Barack Hussein Obama has now occupied the Oval Office for just 185 days. Under normal circumstances we might expect that a new president, supported by strong majorities of his own party in Congress, might have accomplished at least something of value in that length of time… but he hasn’t. In fact, he has dug such a political and economic hole for himself and his party that whatever prospects they might have envisioned have been frittered away and his entire legislative agenda now appears destined to failure.
As the first African American to have a real shot at winning the presidency, Obama had one major advantage. Although he was, by far, the least qualified, the most inexperienced, and the most intellectually flawed individual ever to seek the presidency, his ability to read a speech from a teleprompter with feigned conviction and sincerity captivated the vast majority of blacks and left-leaning whites. Indoctrinated in our public schools and lacking any real foundation in American history, they were especially in love with the idea that, by electing a black president, the ugliness of racism could be forever put to rest. They willingly put aside common sense and voted him into office.
During his campaign he hammered away at three major themes. He would take bold steps to:
- Bring “fairness” to our tax system, stem the outflow of jobs to overseas markets, restructure the mortgage lending industry, and bring stability to financial markets.
- Develop clean, renewable sources of energy, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, substantially reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and create millions of new “green” jobs.
- Reform our overly expensive healthcare system while making healthcare and healthcare insurance available to every American.
On the subject of taxes, Obama said, over and over again, “I can make a firm pledge. Under my plan, no family making less than $250,000 a year will see any form of tax increase. Not your income tax, not your payroll tax, not your capital gains taxes, not any of your taxes.”
On April 1, 2009, Obama increased the federal tax on a pack of cigarettes by 62 cents, from 39 cents a pack to $1.01 a pack. This tax increase falls heaviest on the poor and middle class, those who earn less than $75,000 per year. A family with two smokers, each of whom smoke just one pack a day, will find themselves paying at least $450 more in cigarette taxes alone each year.
His tax reform plan would raise the top income tax rate by 13%, to almost 40%; raise the top capital gains tax rate by 33%, to 20%; raise the top dividends tax rate by 33%, to 20%, raise the Social Security payroll tax for families earning over $250,000 by 16%, to 32%,; reinstate the death tax, which is now being phased out, with a top tax rate of 45%; impose targeted tax increases on corporations, such as a new windfall profits tax on oil companies; and impose a new payroll tax on employers who fail to provide healthcare insurance for their employees.
Under the oft proven theory that it is possible to fool some Democrats all of the time and all Democrats some of the time, it is clear that, while these tax increases appear to fall heavily on the rich, they are all taxes that ultimately trickle down to the poor and middle class. Obama’s supporters apparently fail to understand what the average fourth grader readily understands, which is that by taxing away the resources of the investor class, Obama will be taxing away the investment capital that fuels our entire economy and provides jobs for all Americans.
Then there is Obama’s $787 billion stimulus boondoggle that not a single member of Congress read before it was passed. Democrats said the funds were intended for “shovel-ready” projects that would quickly create jobs. What the American people are now learning is that only about $8 billion of the total package has been put to work. It seems that Obama and his union thug supporters just haven’t figured out how to steal that much money in such a short period of time.
During the last session of Congress, Democrats were able to force through ruinous increases in the minimum wage. In July 2007, the minimum wage was increased from $5.15 to $5.85 per hour; in July 2008 the hourly rate went from $5.85 to $6.55; and by July 24, 2009 the minimum hourly wage will go to $7.25 per hour. By the end of July 2009, the hourly wage for entry-level jobs will be nearly 41 percent higher than it was just two years ago.
According to economists Joseph Sabia of American University and Richard Burkhauser of Cornell University, the minimum wage hikes of the past two years have wiped out more than 390,000 lower-rung jobs. While economist David Newmark, of the University of California at Irvine, estimates that the new minimum wage scheduled to go into effect this month will wipe out an additional 300,000 jobs. One wonders whether Obama and his Democrat friends are aware that they’re supposed to be creating jobs, not destroying them.
