruner’s article “How America’s Next President Should Tackle a Financial Crisis” on Fortune.com.

About the Faculty

Robert F. Bruner

Bruner is an expert on mergers and acquisitions. He’s written two books on the subject, Deals from Hell: M&A Lessons That Rise Above the Ashes and Applied Mergers and Acquisitions, which have helped countless students and business people deal with the complexity of mergers and acquisitions. His business expertise is... Learn More

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