There is much to fear in 2013: from foreign hot spots to liberal legislation. Take a look at this list and prepare for the worst.
1. Gun grab
President Obama began the year crafting a comprehensive package to combat gun violence, signing 23 executive actions and sending legislation to Congress to restrict types of weapons and ammunition. While the bill is unlikely to pass the House, Obama and his Democratic allies, not wanting to waste a crisis, will continue their crusade to try to restrict gun rights.
2. Crushing debt
The fiscal cliff deal not withstanding, plan on seeing another trillion dollars of debt added to the nationâ??s balance sheet in 2013â??bringing the total amount of borrowing to over $17 trillionâ??with three more Obama years still to come. At some point, this crushing debt will cause inflation, interest rate or currency woes for the country, and higher interest payments will increasingly crowd out other spending programs.
3. Moribund economy
The administration likes to point to a decline in the unemployment rate as a sign of a rebounding economy, but the main reason for the drop in the rate is an unprecedented flood of Americans who have left the workforce and stopped looking for jobs. The new fiscal-cliff tax increase, along with the end of the payroll-tax holiday, will deal a double blow to the economy. Expect more news like this: During Obamaâ??s first term, food stamp recipients soared as did the number of people collecting federal disability insurance.
4. Obamacare implemented
As 2014 approaches, so does the full implementation of Obamacare. This year will be full of surprises as the Department of Health and Human Services rolls out volumes of regulations, mandates and taxes associated with the massive health care plan. There will be plenty to fear as the full scope of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act comes into view.
5. Iranâ??s threat to Israel
Iran steadily marches toward completing a nuclear weapon as Obamaâ??s hoped-for first-term dialogue with Tehran never materialized. With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahuâ??s red line for action drawing frighteningly closer, 2013 is likely to be the year of an Iran-Israel showdown.
6. Arab Spring run amok
The Arab Spring uprisings continue to reverberate throughout the Middle East. The Syria civil war continues unabated, the Egyptian political scene is tumultuous, and Libya is a cauldron of Islamic extremism waiting to explode. Now Mali is teetering on a takeover by terror groups, forcing the French to send troops to stem their advance, while hostages are slaughtered by al Qaeda sympathizers in Algeria. From Timbuktu to Damascus, expect the turmoil to continue in 2013.
7. Budgetary clashes
There is much on the budget horizon to fear, as Congress already has battles lined up over automatic sequestration cuts, along with the need to complete the budget that funds the current fiscal year, and another date with the (newly extended) debt-ceiling limit. Every time there is a budget crisis, the ensuing deal to fix the problem seems to make matters worse, so this many showdowns can lead to nothing good.
8. Immigration debate heats up
Democrats upped their share of the Hispanic vote in 2012 and recognize that the ongoing demographic shift necessitates action on immigration reform. Expect a big push in Obamaâ??s second-term with both the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saying they will seek a comprehensive measure. Expect the Democratic bill to be long on ways to extend amnesty provisions and short on border enforcement.
9. North Korea nuclear program
Kim Jong-Un remains an enigma after a year as the Hermit Kingdomâ??s leader, but one thing is clear: North Korea will continue its march toward developing a nuclear weapon and a long-range missile capable of reaching the United States. Obamaâ??s lack of attention to the matter during his first term only makes the situation that much more fearful.
10. Global warming alarmism
Environmental backers of the president didnâ??t get much in his first term and are looking for action on carbon emissions and climate change. Expect Obama to make a strong second-term push to enact an agenda by administrative fiat via the Environmental Protection Agency that Congress couldnâ??t pass even when controlled by Democrats.