Like millions of my fellow Americans I want Barack Obama to succeed in governing America and reviving the economy, despite my opposition to his candidacy.
I had hoped that being the cautious man he appears to be, President-elect Obama would avoid taking extreme positions and policies vis-á-vis the economy and settle for the tried-and-true approaches to economic stability.
It appears that I was wrong. In an era when it is essential for out-of-control government spending to be halted and drastically cut back, Barack Obama wants to spend at least $800 billion on a so-called stimulus package which many predict will soar past a trillion dollars.
Obama himself has acknowledged that the nation faces monstrous deficits in the future, but seems not the least concerned that his stimulus programs will send the deficits soaring to previously unseen heights.
“Potentially we’ve got trillion-dollar deficits for years to come, even with the economic recovery that we are working on at this point,” he has said.
“I remain concerned about wasteful spending that might be attached to the tax relief,” House Republican leader John Boehner says. “Simply put, we should not bury future generations under mountains of debt and create 600,000 new government jobs which, according to reports, the plan under consideration would do in the name of economic stimulus.”
Boehner was referring to President-elect Obama calling on Congress to create 3 million jobs over the next two years — “more than 80 percent of them in the private sector.”
Math-wise observers noted that the remaining 20 percent, which amounts to 600,000 jobs, would be government jobs, boosting the already-swollen ranks of federal employees by a third.
As Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King noted , “The federal government is bloated, inefficient, and spends too much of your hard-earned money,” adding that 600,000 new government jobs “will only add to the waste, fraud, and abuse coming out of Washington, D.C., and fail to provide a true economic stimulus.”
Moreover, some cynics would say this massive public sector job increase looks a lot like payback to the member-hungry public-employee unions for their all-out support of Obama and other Democratic candidates in last year’s elections.
More disturbing is Barack Obama’s tax relief program under which there would be alleged tax cuts for 95 percent of the American people. Under Obama’s plan the majority would not only pay no federal taxes but would actually get government checks, presumably for just being alive and breathing, while a tiny minority of their fellow Americans would pick up the tab.
Dick Morris and co-columnist Eileen McGann explain that while the bottom 50 percent of U.S. taxpayers pay a total of $30.6 billion in federal income taxes on a combined income of about $1 trillion (just 3 percent of total taxes), the top 1 percent pay 40 percent and the top 25 percent pay 85 percent of the federal income tax.
“In one stroke,” they write, “this would transform the majority of voters from taxpayers into tax eaters, and leave an increasingly small minority to pay the bill,” putting those who actually pay taxes into “much the same situation as landlords in New York City: hopelessly outvoted by their tenants, who use their political clout to limit rents and landlords’ profits.
“For the economically well off,” they warn, “it effectively could become taxation without representation, which, as the founders of our nation warned, leads to tyranny.”
It’s not merely the dangerous trend that is developing in the economic realm that disturbs me, however. In the past week we’ve seen Obama’s nominee for Commerce Secretary, Bill Richardson, forced to withdraw because it develops that he is under a federal corruption investigation — a fact the Obama people should darn well have known before the president-elect chose him for a Cabinet post.
Then we have the astonishing appointment of Leon Panetta — a man with no experience in the cloak and dagger trade to head of all things, the CIA. Moreover, the appointment was made without notifying Sen. Diane Feinstein, who is now heading the Senate Intelligence Committee.
You have to wonder if Team Obama has any idea of what they’re doing. I sure wonder.
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