In spite of the cacophony that swirls around us all, I just want to add my wish that your new 2014 gets off to a great start and can carry you through the entire year, because in the midst of the ongoing rat race, there are many features of most of our lives that are really positive.
Most people have clean air, water, and food. Most who want it have shelter and clothing. Most of us get plenty of rest and we are free to move and travel as desired. In spite of frequent contrary claims, everybody has free medical care available whether or not it is all they can afford. There may very well be access problems for some because they must get to an emergency room at a hospital, otherwise if care is needed it can be had, - insurance or no.
Those among us who want housing or shelter can have it for the asking. Those among us who are hungry can have food if they so desire. As with medical care there may be problems in a small proportion of cases, but I would bet there are more problems because some don't realize that all they need to do is ask. Compared with most of the rest of the world, we are very, very well off so far as basic needs are concerned. When did anyone have to replace their thatched roof? Additionally, we can associate with whoever we wish, we are free to marry as we wish -- not only who but of what sex! We can compose whatever we wish and our choices for listening and seeing are nearly without limit. We can go to school where and when we wish. We can even honk our horns and hold up a finger(s) as we wish. We can even dress and undress as we choose and use clothing as we see fit. And we can vote!
A bit less upbeat, it is hard to resist citing two of my greatest fears which can only be resolved at the polls next November.
First, if the Obama ACA continues down the drain, it will be no surprise if a major bailout is not required by the health insurance industry. If this comes to pass, then it can become the means for nationalizing that industry and we will trudge on into single payer health care very much like England, Canada, and others already swirling down that drain pipe.
One fairly certain solution (though the duration is always open) for the economic pits is warfare. Before getting the US into WWI, Wilson was elected President on a peace platform. FDR was reelected on a theme of not sending our boys off to war, LBJ was elected on a theme of keeping us out of war before pushing full bore into Viet Nam. Bush gave us Iraq and Afghanistan; Obama gave back all that was achieved in Iraq and elevated the "true war" in Afghanistan to proper levels. How that will wind up or down remains a big question now.
Second, without the prospects of real economic recovery, watch closely to see what conflicts unfold in the Middle East. The war there may very well "resolve" Obama's economic problems, in spite of his contrary claims. I wonder how much longer we can proceed without a return to a draft.
The nation has way too much money (the monopoly variety) floating around loose (no longer the medium of exchange for goods and services) and a surplus of regulations formulated without end proliferated by all of the agencies responsible for implementing various laws. There are regulations that you and I cannot even read because they are closed by security classifications -- we are subject to them, but we can't read 'em.
The money problems could be fixed, but I see no way at this point to repair the problems of over-regulation. Just thumb through the CFR's (Code of Federal Regulations) and thumb through any issue of the Federal Register; I'd very much like to hear suggested solutions to this one.
Anyway, Happy 2014 and hope for the best.