Even in divided political times, some things are certain

Dec 01, 2010 | 05:05 AM |

If American business—and the metals sector especially—presented a Word of the Year award, 2010's winner would be an easy and probably unanimous choice uncertainty.

Throughout the year at conferences and roundtables, at corporate meetings and in countless interviews, metal executives and analysts exclaimed the word repeatedly as an explanation for why there wasn't more growth and also as a sort of talisman to ward off becoming over-optimistic about intermittent economic upswings.

The uncertainty, they said, was brought on by President Obama and Democratic control of Congress, exemplified by legislation dealing with taxes, energy, jobs, health care, trade policy, global warming, unions and a host of other issues. The line of reasoning had it that business could not, or would not, move forward until it became clear what the new rules were going to look like. Metal processing and manufacturing were particularly susceptible to government overreach and misguided policy, the story went.....

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