He walked over and sat down at the Resolute desk. He glanced at the pile of papers and noticed the security briefing that had been placed there hours ago. He didn’t bother to look, he knew what was in it. Israel was gone. All but the city of Jerusalem anyway. It was leveled six months ago by Iranian nukes that he had believed in spite of credible intelligence reports, were sill years away from development. It served BiBi right he had said to himself, the Prime Minister insisted on striking Iran’s main nuclear facility. Unfortunately Iran had more secret sites than they knew of. Within three months of the Israeli action, Iran was pounding them with fully functional bombs leaving the entire country a smoldering, desolate, uninhabitable landscape. Its people scattered once again over Europe and the United States. At the insistence of the Ayatollah Khamenei, the new Iranian President, Saeed Jalili, left the Dome of the Rock and surrounding Jerusalem intact as a slap in the fact to the West. He shook his head as he remember the day, Netanyahu desperately pleading for military help from the US. Help that he was unable to give. Unbeknownst to its citizens he had ordered the American nuclear arsenal destroyed as a good faith gesture to encourage Russia and China to do the same. It was the keeping of a promise that he had made to Vladimir Putin though Dmitry Medvedev in the spring of 2012. Then in a cost cutting measure necessary to keep his programs afloat a few more months, he pared down the Navel fleet to handful of warships, four nuclear submarines and two aircraft carriers. Aging fighters and bombers were not replaced, affectively grounding the Air Force, and the manpower of the Army and Marines were cut in half. Now, thanks to Netanyahu’s impatience (the sanctions would have worked, eventually) the whole world knew that the United States is militarily weak and vulnerable. Putin, that double-crossing bastard didn’t live up to his side of the bargain. Russia retained its nukes and now was aiding Iran. India, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the other smaller Middle Eastern nations were marshalling their forces, ready to join a coalition against the West, or to dig in a defend their own borders, whichever would suit them best when the time came. Al Qaeda, made quick work of the power vacuum and over ran Afghanistan, almost overnight. Then it set its sights on Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal. He knew the report would tell him that any day now missiles would be headed toward the United States, as the Russian Army and Al Qaeda terrorists, strange bedfellows indeed, had joined forces and built up arms across the Bering Strait.
Alaska, well at least that will get rid of Sarah Palin and her inbred, white-trash, red neck family. He half smirked to himself. The thought amused him for only a second. Alaska was vital. Two years ago he reluctantly caved on his own policies and opened up ANWR to drilling. He then agreed to finishing the Keystone Pipeline. He had hoped that these moves would provide much need jobs. But as the oil flowed South into Texas, the hope that flowed along with it waned. The refineries that were to turn the thick smelly crude into much needed gasoline, were crumbling and inadequate for the task. Long standing environmental regulations, ones that he in all good conscience would not overturn, made the building of new refineries impossible. The oil that was supposed to bring relief from eight dollar a gallon gas, was instead stockpiled in huge, hard to secure tank yards. Unsaleable to other countries because of an OPEC strangle hold on the petroleum market. A terrorist’s dream or an environmental disaster just waiting to happen.
He leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. He thought back to four years ago. Then he was unstoppable. If Congress wouldn’t act on his agenda, he could enact it by executive order. He was a rock star and everywhere he went he was surrounded by awestruck, adoring crowds. He was a media darling, the toast of Hollywood. Letterman, Oprah, The View they just couldn’t get enough of him. But those days were gone. Now whenever he made a rare appearance outside the gates, he could feel the loathing of a disperate people. His once cheerful and stalwart wife, his outspoken defender, was now sullen and bitter and rarely spoke in public anymore. His daughters could no longer romp through the grounds with their dog, or spend afternoons with their mother, tending their vegtable garden. Now they spent their days shut up inside for their own safety. No more sleepovers with friends or attending school. The prestige he so craved as a young Senator, the power of the Presidency that stirred the passionate fire within, now wore him down like a cumbersome weight around his neck. The toll it took on him, on his family, on the nation, was just too much to bear. He stood and again walked over to the window. He watched as the sun sat behind the Washington Monument and longed for November.
Instead of asking ourselves if we are better off today than we were four years ago, maybe we should be asking if we will be better off four years from now? Without the need to woo skittish voters, and appease wealthy donors, President Obama would no longer have to carry on the ruse of upholding The Constitution. He would have the power, through executive order if need be, to continue his war on capitalist prosperity. Even without the blessing of Congress, he would assume the authority to appease our enemies while snubbing our allies. What would four years look like if President Obama is elected to another term? In the first of a four-part series, I’ll describe the America, Obama’s America, that is yet to come.
Though we don’t see the exuberance of four years ago, there is much celebration in the nation today. Seniors who feared cuts to Social Security and Medicare are now looking forward to the hope of a decent retirement. People who were previously uninsurable, or had children with catastrophic illnesses, who were already enjoying the benefits of the Affordable Healthcare Act are resting comfortably. Students who only a year ago, were protesting in the streets, now feel they have a future.
There is caution in the celebrating though, an almost palpable feeling that maybe, just maybe everything isn’t as it seems. Tentative hope has now been replaced by fear and uncertainty. For many in this country this is not a day to celebrate, it is a day filled with a sense of dread. The campaign slogans of “Hope and Change”, of “Forward”, of “Believe in America”, have been replaced by a new slogan, “Oh my God what have we done”.
