Now that President Barack Obama’s second term is on the books, how realistic is the hope that significant change will be achieved in the next four years? Will we get our enormous debt under control and initiate a true recovery? Or will Washington simply recycle the gridlock into 2016 and beyond, making it a permanent political system? The evidence seems to support this conclusion.
First it is necessary to understand that the politicians actually cultivate divided government, because any real unity that would lead to change would upset the status quo that finances our electoral process. They are desperate to preserve the Wall Street/globalism agenda that has been in place since at least the 1990’s, and buy-off the American public through growing deficits. They substitute job growth with limitless borrowing, low interest rates, etc. Even now, both Obama and Congress, including former hard-line Republicans, are negotiating another raising of the debt ceiling, and keep the artificial stimulus that pumps up our economy going. They have miraculously discovered that we are indeed not at the end of our deficit tunnel, and more red ink is possible. How? Because at current levels our debt to GDP ratio is only around 100%, and it is possible to go even higher. They cite Japan, still quite functioning, and see their ratio is nearly 200%! Thus, they can merely coast thru the next two years, until mid-term elections, and even the next presidential one, by continuing the formula of arguing and spending, with only modest compromises regarding most of the issues. Indeed, it seems they are just creating a business plan for the survival of their own corrupt two-party system.
Second, it is important to define what kind of leader President Obama really is. He seems to very definitely fit the Bill Clinton mold, that is, he is a populist/opportunist mix. He dramatically challenged the status and integrity of Hillary Clinton in 2008, and aroused the Democratic Party base to his favor. But once in power, outside of health reform, he has failed to dent the power of the corporate/financial elite, and has even upheld it. His fiscal cliff remedies are hardly far-reaching, and perpetuate the old shell game. His trade agreements with several smaller countries might actually result in a net loss for American jobs. His modest defense cuts and renewed pledge to maintain America as a costly world policeman seem incongruous to economic reality and may invite disaster. It is unsettling to see a modern populist candidate and gifted orator turn into an effective lame duck, if that is to be the case. The fault may lie in restricting our presidents to only two terms, for this leaves only one re-election left to complete policy or reform. Not a decent chance at all in a continuing, divided era.