I wanted to quit, but I can't do it. After two months away, I have a lot more to say again about politics and government, even though politics basically disgusts me.
As I watched President Obama's second inaugural celebration, one thought kept running through my mind...what is everyone so happy about ? I mean, I understand why Obama is happy. He's the President. He's on top of the world. Of course he's happy. Ditto for Michelle, BIden, and the rest of the political power players. They all have it made. They are taken care of for life. For them, life is good. They go to the finest parties, eat the finest food, wear the finest designer clothes. I get that part.
What I don't get is why hundreds of thousands of people cheered Obama's "Second Coming" (which is how Newsweek beatifically described four more years of The One), and why the fawning, info-tainment misinformers known as the mainstream media slobbered all over this event.
What are we celebrating, exactly ? The great state of the nation ? Seriously ? The wonderful accomplisments of Lord Obama ? If so, I wish someone would tell me what those accomplishments are, because I must have missed them. The prevailing narrative, from the Democrats at least, is that if not for Obama, the recession would have dragged us all into the sea by now. They credit Obama with saving us from a second Great Depression. Is there anyone out there who truly believes this narrative ? For your sake, I hope not. Y'all should know better. That is not to say our government didn't take actions in the face of the financial crisis. Of course it did. Bush and Obama bailed out the banks. Bush and Obama bailed out GM and Chrysler. Under both Bush and Obama, the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates, and the Fed engaged in rounds of quantitative easing, Obama signed the huge stimulus package that Congress created, which resulted in a temporary boost, along with more lasting debt. Obama didn't do much that any other President, including Bush, wouldn't have done. So please spare me the "Obama saved us" narrative. I do know better.
The other notch in Obama's belt is that he got Bin Laden. I'll give him that one, even though it was years of effort by the CIA, and the Navy Seals that really got Bin Laden. But I give Obama credit for picking up the phone and saying "do it".
As for the state of the nation after four years of Obama's leadership, let's review:
- When Obama took office, the official unemployment rate was 7.8%. Today, it is exactly the same, 7.8%, with the real unemployment rate being far higher due to the millions of people who have dropped out of the workforce. Not much of an accomplishment there (unless you buy into the Dems weak "at least we didn't fall into the sea" narrative).
- When Obama took office, the national debt was $10.5 trillion. Today, it is approaching $16.5 trillion. That's an enormous negative for Obama. He ran up nearly $6 trillion in new debt in one term, and has run federal deficits far in excess of a trillion dollars every single year. No other President has done anywhere near that poorly. What's even worse, Obama has no idea how to balance the budget, has put forth no plan to balance the budget, and in fact, on Obama's watch, the Democrats who control the Senate haven't even passed a budget since Aprill 2009, even though it is their job to do so.
- Obama finally rammed his long-desired tax increases through Congress, with the fiscal cliff hanging over everyone's head like the Sword Of Damocles. Let's list all the tax increases Obama has put into effect since he became President:
1. A 156% increase of the federal excise tax on tobacco.
2. A 1-2.5% ObamaCare individual exise tax/penalty for those who don't comply with Obama's mandate to purchase private health insurance.
3. ObamaCare employer mandate tax of $2000-3000 per employee for all employers of 50 or more people who don't provide health insurance coverage for their employees.
4. A 3.8% surtax on investment income for those making $250K or more.
5. A 40% ObamaCare excise tax on comprehensive or so-called "Cadillac" health insurance plans.
6. A Medicare payroll tax hike of .9% for those making over $200K.
7. ObamaCare's $5 billtion medicine cabinet tax.
8. ObamaCare's health savings account withdrawal tax.
9. ObamaCare's $13 billion Flexible Spending Account Cap tax.
10. ObamaCare's $20 billion, 2.3% excise tax on medical device manufacturers.
11. ObamaCare's $15.2 billion tax limiting itemized medical deductions.
12. ObamaCare's $2.7 billion tax on tanning salons.
13. ObamaCare's $4.5 billion tax limiting deductions for employer-provided prescription drug coverage.
14. ObamaCare's $.4 billion Blue Cross/Blue Shield tax hike.
15. ObamaCare's $50,000 per hospital tax on charitable hospitals that fail to meet rules set forth by the federal Department of Health and Human Services.
