the lectern banner

By Steve Kelman

Blog archive

After the inauguration, some forecasts for the next four years

crowd at inauguaration 2013

Crowds filled the National Mall during Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony on January 21. (FCW photo by Michael Hardy)

While in town for this week’s presidential inauguration, I took the opportunity to ask friends I met (all Democrats) a question about the next four years. The question was this:  “What’s the optimistic scenario for the next four years that you think has at least a 25 percent chance of happening? And what’s the pessimistic scenario that has at least a 25 percent chance of happening?”

Though not all responses were the same, there were interesting patterns. Basically, the optimistic scenarios involved the economy and the pessimistic ones involved the international scene. One person, for example, felt there was a 25 percent chance that four years from now the Democrats would be able to point to a “Morning in America” moment such as that used by Ronald Reagan in the 1984 presidential campaign – that most of the nation would feel confident that the economy had really come back strongly from the economic crisis.

The worries were international. They worried that Afghanistan and/or Pakistan might collapse in a way that creates real problems for the United States; that terrorism might resurge; that Europe’s economy could collapse; or that there might be trouble in the Middle East such as escalation of hostilities between Israel and Palestine or a revolution in Saudi Arabia).

Interestingly, nobody I asked mentioned improvements in the ability to compromise politically; nor did anyone predict progress or calamity regarding the country’s fiscal problems. I asked about whether an optimistic economic scenario would have any impact on political dysfunction, and the best response I got was one suggestion that economic growth would reduce the urgency of the budget deficit problem.

By the way, a Chinese friend sent me a screen shot of a page on Youku – China’s home-grown equivalent to YouTube – of scenes from the Obama inauguration. One picture showed the President and Michelle Obama dancing, another the inaugural address. Still others showed Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keyes, and Kelly Clarkson singing. To be sure, these pics were hardly burning up the Chinese Internet. Twelve hours after being posted, they had only been watched 8,000 times. Nonetheless, it’s an interesting sign of the attractiveness of American society and culture in China, and elsewhere outside the United States. (I blogged a few months ago about Chinese kids wearing t-shirts with US flags or military insignia.)

 

Posted on Jan 22, 2013 at 12:09 PM


The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 Steve Kelman

Mike Palumbo, thanks very much for your suggestion about a question to ask in China. Actually, will be meeting with a group of Chinese students on Friday and will ask them the question!

Wed, Jan 23, 2013 Mike Palumbo Washington, DC

Excellent questions Steve and the answers are equally so - now on your next trip to China I'd love to see you ask the same questions to the Chinese people that you come in contact with! It would be interesting to compare! It amazes me (I must admit that I just finished watching the new Frontline investigative piece regarding the mortgage bubble collaspe) that we don't really fear another economic meltdown...perhaps the fact that we are NOT overheated is a GOOD thing?

Tue, Jan 22, 2013

Since nothing has really changed, I predict all the things that you both loved and loathed about the last four years will continue for another four.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group