"It's a beginner's error to say, 'Nothing will happen in an election year,' " says Sweet, whose Chevy Chase, Md.-based research group advises money managers on political risk.
Sure, Congress may put off tinkering with certain hot-button items, such as entitlements reform, until future sessions. But Sweet suggests plenty of issues impacting business will see significant action before election time. "All the committees are busy working on something," he says. "And only a few of them end up on the front pages of the paper."