16. ObamaCare's $2.3 billion annual tax on drug companies.
17. ObamaCare's $60 billion tax on health insurers.
18. ObamaCare's $.6 billion tax on health insurance executives.
19. ObamaCare's Employer Reporting of insurance on W-2's as a preamble to taxing health insurance on individual tax returns.
20. ObamaCare's $23.6 billion "black liquor" tax hike on bio-fuels.
21. ObamaCare's $4.5 billion tax via codification of the "economic substance doctrine", which allows the IRS to disallow legal tax deductions.
Source for above: Americans For Tax Reform
But wait, there's more. The 21 new taxes listed above were passed during Obama's first three years in office, and don't include the fiscal cliff deal, which added a bunch more new taxes on Americans. Btw, the latest tax increases Obama signed will result in tax increases on 77% of all taxpayers, not just the rich. Surprise, surprise, suckers. Not to mention that most tax increases end up being paid by the little guy in one way or another, via higher prices, lower salaries, fewer benefits, etc.
Here is a list of Obama's latest tax increases, aka, the fiscal cliff deal:
1. Payroll taxes go back up to 6.2%, from the 4.2% where Obama's temporary payroll tax cut had them.
2. Income taxes for those making $400K or more ($450K for married couples) or will go from 35% to 39.6%.
3. Personal tax deductions and exemptions are phased out for those making more than $250K.
4. Estate tax rates for estates over $5 million will go from 35% to 40%.
5. Taxes on capital gains and dividends rise from 15% to 20% for those making over $400K.
6. The alternative minimum tax (AMT) has been fixed permanently. This one is actually good news to middle class families who faced tax hikes had the alternative minimum tax not been addressed.
7. There are several other tax manipulations in the fiscal deal, but I won't go into them here. You can find them by following the links at the source below.
Source for above: Bloomberg Businessweek
I think that's about it regarding Obama tax hikes. That's 26 tax hikes total in one term for President Barack Obama. That must be some kind of record, though I haven't bothered to check. I'm pretty sure continuing to tax the heck out of everyone and everything isn't the answer. I'm sure it isn't the answer, unless the question is, "how do we make all Americans poorer ?".
Well, now that Obama got all his "taxes on the rich", as well as taxes on most everyone else, along with the spending "cuts" (that will never happen) in the fiscal cliff deal, at least we won't have those sky-high federal deficits anymore, right ????
WRONG. According to the latest report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), and I quote, "despite limits on discretionary spending that would bring discretionary spending to levels not seen in recent history, our simulations show total federal spending continuing to exceed revenues and feeding an unsustainable growth in debt."
This is the state of our economic nation AFTER all Obama's tax hikes, and assuming all proposed spending caps stand (which they almost never do). As I've been trying to tell people for four years now, Obama is only nibbling at the edges of our real problems. His proposals are almost superfluous. After four years of Obama, we are more unsustainable than we've ever been.
The federal deficit for FY2013 is estimated to be over $900 billion, and that's also AFTER all Obama's tax hikes and assuming the proposed spending caps stand. No other President in the entire history of this country has run a $900 billion annual deficit, and that one would be Obama's LOWEST deficit.
And where is Obama on our most pressing issue, namely, the unsustainability of our federal government, which it is HIS JOB to address ? He's nowhere. All we get is cheap platitudes and partisan doubletalk, followed by inaction. This is a time in our nation's history for a bold new vision and some serious leadership. If Obama has either, he's sure done a good job of keeping it secret.
I repeat, exactly what are we supposed to be celebrating ? Maybe we're supposed to be celebrating our low gas prices, or the plethora of high-paying jobs that are being created. Just kidding, of course.
To be continued...
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