The domestic challenges ahead for America’s new President
By Steven Buckley, North America Political Editor
During the campaign season, much time is spent looking back at past successes and failures of the current party, but what really matters is what domestic challenges the new President will face and how they will be dealt with.
The economy is a key issue for voters. Unemployment is currently at 7.8% and with economic recovery seemingly slowing down, any turbulence in the markets according to leading economists, could quickly turn growth into recession. The potential danger that emanates from Wall St. is the chance of another banking crisis. Many former members of the industry, such as the Bank of America executive Sallie Krawcheck, predict that unless the next President puts in place more regulations, another financial collapse is imminent. One example that people point to is that just one bank alone, Goldman Sachs, has over $44 trillion on derivative trades currently on their books. Should anyone at that bank make a tiny mistake in the numbers, it would not only cripple America financially, but also send the entire global financial system into an unrecoverable position.
The Affordable Care Act in 2010 introduced by Obama created a deep rift between to two major parties. It has been successful in its aim was to decrease the number of uninsured Americans, but some people saw it as unconstitutional. Despite a number of legal challenges, the Supreme Court upholds the Act. What the next President must decide is whether or not to repeal the Act. Of course if Obama retains the White House, the Act would remain, as it was one of the major achievements of his administration. Should Romney win the presidency, he has promised to repeal the act.
When asked about healthcare, many Americans see abortion coverage as a key aspect. With religion remaining a highly contentious topic, the next President will have to mull over the Supreme Court’s decision in 1973 of Roe vs. Wade, in which the court ruled that the government lacked the power to restrict abortions. Either Obama or Romney will have to try and calm down both the pro-choice and pro-life camps as both in recent years have increased their campaigning to have the court’s decision upheld or overturned respectively.
Possibly the largest problem facing the US healthcare service is obesity, as with over 78 million people in 2010 being classed as obese, the health of the entire nation is seen as a ticking time-bomb. With obese people currently paying on average $1,500 more on healthcare costs than a normal-weight person and obesity levels set to rise to 47.5% by 2018, the projected cost to the US economy is going to be upwards of $343 billion by 2018.
Rise of the third party
With just one in 10 Americans approving of the job Congress is doing – according to polls by both Gallup and Bloomberg – and many other politicians currently being held in low esteem, the opportunity for a third party to become more mainstream is greater than ever. Presently there are three ‘minor’ parties that stand in good order to take away votes from both the Democrats and Republicans in this years election. These are the Green Party run by Jill Stein, the Justice Party headed by Rocky Anderson and the Libertarian Party fronted by Gary Johnson. With a growing feeling amongst voters that the two major parties are just one and the same thing, the three minor parties are gaining traction in the political world. What the next President must be wary of is the rise of these parties, and must contemplate upon whether the policies he instigates in the next four years are likely to entice or push away voters who may otherwise consider voting for the minor parties.
America is at present, in debt to the amount of $14.1 trillion with 30% of it being owed to foreigners. This, coupled with an aging population that will cause Medicare and social security costs to soar dramatically, will cause the national debt to soon reach unmanageable levels. The next President will have to get government spending under control and begin to reduce the deficit or risk having the countries credibility rating downgraded even further. When such large numbers are in play, even minor changes to tax rates and subsidy levels could help get the debt under control.
It’s not all doom and gloom at home
According to the World Economic Forum, the US is ranked the world’s seventh most competitive economy, 22 places above China. Research and development in the US is on the increase and with one third of all R&D money spent world wide, being spent in the US, the country is well placed to stay ahead in technology and engineering capabilities as is evident in the fact the country receives 48% of the world’s patents.
No one knows exactly what the future will have in store for America domestically. All that can be said with certainty is that whoever is elected to the White House on November 7th, will have the unenviable task of attempting to run the most powerful nation in the world.