Love him or hate, pretty much everybody who paid attention to his Democratic National Convention speech Thursday night agrees: President Obama did not lay out a clear agenda for his second term.
True, he did recently tell Time magazine that he expects Republican opposition to “pop” like a “blister” if he wins re-election. But as conservative commentator Ramesh Ponnuru has noted, and liberal commentators Matt Yglesias and Ezra Klein have agreed, that isn’t likely to happen.
After the last two election cycles, congressional Republicans have become far more responsive to Republican primary voters than to the whims and desires of the White House and the liberal press. If anything, Republicans will move to the right after the election, and that definitely does not include cutting any deals with Obama on taxes; unless repealing Obamacare is also on the table.
Many liberals believe that the expiration of the Bush tax cuts this December will drive Republicans to the negotiating table. Don’t bet on it. Instead, expect Republicans to invoke H.L. Mencken who once said, “Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.”
In other words, if the American people choose Obama and his call for higher taxes this November, Republicans will let them experience it this January. In addition to the expiring Bush tax cuts, which will inflict a $165 billion tax hike on all working Americans, payroll taxes are set to go up by $125 billion, estate taxes by $13 billion and business taxes by $20 billion. The Alternative Minimum Tax patch will also expire, costing taxpayers another $118 billion, as will $21 billion in Obama stimulus tax cuts. Another $23 billion in new Obamacare taxes will also kick in.
All told, under current law, taxes will rise by $494 billion next year. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that if these tax hikes are implemented, along with $100 billion in spending cuts that Obama signed into law as part of last August’s debt deal, our economy will shrink and unemployment will rise to 9.1 percent.
And Obama’s second term will only go downhill from there.
Unable to get anything done in Congress, Obama will then pursue his divisive social policy agenda through executive fiat. In his first term, Obama already illegally rewrote our nation’s education, immigration and welfare laws without consulting Congress. In his second term, Obama will try to expand his existing limited amnesty, continue to gut welfare reform and consolidate control of your local school in Washington, D.C.
And don’t forget Obama’s environmental regulatory agenda. Faced with re-election during a weakening economy, Obama largely directed his Environmental Protection Agency to stand down, refusing to even publish the EPA’s spring regulatory agenda as required by law. Freed from ever facing American voters again, Obama will unleash EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson on the U.S. economy.
The last time the EPA was allowed to share its agenda with the public, they estimated it would inflict more than $125 billion on costs on the economy annually. And that doesn’t even include Obama’s global warming regulations, which are expected to cost the U.S. economy another $100 billion a year.
All of these executive actions are destined to end up in the Supreme Court, which is already likely to hear challenges to Obamacare’s Independent Payment Advisory Board and Dodd-Frank’s Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, both of which contain functions that are clear violations of the U.S. Constitution’s separation of powers doctrine.
Higher taxes, higher unemployment, more partisanship and more constitutional crises. Other than that, an Obama second term will be great.