On The Cusp Of A Change

The old, tired year 2010 is getting ready to exit stage right, and the bright, shiny year 2011 is getting ready to crawl onto the national stage.  Today we will get the last of the stories looking back at what has happened over the last 12 months.  Tomorrow the focus will be on what might happen over the next 12 months.

On the national scene, there is a lot of uncertainty, which should make 2011 very interesting indeed.  President Obama had a tough 2010, with falling public approval ratings, a bad economy, and mounting public concern about spending and debt, and the Democratic Party took a shellacking in the 2010 election as a result.  But the President nevertheless managed to accomplish some of his initiatives in the lame duck session of Congress, leading some people to talk about a comeback.  In 2011, will we in fact see a comeback by the President and a resurgence of some of the passionate support he received in the 2008 election?

In Congress, the big story will be the new Republican majority in the House of Representatives and the increased Republican minority in the Senate.  In the past two years, House Republicans have been unified in opposing many of the President’s initiatives, but maintaining unity when you are running the show can be more difficult.  How will the new Speaker John Boehner and the House Republicans address spending and debt issues, and will they be able to affect the implementation of the “health care reform” legislation and some of the regulatory initiatives that are of such concern to members of the “tea party”?  In the Senate, where the rules and practices require consensus, how will Harry Reid and his slimmer majority deal with Republicans?  Will the two Houses of Congress, controlled by two different parties, be able to reach agreement on their competing versions of basic legislation like spending bills?  And will President Obama then wield his veto pen?

Pundits may be predicting what will happen, but the reality is that no one knows.  That is what will make 2011 such an interesting year.

What is a Voter to Do ?

 

It’s pretty clear that Bob is not happy with President Obama’s agenda and what the Democrats are trying to push through Congress, so my question to Bob is what is a voter to do ?   

Since voters in most area’s of our country typically only have one alternative, Bob’s response would most likely be to vote Republican. With the mid-term elections coming up in approximately three months I decided to start doing some research and in the process of doing so I stumbled across this article titled, “What Will a Republican Majority Do Next”.

The article mentions four things that the Republican majority might do, none of which I am in favor of.

Shut down the Government – This has happened before as the article states back in 1995 and from what I recall it was a huge mess because government employees had to be furloughed and alot of wages were lost. Besides I wonder what a government shutdown would do to such a fragile economy, would it push us into a double dip ?

Propose Massive Budget Cuts – I would be interested to know where these massive cuts are going to come from. Typically Republicans are in favor of strong National Security so that means continuing to fund the two wars we are currently fighting. What usually happens is services the government currently provides to the poor and needy end up getting cut and the people who need help the most end up getting the shaft.

Begin Proceedings Leading Toward the Impeachment of President Obama – Please, I don’t want to go there again. When the Republicans tried to impeach Clinton I felt like it was a whole lot of hoopla over a huge mistake in judgement on his part. I firmly believe Obama has done nothing dishonest and don’t want our country to be put through another charade like that one.

Repeal the Health – Reform Bill – Having worked in the health insurance industry for most of my adult life, I think the bill while not perfect has alot of good things in it. The article mentions the elimination of pre-existing conditions, but I like the idea of giving parents an option of keeping their dependent children on their insurance plans until age 27. 

So if a voter does vote for a Republican and they do get the majority, this article mentions the “Roadmap for America’s Future“, created by Paul Ryan as one of only a few suggested agenda items put forth by Republicans. 

I took a look at some of Ryan’s recommendations and for Medicare and Social Security people age 55 and older are grandfathered in under the current system.

Hmmmm …… being age 54 and about to be age 55 next June I wonder which way I am going to vote in November.