President Obama won re-election in a landslide of electoral votes but with a rather slim popular vote of less than 3 million spread across the country. Now he says he wants to unify the country in a spirit of bipartisanship.
I want to believe him. I wish I could believe him. If I recall, he made these same statements in both his acceptance speech at the 2008 Democrat convention and on the night that he won the election in 2008.
In 2009, with both Houses of Congress firmly in his back pocket to begin packaging his Affordable Care Act, and in a spirit of bipartisanship, he told the Republicans in Congress to take a seat at the back of the bus because he didn’t need them. Obamacare was crafted entirely by Democrats and passed without a single Republican vote. To continue in the bipartisan vein, he began a concentrated campaign to divide the country along every conceivable fault line he could find – or invent – including race, gender, party affiliation and economic status. “Fairness” was his watchword.
But what did he mean by “fair?” With the country wallowing in recession, bumping along the bottom in a stagnant economy with the U-6 unemployment rate (unemployed, underemployed, part-time wanting full-time and those who have stopped searching) near 15 percent, the president was asked an interesting question. “If you knew that you could sign a bill lowering taxes on the wealthy that would increase revenue and jobs, would you sign it?”
After a pause, his answer was “No.” The reason? It wouldn’t be fair.
So how far is the president willing to go to be “fair?”
There isn’t an individual in the country, with an IQ above 90, that does not understand the consequences of “sequestration” – the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” that will take effect at midnight, Dec.
31. With only small indications of a possible recovery, if sequestration is allowed to happen, the sudden withdrawal of half-a-trillion dollars from this economy will plunge us – and possibly, Europe – into an economic trough. National corporations are already starting to lay off or switch to part-time hiring only, in order to avoid the impending costs of Obamacare.
They will be followed by thousands upon thousands more as money is withdrawn from both defense and domestic spending. The tax increase due to the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, alone, will stifle small business growth (3/4 of job producers).
The president said he is not wedded to any single item of his tax plan, that he is open to new ideas to raise revenues. And that is the hitch. Both the “Bowles/Simpson” committee and the Republicans in Congress have laid out a path to higher revenues. But neither is new.
They have been on display for a couple of years now. The Republicans have been willing to increase tax revenues through tax reform and economic growth, wherein the wealthy will pay increasingly higher taxes, the entire four years of this administration.
So, will the president relent? Not if his past history, and quest for fairness, is any indication. Some economists believe that he will go for the whole ball of wax, regardless of the immediate danger to the economy. By letting sequestration occur, the entirety of the Bush tax cuts will disappear. The president will have gotten a huge tax increase without surrendering anything. If he feels at all benevolent, he might let the worst of the cuts be reinstituted – the 2.5 percent cut in the employee payroll tax which has guaranteed Social Security insolvency much sooner. Regardless of how many more jobs are lost, it will be “fair.”
Yes, I would like to believe the president – even if his words were shaded slightly grey. But, if the word “fair” has been the hallmark of his agenda, “honesty” has certainly not.
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Bio: Jim was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, went to Phoenix Union HS until joining USMC at 17, graduated from San Diego Evening HS during enlistment and graduated with BS at ASU after marriage and 3 kids. He started private work career as a Teamster, moved to management and spent his entire career in the freight business before retiring in Camp Verde, AZ.