With 2013 arriving, let us look ahead to the issues that will dominate this year???s headlines. Hold on to your hat, as this list of top issues illustrates, 2013 it promises to be every bit as wild and woolly as 2012.
With the avalanche of taxes coming via Obamacare and in the aftermath of the fiscal cliff fiasco, expect another year of moribund economic news. With another drama looming over the debt-ceiling limit and with new taxes to spend, don???t expect Washington to do anything other than to make matters worse.
2. Gun control???
Following the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Conn.???where 26 people, including 20 children, were murdered???gun-control advocates immediately sounded the alarm. Expect the battle to begin right as Congress reconvenes, with bills introduced to ban types of guns and ammunition clips. President Obama will also weigh-in, having designated Joe Biden with the task of coming up with a plan.
3. Axis-of-evil nuclear ambitions???
Two of the three axis-of-evil countries singled out by President Bush nearly a decade ago are still threatening to upset the world order and are coming closer to the day of reckoning. Iran is closer to developing a nuclear weapon dramatically changing the equation for Mideast peace, while North Korea???s recent launch of a rocket into space makes its nuclear ambitions all the more horrifying. Obama didn???t do much on anything in his first term to blunt the momentum toward disaster but the time is coming when some tough decisions will have to be made.
Obamacare will be implemented in 2014 for most Americans so we will finally start finding out how this mammoth monstrosity will operate as 2013 progresses. More companies will begin shedding workers, doctors will begin to bail from the profession, and taxes will kick-in. Obamacare has another date with the Supreme Court over the contraception mandate and there will be efforts in the House to limit funding needed to implement the law.
5. Mideast turmoil???
With Syria still in upheaval and Egypt increasingly becoming unsettled, the April Spring continues to devolve into chaos. Israel will remain at odds with its Arab neighbors even as Hamas pushes for a third intifada, Gaza remains a tinderbox, and Iran seeks wipe the Jewish state from the map. All the elements are in place for continued chaos in the Mideast.
6. Gay marriage
Emboldened by Obama???s election-year conversion to the cause of same-sex marriage, gay activists will push ahead with attempts for legalization at the ballot box and in the courts. The main action will be at the Supreme Court where the justices have already said they will hear oral arguments challenging whether states can restrict marriage to one man and one woman. Expect a decision by early summer.
?????????7. Immigration reform???
Democrats will try to cement their gains among Hispanics voters by pushing for immigration reform that includes amnesty and a path for citizenship for illegal aliens. Obama has indicated that immigration reform will be among his top second-term priorities. Republicans will be sure to counter with measures of their own, with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) certain to take a lead role.
??????8. Labor-union battles???
As their power steadily erodes, labor unions will train their sites on efforts to reduce collective bargaining rights, roll back lavish government pensions, and expand right-to-work states. After victories last year in Wisconsin, Michigan and even liberal California cities like San Diego and San Jose, the anti-union forces will look to find new territory to liberate.
9. War on terror???
While the world remains a dangerous place, how to conduct the war-on-terror will continue to be debated. Conservatives have reason to be concerned about the erosion of certain civil liberties under the Patriot Act and progressives will be increasingly concerned over Obama targeting terror suspects with drone attacks. ???And the issue of Transportation Security Agency overreach at airport screening stations have both sides seeing red.
10. Marijuana decriminalization???
Voters in Colorado and Washington passed initiatives allowing recreational use of marijuana, pushing decriminalization of the drug into the political forefront. Activists in other states are sure to follow suit with ballot-initiative attempts and the federal government will have to reconcile its policy on how to deal with the new state laws.