The 111th Congress convenes on Monday. If you are in any sort of business, in fact if you are a citizen of this country or you happen to be a citizen of the world and believe that what happens in the U.S. has more than a passing impact on you, then you might want to watch the next few weeks, months or year very carefully. This is one of those moments in time when politics and resultant policies will have an immediate and substantial impact on the fabric of society.
The new Democratic Congress is set to begin framing their program for the reconstitution of the American economy. While President-elect Obama and the members of his administration will have input, the edge in time clearly belongs to the legislative branch, where some of the most senior members have waited a political lifetime for this opportunity.
Old bulls like Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Charles Rangel and Henry Waxman, to name a few, stand much to the left of what appears at first blush to be a cautious, centrist Obama Presidency. They have been thwarted by circumstances and Presidents past but have nothing obvious in their path at this point in time. The opportunity to legislate and reform an American system in their vision is at hand and I doubt they intend to let it pass.
The U.S. finds itself at a rare historical moment. Roosevelt in the 1930s, LBJ in 1960s and Reagan in the 1980s found themselves in similar circumstances. Those presidential administrations seized the opportunity and the legislation they produced continues to this day to impact the country. It remains to be seen if the Obama administration’s actions will result in a similar legacy. If not, then circumstances dictate that it will be the Congress that will leave its mark. For make no mistake about it, changes instituted by one or the other are coming and those changes will shake this society to its core.
Detest politics if you choose but realize one thing. Your future, no matter what you do, is going to be seriously shaped by the actions of politicians in the next twelve months.