President Obama had some low points in his first year, but it looks like we ain’t seen nothing yet. Year two of his reign of error is shaping up as more of the same, only worse.
In just one day last week, Obama hatched two incredibly awful ideas. Either alone would be bad news for the country.
Together they could create more damage to a nation already staggered by 10 percent unemployment, huge deficits and political polarization.
What iceberg? Full speed ahead!
The Thursday decisions to punish banks for making money and to exempt union workers from an onerous health-care tax appear to have little in common, but they actually share a vital link. Both are the spawn of rank politics, with Obama using government power to reward friends and punish enemies.
First came the bank tax and, like so many other bad initiatives, his announcement was chock full of misleading arguments. It’s an ominous sign when truth is the enemy.
Even the name distorts, with the tax called the Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee. Get it? It’s not a tax. It’s a fee. And it’s got a moral basis — hence “responsibility.”
“We want our money back, and we’re going to get it,” declares the greatest spendthrift ever to inhabit the White House. He was so full of self-righteous anger, I feared his teleprompter might explode.
But who does he mean by “we” and “our money”?
Certainly not “We the people.” A clear majority of Americans opposes virtually every one of his policies and his disapproval ratings nearly match his approval. He responds by doubling down on partisanship as he tries to tap into the paranoid fringe that sees Wall Street as the fountain of evil.
The truth is that most of the banks helped by bailouts have more than repaid taxpayers. The bailouts even turned a handsome profit, estimated at $52 billion last year.
Shhhh — don’t tell anybody. Facts don’t matter.
Among other bailouts, it’s Obama’s to GM, Chrysler and the one started under George Bush to AIG that are still deepest in the red. So the logic of penalizing the banks that are prospering to get “our money back” doesn’t pass the smell test.
Even worse, the tax works against the White House goals of increasing lending and creating jobs. Because of reserve requirements, every dollar the banks pay in taxes means they have $10 less to lend to small businesses — the engines of job growth.
And what does Obama intend to do with the $90 billion the tax would raise? Why, spend it, of course. It won’t be used to pay down the deficit or anything sensible. “Our” money will become another Chinese-financed slush fund for him.
The second awful idea was the deal with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Majority Leader Harry Reid to exempt unions, including those in government, from the 40 percent tax on so-called “Cadillac health plans.” The tax had two aims: raising money to fund coverage for the uninsured and reducing the overall national health bill.
But unions objected, threatened to scuttle the legislation — and so were spared. The tax won’t kick in for them until 2018 and even then will be less onerous than on non-union workers. Others will just have to pay more.
It’s a scandal that reveals the mind-boggling dimension of corruption in the health care horse trading. What the president pretends is “reform” is largely a patchwork of payoffs and bribes to favored interest groups, lawmakers and industries. Individual Americans will wonder what hit them if the package of scams ever becomes law.
They sense as much, which is why only one out of three voters support the legislation. But who cares what they think? The agenda must be served.