Well the election is over, and as the results have come in we can officially announce that President Barack Obama will remain at the helm for the next four years. So now the question is, what can we expect the next four years?
During campaigns we see a lack of movement in government, congress gridlocks and the president doesn’t get much done as political posturing takes precedent over moving the country forward. With the campaign over, the president will have to work to solve the “fiscal cliff” crisis.
On January 1st the country faces a fiscal facelift, large cuts in government programs combined with tax hikes threaten to squeeze the government in ways that neither party enjoys. This cliff was created to force the government to act. And everyone expects this to happen.
With Obama’s re-election the GOP doesn’t have much they can do. They will work for compromise because they absolutely have to. Expect taxes to increase for the wealthy by at the minimum the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for the upper income individuals, $250,000 a year (with the slight chance this will be raised to $1 million). Republican leaders have already indicated thy will support compromise in tax policy. If the Republicans want to keep large defense spending cuts, a major lobby, they will have to accept tax increases on the wealthy to reduce the deficit.
“This is a referendum on taxes,” “If the president wins reelection, taxes are going up there’s not a lot we can do about that.” – Tom Cole (R-Okla.)
“We’re not going to save our defense unless we go along with the president’s wishes to raise taxes on small business… [AND] there are enough Republicans, I think, who are so afraid of defense cuts that they would probably give in.” – Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.)
The overwhelming majority of congressional members from both Parties, particularly in the Senate, have spoken of their distaste for reckless austerity (thankfully).
“We don’t want to have a situation on our hands where the credit markets have turned on us, and then we’re doing crisis management… Slowing down the economy, raising the youth unemployment rate, that’s what austerity is.” – Paul Ryan
Obama will now put into motion his revised budget for quick ratification – and the Republicans cannot wait 4 years to address the issue because it will blow up in their face. Put yourself in the GOP’s shoes. They have just lost the presidential election, meaning they have 4-years with what they refer to as the “worst president ever,” Obama. Taxes are going up, and their defense budgets are being cut – unless they compromise.
Now if you’ve followed this blog, you know that I have a disdain for the lack of compromise in Congress. This will be a “stress test” of how polarized members of congress can be, without being destroyed by the public.
It won’t be a Obama only victory, there will certainly have to be compromise. Healthcare costs will be on the table, think Medicare reform, and some programs will be cut. I still expect for Obama to capitulate some other social welfare cuts but mostly superficial, and to only slightly lower defense program spending, mainly from the winding down of the wars in the middle east.
It is still possible that the GOP in congress will dig in their heels, but expect any temporary budget extension to be limited to 6 months.
And what about the rest?
It is a little difficult to tell now what Obama will push while in office his next four years. Expect most of the action coming the next two years. Expect him to push through some financial reform, something he had to compromise on to get the Affordable Healthcare Act passed through.
Healthcare reform (aka Obamacare) will go into effect in stages during these next four years. Good news, I don’t think we will see too much political bickering about this, instead prepare to see some calls for improved efficiency- not all out repeal. This is actually the biggest victory for the Obama administration, his biggest accomplishment would have faced the chopping block should he have lost.
I’d expect Obama to take a more active role in the foreign sphere. Making deals with Russia and China on Syria, and working more closely with Israel to stop Iran from obtaining a nuke. Whether or not is it possible to actually stop them without intervention, expect Obama to try. I do see a possibility of military action in the next four years (gulp).
The NRA has been saying “Obama will take your guns” this campaign as well as the last. So far that hasn’t happened. I will give some credence to the NRA on this one, there have been some calls for bans on assault weapons, and Obama may support this push.
To make some people cringe, Obama may back ‘SOPA’ type legislation to limit copyright violation on the internet (many of the SOPA/Protect IP backers raised a lot of money for the President this election).
This is what I would expect, but only time will tell. Disagree? Have other ideas as far as what lies ahead? Let us know!