In 2010, the U.S. suffered through another 12 months of weak economic activity, record home foreclosures, high unemployment and financial uncertainty. Nevertheless, there were many seminal events that fell into the following categories.

The Good

The November election gave Republicans a “do-over.” They will take back control of the House of Representatives in the 112th Congress. The new leaders have pledged to end earmarks, cut runaway federal spending and bring the country back in line with the Constitution.

The defeat of the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill: This bill bypassed the normal budget process. It was loaded with pork and new projects that would have been difficult to cut or eliminate, and it would have provided funding for some of the most onerous provisions of the unpopular health-care law the new Congress will try to eliminate.

The defeat of the (bad) Dream Act: Another backdoor amnesty bill.

The Bad

Wall Street reform: imposed $19 billion in new taxes and fees on banks (which consumers will end up paying) and failed to address Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (a major cause of the housing meltdown).

The food-safety bill: It grows the government, increases food prices and drives small producers out of business without making our food any safer.

The extension of unemployment benefits: Why the rush to pass another 13 months of unemployment benefits with no work or job training requirements? While many people have had trouble finding work and need extra help, extending unemployment benefits in this manner will discourage many from taking “less than the perfect” jobs because they can now afford to wait. Also, many people who can and would have retired will be living on the public dole for three years now … because they can.

The Ugly

Obamacare: The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is a misnomer. Reliable studies show that this unpopular law will drive up the costs and reduce the quality of our health care. The law fails to address the primary reasons for our spiraling health-care costs. It burdens providers and insurers with regulations that reduce consumer choice and eventually will drive everyone into a one-size-fits-all government program.

The recess appointment of Dr. Donald Berwick to run Medicare and Medicaid: This man is enamored with the British health-care system. He has made it clear that rationing is one of the ways he will control costs.

The confirmation of Elena Kagan as a Supreme Court justice: In her confirmation hearing, Kagan gave us proof that she believes the Constitution is nothing more than Silly Putty that can be twisted or bent into any shape desired by “progressive” justices. She believes even wrongly decided Supreme Court decisions trump the original intent of our founders. She pledged her support for the unconstitutional welfare state that has taken us the brink of financial collapse, and she refused to endorse the concept of “natural law” or “unalienable rights” contained in our charter, the Declaration of Independence. Nevertheless, the Senate confirmed her, and she will be around to pervert our laws for the balance of her life.

The elimination of “don’t ask, don’t tell”: In passing the bill that allows homosexuals to serve openly in the military, the outgoing lame-duck Congress overruled the objections of the majority of our service chiefs and put an additional burden on our military during a time of war. This was a cheap political payoff to the Democrats’ radical base. It puts our military and our country at risk.

The Extraordinary

The tea-party movement motivated average citizens to rise up and take back the government. As a result, in the historic 2010 election, 58 incumbents were defeated, and many more entrenched congressmen and senators chose to retire rather than face sure defeat at the hands of an angry electorate.

New Year’s Resolution

While the results of the November election and the promises made by the incoming House Republican leaders and some of their Senate colleagues are encouraging, don’t be lulled into political inactivity. Clearly, some lawmakers are committed to smaller, more efficient government. However, the majority will go along only if we hold their feet to the fire. Join a local tea-party group. Sign up to support one or more of the watchdog organizations like the National Taxpayers Union and Citizens Against Government Waste. Read and act on their e-mail alerts.

Bear in mind: Some lawmakers remain openly defiant when it comes to cutting the government down to size. They need to be defeated in their next election. Now is the time to begin looking for worthy challengers to support. The future of this country depends on it.

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