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Works and Days

Second-Term Reckonings

January 16th, 2013 - 9:04 pm

In lieu of all that, for now Obama is fueling liberal outrage over Newtown, locating it against a demonized gun-owning class, and hoping to start another us/them war (in the fashion of the 2012 wars of feminists versus sexists, greens versus polluters, gays versus bigots, Latinos versus nativists, blacks versus racists, unions versus capitalist parasites, and the young needy versus the older greedy) of the educated and civilized against the supposed rednecks in camouflage.

Jack up outrage, identify the “enemy,” demonize him, and then lead the mob to a new law. But most Americans value the right to buy guns; they are not convinced that new laws will abate violence; and they will resent any effort to prune the Second Amendment by executive order. If I am wrong, then we will see purple- and red-state Democratic senators and representatives, up for reelection in 2014, jump onto the Obama-Biden-Feinstein-Pelosi-Reid restrictionist bandwagon.

Obamacare

In 2013, there will be new taxes levied, from charges on medical devices to Medicare tax hikes on the culpable who make more than the dreaded $250,000. Already insurance premiums are rising in anticipation of Obamacare implementation in 2014, when health care exchanges begin, and employers and the uninsured will be forced to either buy health insurance or to pay a fine — the details of which are unclear even to the architects of the law. If Obamacare were car insurance, you could buy it retroactively after a major collision, and could not be charged too much due to your prior driving record — facts that will make premiums for others soar.

So far, Obamacare has been just a rhetorical topos. In 2013 it will cost people real money, and in 2014 it will change the way millions of Americans deal with and pay for their doctors. Those who will like the new entitlement are natural Obama supporters; those who will not like it may have been in 2012 but might not be in 2014.

Taxes

Americans want as many government freebies as possible as long as the distant fat cats pay for them. But there are two problems with Obama’s cynical attempts to created an even greater constituency of dependents, reliant on the taxes from a demonized upper wealthy class. First, there are not enough rich to squeeze out sufficient funds to pay for the vast increases in federal spending. We saw that with the 2013 payroll tax hikes on the middle class and the president’s willingness to go over the cliff, which would have raised taxes on everyone.

Obama’s war has never, as he claimed, been between the 1% and 99%, but rather is an existential struggle of the 47% who do not pay federal income tax and receive lots from the government against the 53% who dread April 15 and receive less. That divide will become clearer as the economy sputters along, the debts mount, and the government searches for revenue.

Second, while the majority of those who make above $250,000 probably voted for Obama, they did so on the premise that the super-wealthy (e.g., those who make more than $1 million a year), not themselves, were in Obama’s crosshairs. In 2013 they will come to learn that new Obamacare taxes, a new loss in deductions, new blue-state income tax hikes, and changes in Medicare taxation are aimed at themselves — and that Obama prefers a Bill Gates, Jeffrey Immelt, or Warren Buffett to a middle-level executive, doctor, or lawyer making $200,000. It is one thing to blast the Koch brothers and claim that news coverage of Obamaphones is a racist trope; quite another to pay another 10% of your income for others to have free things that are superfluous — and be derided in the process.

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