Monday, January 12, 2009

Now, about those campaign promises . . .

Well, here's a change some of us actually expected, though it might be shocking news indeed for Peggy Joseph, and others like her. Peggy is the woman who was overjoyed after hearing Obama speak because, she said, "I won't have to worry about puttin' gas in my car, I won't have to worry about payin' my mortgage. If I help him, he's gonna help me." (If you missed it at the time, here's the video.) Well, Peggy, not so much, as it turns out. Bloomberg News:

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- President-elect Barack Obama said reviving the U.S. economy will require scaling back on his campaign promises and personal sacrifice from all Americans.

“I want to be realistic here, not everything that we talked about during the campaign are we going to be able to do on the pace we had hoped,” Obama said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week” program broadcast this morning. “Everybody’s going to have to give.”
Is he admitting that his campaign promises were unrealistic? Surely not. Are you wondering which Americans are "all Americans"? (If you think "all" means, well, all, you're probably being way too literal.) Since we won't see any hardball interviews until pigs fly the MSM loses its infatuation, I'm looking for clues to to help to predict some likely financial outcomes. Like this one:
The last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, faced a similar predicament. In the face of a deepening budget deficit, Clinton during his transition scaled back his spending plans and abandoned a campaign pledge to enact a middle-class tax cut. . .
. . . and substituted tax increases. So, with the talk about the incoming cabinet beginning a new rendition of the old Clinton administration, maybe it will be the middle class who will sacrifice first. We know that the Democrats will allow the Bush tax cuts to expire, so middle class sacrifice (read: tax increase) is already a given. The Democrats and their media accomplices have denied for so long that the middle class benefited from those tax cuts, that they've generally sold the public on the "tax breaks were only for the rich" myth. And now, they can blame the economy, so political cover is achieved. Mission accomplished.

But then Obama said, “Everybody’s going to have to have some skin in the game.” Ah. Skin in the game. Chicagoans know all about skin, and alot about the game. For example:
(Mayor) Daley initially promised to bankroll his Olympic dream with "not a dime" of taxpayer's money, only to break that promise after the 2007 mayoral election when the United States Olympic Committee demanded that Chicago "put some skin in the game." [Emphasis added.]
It was (allegedly) the Olympic committee that demanded "skin". I do wonder if it was put in exactly those terms, but either way, apparently Da Mayor didn't say it. Political cover achieved. Mission accomplished. Skin away. And what does "skin in the game" look like in the President-elect's home town?
Chicago’s high tax life style has driven businesses and jobs to the suburbs. Chicago is one of the only towns in America with an employee head tax on employment. Companies with over 50 employees must pay $4 a month per employee to the city. Most of the major corporate headquarters in the Chicago area are located in Chicago’s suburbs. Motorola, Walgreens, All State, Kraft, Anixter, Illinois Tool Works, McDonald’s, Alberta-Culver, and Abbott Labs all have their corporate headquarters outside city limits.
[. . .]
The largest employer in the city of Chicago is the Federal government. Followed by the City of Chicago Public School system. Other major employers are the city of Chicago, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Cook County government, and the Chicago Park District. These thousands of government workers provide the backbone of the coalition for higher taxes, generous pensions and “political stability”.
(Obama wants more government workers, too. More government spending. More government control.) Even if they raised taxes only on businesses, that is in effect a tax increase on everybody, and of course that "skins" those who can least afford it. All too familiar, isn't it, this so-called change? Our own Not Wired put it this way, when he wrote about another Chicago-style snow job:
Remember this: The path to that "skin" leads directly through our pockets. Experience tells me it will become a pound of flesh.
Yup. Election's over, political cover is achieved, mission accomplished. And now, I think, it'll be back to business as usual.

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