The election of 2012 is over, and you are either happy or upset with the outcome—or, like many independents, you are predictably frustrated with the whole system.
Whatever the case, the next few months is a time of real danger in our nation.
During elections, energy and citizen participation is high.
After elections, it reaches all-time lows. People of all political views tend to focus on other things and leave governance to the politicians.
America has serious challenges ahead, and many of them kick in right at the beginning of 2013.
Moreover, during the next year we will almost certainly determine whether or not the United States is going to fall off the looming financial cliff.
- The rapidly growing debt
- The overwhelming reality of entitlements
- The growing deficit
- The weakening national credit rating
- The struggling role of the U.S. Dollar as the world’s reserve currency
- Various looming bubbles in the market
- A coming inflation crunch
- A further middle-class squeeze on jobs and discretionary income
- A tax rate that is driving more businesses abroad (or out of business)
- A very nervous small business community that is uncertain about growth or hiring
- Weak consumer demand that is causing businesses to produce less (and cut jobs)
- A rapidly expanding government sector that is threatening free enterprise
Washington needs to address these concerns quickly to relieve business anxiety that we’ll just see more of the same (or worse) from the government for the next four years.
After all, without the necessity of reelection the Obama Administration could be truly anti-business.
Hopefully, in contrast, President Obama will see this as an opportunity to really work with Republicans to fix these major national challenges.
The larger problem is that democratic societies seldom take action until they feel direct pain.
Indeed, democratic nations are notoriously bad at anticipating pain and taking action ahead of time, so they seldom stop crises but rather wait until it is too late to get serious about solutions.
We need real solutions in the months and year just ahead, and we can’t afford to wait for more crises.
We must immediately address the economic realities above (and others like them), at the very time the citizenry is the least likely to stay actively involved.
Whatever your political views, America needs you to stay enthusiastically engaged in watching and influencing government. Now more than ever.
Right now begins the year of danger in government and the future of the economy, and only the first branch of government—the people—can truly ensure that things go well.
The alternative is further major economic downturn.
Oliver is dedicated to promoting freedom through leadership education. He and his wife Rachel are raising their eight children in Cedar City, Utah.