News Column

44's Problems Aren't about Re-election Now

Nov. 7, 2012

Dan X. McGraw

President Barack Obama may have a few short moments to soak in his victory for a second term as president of the United States.

After that though, he'll have plenty of problems that likely will keep him busy well past his first day into his second term as president.

Here is a breakdown of the critical issues Obama will have to deal with:

Automatic spending cuts: Political pundits have spoken at length about the so-called fiscal cliff and automatic spending cuts that loom for the nation. Those deficit-reducing cuts are set to go into effect in January 2013, and the Obama administration and Congress will have to find a solution to that problem.

Debt limit looming large: Remember how fun the debt limit debate was in 2011? The Obama administration may get to have the same battle with Congress in 2013. The U.S. is set to hit its borrowing limit by February 2013.

Taxes set to rise: Taxes became a pivotal issue during the presidential campaign as Obama vowed to protect the middle class from an increase. He'll be put to the test as the current income tax rates expire on Dec. 31, and a tax rate for children under the age of 17 is also set to be cut in half by Congress.

Foreign affairs: Pundits gave Obama plenty of kudos for how he dealt with foreign affairs during his first four years. His next term might not be as friendly though. Obama will have his hands full with Syria and Iran.

Obamacare: Obama defended his Affordable Care Act during the campaign, but he'll now be tasked with implementing it. Obama needs to nominate and get Senate confirmations for 15 members of the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Republicans have been wary of Obamacare so the task likely won't be a walk in the park.

Who fills Hillary Clinton and Tim Geithner's roles?: Obama will have to make some key changes to his cabinet. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner both aren't signing on for a second term. Those will be key appointments for Obama, and he might run into Congressional gridlock with his appointments.

Jobs and the economy: Job growth and the economy were critical issues during the presidential campaign. Those will be key problems during his second term.

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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Source: (c) 2012 the Houston Chronicle

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