As the dust settles from the election, events are taking shape that give us a glimpse into what to expect for the next four years. I believe these will include the following:
- Detonation of the Austerity Bomb (aka the Fiscal Cliff) – The lame duck session is almost guaranteed to not get terribly much done and Boehner will have a tough time selling anything Obama has to offer before the new year. The good news is that, despite the scary names, January won’t see us suddenly in a giant hole that we can’t get out of. What we will probably see is a severe downturn in the stock market that will be a great buying opportunity for people with money because we will have…
- A “Grand Bargain” budget deal in January – Grand Bargain is in quotes because Obama will get most of what he has been asking for for over two years. Tax rates for the very rich will go up, tax rates for the rest of us will stay the same or go down. Corporate tax rates will go down. Various loopholes will be closed. Lots of wasteful programs will be cut or eliminated.
- Comprehensive immigration reform – This will be to his second term what Obamacare was to his first term. In a word, HUGE! Major Republicans are already talking about the willingness to compromise on an immigration bill. This is mostly because this election has taught them that they can no longer rely on white people to win elections and that demonizing brown people and attempting to suppress minority turnout is antithetical to winning the Presidency. I don’t think this legislation will pass until after the midterms, though, because there will be a…
- Status quo midterm elections – Republicans will probably keep their numbers in the House and gain a few seats in the Senate. This is mostly because Republicans have done an awe inspiring job of redistricting at the state level to preserve House seats and the inordinate amount of Democratic Senate seats that will be up for grabs. There is also the fact that this election will be the last hurrah for the angry white contingent of voters. The midterms are usually more about anger than about policies and Republicans excel at fomenting anger in their constituency and Democrats can’t be bothered to turn out in large numbers.
- The economy will markedly improve – The signs are all there that the economy will continue to improve. I expect it to pick up after a year or so and the Great Recession to be in our rear view mirror by the end of Obama’s second term.
- The housing industry will grow quickly – Since the housing bust, construction of new homes has fallen way behind population growth. As the economy improves, we can expect a mini housing boom to get us back to the level we need to be to house our growing population. This looks like it may have started already.
- More of the same stellar performance from the stock market – The first four years have been very good for people in the stock market. I expect the next four to be the same with the economy continuing to grow.
- Obamacare fully implemented – This is a no-brainer, but deserves to be mentioned. The world will not end. The United States will be just as socialist as it has been since Roosevelt.
All in all, not a bad eight years for a Kenyan anti-colonialist socialist.