Lately there has been a lot of speculation about President Obama’s chances for re-election in 2012. The liberal media have tried to assure us that he is all but a shoo-in, and polls suggest that he runs reasonably well against prospective opponents, even though his re-elect percentage remains stubbornly below 50 percent.
But there is a very large fly in this ointment; or, put another way, a very large shoe that has yet to drop. The Democrats have not yet proposed a budget. President Obama did deliver a FY 2012 budget, but it was dead on arrival as it did nothing whatever to deal with the looming budget crisis. It was the equivalent of punting on first down. Obama later gave a speech in which he appeared to repudiate his own budget, although it was so general that no one could be sure.
In Congress, meanwhile, there is no Democratic budget. The House Democrats never proposed one, and in the Senate, Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad has maneuvered desperately to keep his own party’s plans under wraps for as long as possible. Sooner or later, however, the Democrats will have to come clean. They control the Senate, and they will have to adopt some sort of budget; either that, or go another year (as they did in FY 2011) with no budget at all.
Notwithstanding the cheerleading from their pet media, the Democrats face a serious problem. More and more Americans are catching on to the fact that the country is in dire fiscal trouble. Most voters want Congress to do something to avert financial collapse. The Republicans have a plan (in the House, anyway), but the Democrats don’t. They can’t wait it out until the 2012 election to make a proposal. And any plan the Democrats put forward will include massive tax increases.
Hence today’s headline in The Hill: “Senate Dems target millionaires for tax in draft budget outline:”
Millionaires would be hit with a 3 percent surtax under a draft Senate Democratic budget.
A Senate aide told The Hill on Wednesday that the draft 2012 budget proposal presented at Tuesday’s Democratic policy lunch called for a 3 percent surtax on income above $1 million a year.
The problem, as always with liberals’ “tax the rich” policies, is that there aren’t enough rich people to go around. A three percent surtax on incomes over a million dollars is a pittance that wouldn’t make a dent in the country’s fiscal disaster. As the budget debate continues, it will become increasingly obvious that the price of the Democrats’ refusal either to make significant cuts in discretionary spending or to reform entitlements is a gargantuan tax increase–not on the “rich,” but on all taxpayers.
This is the key variable that is missing from current discussions of the parties’ prospects for 2012.