By Charles Krauthammer, Jan 04, 2013
The rout was complete, the retreat disorderly. President Obama got his tax hikes— naked of spending cuts — passed by the ostensibly Republican House of Representatives. After which, you might expect him to pivot to his self-proclaimed 'principle' of fiscal “balance” by taking the lead on reducing spending. “Why,” asked The Post on the eve of the final fiscal-cliff agreement, “is the nation’s leader not embracing and then explaining the balanced reforms the nation needs?”
Because he has no interest in them. He’s a visionary, not an accountant. Sure, he’ll pretend to care about deficits, especially while running for reelection. But now that he’s past the post, he’s free to be himself — a committed big-government social democrat.
As he showed in his two speeches this week. After perfunctory nods to debt and spending reduction, he waxed enthusiastic about continued “investments” — i.e., spending — on education, research, roads and bridges, green energy, etc.
Having promised more government, he then promised more taxes — on “millionaires” and “companies with a lot of lobbyists,” of course. It was a bold affirmation of pre-Clintonian tax-and-spend liberalism.
Why not? He had just won Round 1: raising rates. Round 2 is to raise yet more tax revenue by eliminating deductions. After all, didn’t John Boehner offer him $800 billion of such loophole-closing revenuejust a few weeks ago?
To paraphrase Churchill on the British Empire, Barack Obama did not become president of theUnited Statesto preside over the liquidation of the welfare state. On the contrary, he is dedicated to its expansion. He’s already created the largest new entitlement in half a century (Obamacare). And he has increased federal spending to an astronomical 24.4 % of GDP (the postwar norm is about 20 %), a level not seen since World War II.
But this level of spending requires a significantly higher level of taxation. Hence his hardball fiscal-cliff strategy of issuing an ultimatum to Republicans to raise tax rates — or be blamed for a massive across-the-board tax increase and a subsequent recession.
I’ll get you the money by eliminating deductions, offered Boehner. No, sir, replied the president. Rates it must be.
Why the insistence?
(1) Partisan Advantage
As I wrote last month, the ultimatum was designed to exploit and exacerbate internal Republican divisions. It worked perfectly. Boehner’s attempted finesse (Plan B), which would have raised rates but only for those making more than $1 million, collapsed amid an open rebellion from a good quarter of the Republican caucus.
At which point, power passed from the House to the Senate, where a deal was brokered. By the time the Senate bill reached the House, there was no time or room for maneuver. Checkmate. Obama neutralized the one body that had stymied him during the past two years.
(2) Ideological Breakthrough
Obama’s ultimate ambition is to break the nation’s 30-year thrall of low taxes — so powerful that those who defied the Reaganite norm paid heavily for it. Walter Mondale’s acceptance speech at the 1984 Democratic convention, promising to raise taxes, ended his campaign before it began. President George H.W. Bush’s no-new-taxes reversal cost him a second term.
On this, too, Obama is succeeding. He not only got his tax increase passed. He did it with public opinion behind him.
Why are higher taxes so important to him?
First, as a means: A high-tax economy is liberalism’s only hope for sustaining and enlarging the entitlement state. It provides the funds for enlightened adventures in everything from algae to Obamacare.
Second, as an end in itself. Fundamentally, Obama is a leveler. The community organizer seeks, above all, to reverse the growing inequality that he dates and attributes to ruthless Reaganism. Now, however, clothed in the immense powers of the presidency, he can actually engage in unadorned redistributionism. As in Tuesday night’s $620 billion wealth transfer.
Upon losing the House in 2010, the leveler took cover for the next two years. He wasn’t going to advance his real agenda through the Republican House anyway, and he needed to win reelection.
Now he’s won. The old Obama is back. He must not be underestimated. He has deftly leveraged his class-war-themed election victory (a) to secure a source of funding (albeit still small) for the bloated welfare state, (b) to carry out an admirably candid bit of income redistribution and (c) to fracture the one remaining institutional obstacle to the rest of his ideological agenda.
Not bad for two months’ work.
Barack Obama is a very scary man. He is making mincemeat of John Boehner in these "so called negotiations." Obama plays very dirty. No other president has behaved this way with negotiations with either party.
It's time for impeachment, America. We need to get petitions together right now, not on Care 2, because they wouldn't participate, and do the deed.....we need to call for impeachment proceedings but because Obama is slimey like a snake he'll just wiggle out of it with a smile on is face.
There's so much he could be impeached for.
Sandy, I thought the information was exceptional, however, one point they did not make is that yes, not bad for 2 months, however, the plan has been in place for at least the past 4 years; it is just building. They knew they would get him re-elected; they played the system very well, but I am convinced the reason we didn't see more panic and stress from Obama (other than the one time that he almost blew it and they had to really scramble - the first debate) was because they had the plan in place for the election. We know there was massive voter fraud, they put that in place. We know they were able to hack Romney's computer system and they did, so they were able to make whatever changes were necessary in their plan. There is absolutely no way Romney lost that election other than through voter tampering and fraud. Yes, young people and women, as well as Blacks and Hispanics, but they don't constitute enough people to have cost Romney the election; there were Hispanics, Blacks, many young people and women that voted for Romney, as well. Elimination of a good many of the overseas Military vote, major discrepancies in registered voters as apposed to number of voters that turned out and were allowed to vote, evidence of students being paid to board buses to travel across state lines and vote in other voting places, knowing that they had voted in their own voters polling places as well; it all adds up to major fraud.
I have been saying I have a new mantra; "Impeach Him, Impeach Him, Impeach Him" and I am going to be remembering to say this daily.
Sandy, yes, there are many impeachable offenses; it is time to do something. He is becoming more frightening daily.
You have my vote. Now, who can we talk to in Washington that has the guts to follow through with the cry for impeachment? Maybe it shouldn't be someone who is presently in Washington. We need someone with the spunk to get it organized.
I have one suggestion -- possibly Newt Gingrich. However, there is baggage there - Jim Demint - good prospect and if he would promote it through the Heritage Group that would be a possible winner.
Any other ideas. We need someone with the desire to follow through.