We can imagine what lies ahead in 2017 — no matter the result of either the 2014 midterm elections or the 2016 presidential contest.
There will be no more $1 trillion deficits. About $10 trillion will have been added to the national debt during the Obama administration, on top of the more than $4 trillion from the eight-year George W. Bush administration. That staggering sum will force the next president to be a deficit hawk, both fiscally and politically.
In addition, there will be no huge new federal spending programs — no third or fourth stimulus, no vast new entitlements. The debt is so large and voters are so tired of massive borrowing that the next president will talk not of “investments” but of balancing the budget. In 2017, President Hillary Clinton or President Marco Rubio will tell us that cutting spending and living within our means is the new cool.
If eight years of borrowing, printing, spending, and lending vast sums of money at zero interest did not lead to economic recovery, then the antithesis of all that will be the explicit platform of Republicans and the implicit one of Democrats.
Obamacare may remain in name, but in fact most of its provisions will be discarded or amended. Its full implementation next year will result in almost everything that was not supposed to happen: higher health-care premiums, rationed care, scarcer doctors, and fewer jobs. Obamacare will mostly go the way of the Defense of Marriage Act — officially the law of the land, but its enforcement simply ignored by the powers that be.
Read the whole thing, and then start getting the ice packs ready for America’s giant collective hangover.