A guest submission from Steve Feinstein

Of all the arguably stupid and counter-productive things that President Obama and his Congressional mates have done so far in his snake-bitten two year stint at the helm of Ship of State, none compares with their Titantic-sized goof of failing to execute an extension of the 2001 and 2003 income tax reductions.

There has certainly been no shortage of Obama administration missteps, fumbles, misreads, and incompetence so far:

– The 787 billion dollar “bailout” that was supposed to turn the economy around and prevent unemployment from rising above 8%. It did neither. Now it turns out that all the economic critics of Keynesian polices were predictably correct all along, as any 19 year-old 2nd-year Econ major could have told you. The current Team Obama line is, in effect, “Well, we didn’t know it was this bad, so we need more time.” Sorry, guys, everyone knew it was “this bad” as long ago as September 2008, when the first truly big Fed actions were contemplated to slow the fall. Obama knew the extent well before he took the Oath in January 2009. Now it’s almost 2011, and employment and hiring on Main Street is worse, not better.

Clear, consistent business- and hiring-friendly Government action by the Obama administration would have produced measurably positive economic results by now, and other factors—such as Consumer Sentiment and the ISM index (a measure of future purchasing activity by business professionals)—would be pointing strongly to the future, instead of languishing at the disappointingly low levels they’re currently at. The President has had “enough time.” Instead, he’s wasted it on social engineering and income redistribution schemes.

– The Health Care debacle. In the most sweeping socialism-styled lurch towards Government control of the heretofore capitalist U.S. economy in our nation’s history, a cumbersome, confusing, largely-unknowable “Health Care” program has been put upon the public, to take place at some uncertain point in the near future, to affect some as-yet unclear segment of the population, to impose as-yet not specified or defined penalties and fines on non-participants, with an as-yet totally unpredictable impact on health insurance premiums and overall health care expenditures. Individuals have no clue what lies ahead. Employers have no clue what lies ahead. Insurers have no clue what lies ahead. Medical professionals have no clue what lies ahead. The Government has no clue what lies ahead.

– Obama has fumbled National Security. One example: By imposing highly-publicized, artificial withdrawal dates from Afghanistan in order to placate his Far Left anti-war base, Obama undercuts our ability to function effectively militarily in the field and gives our enemies the opportunity to wait us out. Hastily re-worded “clarifications” do nothing to dispel the accurate impression that this is a President whose attention, expertise, interests, and priorities lie far away from the overseas hotbeds of international terrorism.

– Cap-and Trade, Wall Street “reform,” The New Black Panther voter intimidation embarrassment for the Department of Justice, Obama’s astonishingly tone-deaf response to the Ground Zero Mosque situation, the Administrations refusal to tackle illegal immigration (actually going the other way and attacking the Arizona law that a solid majority of Americans and the vast majority of Arizonians approve of), these are all additional exhibits that his vaunted “intelligence” and “communications skills” have amounted to nothing in terms of moving the country forward.

But most of the above list (assuming you are actually working, that is, and haven’t lost your job) is theoretical in nature to the average ‘working person on the street.’ OK, a person may not agree with the public announcement of a military pullout date, but it doesn’t actually affect you the next day at your desk.

Similarly, the vague notion of Wall Street “reform” (it’s doubtful that 1 in 100,000 voters could explain what that entails with any semblance of accuracy) may convey some sort of odd satisfaction to a career low/mid-level manager that the ‘fat cats’ are going to ‘get theirs,’ but again, it has no real relevance in day-to-day terms for most people.

But….income tax, yes, there’s a subject we’re all too well acquainted with. How much money is in our weekly paycheck (assuming we’re in the lucky 90.4% who are working) has an immediate impact in every aspect of our lives.

Yet somehow, President Obama and his cronies have managed to fritter away their entire time in office without addressing the January 1, 2011 expiration of the ‘01/’03 tax cuts. How is that possible? Was Cap-and-Trade really that important? Was the person working at an accounting firm or managing the shoe department at Macy’s or driving a UPS truck really so unhappy with the health coverage offered by their employers that their greatest wish in life was to change it into an uncertain morass of Government delay and inefficiency?

Probably not. It’s far more likely that that shoe salesman’s greatest concern is how much money he takes home every week to support his family. As of now, his check will shrink come January.

From the Wall Street Journal Online 10/1/10

In truth, everyone’s taxes are about to go up. At about the same time as Obama spoke, the Hill reports that Nancy Pelosi’s House voted 210-209 to adjourn until after the election, which means that Congress will not repeal the tax increases scheduled to take effect as we ring in 2011.

President Obama has said that he wants to extend the cuts for everyone making less than $250,000/year, having said on many occasions that raising the tax rate on the “wealthy” is more a matter of “fairness” (his actual word) than economic policy. Of course the so-called “wealthy” spend their money freely on cars, trips, dinners, clothes (all of which requires all manner of working people to fulfill), invest in their business, hire people to work for them, etc., so the economic efficacy of reducing their ability to do so escapes most serious analysts.

Additionally, since much small business income is reported as “personal” income and therefore falls into the $250,000 category, taxes on many small businesses—the prime employment sector in our economy—will be directly (and adversely) affected.

The Democrats were never serious about extending the ‘01/’03 cuts in any event. No bill extending the cuts was ever put forth, no floor debate ever took place, and President Obama never made it a priority, talking about it— reluctantly— only when chided into it by his political adversaries or by the rare challenging media reporter.

The President’s (and by extension, the Democratic Congress’) many policy shortcomings may not have immediate impact and visibility to most casually-observant Americans. However their failure to address the impending tax increase will—and probably to a far greater extent than they can imagine.

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