The Poorman has
a new edition of Keyboard Kommandos (via Avedon
Anyway, while everyone is making their predictions of how big or small the Dem victory will be, I have been thinking about what the next Congress will face (all figures are SWAGs). Add your own:
A recession will cause a sharp drop in tax receipts. The Congress can't force a restoration of taxes on the wealthy and the GOP cuts don't expire for 3 more years. The deficit will start up again, and with it, interest rates. Even after carving out the $10-$20B in obvious pork spending being used to buy Republican votes, the Congress will come up short. They will need to cut about $100B total. Star Wars is a likely early candidate. They may also be able to flush out the Republican crony dumping grounds (DHS) to get the money for real security measures. The dollar should continue to weaken. The American market may rise simply because as measured in falling dollars, it will look cheaper and cheaper. International recession centered on the US weighs on its largest trading partners: Europe, Mexico, Japan.
Bush attempts some rash military action somewhere that destroys American credibility. "Vietnam syndrome" (long-termers retire, soldiers cease to obey orders) sets in. Iran quietly stirs disorder in southern Iraq to pressure American supply lines. De facto partition of Iraq. US influence in Latin America continues to plunge. South America enjoys strong growth. Mexico slides toward disorder.
The number of medically uninsured rises to the point it becomes a major election issue in 2008. Crime, both against property and persons, rises. The Republican issues (Gays, Guns, and God) are of declining importance as people realize that the only person trying to bring on Armaggedon is Dubya. Republicans use anti-immigrant sentiment to juice the base, but it ends up backfiring.
The largest wave of departures from Congress in US history by 2008. US Congress, unable to force president to reconfigure troops, (if Democratic) brings indirect heat by investigating the web of corrupt defense contracts (if Republican, waits for FBI to arrive with indictment). Justice Department reaches explosion point as even Republican lawyers are disgusted by war profiteering. More Congressmen are indicted, almost all Republicans. (My guess is that William Jefferson is not among the indictments, but that's wildly speculative.)
Unemployment 7%, inflation (officially) 5% (unofficially (8%), 10 year corporate bonds: 10%, gasoline $5/gallon. Governmental deficit (on budget): $300B (additional off budget ($500B), Trade (current account) deficit: $600B.
Media reports that George Bush is the most popular president ever, that everyone likes him, that the economy has never been better, that America is spreading peace and democracy everywhere, and that John Kerry is French.
If you're thinking of running for Congress as a Democrat, 2008 should be a banner year, even if you have a long-term Democratic incumbent in your district.