Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Financial Crisis, Government, Politics — Rick Moran @ 1:36 pm

Yes, campaign promises are a dime a dozen and few people believe most of them.

But even for someone who promised the moon to so many, Barack Obama’s campaign promises are being quietly shelved or thrown under the bus at an unusual rate.

His tax policies are in ruins. And many of his prized ideas are now going to have to be financed through tax increases on every working American or their cost added to the ever ballooning deficit - the result of George Bush’s massive bailouts.

Then there’s his personnel choices which hardly give substance to his call for “change.” The establishmentarians he has hired on to run his national security and economcs shops fall laughably short of any promise for a “fresh breeze” to blow through Washington - more like a fetid wind of revolving door government.

Does this make Obama a failure? Not hardly. In a sense, it might have done more good than we realize at this time. Disabusing the new president of some of his more problematic notions of governance could very well moderate some of his policies and cause him to scale back some of his more grandiose plans on education ($4,000 tax credit in exchange for “community service”), the environment (1 million hybrids on the road by 2015), and most of all, the “middle class tax cut” which could add another half trillion to the deficit.

You could certainly blame some of Obama’s problems on the Bush deficits but not all. Much of Obama’s problem lies with his dishonest accounting of how he was going to pay for his programs to begin with. That, and a shortsightedness about the vagaries of the oil market will now doom almost all of his domestic initiatives to the ash heap.

With oil trading at below $50 bbl and OPEC apparently unwilling to cut production very much, the Obama team is quietly shelving one of the cornerstones of their economic program - a “windfall profits tax” on the oil companies.

Obama’s promise to give every American family a $1,000 “energy rebate” seems to have come a cropper of - what else - reality.

Obama and Biden will enact a windfall profits tax on excessive oil company profits to give American families an immediate $1,000 emergency energy rebate to help families pay rising bills. This relief would be a down payment on the Obama-Biden long-term plan to provide middle-class families with at least $1,000 per year in permanent tax relief.

How about his other tax raising proposal - the one he was going to foist upon the rich? That, too, has gone the way of the dinosaurs as his broken promise will now raise taxes on everybody because he plans to roll back the Bush tax cuts when they expire at the end of 2010.

To argue, as Obama defenders try to do, that this is not a tax increase is laughable. When you pay X amount in taxes one year and the following year you pay Y amount, with Y being a larger sum of money than X, most kindergartners - and maybe even some liberal economists - would call that a tax increase. And those tax cuts affected people in all income brackets - not just Obama’s idea of who is or who isn’t “rich.”

How about those 5,000,000 “green jobs” that were going to be funded by the oil tax revenue that was going to be invested in new technologies? Gone, along with the silly notion that taxing oil companies will create more oil or even bring down the price of the commodity. The market proved more efficient than anything or anyone in the US government in deciding how much people will pay for energy.

Do the math. Obama was expecting hundreds of billions of dollars from this tax to fund his social welfare schemes. He was expecting tens of billions more by increasing taxes on “the rich.” He either must shelve almost all of his program or raise taxes on everybody - substantially.

From Reuters:

President-elect Barack Obama is not planning to implement a windfall profit tax on oil companies because prices have dropped below $80 a barrel, an aide said on Tuesday.

“President-elect Obama announced the policy during the campaign because oil prices were above $80 per barrel,” an aide on Obama’s transition team said. “They are currently below that now and expected to stay below that.”

Oil prices have fallen from a record $147 a barrel in July to under $50 this week.

Obama, who signaled early in his campaign for the White House that he would take an active approach to oil markets as president, had planned to use the revenue from a windfall profits tax to fund a tax rebate for low- and middle-income families struggling with high energy prices.

But the aide said Obama’s presidential campaign had already taken the price drop into account six weeks ago. When Obama laid out his economic plan for the middle class in mid-October, revenue from a windfall profit tax was not included because of the price change, he said.

Oil companies steadfastly opposed a tax, saying it would stifle exploration and innovation.

