This is a continuation of last week’s issue reviewing our 2012 forecasts for the category of government policy as stated in the January 9, 2012, edition.
• Fed policy. Expansive for the next two years.
RESULTS: Yes. The Bernanke expansion did continue, and is promised for yet another year. (Foxbusiness.com)
• Fed Funds Rates should remain close to 0.25%, possibly rising to 0.5% near year end.
RESULTS: Yes. Fed funds stayed low, but at 0.04% for the year were actually lower than forecast.
• Federal courts. No judicial nominees get through until October budget appropriation time and then maybe only 5 or 6.
RESULTS: Yes. As forecast, only five judges were confirmed in 2012, but our timing was off. They occurred earlier in the year rather than later.
• National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Obama has made three NLRB recess appointments, creating a quorum and giving Democrats firm control of the NLRB, which will continue its very pro labor tear. Expect court challenges.
RESULTS: Yes. Sharon Block (D), Richard Griffin (D), and Terrence F. Flynn (R) were recess appointed by President Obama on Jan. 9, 2012. Mr. Flynn left on July 24, 2012. The NLRB now has three Democrats and one Republican. (http://www.nlrb.gov)
• Legislation.There will be nothing meaningful passed this year as we will have absolute gridlock.
RESULTS: Yes. According to the Washington Post (Dec. 30, 2012) “The 112th Congress is limping to a formal close next week with the dubious distinction of passing fewer bills into law that any Congress in decades.” This is in addition to going over the fiscal cliff. Congress demonstrated an “…inability to solve even the stuff that used to be considered routine…”
• U.S. Supreme Court will strike down mandatory provisions of ObamaCare and unfunded mandates for the states.
RESULTS: No. Court upheld mandatory provisions of unfunded mandates for the states and called it a tax.
• EPA actions will continue to harass industry and the recovery with marginal ecological gains.
RESULTS: Yes. In 2012 the EPA continued its war against coal production, coal fired plants, and coal liquefaction, nuclear power, oil drilling, oil pipelines, fracking, and other energy independence efforts by private industry. (Bloomberg and EPA.gov)
• Federal tax policy will see no major changes until after the election.
RESULTS: Yes. There were no changes—until after the election—and then we went over the fiscal cliff because of gridlock in Congress.
• Presidential election. It will be a very vicious, negative campaign and it could go the the courts for a decision. It’s too close to call.
RESULTS: Yes. It was close and vicious on every level.