Do not expect the same level of increases in disability and unemployment insurance and in food stamps. The trajectories of all those programs since 2009 are not sustainable. For all the talk that Social Security and Medicare are not in bad shape, Democrats and Republicans after Obama will be forced to save both programs by either upping the eligibility age, curbing some benefits or hiking payroll taxes -- or all that and more.
The next president will jettison the sort of class warfare that has led only to short-term political gain and long-term polarization. Obama's "fat cats" and "one percenters" will disappear from the presidential vocabulary. We will hear no more accusations that the successful really did not build their own businesses, or that they should have known when it was time not to profit because they had made quite enough money. Expect just the opposite: a Bill Clinton-like schmoozing of small businesses to please start buying, hiring and expanding again.
Aside from the partisan furor over whether the Obama policies have worked -- Democrats will say that things would have been worse without them; Republicans will insist that a natural recovery was turned into long-term doldrums -- we will not see them continued.
We are institutionalizing, in European style, huge government, high unemployment, sluggish GDP growth, serial annual deficits, ballooning aggregate national debt and massive dependency, along with near-zero interest rates. The two parties will disagree over the contours of this chronically weak economy, but not over the fact of its weakness -- or soon, even its causes. Most Americans will not wish to continue down the road to Italy or Spain.
Barack Obama is a landmark figure: young, charismatic, seemingly post-national and supposedly post-racial. For those reasons alone, he enjoys a level of unshakeable political support not predicated on the actual record of his tenure as president -- in the manner most remember fondly that he won the Nobel Prize but don't quite know what he did to earn it.
Obama's economic record will be dispassionately acknowledged to be similar to that of Jimmy Carter. But, unlike Carter, Obama will remain a mythical figure in liberal circles.
To borrow a line from a classic Western, "When the legend becomes fact, print the legend." And so we will do just that.