Never has an administration had more political firepower at their disposal yet been set to so totally fail in the next six to eight weeks. It is nearly a foregone conclusion. It is nearly unavoidable. And it defies all logic given the sizable majority the administration has in both houses of Congress.
Since I was the first pundit to predict Obama's presidency (back in December 2006) it behooves me to tell you the course I believe the next few weeks will take. Just think, it was only a few months ago that the left looked unstoppable in bringing about their plan to radicalize, nationalize, and federalize America.
1. Health Care's Long and Painful Death
Barring the existing possibility that the Democrats cram a reform bill down the throats of actively protesting Americans through an ultra-partisan process that would shut out conservatives and Republicans from even being allowed to contribute to the discussion, health care reform is dead.
It actually died a good while back when the president decided to pivot and create a new issue that no one had been discussing--health insurance reform. The American people will want to know why we should spend $4 billion to cover everyone in America "efficiently," when we already do so with inefficiencies like people using the emergency room as their general practitioner for $2.5 billion.
Deep thinkers on the issue also want to know why the president hasn't entertained one item of tort reform-- protecting his friends, the trial lawyers-- yet is willing to claim that doctors are eager to lop off feet, tonsils, and other body parts just to make a buck.
2. Cap-and-Trade Will Be the Largest Tax Increase in American History
With the 2010 election cycle just around the corner, it won't be too long before the campaign ads are drafted. With cap-and-trade still sitting in legislative limbo (and the president's own adviser--Warren Buffet-- now opposing it openly in the media), with anti-tax Democrats, Republicans, and Independents coming to Washington on September 12, and with "Blue Dog" Democrats getting hammered by constituents during the August recess, the chance of an ultra-partisan "ram through" victory on the legislation would not be wise.
Cap-and-trade, if passed, will contribute to unemployment, Wall Street stop and starts, and ultimately reduced treasury revenues. It would serve as the single largest tax increase on the average American in all of American history.
Even President Obama admitted as much, predicting that electric bill prices, in his words, would, "skyrocket." Those that have looked at the specifics tell us that the average utility bill in America will go from $167 to $307 per month, per family.
3. Unemployment Will Remain
By now several Washington organizations, from left and right, and one of note consisting of both--the Congressional Budget Office, predict that unemployment will not shrink from the predicted "Obama high" of eight percent. Instead, nearly without fail, economists are predicting that unemployment will be at or over 10% for up to the next 24 months.-- That is a nearly 250% increase in the unemployment rate under Bush for nearly the duration of his two-term presidency. We did not see the unemployment climb this high during President Bush's entire two-term presidency.
If more people were working, higher taxes and possible new health care entitlements could be considered, but with at least ten percent of the population out of work, it is political suicide for Democrats to even think of it.
4. Obama's Integrity Has Been Tarnished in August
Not a great deal has been made of the whoppers that the president has been spewing while Congress has been away during the summer recess but it turns out that more people than I realized have also noticed the president wildly "exaggerating" in his talks on health care. For instance, the president confused the $500 physicians actually get to amputate a foot as opposed to the $50,000 that he claimed they got. He also showed an utter disregard for the reputation of those doctors he talks about, the "facts" he uses to make his argument, and is highly overly optimistic about the results of his policies. Long story short, at the beginning of the summer Americans mostly trusted him, his passion index was at +10, he heads into the fall at -14.
5. A $3 Trillion Dollar Budget
There was lots of new spending for this and it sure added up. And that brings me to number 6.
6. A Coming Middle Class Tax Hike
The Obama administration will hem and haw about hiking taxes. -- There will be an official, and arrogant, explanation given by Robert Gibbs from the podium in the White House briefing room about why they must to do this to be "good stewards" and to be a "responsible administration" that "pays as it goes."
But the truth is, in order to pay for everything the Obama administration has promised (and budgeted for), a tax hike is looming for small businesses and the working families that President Obama promised would never come.
And as an aside, the president was going to break that promise all along. Because the minute the Bush tax relief measures run out in 2010, middle class taxes would be going up in the Obama administration. That means that, fundamentally, that Obama's "not a single dime" pledge on the campaign trail was just hot air from start to finish.
Of course, the president, the Democrats, the left, and Congressional leadership could surprise me. They could show up in September and endorse the Coburn health care bill in the Senate and steal all the credit for it. They could show up next week and fight with all their might to not allow the tax rates to skyrocket in 2010. They could decide to scrap cap-and-trade and re-think the use of public money for a true job-based economic stimulus.
But I'm not holding my breath, and I'd advise you against it as well.
They've awakened the American worker, the American small-business owner, and the American voter.
All three of which are now wondering aloud, "What on earth have we done?"
Kevin McCullough is the nationally syndicated host of "'Baldwin/McCullough Radio" now heard on 197 stations and columnist based in New York. He blogs at www.muscleheadrevolution.com. His second book "The Kind Of MAN Every Man SHOULD Be" is in stores now.