As the first pundit to predict that President Barack Obama would be president, I was not surprised when he was elected to that office. Lately, however, I must admit he's surprised even me. Don't believe me? Check my archives from December of 2006 (note I even predicted the candidate he might face and would in fact be successful against.)
So how has he surprised your prescient correspondent?
By being the most aggressively leftist president ever.
As someone who had followed his career through the state legislature in Illinois and his ascendency to the United States Senate against less than strong primary and general election challenges, it seemed to me he would slow his pace to the left, as all liberal candidates have done in the past. That is to say he would move more deliberately and cautiously once elected.
But the current administration has surprised even me. They surprise me by their willingness to believe their own press. For months on end, we as a nation were told that this president had more to accomplish because of the enormity of the challenges he would find once in office, and that because of these challenges, the American people would be required to wait for solutions to problems, answers to dilemmas, and improvement in the life of the nation.
If one was to read a generous history on taxes and their ability to impact economic certainty, one would be intimately familiar with a view that Democrat John F. Kennedy and Republican Ronald W. Reagan had in common. They both believed that if government spending could be restrained, and the largest marginal tax rates were reduced, then economic recovery and growth would become a bi-partisan by-product of the habits of a free market.
Any observer of the increasingly tightening markets, increasing job loss, and general malaise of the presently disillusioned work force could tell you that President Obama's response has been the exact opposite. He has given guidance and direction to the largest "bloatation" of government expenditure in the history of our nation. In fact, he has seen the amount of money spent during his mere six months in office compete with the entirety of the rest of America's history in terms of gross numbers of dollars allocated. The insufferable truth being told, he is also seeking the greatest attempt to weaken, limit, and control the market of any chief executive who has preceded him. By way of illustration for example, he has appointed more czars (32) in oversight positions than the number of weeks he's been in office (22). At the rate he is appointing them, that would be roughly a grand total of 256 czars for his presidency were he to continue at his present pace.
His desire to enact "Cap and Trade" amounts to the largest and most punitive tax increase ever formulated to be executed against the poorest and the most needy citizens.
To answer the critics when asked where the money would come from to pay for it all, he promises that merely printing more dollars will not only suffice, but also hold off inflation of prices while simultaneously creating deflation of our currency's value.
Furthermore, the fact is that the entire rational basis for the existence of cap and trade is far from conclusive and far from agreed upon among the communities of science, much less the American people.
Yet none of any of what I've just described has been anything but an attempt to make good on promises he made during his run for office.
Even his promise of universal health care was an attempt on some level to keep such a promise.
But then there's the little issue of how to pay for it. And on this point President Obama has signaled the probability that he will now break the biggest campaign promise he made.
He didn't say it once, he said it thousands of times, hundreds of times each day: "That in an Obama administration no one making under (fill in the amount - it shifted more than once) he would not raise taxes on Americans making under that amount--not even a single dime."
He promised it from Des Moines to New York, New Hampshire to Los Angeles, from Detroit to Houston. If you made under $200,000 you would not be taxed "a single dime" more under an Obama administration.
He falsely argues that the punitive single largest tax-increase in American history ("Cap and Trade") would not be felt by the taxpayer paying under $200,000 a year. He does so claiming that corporations would be the ones to foot the bill on the penalties they would be forced to pay for imaginary carbon credits. Yet he failed to notify the American taxpayer that companies never pay taxes. Companies do one of two things when they are assigned a new tax. They pass the cost on to the customer, or they go out of business. Since most corporations are not looking to go out of business and thus lay off their entire workforce, they are forced to pass that tax on to the customer, every time, without exception.
But aside from "Cap and Trade" the White House press corps specifically drew blood in the water on the health care expense two weeks ago, forcing the administration to admit that if it were in fact necessary, President Obama would raise the taxes on those making less than $200,000 a year to make it happen. Thus the biggest promise repeated over and over in every corner of the nation became as meaningless as a batch of cotton candy. It disappeared the moment it hit the tongue.
It is the historical equivalent of President George H.W. Bush running against Governor Clinton. He had promised, "Read my lips, no new taxes" only to go down in historic defeat for having to go back on such a promise.
For President Obama "Not one single dime" is the new standard, and given his approval rating slip to 49% in Ohio this week, and his "strongly approve" numbers trailing his "strongly disapprove" numbers by 8%, it appears that those who make under $200,000 are beginning to understand that they've been had.
Of course he also promised the unemployment number would never go above 8% on his watch.
But I digress...