It’s A Good Time To Work For Uncle Sam, says CBS News. “President Obama’s call last year for ‘shared sacrifice’ doesn’t extend to federal employees, at least based on the details of his administration’s 2010 budget released this week. At a time when the official unemployment rate is nearing double digits, and 6.35 million people are receiving unemployment benefits, the U.S. government is on a hiring binge. … Counting benefits, the average pay per federal worker will leap from $72,800 in 2008 to $75,419 next year.” About 102,000 temporary employees will be hired by the Census Bureau alone.
Meanwhile, the GOP has been rendered speechless by the sheer scale of Obama’s new budget; it is almost as if they can’t believe it is really happening according to Byron York.
“How do you translate the numbers into something that people can grasp to represent the broader problem?” a Republican pollster asked in a recent conversation. John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and other GOP leaders would love to hear an answer, but the pollster didn’t have one. GOP message mavens are struggling with something that academics call “insensitivity to scope.” It affects us all; we can understand something on a small scale but have a difficult time comprehending the same thing on a massive scale.
Believe. There’s an apocryphal story which claims that the reason that the British Swordfish biplane bombers successfully attacked the Bismarck was that they flew so slowly that the Kriegsmarine fire-control system had no settings for their speed. The Swordfish were events outside the imaginative range of the methodical German engineers. Tigerhawk has at least part of the answer to problem of why people find it hard to take it all in: the taxpayers are being taken to the cleaners by lawyers in the fine print. Other lawyers know, but then they would charge to explain it to you. Tigerhawk writes, “the short version is that President Obama is pushing absolutely staggering increases through the corporate and business tax systems. Direct taxes on business are, in general, inefficient and economically disruptive, but they are also peerless in their complexity, which means that few voters and essentially no reporters will make the effort to understand what is being done to them. Trust me on this: something awful is being done to you.”
They’re even coming for the pop. The WSJ reports that “Senate leaders are considering new federal taxes on soda and other sugary drinks to help pay for an overhaul of the nation’s health-care system. The taxes would pay for only a fraction of the cost to expand health-insurance coverage to all Americans and would face strong opposition from the beverage industry. They also could spark a backlash from consumers who would have to pay several cents more for a soft drink.” Strangely enough, in this time of trillion-dollar government deficits, cents have become real money for individuals. But Obama is only getting warmed up. Quoting from a Deloitte newsletter which astonishingly warns that “the Obama administration’s tax program has taken on an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink quality. One lesson here is never to underestimate the energy and persistence of this administration” Tigerhawk concludes, “he is preparing the media battlespace for a substantive attack to come.” But as the character played by Steve McQueen in the Blob found out, any sufficiently horrifying threat will be regarded by the public as incredible. It’s the little dangers the ordinary man believes in. Nobody believes the really big ones will ever happen until they do.
But don’t worry, our public intellectuals are on the job. This video is from February 23, 2009.