The 1992 Clinton Campaign for President made hay with the statement, “It’s the economy, stupid.” It focussed attention on what the Democrats thought was Bush, Sr’s biggest failing. It turned out to be a story that resonated, and won an election.
It may just be that the Republicans will use the same tactic in the 2012 Presidential Election Cycle. Anyone who thinks that the Democrats and Mr. Obama have handled the economy well, in my view, is drinking the kool-aid.
There may, however, be a more resonant single issue that the Republicans will lever to push Mr. Obama and his team aside. In my view, that may be the “Health Care bill.” Nancy Pelosi famously commented, “But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what is in it.” If we are still discovering new things in the bill a year from now, I think the stage will be set for the Republicans to tell a very convincing story and one that will hurt the Democrats. That story will be about lawmakers and a President with such a cavalier attitude about lawmaking (and spending other people’s money) that they should not hold public office.
This week will go a long way toward determining if this issue does resonate with the general public. The Senate will likely vote on a measure that will repeal part of the ‘healthcare bill.’ It is the part that will require businesses to file a form 1099 on all transactions with other businesses with whom they do over $600 business in a year. If, for example, you are the local fish store or real estate office or bookseller, you will have to save all purchase receipts, add them up, and then send a form 1099 to the office supply and the gas station and the grocer (where you get coffee for your customers), etc., etc. The mountains of paperwork this will create will be enormous. The number of new IRS agents that will be required to sort through all this will be huge. It will be a burden on all businesses that will barely be worth the additional tax revenue it will generate.
And why is this even in the “health care bill”? Mr. Obama and the Democrats in Congress wanted to show that the Health Care Bill would only cost us about $100 Billion over the next ten years. By adding this new requirement and new tax, they could show offsetting revenue of almost $20 Billion. Of course that is not a net $20 Billion. In fact, many believe it is a net negative by many Billion dollars. Think of the costs when you add the expense of the new force added to the IRS and the increased cost of goods and services to the government by increasing business overheads.
And, the White House is fighting hard to defeat this repeal of one small portion of the Health Care Bill. They are very worried that if they lose one stone in the wall, it may all collapse. Like the Administration’s lawsuit against Arizona for its attempt to enforce Federal and State immigration law, like the Administration’s attempts to allow taxes to increase in 2011, like Mr. Obama’s personal appeals to allow a Ground Zero Mosque, this Administration and this Congress are pushing policies that the vast majority of Americans are against.
Will new IRS requirements be the reason that Mr. Obama’s party will go down to defeat in the next election? The 1099 issue will surely cause some people to understand the depths to which Mr. Obama and team will go to get their way. But, my guess is that what will do them in will be the gross mishandling of the economy. Congress and the President seem to have been politically clever in writing the Health Care Bill. They wrote the bill such that all the parts that will hurt the most won’t take effect until after the 2012 elections. They have been anything but clever in their attempts to ‘rescue’ the economy.
At some point I think the majority of voters will get tired of being told to ‘do as they say, not do as they do’ and Congress and the President will be voted out. I hope that day is sooner rather than later. I think that point will come when the majority of people have either seen pay or benefits cut or when they have lost their jobs. Mr. Obama can blame the economy on Mr. Bush all day long, but Mr. Bush can’t change things now. That is Mr. Obama’s job and I think most people are coming to the understanding that he is not up to the task.