2012 was a disappointing year for those of us committed to promoting the ideas of personal and economic liberty. As the year comes to a close, I am offering a few predictions for 2013. I’m not suggesting that I have any special insight here; I’ll let you be the judge.
1. The “fiscal cliff” will be avoided, but real deficit projections will remain roughly the same and the national debt will continue to skyrocket. After a brief false sense of political accomplishment, we will return to the cycle of concerns over the EU (especially Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal) and a lackluster global economy in general.
2. There will be some positive signs in the economy, but the overall predicament will remain stagnant. While our fiscal situation is dire, the rest of the world is doing worse. The dollar remains the preferred world currency for the time being. This is beginning to change, however, and when it does all bets are off. In the interim, however, many Americans will continue to believe that things aren’t really that bad and that centralized economic control can work in the long term. Things will have to get worse before they can get better.
3. President Obama’s personal popularity will remain moderately high. There is no official Republican leader right now, except for Boehner. As long as he is the counter to Obama, many will continue to view the President–through the media, or course–in a somewhat positive light.
4. There will be increased pressure to (further) purge the Republican party of moderates and RINOs, and more talk of a third party. I know the latter is controversial, but the Republican party still doesn’t seem to stand firm on much these days. Numerous policy opportunities exist, from massive tax overhauls like a fair tax or flat tax to specific entitlement reforms. Given the current “fiscal cliff” discussions these proposals should be front and center, but the leadership continues to nibble at the edges. The party still holds a majority in Congress because Americans do not wholeheartedly support the direction Obama wants to take with this country, particularly with regard to the economy. But if the Republicans don’t respond in 2013, they could set the stage for losing the majority in 2014.
I’ll stop with 4 predictions this year. My lack of optimism is apparent, but the battle continues.
I’d also like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! This includes best wishes to my Jewish friends who celebrate Hanukkah and to others who are just enjoying the time of year. I hope you and yours enjoy a peaceful season and a prosperous 2013!