While perusing the produce aisle of a grocery store last Saturday, I overheard a woman telling her companion that “Tea Partiers are killing Democrats in Arizona.” She had received a text message from a family member, so she knew her statement to be true, even though the shootings had been in the news for the past hour, and other than the usual media speculation, there was no evidence that any political group was involved.
2010 was a bad one, folks. At year’s end unemployment is barely changed. Small businesses are still struggling. We are so desperate for good economic news that favorable changes in indicators that would have gone unnoticed before the recession bring frenzied news flashes about a recovery.
There is hope for a better 2011, even if the only bright spot at the moment is the end of Nancy Pelosi’s reign of horrific irresponsibility.
Mitch McConnell likes to play both sides of the fence. Republicans built their midterm election resurgence on promises to cut spending, and by adopting Tea Party demands for Washington to reverse its course. McConnell sounded agreeable, even resolute, when he assented to a non-binding GOP earmark moratorium:
I have to lead first by example. Nearly every day that the Senate’s been in session for the past two years, I have come down to this spot and said that Democrats are ignoring the wishes of the American people.
This has been a tough year. Unemployment was 9.7% in January. Ten months, billions of dollars, and heaps of undeserved Democratic self-congratulations later, unemployment is 9.6%. Nearly 15 million Americans are greeting the holiday season without a job and with little hope on the horizon for 2011.
Not all is lost, though. Change is coming to Washington, and if there is hope to be had, that hope lies with the humbling of Democrats in Congress, and a president who continues to misconstrue the meaning of “bipartisan.”
As we celebrate Thanksgiving, here are ten political developments that bode for a better 2011, and for which we can all be thankful.
Mitch McConnell’s announcement that he would support a ban on earmarks was so fraught with contradictions that it would have been better had he said nothing at all. The GOP Senate leader’s support for a non-binding, two-year moratorium would have turned enough heads without the curious justification that preceded his assent.
McConnell rationalized his own earmark spending:
Make no mistake.
So, America may be speaking out, but Republicans in Congress sure aren’t listening. They want to put special interests back in the driver’s seat in Washington.
President Barack Obama 
The decisive influence of special interests has made a mockery of our representative government. Both parties are guilty of pandering to pressure groups, endorsing legislation that benefits supporters at the expense of the majority.
Washington has become very fond of the word “unprecedented.” In contrast to “broken,” another favorite applied to things that the president disapproves of and wants to revamp, such as our health care and immigration systems, the “unprecedented” label is freely slapped on every action he takes.
For example, while the recession was ravaging the nation, the president worked diligently with Congress to give us the Recovery Act, “… an unprecedented effort to jumpstart our economy, create or save millions of jobs, and put a down payment on addressing long-neglected challenges so our country can thrive in the 21st century.” 
The result: billions doled out, bank bonuses paid, 9.5% unemployment, and fears of a slowing economy and second recessionary dip.
With most jobs, experience is a win-win proposition. As you gain experience, that experience pays off for your employer and yourself and increases the value of your skills. This reciprocal relationship between experience and value is a good thing in a free market economy. For example, if you are facing an exquisitely delicate brain surgery, and have a choice between a surgeon who has been doing brain surgery for twenty years and one who is still disoriented from the medical school graduation party, you are going to go with the twenty-year veteran every time, and you will be happy to pay the high fees that those twenty years commands.