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Opinion

Opinion

Election yields uncertain changes

November 10, 2010

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It’s been a week since the midterm elections and the changes that we can expect are anything but clear.

At the federal level we have a divided Congress, with the Democrats in control of the Senate and the Republicans in control of the House. Such a division between the two houses might well slow the pace of any new legislation, which, generally, I think that most Americans would welcome. On the other hand, the new Republican majority in the House is determined to preserve all of the Bush era tax cuts and repeal or at least undermine as much of the health care reform legislation as they can. This is an activist agenda. So what we have is a new House attempting to pass new legislation at a time when neither party actually has an easy way to accomplish anything.

The president, for his part, appears to speak in somewhat conciliatory terms, but whether he is willing to compromise on legislation about which he and his party feel passionate and about which the Republicans feel passionate — but in the other direction — seems doubtful. We may well discover over the next few weeks and months that the conflict and dissension that marked the last congressional session may intensify.

And, of course, there’s a new group in Washington: Republicans who won their seats through the support of Tea Partiers. These new members of Congress have pledged not to permit business as usual. Their ties to the traditional two-party system are tenuous; in many cases they gained victories over opposition by both Democrats and Republicans. If the Republican leadership in the House believes that they can control the votes of their new Tea Party candidates, they may be in for a very grave shock and disappointment.

And we should not forget that this new Congress comes into Washington with some very large issues in the background.

First, of course, 2012 is getting closer and the presidential election will cast a massive shadow on everything Congress does from now until then.

Second, the economy, if it is recovering, is doing so in fits and starts, and with unemployment as high as it is, many Americans are hard-pressed and growing increasingly frightened and angry about the lack of progress. For the first time in history, the U.S. Treasury issued bonds with what was, in effect, a negative interest rate, the Federal Reserve has quietly instituted its own $600 billion quasi-bailout for Wall Street under the seemingly innocuous name “QE” and the extent of fraud in the mortgage market can only be guessed at.

At the state level here in Kansas, the situation is different but no less problematic. With the start of the new legislative system we will have a new Republican governor, and stronger Republican majorities in both legislative chambers. There will be virtually no impediments to the new majority pursuing whatever policies it chooses.

Already, the newly elected secretary of state, Kris Kobach, has promised to propose legislation to cure our “election fraud problem,” although there is absolutely no clear evidence that there is one in Kansas. If his proposal is passed and signed into law, we may well begin this new legislative session with what could be an unfunded mandate to localities, since his proposals will have a price tag attached, a price tag that will undoubtedly be imposed on counties and municipalities. And, just to complicate things further, the school funding litigation is back on the table once again.

It would take a prophet to predict what all of these new factors will produce at the state and federal levels over the next weeks and months. I can claim no prophetic powers, but I think anyone who looks at the political situation as it now stands could easily say that changes are ahead. I am reminded of the old Chinese saying “May you live in interesting times.” I’d say that we are about to do so. I can only hope that things get better and not worse.

— Mike Hoeflich, a distinguished professor in the Kansas University School of Law, writes a regular column for the Journal-World.

Comments

Agnostick 3 years, 5 months ago

More plagiarism from barrypenders/berrypenders/CorkyHundley

95% copy/pasting, 5% word substitution/rearrangement.

Zero original thought or credibility.

The two articles plagiarized from:

Chinese Credit Rater Downgrades U.S. By Matt Phillips http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2010/11/09/chinese-credit-rater-downgrades-us/

Bernanke’s high stakes poker game at the G-20 Nov 9, 2010 16:32 EST By Peter Navarro http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2010/11/09/bernanke%E2%80%99s-high-stakes-poker-game-at-the-g-20/

Agnostick agnostick@excite.com

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CorkyHundley 3 years, 5 months ago

Distinguished Bagman of Government School misses the Dudes gamble of hope and change with China

China today, downgraded the U.S. from double AA to A+ with a negative outlook due to its new round of quantitative easing round. The Chinese rating agency said the downgrade reflected the U.S.'s deteriorating debt repayment capability and drastic decline of the U.S. government's intention of debt repayment. "The serious defects in the U.S. economy will lead to long-term recession and fundamentally lower the national solvency," argues this agency. http://blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2010/11/09/chinese-credit-rater-downgrades-us/ China knows what's at risk here and has a key decision to make. Ben Bernanke is playing the biggest poker hand in global monetary policy history: The Federal Reserve chairman is trying to force China to fold on its fixed dollar-yuan currency peg. This is high-stakes poker between the two superpowers as to who will ultimately be responsible at causing the next major economic collapse. The biggest victim of the peg is the U.S which can never eliminate its huge trade deficit with China through currency adjustments. Japan has been brought to its knees by China's fixed peg. Other countries are fighting speculative hot flows, rapidly rising currencies, and the loss of export advantage. Will China risk a global depression and allow soaring commodity prices to unsettle its hungry population? Will the Fed allow the same? Who will fold first? If Bernanke's gamble fails and the G-20 reaches no agreement on the Chinese currency question, 2011 could become a disastrous year.

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