I want to clarify something I've mentioned in previous columns, specifically: My wish for a clear economic direction of government policy.
I wrote recently "if you do what you always did, you'll get what you always got." This is the same as "if you keep doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results, it is a form of insanity." Earlier this month Northeast Michigan residents tried to change course in selecting a president, as the majority voted for challenger Mitt Romney instead of the incumbent, President Obama. That's different than four years ago when the majority voted for President Obama. As a region, we aren't insane.
I would argue our country's leaders received a mandate from the majority of voters to continue the economic policies of the last four years as we voted the president and the vast majority of the "rascals" in Congress back into office. Just because it was by a much smaller majority only means the mandate is not as overwhelming, but it does exist. No matter how you voted, a majority still believe it's all George Bush's fault.
So as a country, where are we headed? A noted historian once said "the past is prologue" meaning that all that has gone on before shapes our future. Radical changes in a country's direction is not possible without great upheaval. We should not discount the fact that for the first time in my memory there are secessionist movements afoot across the country. I haven't noticed this phenomenon before.
Our nation is really very polarized politically and I maintain the Congress best represents this polarization.
The direction for them is clear. Gridlock will dominate the headlines for another four years. There will be some minor gains that will be hailed as huge victories, but that's only because politicians need to create "wins."
Why get excited about the election, since nothing has changed. Almost all the players are the same so I believe the shenanigans for the next four years will look very much like the past four.
We should expect more rule-making having the force of law because gridlock won't allow for the passage of laws. The only option for President Obama to impose his "mandate" is through the imposition of such rules. We will see a number of new rules impacting the Environmental Protection Agency, National Labor Relations Board, Department of Education, Department of Energy and others.
Even though I don't like any of this, at least now I know where we're headed.
Knowing that is at least better than having no idea at all.