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How Obama Victory Could Affect Areas Of US Economy

The Associated Press

Upper-income Americans may face a tax increase. Auto fuel economy standards might be raised. Stocks of construction and engineering companies could benefit.

America's decision to re-elect President Barack Obama over Mitt Romney will affect all that and other elements of the U.S. economy and financial system â¿¿ from the health care law to the overhaul of financial rules.

At the same time, a gridlocked Congress will limit Obama's influence. Tuesday's election kept Republicans in control of the House. Democrats still control the Senate, but without a commanding majority.

Here's how Obama's re-election could affect key sectors:

â¿¿ ECONOMY:

Obama has laid out some key themes for rejuvenating the economy: Extend Bush-era tax cuts for low- and middle-income Americans. Spend more to build and repair roads, bridges and other public structures. Provide targeted tax breaks to businesses.

Most immediately, Obama needs to persuade congressional Republicans and Democrats to reach a budget agreement to prevent the economy from falling off a "fiscal cliff." Without a deal, deep spending cuts and tax increases will start to kick in next year.

The combination of those measures could send the economy back into recession and drive the unemployment rate back up to 9 percent next year, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. The rate is now 7.9 percent.

Analysts warn that Congress must break its stalemate for the economy to sustain its recovery.

"There will be a lot of brinksmanship, and that will hurt the economy and likely upset the financial markets," Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics, said Wednesday.

Still, the urgency of the crisis could "generate the political will necessary to get the deal done," Zandi said. And that could mean "much, much stronger growth" by 2014.

Others caution that even if the fiscal cliff is averted, the economy may continue to be hampered by slow growth, stagnant pay and modest job gains.

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