We can imagine what lies ahead in 2017 — no matter the result of either the 2014 midterm elections or the 2016 presidential contest.
There will be no more $1 trillion deficits. About $10 trillion will have been added to the national debt during the Obama administration, on top of the more than $4 trillion from the eight-year George W. Bush administration. That staggering sum will force the next president to be a deficit hawk, both fiscally and politically.
In addition, there will be no huge new federal spending programs — no third or fourth stimulus, no vast new entitlements. The debt is so large and voters are so tired of massive borrowing that the next president will talk not of “investments” but of balancing the budget. In 2017, President Hillary Clinton or President Marco Rubio will tell us that cutting spending and living within our means is the new cool.