During the 2008 campaign Obama thrilled his audiences with promises of “pie-in-the-sky” developments in renewable energy sources. Precisely what those new energy sources would be he didn’t say. He did say that his environmental policies would bankrupt coal-fired power plants and drive electric power costs through the ceiling. While no conclusive analysis exists, some reports indicate that Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal will cost the average American family more than $3,000 in higher energy costs per year while it drives their jobs overseas.
Along with his radical proposal for reduction of CO2 emissions under the “global warming” hoax, Obama had promised millions of new “green” jobs. In all of recorded history, mankind has created only four green jobs: The Green Hornet, the Jolly Green Giant, Mr. Green Jeans and Kermit the Frog, and those jobs are already taken.
Keith O. Rattie, President and CEO of Questar Corporation, puts Obama’s cap and trade proposal into context. He explains that Obama’s long term goal is an 80% reduction in CO2 emissions by 2050. With a population of 2.2 million, the State of Utah currently emits roughly 66 million tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year. That is Utah’s “carbon footprint.” Dividing the state’s total “carbon footprint” by the total population, we find that the average resident of Utah has a carbon footprint of about 30 tons of CO2 per year… under today’s living standards. However, if Obama forces Utah to reduce carbon emissions by 80% by 2050, the people of Utah will have to reduce their carbon emissions to about 13.2 million tons per year.
With the state’s population growing at an annual rate of 2%, by 2050 the average resident of Utah would be allowed a “carbon footprint” of only 2.7 tons per year. The last time anyone in Utah had a “carbon footprint” of 2.7 tons per year was in the 1840s when the Mormons settled the Great Salt Lake Valley in their covered wagons… and most of their “carbon footprint” came in the form of flatulence from their cattle. (For you city slicker Democrats, that means cattle passing gas.)
This is the brave new world that Obama and congressional Democrats have in store for us all.
And finally, Obama has promised a complete overhaul of our national healthcare system. As matters now stand, we Americans have the most advanced medical technology, the best hospitals, and the best doctors in the world; however, we also have a healthcare system that is unaffordable for most Americans without full medical insurance coverage; we spend more on medical care, per capita, than any other nation on Earth; and we have some 40 million people who, for one reason or another, are without healthcare insurance.
These are all things we can agree on. But what no one appears to be concerned about is an answer to the question: if we are spending roughly 17 percent of our gross domestic product on healthcare… who gets all that money and how much of it goes to wasteful overhead, paper-shuffling, defensive medicine, and ambulance-chasing lawyers? By charging ahead with a healthcare reform proposal… for no better reason than that Obama wants one on his desk by the August congressional recess… Democrats are attempting to solve a problem without knowing its full size and scope. It’s as if they invited us all to join them on a long automobile trip across the hot, barren wastes of Kazakhstan, where gas stations are 500-600 miles apart, without first checking the gas gauge.
As matters now stand, it appears that Obama will fail to achieve any of his primary agenda items. His tax increases fall heaviest on the poor and middle class and convert hundreds of billions of dollars in job-creating investment capital to government waste; his environmental proposals, primarily cap-and-trade, are guaranteed to place a heavy financial burden on the poor and middle class, eliminate millions of jobs, and throw a wet blanket over the entire economy; and his healthcare proposals are going nowhere because, while he insists that healthcare reform must be paid for, neither he nor the Democrat leadership have the courage to actually pay for it.
Every administration has a lasting image affixed to it that lives on in the minds of the American people in perpetuity. For the Bush Administration it is the indelible picture, taken at the exact moment of impact, of giant airliners crashing into the World Trade Center in New York.
For the Obama Administration, it will likely be the image described by a friend who recently found himself driving behind a new Cadillac Escalade on a Houston freeway. The rear window of the Escalade sported a Southern Methodist University Alumni decal; strapped to the top of the Escalade were several ladders and a few sections of scaffolding; attached to the Escalade’s rear bumper was a small trailer containing buckets, brushes, and other tools; and on the tailgate of the trailer was a magnetic sign proclaiming “I Will Paint Anything.”
This is the “change” that Obama holds out for our children and grandchildren.