Typically after an election, the winners and incumbents pledge to “work with the other side of the aisle” to sign meaningful legislation into law. Will the pledges made by this year’s new House and Senate members become promises, or will they fall by the wayside as simply more rhetoric?
No Government Shutdown: Kiernan says because the last shut-down was so “politically damaging,” that it won’t likely happen again. Michael S. Rocca, director of the Political Science Honors Program at the University of New Mexico was quoted as saying, “While the ideological distance between Congress and the president is large, the incentives to work together on a few key issues is even larger. Neither will want to get blamed for a government shutdown heading into a presidential election, and both would like to take credit for a growing economy.”
No End to Political Gridlock: Even though the government may not shut down, that doesn’t mean Congress and the Executive branch will become a well-oiled machine. Kiernan writes, “Most of the experts we consulted expect to see much of the same from our nation’s political leaders – very little.”
That’s nothing to look forward to, but the political maneuvering will likely continue. Congress seems to be obsessed with making the other side look bad rather than focusing on meaningful change for the country. In the process, their approval ratings will likely move even further south than they already are.
The Stock Market will Continue to Rise: Kiernan writes, “History is firmly on the stock market’s side. We’ve historically seen 25 percent annualized returns in the period from a midterm election in November to the following April.” Furthermore, we saw an “adjustment” in the stock market just a month ago, so if history is accurate, we won’t see another one for another 20 months or so.
No New Tax Hikes: “With more Republicans in Washington, rising tax rates are one thing we will not see from this new-look Congress,” says Kiernan. “That’s undoubtedly good news for those of us who feel we are already forking over too much to Uncle Sam.”
Higher Federal Minimum Wage: Minimum wage was an issue during the elections and four states voted to raise their minimum wage in the midterm elections. Kiernan says with President Obama already raising the pay of federal workers, “the writing seems to be on the wall for a change.”
Look for Corporate Tax Reform: While it may not be major, “it seems reasonable to expect some nature of bipartisan support for this issue,” writes Kiernan.
No Significant Changes to Health Care: Health care/Obamacare was a political football during the mid-term elections but it’s unlikely that we’ll see significant changes to the program, believes Kiernan. “President Obama is not going to allow his signature act to date to be cast aside…however, if the GOP plays its cards right, slight alterations and improvements to the law could be viable.”
The Keystone Pipeline will Pass: Experts feel the Republicans could garner enough votes to bypass the need for the president’s approval. Passage would mean more jobs and probably lower energy prices for consumers.
External Factors will Impact the Economy More Than Internal Factors: The economy is recovering, but the United States fight against ISIS, the European recession and other world issues will affect the U.S. economy more than what happens (or doesn’t happen) in Congress, believes Kiernan.
Of course, time will tell, but these predictions make sense, and it will be interesting to see if they come to fruition.