Four More YearsWritten by Tim Higgins | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Last week I shamefully took credit for a part of my September predictions coming true in the November election (something I will no doubt pay for). So what I would like to do instead this week is look forward to what we can expect as a result of this election.
Now the biggest current myth that political pundits and some in the media would like you to believe that the 2012 election was a mandate for the ideas of either party, but especially for those of the President. A quick analysis of the presidential vote shows that while he has a comfortable margin in the the Electoral College (30+ votes), he won the popular vote by only 2 percent; hardly a mandate. It should also be noted that while the President won, his coattails weren’t big enough to give him a filibuster-proof margin in the Senate (unless Harry Reid changes the rules) or the majority in the House that he had when he was the first elected in 2008. Democrats got a couple more seats in both, but not enough to make any real legislative difference. So what can we look forward to.
The Budget Cliff
The President and the House Speaker have both made public statements that they will do what’s necessary to avoid this impending ‘Thelma and Louise’ budget moment; but strangely both do it while making clear what they won’t negotiate before they sit down. Now politicians at this level are professionals at speaking volumes and saying nothing, so why such specificity? As for the Senate, it’s failed in its Constitutional responsibilities with regard to passing a budget for over three years and many of us no longer care what they think.
So the President is inviting members of both parties in both Houses of Congress to the White House to discuss the massive tax increases coming due with the ending of the ‘Bush Tax Cuts’, the additional taxes that will be imposed as part of Health Care Reform, and the automatic budget cuts that will come as a part of the last budget compromise … sequester. Interestingly, this meeting has been called for a Friday.
Now for those of you who don’t know it, Friday is ‘take out the trash day’ in every White House. It’s the day when you hand every story that you don’t want to gather attention into a release done late in the day; knowing that if it misses the Friday news cycle, most won’t notice its absence over the weekend or care any longer by the time Monday rolls around. Setting up a meeting with such timing can only be seen as anticipation of failure.
The Future of the Regulatory Morass
There have been promises for some time to clean up the regulatory nightmare that this nation lives under; one that’s a serious impediment to economic growth. Even the president has talked about reducing the morass of regulations that makes it increasingly difficult to get anything done in this country, calling for “a government-wide review, and if there are rules on the books that are needlessly stifling job creation and economic growth, we will fix them”.
Evidently the President’s answer to the regulatory question is now ‘more is less’. It has in fact proposed an average of 68 new regulations per day for the last few months, over 6,000 since early August; all scheduled to go into effect in 2013. Never in the history of this nation, have MORE regulations (especially this many more) fixed anything.
The Next Four Years
So no matter what the pronouncements of the party pundits and media sycophants, we can pretty much expect that the next four years will be much like the last four. The only Mandate that the voters gave in the 2012 election is one for gridlock. They distrust both major political parties enough to only give control of one House of Congress to each.
Non-stop sniping is fueled, encouraged, and all but guaranteed by a media that only has a story to tell when partisan confrontation occurs; and has purposefully promoted a definition of compromise that involves capitulation rather than of finding common ground with opponents.
The White House has shown no ability in Congress in his first four years to find common ground with opponents (and little to work within his own party). The President does have the ability to insure his agenda through Executive Order (as we’ve seen), but such limited and temporary success usually only stiffens the will of opponents and promotes resistance against him on future efforts. This being the case, it’s likely that the next four years will be much like the last four … Gridlock.