The fifth year:
Obama wastes no time in pushing though his campaign promise of making rich people pay “their fare share”. At first, the extension of the Bush era tax cuts for the middle class, along with the Fed’s new policy of printing and circulating large sums of money has a small positive effect on the economy. Middle class wage earners, while not gaining any true increase in wealth, are feeling better about the future so they are starting slowly and cautiously to spend more.
Employment however, has not increased as much as expected. Small business owners who were waiting on the outcome of the election, before deciding whether to expand or hire, have decided to put it off. Even with the small increase in consumer spending, they are waiting to see just how much the Affordable Healthcare Act and the new wealth taxes will cost them. A few small business owners are eager to utilize the Obama administration’s new programs to reward “insourcing” and “green” business. The program has little success however, as the program’s stipulations, along with all the government’s restrictions, make it impossible for these businesses to be profitable.
The upper tier rich begin to look for ways to divest their income to avoid paying the new wealth taxes. Many are placing most of their funds in overseas bank accounts. Wealthy businessmen, concerned about maintaining the profitability of their companies, many of whom would never have considered it before, are moving overseas. Many wealthy individuals are starting to consider the wisdom of leaving the United States entirely and taking up residence in a foreign country. A policy that was supposed to generate more revenue for the government has the unexpected result of prolonging the employment crisis.
In spite of another drop in interest rates, the housing market has also remained flat. As the year progresses, the Fed’s influx of cash has led to inflation. The increase in the cost of living, coupled with the lack of well-paying jobs has people reluctant to buy a home. What was a slow and cautious economic recovery has now become stagnant.
Obama Care has given many people who worried about the cost of healthcare, a reason to be hopeful. Adult children can now be carried on their parent’s insurance, and a person can’t be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition. The trade-off is that now individuals are forced to carry health insurance or pay a penalty tax. In spite of subsidies, many small business owners cannot afford to cover their employees. This forced those employees to turn to the state insurance pools. While low-income people are given a tax incentive to cover the cost of this insurance, many mid level earners do not qualify. This leaves them with an added expense that they did not count on. Just one more item to juggle into an already tight budget.
In spite of continued attacks against American interests in the Middle East, President Obama expands his policy of acceptance and understanding of the Muslim culture. He meets regularly with the heads of radical Islamic groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. He maintains his stance that Prime Minister Netanyahu needs to stop the development of settlements on the West Bank. Meanwhile, Iran continues its so-called “peaceful” nuclear program. Even though this presents a clear danger to one of our most important allies, Obama is reluctant to call for stronger measures against them. He prefers to rely on the economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations, despite their lack of success………
As we see, during Obama’s fifth year in office, the world continues to be a dangerous and unstable place, both economically and culturally. While most Americans may not be worse off, very,very, few can say things are better. In my next post, we will see what it might look like during his sixth year.
Oops! Sean Patrick Hazlett at Reflection of a Rational Republican has asked for predictions for 2112. I thought He wanted predictions for 2012. That’s what years of watching Barney the Dinosaur with your kids does to your brain. Drawing on the hopes, dreams and sense of humor of a housewife, this is what I think the average household will look like 100 years from now.
- Homes will be built of materials that are resistant to heat and radiation. This means that people will no longer fear losing their homes to fires or maybe even a nuclear war. Houses will also be able to shield their occupants from the effects of climate change
- Homes will have self-cleaning filtration systems. Household air will be free from dust, pollens and pollutants greatly reducing the prevalence of diseases such as asthma and hay fever. It will be discovered however that such clean living results in weakening our immune systems causing outbreaks of new diseases.
- Clothing will be made from disposable, compostable materials. Eliminating the need to do laundry while nourishing the soil.
- Boo boos will be treated with a spray-on synthetic skin that will immediately heal the wound and eliminate scarring. It will still be permissible to “kiss it and make it better”
- Mundane housework such as dusting, mopping and vacuuming will all be done by a household robot. Like a Roomba on steroids.
- Bad hair days will be eliminated. A woman will be able to style her hair by uploading an image of her face and the desired style to an automated hair dresser that will then fix her hair. By interconnecting to the auto stylists of your neighbors you can still catch up on the latest gossip.
- Baby monitors will be able to interpret an infant’s cries. We will now know if baby needs a fresh diaper, a bottle or just a hug.
- 3-D technology will advance to where we will be able to interact with the characters on our TV screen. This will prove to be a bad thing leading to all sorts of social dysfunctions.
- We will be able to communicate with each other via cell phone like devices implanted behind our ears. These devices will also be able to issue reminders and to do lists to us making errand running more efficient. As an added bonus husbands will no longer be able to forget birthdays and anniversaries. On the downside it will be difficult to tell if a person is schizophrenic or merely having a legitimate conversation.
- The ultimate remote will be invented. This device will enable a wife to override all other remote devices in the house. Eliminating inappropriate programming, channel surfing and excess sports watching.
- The “little red schoolhouse” will cease to exist as all children will be taught at home through virtual schools.
- I’m still holding out hope for that replicator.