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Posted 11/14/12 (Wed)

By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

The election is now over and the people of the United States have spoken. While the political pundits have spent the days following the election analyzing just what it was the voters said at the national level, a couple of things have been very clear.
First, there does not appear there is going to be any significant changes in the way that Washington, D.C. is going to work. President Obama is still the president of the United States, the Democrats control the Senate and the Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives.
For the past four years, Washington has played its own dangerous game of chicken when it came to solving the perils that seem to permeate across the country. The country’s debt is growing out of control, we have a record number of people without jobs and the vast majority of America’s citizens still believe that the country is moving in the wrong direction.
Can the two political parties come together and begin solving the problems that the country is facing? One would hope so. But then again, we have to be realistic. The two parties are so vastly different in their approach to problem-solving that developing a true give and take approach seems highly unlikely.
The Democrats want big tax hikes on those people making over $250,000 to help pay for more government and to reduce the debt, while the Republicans want to lower taxes to stimulate the economy.
The Republicans believe that by relaxing rules and regulations, the private sector will be able to add hundreds of thousands of new jobs to lower the unemployment rate, while the Democrats see the creation of more government and public jobs as the solution.
Second, for the past four years, President Obama and Congress have been kicking the can down the road instead of solving the problems facing the nation.
As a result, the country will no doubt hit its debt ceiling limit of $16.4 trillion by the end of the year. Congress can either up the limit again at the risk of triggering another downgrading of the country’s credit rating. Or it can do something to solve the problem.
But the debt ceiling is but a small obstacle when compared to what is going to happen on Jan. 2, 2013 when the federal government will be forced to cut $1.2 billion, approximately 8.5 percent of its spending, in a single day. These automatic cuts, the  so-called “sequestration” will come about because Congress failed to meet its own mandates of budget cuts back in November of 2011. As a result, thousands of government jobs will be lost, federal contracts with private companies will be eliminated and the nation’s economy will take a big, big hit.
Those are just two of the really big issues that Congress is going to have to take up before the end of the year. But there are many tax breaks such as, the temporary payroll tax cut, the “Bush era tax cuts,” long-term unemployment benefits, and Medicare reimbursement to doctors, that are all set to expire at the end of the year that are going to affect the average American as well.
Does President Obama, as well as members of Congress have the courage and conviction to do what they must do to bring about an economic recovery in this country and to seriously solve the nation’s debt back which will help restore America to its past greatness?
Doing so is going to alienate many of the people that both parties are trying to woe as present and future voters.
Or are both parties, as well as the President, merely content to continue to kick the can down the road and do whatever it takes to woe over potential voters regardless of the what impact of their actions is on the citizens of the United States?
The answer is going to be coming in the next couple of months.