Will the new Congress deal better with the economic outlook in 2011?

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Answered by: Ken, An Expert in the Current Affairs Category
Voters made the economy a driving factor at the polls in early November. The challenge of the new Congress, with its new Tea Party and Republican House majority, will be now better to deal with the stagnation and joblessness in the U.S. economy. Promises of the almost one trillion spent in the Stimulus Bill failed to materialize and left many Democrats out of options and out of seats.

Speeches about delivering jobs and repeal of the Health Care Bill swept a mixture of new and old-guard Republicans into a House majority, but the question now becomes: What will be done differently? Untried freshmen House members will have to come to an agreement with the returning seasoned Republican politicians. With differences in views, promises to constituents and approaches to problems, the members have their work cut out to change the economic outlook in 2011.

One of the major hot-button pieces of legislation left for the outgoing Democrat House majority is how and whether to extend the Bush Tax Cuts. Some Democrats agree with Republicans that the tax cuts should be extended, but for whom and at what income levels are major sticking points. President Obama continues to insist that persons above the $250,000 annual income bracket should not be part of any extension. So far, the members of the lame duck session have failed to come to an agreement.Currently, no progress is being made.

When Republicans come in to session for the 112th Congress, myriad financial problems will vex their approach to economic recovery. The declining dollar, the spiraling debt, state coffers running near bankrupt, high unemployment, continuing foreclosures and tight credit are just a few of the problems the new Congress will face. Mandates from the voting public to deal with these problems will complicate their approach. Tough times are definitely ahead for the new group of lawmakers.

Even if the newest members come up with working, acceptable changes for boosting financial growth, the results will lag for months. In the immediate future, the economic outlook in 2011 looks rather bleak. Turning an economy around quickly has been likened to a making a u-turn with a battleship.

Political unrest in Washington will not wane either. The House Democrats left in power are mostly comprised of liberals. Once again, California Democrat will head up the minority as she did the majority. Many moderate Democrats lost their seats while those in liberal districts were either not up for re-election or managed to hang on with their voting base. Bi-partisanship will bandied about between the two factions in desperate attempts to reach compromises and jockey for points with voters and the media. The pending 2012 elections will color many decisions.

Don't expect any great leaps in economic growth for at least the first ( and probably the second) quarter of 2011. Republicans will be on a tear to reverse the Democrat Congress and the Obama agenda in the short term, feeling the pressure of the voter mandate. Democrats will be concentrating on retaining their liberal base, bringing back Independents and keeping their man in the White House. Few compromises on the economy will be reached early on. Those that are will be trumpeted as victories by both sides, using economic indicators as their validation. The Republican's and Tea Parties' victory celebration will be over in January and will likely bring them a hangover.

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