April 17, 2012
Obama and the Arpège GambitBy Jessica Rubin
One of the most iconic and most successful pitches for a perfume by Lanvin came in the form of Arpège: Promise her anything, but give her Arpège. Well, here is the Obama version: Promise them anything, but give them more.
From green jobs to transparency to fiscal solvency to giving K-street the boot, Obama has promised it all. But what you get is more. More taxes, more cronyism, and more debt.
Expediency dictates that Obama not raise taxes openly unless he can demonize the target of the tax rise. Big, bad oil companies (you'd rather fill'er up at PetroChina or Lukoil?). Big, bad money center banks (rather have Hong Kong or Singapore take the U.S.'s place as a world financial center?). Demonized targets aside, the real tax activity passes under the banner of energy independence and green energy initiatives. Tax money lost on failed energy policy is tax money that must be made up for entrenched entitlements such as Medicare, SS, and poverty programs. Tax money lost or misspent means more taxes down the road and more debt in the interim. This is stealth taxation.
We all know about Solyndra and the other disastrous Obama ventures into venture capitalism (Evergreen Solar Inc., SpectraWatt, Mountain Plaza Inc., the list keeps growing), but the so-called success stories like the Chevy Volt are also a form of stealth taxation.
In order to ensure the success of the Chevy Volt, the Obama administration is not just handing $7,500 to its wealthy buyers (buyer demographic: incomes over $200,000), but also buying Volts via stimulus funds for townships and corporate cronies like General Electric. Include the federal government's own purchases of the plug-in electric, and some estimates put 20 percent of the Volt's first-year sales as big government purchases.
But there is more to come. The Obama administration's forced taxpayers' $1.4B "investment" in the Nissan EV may make the Volt "investment" look good by comparison.
It gets worse. In order to force the transition to a green energy economy, the Obama administration has forced up the price of fossil fuel-based energy by regulatory strangulation. The U.S. is now exporting coal because of Obama regulations -- this is energy independence? Forcing up the price of fossil fuel-based energy systems is also a form of stealth taxation.
Waivers, kickbacks, tax breaks, sweetheart deals, pay-go, stacking the deck, rigging the game -- it's all there.
Obama rails against the so-called tax breaks of big oil, yet GM, under Obama buddy Immelt, will be getting a "sweetheart" tax deal. The AARP, which got on the ObamaCare bandwagon early, got a sweetheart deal to bolster its main moneymaker, Medigap. The same goes for the drug companies, which were promised preferential position for supplying drugs. Now Big Pharma is upset that Obama is reneging. According to FOX News (4/11), the Obama administration is "backtracking" on a deal "made behind closed doors" in late 2009 and early 2010 in order to get the industry to support and endorse health care reform.
Government regulatory agencies have tremendous leeway to rig the game in favor of or against corporations and organizations. It is almost as if Obama can grant indulgences for those who support his programs.
The unions in particular have prospered under the Obama years. Unions have received waivers and regulatory special treatment from the get-go of the Obama administration. In a speech before the Service Employees' International Union (SEIU), Obama promised that "your agenda is my agenda." Count that as one Obama promise kept.
According to CNS, the Department of Health and Human Services issued waivers to 222 entities -- companies, unions, and charitable organizations. Among those entities, 45 were labor union organizations. A total of 1,507,418 enrollees were affected by the waivers. More than one-third of the enrollees affected -- 512,315 people -- were insured under union health care plans.
Unsurprisingly, three locals of the powerful (SEIU), which has spent heavily on elections in favor of Democrats, were among the biggest beneficiaries of waivers.
But the largest beneficiary of waivers is the United Federation of Teachers (UFT), representing New York City public schoolteachers, with a plan that affects 351,000 enrollees. The UFT is a member organization of the American Federation of Teachers, a major contributor to Democrats. In addition, ten locals of the United Food and Commercial Workers -- also a major Democratic contributor -- received HHS waivers.
All of this has gotten so bad that Congress will probe special exemptions to the health care law that the Obama administration gave to select unions and businesses.
President Barack Obama has been increasing the national debt during his presidency by an average of $4.24 billion per day, putting him on a pace to increase the national debt by $6.2 trillion by the end of his term on Jan. 20, 2013. That $6.2 trillion is more debt than was accumulated by all U.S. previous presidents combined. Our debt-to-GDP ratio has crossed the 100% threshold and is on a trajectory to match Greece.
Unfortunately, unlike with Arpège, the bottle of more we get from Obama has the rancid smell of demise -- our demise.
But wait. There's more. More class warfare, more gender warfare, more ethnic tension and resentment, more incivility, more distrust of government, more poverty, more unemployment, more international contempt of U.S. leadership, more Islamist governments in the Middle East, more persecution of Christians in Egypt, Sudan, and Nigeria. Need I say more?
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