Obama is whistling past the graveyard if he thinks he can fund the massive giveaway that polls show was the major reason for his electoral win. With trillion dollar deficits staring him in the face it would be fiscal madness to advance the kind of broad based rebate and handout that he so proudly pushed when running for president.

The dash of reality about revenue that this pullback represents calls into question some of  the primary goals of his Administration. Unless he is willing to push marginal tax rates much higher than he said during the campaign, it appears he will have to renege on that promised giveaway  of hundreds of billions of dollars.


  1. “Obama was expecting hundreds of billions of dollars …”

    And like nearly every presidential candidate before him, he lied right to our faces. He’s not stupid, he knew what he promised was undoable. Nobody seems to care. He’ll say things changed or something else that people will swallow hook, line and sinker.

    I think I’m getting depressed. ;)

    Comment by DoorHold — 12/3/2008 @ 1:57 pm

  2. Pretty much everybody that did not vote for Obama knew that he would have to break his promises, even BEFORE the financial crisis- the math was laughable then, and worse now. So what to do? Which promise to break? No increase in taxes on the middle class, or no increase in all the social programs?

    In the B.O. world (Before Obama), it would be a death nail (for re-election) to break the “no tax increase” promise- just ask George “read my lips” Bush. But now… I’m not so sure. I’ve never seen such a worshipful constituancy (and worshipful press corp) in all of my 49 years. On the other hand, will the minions of grossly uneducated voters that put him into office actually know if he doesn’t deliver on green jobs and energy rebates? Probably not.

    If I was a betting man, I would bet on higher middle-class taxes, but I might hedge with a bet on both.

    Comment by lionheart — 12/3/2008 @ 1:58 pm

  3. And I meant increased taxes BEYOND the increase resulting from the roll-back of the Bush cuts.

    Comment by lionheart — 12/3/2008 @ 2:35 pm

  4. No windfall profits tax? Amazingly, the oil companies profits and profit margins will probably remain the same or increase due to higher gasoline consumption (no matter what the cost of a barrel of oil) and it will never be mentioned by the Obama protectionist media.

    Comment by Steve Watkins — 12/3/2008 @ 3:08 pm

  5. To pay for the post-partisan Obamutopia, I suggest a 100% surtax on every taxpayer that can’t prove that he’s been a registered republican for the last 5 years. So figure out your regular tax, write a check, then write a second check in the same amount dedicated to deficit reduction. Registered republicans will be required to prove they are productive, they create jobs and they forever waive any right to participate in any federal bailout. Somehow we have to arrange our politics to be: if you voted for it, you pay for it. And before the lefties ask me to pony up for the Iraq war, give me the well deserved jumbo discount for ZERO domestic attacks by AQ since 9/11.

    Comment by mark30339 — 12/3/2008 @ 3:15 pm

  6. i wanna try his koolaid… dagnabit why didn’t i git some before all this reality hit, guess i will have to grab the bottle…
    you have to admit rick that these next two years are going to be like fishing from a barrel for bloggers… thing that scares me though is that bushy has made the “Office” more powerful than ever…
    what is the saying? power corrupts…? what does it do when you are admittedly corrupted going into it?
    we will see…

    Comment by jambrowski — 12/3/2008 @ 4:00 pm

  7. Obama is delivering change: he’s recognizing reality. Something Mr. Bush and his party failed to do in the last 8 years.

    He’s smart, moderate and rational. In other words, he’s exactly what this Obama voter always believed he was, and is doing exactly what this Obama voter expected of him.

    I know the shards of the GOP are hoping we Democrats will get crazy over this reality-based governance, but I’m not seeing it yet. We know how badly Mr. Bush and the GOP have damaged the country. We know we have to dig our way out of the hole your side has dug for us before we can make further progress.

    If some on the Republican side want to crow that they’ve fracked things up so thoroughly that we will have to put off middle-class tax cuts I think we’d be fine with them admitting culpability. That would be step one on the GOP’s long, long road back to relevance.

