According to the latest polls, one week from today, the Republicans are poised to recapture the House majority and possibly the Senate.
Regardless of the outcome next Tuesday, the lame duck Congress will have to grapple with the Bush era tax cuts that are due to expire at the end of the year.
Republicans have made it known they want all the tax cuts restored, including cuts for those earning over $250,000. Democrats, including the president want the tax cuts restored only for those under the million mark.
Since Obama will still be the president after the election, regardless of who sits in the majority, Republicans will have to compromise on the issue, something they have been loathe to do on any proposal initiated by the Democrats.
The other issue in the Republican crosshairs and the one they and their "tea party" brethren have been screaming about in their food fight type campaign rhetoric is the expanding federal deficit. Of course they'd take the scythe to all entitlement programs including Social Security and Medicare and eliminate all unemployment insurance, Medicaid and food stamps for the needy (none of which will happen regardless of their status in the new Congress).
Also waiting in the wings are the recommendations of the bi-partisan debt reduction commission that Obama authorized (by executive order) and we are supposed to hear their offerings in December. Surprisingly, there's been a pretty tight lid kept on their deliberations so (other than rumors) it's unknown what recommendations they will offer.
Getting back to the Republicans, the paradox in their thinking (thinking being an oxymoron in their current mental makeup) is by extending the Bush era tax cuts for the rich this will further increase the deficit supposedly close to $1 trillion over the next ten years (thus the obvious contradiction). Thus one supposes their fixation on cutting Social Security and Medicare as their fantasy. But these are 3rd rail issues and untouchable. What has raised anxiety recently is the avalanche of baby boomers retiring and bankrupting the system. But this a ruse as there is no imminent crisis as the system without any changes is fully funded through 2039. Plus simply eliminating the cut off where Social Security and Medicare is currently deducted (from the salaries of high wage earners) would solve any future shortfall.
The one area in the federal budget that demands cutting but no Republicans (and few Democrats) are willing to look at is the Defense Department budget. This is where real waste and bloat exist. This "welfare" program for defense contractors of unnecessary weapons systems (aircraft carriers, nuclear submarines, new generation fighter planes and bombers, anti ballistic missile systems [that don't work], an arsenal of over 1500 nuclear weapons as well as military bases world wide) to oppose an enemy that no longer exists is absurd on its face. Yet this is the 800 lb. gorilla sitting in the room that constitutes the real budget buster.
But intentional avoidance of tackling the real problem as it truly exists in the real world is so typical of our dysfunctional political system that goes beyond the polarization between the parties. We get political posturing and distractions (the focus on social welfare and safety net programs) while the real source of our runaway budget deficits that prevail in the Defense Department are not even in the discussion.
But to take all the fore mentioned one step further. This is what happens when big corporate and special interests capture and usurp the political system to get it to act for their sole benefit.
This the fundamental underlying crisis that is not addressed so essentially it doesn't matter who is elected in the coming elections and which party sits in the majority in Congress. It really makes no difference. Big moneyed and special interests reign and exert control over both parties. They are the real masters manipulating the strings.