Ecce Obama

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I have up until now been stunned at the adulation that many people on the Right have given to Obama. They swoon at his intellect, his commitment to a new politics, and his – well, OMG! – sexiness. Witness Peggy Noonan, who talks about the guy in the way Patricia O’Neal talked about Paul Newman in “Hud” – with a breathless “when I see you with your shirt off why I just drop my dishtowel” kind of mushiness.

But I, too, am beginning to be seduced by the president’s soaring Kennedyesque oratory, brilliant Jeffersonian intellect, and Lincolnesque honesty. Indeed, I have come to see that he isn’t just a one in a million; he’s a one in a trillion kind of guy.

Two recent stories have brought me to this fever pitch of admiration. The first is a Tom LoBianco piece in The Washington Times (March 18), reporting that one of Obama’s chief staffers admitted in testimony before the Senate that Obama’s cap-and-trade proposal to “solve” global warming will cost industry $2 trillion over eight years. An earlier”estimate” of the cap-and-trade bill that Obama co-sponsored in the Senate said it would cost $366 billion over eight years. Then, once he became president, his advisers estimated it would cost maybe $646 billion over that period. Now his own lapdog advisor Jason Furman says a truer figure is $2 trillion. Of course, this represents only business taxes.

Yeah, right. First, business doesn’t pay taxes; taxes are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. And when you count the direct costs, along with costs from unintended consequences and lost opportunities – as business dies in America and surges ahead abroad – the true costs could well be $2 trillion a year.

Then there is a report from AP News (March 20) that Obama’s proposed new budget will create deficits of about $1 trillion a year for the next ten years! Now, brother, there’s some brave spending. Forget Bush’s deficits – Obama will increase the national debt more in 20 months than Bush (the miserable piker) did in eight years.

The estimate comes from the Congressional Budget Office, hardly a right-wing organization. Its estimate is that under Obama’s policies, the deficit will total $9.3 trillion from 2010 to 2019. It will constitute at least 4% of GDP every year, until, by 2019, it hits 5%. Though White House budget chief Peter Orszag disputes the CBO estimate, he does admit that budget deficits in the 4-5% range would be “unsustainable.” Gee, ya think?

Brian Riedl of the Heritage Foundation estimates that Obama will double the publicly held national debt to $15 trillion. Hell, the deficit this year is already projected to be something like $1.7 trillion, roughly the GDP of Italy or Canada.

The likely result will be massive new taxes, even beyond what Obama has proposed. Riedl estimates that the tax increase will be at least $1.4 trillion over the next decade. The scales have fallen from my eyes, and the dish towel from my hands. I now understand the full majesty of our new president.

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