    When have I ever jumped on the “blame the Democratic Congress that’s been in power for two years rather than the GOP who have been in power for a decade?” bandwagon?

    I don’t deny culpability. But how anyone could think a candidate who proposed a trillion dollars in new spending and whose tax policies - even if they would have been enacted - would have garnered about $600 billion in revenue as a moderate is daffy. Obama - despite your strenuous protestations to the contrary - would have governed left of center. But fiscal reality is bringing him back to earth and everything from middle class tax cuts to massive increases in education and energy funding are kaput. And the world is not all sweetness and light now that he is elected - Mumbai proved that.


    Comment by michael reynolds — 12/3/2008 @ 5:14 pm

  8. [...] UPDATE Obama’s tax policies are in ruins. [...]

    Pingback by Fausta’s Blog » Blog Archive » Obama ditches windfall profit scheme — 12/3/2008 @ 5:42 pm

  9. I expect a degree of b.s. from my candidates. I factor it in, regardless of party.

    But I’ve said and written from the start that Obama would govern from the center. I realize no one on the right believed it, and I realize that many on the left didn’t want to believe it, but I’ve never had much doubt on that score. The center is where he had to go in order to succeed, it’s where he had to go to assure the future of his own party, and it’s where he wanted to go temperamentally. He was always serious about the whole new paradigm thing, even if he played fast and loose with the details and timing of specific plans.

    I think both wings allowed ideology and their own desires to obscure what I believed was obvious.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 12/3/2008 @ 5:55 pm

  10. Michael Reynolds,

    If you really believe everything you wrote in your post…then shoot me a note. I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn and beachfront property in Nebraska that I’d be more than happy to sell you for very reasonable prices.

    Comment by MarkJ — 12/3/2008 @ 5:58 pm

  11. Mark:

    I made a specific prediction. All available evidence is that I was right.

    I wouldn’t want to clutter up Rick’s comments, but I could also send you a lengthy email on all the other things I was right about.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 12/3/2008 @ 7:07 pm

  12. I recognize the devotion Obama’s followers have for him. I see it every day in the wall of Jonas Brothers posters my 10 year old has in her room.

    Can we stop pretending that these folks are even trying to think rationally? Does anyone really think that there’s ANYTHING Obama could do to lose Michael Reynolds as a fan? Short of sleeping with his wife (and even that I’m not sure about).

    Comment by East Bay Jim — 12/3/2008 @ 7:16 pm

  13. im glad that despite bankrupting our country, shredding the constitution, getting us involved in senseless bloodshed, and cheerleading the most inept and corrupt admin. of all time republicans haven’t lost their smug sense of moral certitude, and self-righteous pomposity. keep it up guys, it will further demonstrate to those centrist voters how full of shit you all are.

    kisses, MBSS

    Comment by MBSS — 12/3/2008 @ 7:52 pm

  14. [...] be at least slightly cynical when listening to politicians (of whatever ideological affiliation). Rick Moran at Right Wing Nut House has an overview: His tax policies are in ruins. And many of his prized ideas are now going to have [...]

    Pingback by Killing Me Softly | Constant Conservative — 12/3/2008 @ 8:02 pm

  15. I love the defense that mark30339 uses - no attacks on Bush’s watch since 9/11! As if 9/11 WASN’T on his watch!!!

    I love reading the bitter conservative blogs now, it warms my heart! Jesus, it is going to be sad 12 or 16 years from now when the Republicans get some juice again!

    Comment by Kinny — 12/3/2008 @ 8:10 pm

  16. Im a bit confused. Why is this so surprising to folks?

    I voted for Obama, and this is more or less what I expected to get. Pragmatism. Someone looking at a situation and saying ‘What will work, and what wont work?’ Too long have we had people on both sides of the aisle sitting there with a Ideological filter, refusing to even consider any idea that was from the ‘other side’.

