Here is what is scheduled for the political calendar in 2010.
President Obama’s poll numbers will continue to drop. Sure, his teleprompted speeches carry the same vim and vigor as the march to Washington campaign addresses, but fewer people are buying pomp, wishing for leadership and results instead.
The beleaguered President, controlled by centrist Democrats, must think the American taxpayers are a bunch of fools when he keeps announcing the return of “pay-go” (when Congress can only increase spending if the same amount is saved elsewhere in the budget).
The President is conveniently forgetting to tell the public that pay-go does not apply to existing programs or discretionary spending (tagged to be $1.4 trillion in 2010 or 40 percent of the entire budget). The trick is to provide political cover for Congressional Dems on any spending increases by declaring them “discretionary.”
The President’s $787 billion stimulus package did very little stimulating of anything. His response for 2010 will be to throw more money at the sour economy.
Not to be outdone, Congress will see new record low numbers in the polls. The pork-laden healthcare bill has both sides of the political spectrum frustrated.
Equally as bad, the federal government’s debt ceiling was raised to $12.4 trillion, and you can expect that number to keep moving upward. Hopefully, President Obama will keep bowing to the Communist government of China so they will keep funding our debt.
You will hear a lot from the Democratic administration regarding a recovering economy, but unemployment, cautious lending, and a continued slump in residential and commercial building will hold things down.
Wall Street might be on the verge of creating a new economic bubble in 2010 to get their firms moving again. The President seems more willing to pander to Wall Street than to improve the enforcement capabilities of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Republicans could pinch away as many as nine Congressional seats in 2010.
Regarding our state legislature, they should be concentrating on two things in 2010: water and ethics.
It would be easy for the legislature to take their eyes off the ball with the water issue when we have had so much rain in 2009.
However, we know what the lean water years are like, so it would be in the best interest of the state for the legislature to move forward on water capacity issues. Additionally, the federal courts have given Alabama and Florida tremendous leverage in the tri-state water lawsuits.
Do not hold your breath waiting for the needed ethics changes. Our legislators like to think they are special, entitled to exemption from laws they impose on others.
There is no good reason why the members of the state legislature should not be subject to hearings under the same State Ethics Commission as all other elected officials in the state. Likewise, the State Ethics Commission should be guaranteed minimum funding based on a formula so the state legislature cannot bring punitive budget reductions against them in order to intimidate commission action.
The state legislature should also be subject to open records requests from the public. There is no benefit to the public from government conducted in secret.
On the county stage, Fayette Board of Commissioners Chairman Jack Smith will continue to rebuff any suggestions that he resign from the board of the local developer and homebuilder bank, The Bank of Georgia.
Interestingly, Smith has a long list of professional activity in his bio on the county government web site, but he just happened to leave off his board position with the bank; it must have been something he was trying to keep quiet (darn newspapers).
It is about time to demand full disclosure of Smith’s accounting firm related to clients who contract with the county government and those in the building and development industry who may require government approval for projects.
The Board of Commissioners will continue to remain low-key in 2010 while they carry on with their mission to construct the West Fayetteville Bypass, a $51 million boondoggle, even though the road cannot be justified and the project has been labeled a scam.
Commissioners Lee Hearn and Eric Maxwell as well as Chairman Smith are up for re-election in 2010. Their open approval of special interest windfall projects like the West Fayetteville Bypass and their foolhardy attempt at trying to pull the wool over the voters’ eyes with an extravagant SPLOST referendum full of lavish spending are just a couple of the reasons the three amigos should get the boot in November.
In 2010, you will get a heavy dose of government speak, singing about phony values, letting the special interests have their way.
We will watch the value of the dollar drop while the government asks us for more.
We will witness some outrageous promises made by politicians wanting to get elected or re-elected in 2010. They will supply little proof that they can even come close to fulfilling their promises. Vote accordingly.
[Steve Brown is the former mayor of Peachtree City. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.]