Regardless of the outcome of Tuesday’s presidential election, Barack Obama will immediately become a lame duck. That is not to say he will be powerless, but he will never again have to face the wrath of American voters.
Even if Mitt Romney prevails tomorrow (which I think he will), President Obama will have 75 days to ram through any number of economically destructive regulations and executive orders. Make no mistake, an aggressive administration can push things across the finish line in the waning days regardless of their popularity; and that is especially true of this administration.
Prior to the election, President Obama’s team postponed action on some of its most ambitious regulations – a terrifying thought given the destructiveness of what they’ve already done.
The Heritage Foundation’s Diane Katz explains, “There is ample reason to believe that this recent “draw-back” of rulemaking portends a regulatory tsunami in the coming year.” Just look at the list of regulations on hold. It reads like a handbook on how to lose an election:
· Stricter ozone emission standards, which could cost $90 billion per year and jeopardize millions of jobs, have been shelved until 2013;
· Numerous global warming regulations (I am looking at you Mayor Bloomberg) are on hold;
· Efforts to designate coal ash as a “hazardous substance,” estimated to cost $79 billion to $110 billion and thousands of jobs in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Missouri and Ohio, are also on hold;
· A $2.7 billion mandate that all new cars and trucks come equipped with rear-view camera and video display is delayed; and
· In the interest of not crippling the economies of Pennsylvania and Ohio, the $20 billion Boiler MACT rules are on hold.
Unfortunately, the list goes on. Just how many of these regulations an outgoing Obama administration could finalize in 75 days is unknown, but Katz says the “very uncertainty is itself damaging to the economy.”
Of course, the picture is even worse if President Obama prevails tomorrow. We can all but guarantee these regulatory proposals and many more will quietly strangle our sluggish economy between now and 2016. At least businesses will have some certainty, right?
With four more years, President Obama can do much more than attack America by regulatory overreach, though. The Weekly Standard’s Jeffrey Anderson explains a second term will allow President Obama to “cement the result of his first term that Americans like least—Obamacare.”
A timeline of Obamacare’s implementation reveals the seriousness of Anderson’s statement. In 2013, Americans of all income levels will face an array of new taxes and then, in 2014, the individual and employer mandates will take effect. Added to the dozens of other provisions and thousands of pages of regulation, 2016 seems a long way off.
No doubt New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would like to see President Obama push even more aggressively on the issue of global warming. With four extra years, perhaps the President could create a Secretary of Ice, who is tasked with creating more arctic ice, which could help lower sea levels around the globe.
I shouldn’t give them ideas, I know. After all, in the suddenly competitive state of Minnesota, former President Bill Clinton claimed, “in the real world, Barack Obama’s policies work better.” According to Clinton, you can “fight global warming in economically beneficial ways.” Ice creation may well be economically beneficial. Heck, if they think the government can suddenly confiscate money for an existing behavior and that in turn will create jobs, anything thing is possible.
From absurd regulations to Obamacare and global warming, a second term would mean, as Charles Krauthammer said, the “American experiment — the more individualistic, energetic, innovative, risk-taking model of democratic governance — [will continue] to recede, yielding to the supervised life of the entitlement state.”
Just how high are the stakes?
An Ohio voter told MSNBC she not only thought the “stimulus was a really big success,” and that “you know, I want government to play a role in our lives.” You can rest assured President Obama is more than happy to comply.