    Now don’t lose hope republicans, he has plenty of time to screw things up still! I voted for him, and I’m going to watch hard to make sure he doesn’t screw up. If he does, I’ll be the first to raise my voice against what he’s doing.

    Honestly, I think some on the right wing decided they believed the distortions they were making of Obama (that marxist-socialist-baby eating foreigner!) and his record. And when it turns out he is governing from the center (which he, you know, said he was going to do all along if you actually listened to what he said and not what the radio/tv TELLS you he said) and not making us all socialist little pawns? OMG he’s lying! THAT LYING LIAR!

    Reality’s a kick in the pants, huh?

    Comment by Howard Fudge — 12/3/2008 @ 9:19 pm

  17. I’m glad Obama is changing his mind on a lot of these pie-in-the-sky campaign promises. It looks like at the very least, the start of his Presidency won’t be as far left as some (including me!) had been inclined to believe 2 months ago. And the best part is that now that Obama won, Republicans are no longer being painted as being racist jerks who are blocking American progress. That’s a blessing in disguise. Of course, I’m sure we’ll be racists again in 2012!

    Comment by Shelby — 12/3/2008 @ 9:30 pm

  18. Michael Reynolds,

    Don’t bite on the bridge or the beachfront property in Nebraska. I have a connection in Nigeria that needs your small investment to help release a huge fortune and you will receive half. Let me know ASAP. If you reply in the next half hour, I will throw in a free week in a five star resort in exchange for a short financial meeting that will change your life. Change, I tell you. Hope and change. Just what you have been dreaming of.

    Comment by David — 12/3/2008 @ 10:07 pm

  19. This posting is a waste of effort. Obama is breaking promises because of what one aide said about the windfall profits tax? Or because you don’t see his cabinet choices so far as “change”? Maybe you should let him be President for a couple days, and then you can re-post this, having given him a real chance to govern.

    Comment by Postagoras — 12/3/2008 @ 10:30 pm

  20. Gee, Rick, we all thought you’d be happy he’s not keeping his promises considering the panic attack you had over him during the election. But I guess that’s the role of the loyal opposition to kick him no matter what he does because he’s on the wrong team. ;)

    Comment by sknabt — 12/3/2008 @ 11:47 pm

  21. President-elect BO lied about so many things…
    His “hope” and “change” is nothing more than the same ‘ole, same ‘ole wrinkled faces and souls in Washington, hoisted up to the pinnacles of power by his appointments. So far it looks like “Clinton light” is the newest brand of “Kool-aid”. I’m not so sure the far left is happy about drinking this toxic brew.

    Comment by Oakley — 12/4/2008 @ 12:48 am

  22. I find this quote from jambrowski quite revealing:

    “…thing that scares me though is that bushy has made the “Office” more powerful than ever…”

    Yes! This is exactly the situation we now find ourselves in. Even Obama supporters realize that he may have too much power for our comfort. Two questions for all you conservatives out there:

    1. What were you doing when “bushy” was grabbing executive power? Opposing him or cheering him on?

    2. Could this have been a legitimate reason for liberals to hate “bushy”? BSD just may have a solid foundation, no?

    Comment by Surabaya Stew — 12/4/2008 @ 1:11 am

  23. Howard Fudge says he is confused. He says: “I voted for Obama, and this is more or less what I expected to get. Pragmatism.”

    Now I am confused. If Obama had waged a “Pragmatism” campaign wouldn’t he have scooped up a landslide?

    I am not sure how one morphs amorphous “hope” and “change” into “pragmatism.”

    Tell me again about KOS and move-on and Michael Moore and George Soros pragmatism. Tell me again how Obama out-pragmatized Hillary. Tell me again how ACORN honed in on voters who were looking for pragmatism. Tell me again why voters in high tax states that are high in unemployment and deep in debt are pragmatists. Tell me again how the Freddie Mac mortgages that sunk people who could not qualify for such debt burden was pragmatism. Remind me of the pragmatic plan Obama put forth for saving social security, medicare, prescription drugs along with enacting national health care.

