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Political predictions for 2011

Obama

Obama

From the dawning presidential election season to the Republican surge in Congress, 2011 will be an intensely political year. And more of us will be reading these stories on iPads as technology continues to transform daily life.

Who will win the clash between Republicans and Democrats over spending?

The GOP believes its blowout victory in the House’s midterm elections were a referendum on President Barack Obama and his policies. Republicans plan to take aim at a swelling federal budget and Obama’s health care law. But the Democrats still control the White House and Senate.

Who will challenge Obama for the presidency in 2012?

Republicans will begin lining up this year to challenge Obama in his 2012 re-election bid. Among those rumored to be eyeing the GOP nomination are former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. And Obama also could attract a strong challenger from his own party.

Will the economy see significant growth?

The Great Recession officially was declared over in September, but because of slow growth, the nation’s unemployment rate is still above 9 percent. The Obama administration is attempting to speed things along by extending Bush-era tax breaks and buying $600 billion in government securities. But whether those measures will make a difference in most Americans’ lives remains unclear.

Can the U.S. stop leaks?

The whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks has flustered the Obama administration by releasing confidential information. Not only has WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange vowed to leak more sensitive documents, but a former WikiLeaks employee plans to launch a rival website. 

Among the possible leaks to come in 2011: Assange says he has video of U.S. soldiers killing Afghan civilians, as well as dirt on Bank of America. The U.S. government is considering criminal prosecution for Assange, and preventing future leaks remains a top priority.

What impact will technology have on Americans?

Smartphones and tablet devices such as the iPad became a bigger part of many people’s lives in 2010 and should take another leap forward in the new year. E-readers might force printed books to go the way of the CD while giving new life to newspapers and magazines. Smartphones could soon replace your wallet, allowing you to pay for items by simply flashing your phone at the register.

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