New Jersey investors are wondering out loud what happens next with the financial markets.

Rutgers economist James Hughes says, “We have a whole series of linked uncertainties surrounding the economy, and it’s essentially grid-locking a lot of decision-making…With the Presidential election heating up there’s no decisions being made in Washington, even though we have a looming crisis in front of the entire nation – then because of that, corporate executives don’t know what’s going to happen in Washington – and many of those actions or non-actions are going to impact their business.”

He says, “In essence, they’re standing pat- they’re not making any investments- they’re postponing decisions on investments, they’re postponing hiring, and that in turn, then impacts job-seekers, since corporations are not hiring to the extent that they really could…And that has a negative impact on consumer spending, which unnerves the markets…All of these uncertainties are really coming together – and adding a lot of uncertainty to all our financial markets.”

As far as what the Federal Reserve can do to stimulate the economy, Hughes says, “I think their options really are limited at this point in time.  Basically, I think they would be buying more mortgages in the secondary market-putting more dollars into the economy – essentially printing money.  But to date, that has not impacted corporate decision making – investments, hiring and the like…what would really stimulate the economy would be some decisions in Washington on more infrastructure spending, more deficit spending – that would actually feed directly into private market decision making.”

On the increasing U.S. debt – and the lack of action by Congress – Hughes says, “It’s kicking the can down the road – and they’ll probably be some temporary or short term decisions made…Most likely the markets will be bumbling along for the balance of this year- there are too many uncertainties in too many areas.”