    I consider myself to be a bit pragmatic, as well. Please edumacate me. I missed the part where the pragmatic Obama and hope and change Obama merged.

    Shall I sit by the mailbox and await my tax cut? Shall I count on “wisdom” and “diplomacy” to clear up Mumbai, North Korea, Israel, Iran, Russia, Venezuela, China, Dafur, Somalia and global warming?

    Or, will the “pragmatic” Obama morph more and more into a clone of George W. Bush? Oh, I know! The pragmatic Obama will turn it all over to the intergalactic union of eunuchs known as the United Nations. Now there is change we can be relieved by.

    You voted for Obama and you are getting something far closer to Bush. Happy?

    Comment by David — 12/4/2008 @ 10:06 am

  24. What’s amusing are the Progs telling us they predicted Obama would govern from the center when, um, he’s not yet governing.

    Reminds me of the time a barrel rolled out on stage before an Elvis appearance and 12 girls fainted.

    Comment by John Howard — 12/4/2008 @ 10:51 am

  25. This is why you shouldn’t drink your own Kool-Aid. The nutty right talked themselves into believing the Rove-ian attacks on Obama, and now they are stunned and amazed to discover that the attacks were nonsense. So, rather than admit they were suckers, they want to spin the story that Obama has suddenly changed paths. Won’t fly. In fact it’s absurd on its face. As evidenced by the fact that Democrats seem really pretty happy with Obama’s actions so far.

    In other words, the evidence is quite clear: we got what we expected. You guys on the other hand got suckered by the McCain campaign’s smear tactics. Now you’re trying to explain away your own gullibility.

    Just admit you were wrong and move on.

    Obama’s website is replete with top down, big government, ruinously expensive solutions to problems that could better be handled at the state or local level. I am sorry the planet you’ve been on for the last 2 years had no TV or access to the internet otherwise you would know this and also realize that there is only one way to ideologically categorize the kook who was advancing these ideas; a far left liberal.

    The fact that his past and present is filled to the brim with radical left associates means nothing either, I suppose. He just hangs around those nuts for laughs, right?

    Trying to de-left Obama after the fact is what is pitiful.


    Comment by michael reynolds — 12/4/2008 @ 11:53 am

  26. For those of you that claimed to have Voted for Obama because you “knew” he would govern from the Center…What were you basing that on exactly?

    Nothing in his past, nor in his scant record suggest he would do that…

    I will withold judgement of Obama’s “policies” until he Actually takes office, what Rick is suggesting is that O has some choices to make. The question isn’t what he’s saying anymore, it what will a Pres. Obama DO?

    Comment by BiasedGirl — 12/4/2008 @ 12:55 pm

  27. Rick:

    Setting aside your characterization of things like national health insurance as “far left,” you’ll find most GOP candidate’s web site replete with policies no serious person seriously believes they intend to implement. Banning abortion, for example. The disconnect between GOP rants about abortion and GOP action on abortion is comic.

    So, grant that sometimes politicians feed tasty tidbits to their “base.” Knowingly false? Of course. Duh. These are politicians who want to be elected, and we’re all voters who apparently need to be lied to. Unless you actually believed McCain was going to balance the budget by killing earmarks. Or that he knew how to get Osama Bin Laden, but couldn’t tell us until after he was elected. (I could go on, but you know them as well as I do.)

    As for radical associations, I warned my GOP friends from the start that this would go nowhere. No one gives a sh*t about Bill Ayers. No one cares about Rev. Wright. If a politician is to to be judged by his broadly-construed “associations” then what do we make of McCain’s craven crawl to Jerry Falwell et al?

    And if associations are definitive, then why cherry-pick the ones that work to make your point and ignore all the rest? Dick Lugar is a close associate of Obama’s. By what logic is Bill Ayers definitive but Dick Lugar is irrelevant? Colin Powell doesn’t count, but Rev. Wright does? How does twisting reality that way help one understand anything?

