It's only November as I write this, but I am ready to send 2013 into the history books. My view as a Washington, D.C., resident may be a bit clouded, compared to others who live outside of the so-called "bubble" but my thoughts on 2013 can be summed up with four words: Is it over yet?
It started off well enough. Leaving personal politics aside, President Barack Obama was inaugurated to serve his second term. He was the third Democrat to win the majority of votes two times and one of only 11 presidents to do so in our nation's history. His approval ratings at his inauguration were in the high 50s--not a bad place to be after four years in office. But this is where the good news ends.
Fast forward to today, when the president's approval ratings stand in the high 30s, matching those of former President George Bush's at the same moment in his second term.
And then there is Congress. Would you believe that Congress has a 9 percent approval rating? Actually, it's likely that most people know that tact, as practically everyone I speak with thinks all the elected officials in Congress should be tossed out of office. According to Public Policy Polling, the 113th Congress is less popular than the Department of Motor Vehicles, jury duty and root canals. On the plus side, though, Congress is slightly more popular than telemarketers.
The first session of the 113th Congress might go down as one of the least productive legislative sessions in history. Both the House of Representatives (led by the Republicans) and the Senate (led by the Democrats) managed to achieve absolutely nothing of value for the American people during 2013. There were high hopes: the farm bill, immigration reform and most important to senior financial executives, comprehensive tax reform.
The most memorable thing from this Congress was deadlock. Sure, there were filibusters (technically one filibuster led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and one 21-hour speech by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), but no real legislative accomplishments to take to voters in 2014.
In 2013, for the first time since 1995, the U.S. government shuttered its doors for 16 clays. Though it has technically shut down approximately 20 times since 1980, the recent shut-down was the first one of the 24-hour news cycle and it was not well received by voters. The reason for the shutdown was the fight between Republicans and Democrats on funding the government while also attempting to defund the president's signature health care...