Michael Barone

Many of the Obama Democrats' policies are an attempt to freeze the status quo in place. Example: the mortgage forbearance policies intended to allow strapped-out homeowners to refinance at lower rates. These inspired the February 2009 Rick Santelli rant that sparked the tea party movement -- why should prudent taxpayers bail out those who have overindulged?

In any case, forbearance has failed: Few have taken advantage, and about half who have ended up in foreclosure anyway. The Obama Democrats' attempts to prop up housing prices at near-bubble levels seem to be faltering as prices continue to sag.

Similarly, the one-third of the stimulus package money sent to state and local governments allowed them to maintain public payrolls for a while -- and to keep public employee union members paying union dues. Most union members today are public employees, and unions gave Democrats $400 million in the 2008 election cycle.

But this payoff is coming to an end, and state and local governments, especially those where public employee unions are strongest, are facing fiscal crises. The Obama Democrats' attempt to freeze their political benefactors in place is proving unsustainable.

In 2008, candidate Obama told Joe the Plumber that he wanted high taxes on high earners in order "to spread the wealth around." He told ABC's Charlie Gibson that he wanted higher capital gains taxes even if they produced less revenue in the interest of "fairness."

Now after his party's 2010 shellacking, incumbent Obama seems to have discovered the virtues of a "growing economy." The New York Times reports that he has asked his administration to develop proposals to eliminate tax preferences and lower tax rates, as the 1986 bipartisan tax reform did.

Perhaps the president is learning that you can't plunder the private sector endlessly, Chicago-style, without ill effects.


Michael Barone

Michael Barone, senior political analyst for The Washington Examiner (www.washingtonexaminer.com), is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, a Fox News Channel contributor and a co-author of The Almanac of American Politics. To find out more about Michael Barone, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com. COPYRIGHT 2011 THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER. DISTRIBUTED BY CREATORS.COM