    You’re trying to get reality to conform to ideology. You predicted a certain outcome — a radical Obama administration. No one not wearing tinfoil headgear believes Obama is now acting as a radical. You were wrong. Your prediction is simply not accurate.

    Now you’re proposing the theory that since Obama is not acting as you predicted he would, it must be the result of his sudden awakening to previously undiscovered facts. In other words, you couldn’t be wrong, so he must have changed. Or he cleverly deceived us all into believing he was what you wanted us to believe he was.

    The problem there is that some of us were able to quite accurately predict Obama’s actions, and are utterly unsurprised to find that we have a smart, pragmatic, basically centrist Commander in Chief.

    All the way back in March you challenged me to write something realistic about Obama. So I did. It included:

    Will Mr. Obama lie to us? God yes. Will Mr. Obama manipulate us? Of course. Can we trust him? Absolutely. Absolutely. Trust is good. And by the way, my car is for sale, I . . . I only took it out on Sundays and then I never drove it over 45 miles an hour. Trust me.


    I support Obama for this reason: he promises to reach across the aisle, move away from idiot gotcha partisanship, and try to accomplish something useful. Emphasis on “promises.” The fact that he promises this means he will at the very least have to go through the motions of non-partisanship. He will have been elected on that promise. Even if he doesn’t mean it (always a distinct possibility) he’ll have to at least make an attempt.

    Nine months ago. And consistently from that point I predicted he would not be remotely radical, and that GOP attacks on him would fail in part because those of us not blinded by ideology had already figured out that Obama was a uniting, centrist type, and nothing like the GOP’s boogey men.

    This line of attack will fail, too. You want to beat Obama? You need to wait until he actually does something wrong. Pre-emptive attacks will injure your side worse than they will ours. Keep your powder dry, you may well have occasion to use it. But you don’t yet.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 12/4/2008 @ 1:47 pm

  28. The real question is, Why did anyone believe him in the first place? Are liberal voters really that stupid?

    No, probably not–but they were determined to vote for Obama, The One, anyway–regardless of whether anything he said made any sense at all.

    And that IS stupid.

    Comment by Timothy — 12/5/2008 @ 1:30 am

  29. It says something to me that the liberal illuminati PROMISED these things to begin with. If people knew he was going to have to break them.. HE probably knew. What does that say about his character?

    Comment by ew — 12/5/2008 @ 3:45 pm

  30. “[Obama] will now raise taxes on everybody because he plans to roll back the Bush tax cuts when they expire at the end of 2010.”

    Assuming I’ve captured Moran’s intended meaning with this edited quote, this is bizarre because the basic message of the article that Moran links to is that Obama is sticking to the tax plan he proposed during the campaign. Perhaps Moran was thinking of the following sentence from the article:

    “Obama plans to raise taxes on the wealthy by asking the Democratic-controlled Congress to allow President Bush’s tax cuts to expire at the end of 2010.”

    The writer could have written “President Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy,” but in context there is no real ambiguity about which tax cuts the writer is referring to. Simply logic tells us that letting tax cuts for the non-wealthy expire would raise taxes on the non-wealthy, not on the wealthy. And the writer is explaining a plan which has been explained numerous times before, so there is no need to rely on this particular explaination if one finds it unclear.

    The other two cases where Moran alleges that Obama is breaking campaign promises (Obama’s abandoning his plan for dealing with high oil prices after oil prices fell, and his appointment of people that Moran doesn’t think represent sufficient “change”) are at least arguable. But supporting the claim that Obama is breaking a campaign promise by linking to an article which reaffirms that Obama plans to keep that promise suggests a certain amount of desparation.

    In fact, Obama will not raise taxes on the wealthy - at least until 2011. That is a broken promise. And the fact that he is going to do so in connection with allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire means that everybody gets their taxes raised - not just the wealthy - which is something Obama said time and again on the campaign trail wouldn’t happen.


    Comment by Kenneth Almquist — 12/12/2008 @ 1:52 pm

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