I. The Reason for this Blog
My name is Lauri E. Kallio and I have an acute case of buyer’s remorse, as one who contributed many hours to Barack Obama’s presidential campaign in New Mexico I have become convinced that President Obama is toxic to the Democratic Party, the nation, and, given our outsized presence in the world, to the world. Although the conventional wisdom is that running a primary opponent against Obama would ensure a Democratic Party defeat in the general election, not challenging Obama and defeating him in a primary election would present a Hobson’s choice of either an Obama defeat in November 2012, or if he struggles through to a narrow victory, a continuation of four more years of feckless leadership.
This blog, then, will make the case that Barack Obama has broken many of the promises he made in the presidential campaign; he has taken policy positions that are directly contradictory to one another; he has rendered it almst impossible to know where he stands on almost any issue; he has almost deliberately alienated his most faithful supporters and tried to justify this betrayal by arguing that he is willing to make the tough decisions, even at the expense of his own party’s political fortunes; and he remains committed to a “grand bargain” in which spending cuts will greatly exceed tax increases — at least a four-to-one ratio by most estimates.
The two most unforgiveable campaign promises that Obama has broken are: 1) his statement that “Senator McCain will cut Social Security, I will not.”; and 2) his repeated promises to end the Bush tax cuts. Not only has President Obama committed himself to cutting Social Security, he will also attempt to cut Medicare and Medicaid. His proposal to cut the FICA tax in half for both employees and employers will blow another hole in the Social Security trust fund.
Although this blog will focus primarily on the destructive nature of President Obama’s performance, it will also propose alternative policies and directions for the nation.
The topics to follow in this blog will include: taxes and deficit reduction, health care reform, militarily-related spending, nuclear weapons and power, the intelligence complex, the war on terrorism, civil liberties, immigration reform, foreign and war policy, regulation of big business, education, along with miscellaneous topics.
The first topic considered will be the very important one of taxes and deficit reduction.
I. Obama on Taxes and Deficit Reduction
The promise that was at the core of Barack Obama’a “Yes We Can!” presidential campaign was to end the Bush tax cuts for those households earning over $250,000 a year — a promise made 50 times by one count. Obama initially wanted to take affirmative action to end the cuts for the financially well-off and use the resulting revenue for deficit reduction and to fund health care reform. Later, he changed his position to just let the tax cuts for those earning over $250,000 expire under the original sunset provisions.
It thus came as a surprise or even shock that with very little public preparation, Obama, in December 2010, agreed to an extension of the two major tax cuts enacted in George W. Bush’s first term. Along with the extension of the tax cuts, Obama proposed and got adopted a one-year, two percent cut — from 6.2 percent to 4.2 percent — in the employee’s share of the FICA tax, which funds Social Security. President Obama also got a one-year extension of unemployment benefits.
Economists estimated that the tax package approved by Congress in December 2010 would reduce revenue and increase outlay by about a combined total of $900 billion. The one-year, two percent cut in the FICA tax would comprise $112 billion of the total.
It was political malfeasance of the highest order for President Obama and the Democratic lawmakers of both houses of Congress not to have adopted a budget for FY 2011 and dealth with the Bush tax cuts before the November 2010 election. Later in the blog, a new tax structure will be proposed, in alliance with a single-payer health care insurance plan.
The next blog will deal with President Obama’s foray into the tangled web of deficit reduction.