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
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 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
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thousands more as money is withdrawn from both defense and domestic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.
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
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.