Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The good news is that while Barack "the human Rorschach test" Obama can seem to be all things to all people, he can't be all things to all people. The bad news is that this won't stop him from trying. The worse (and most important) news is that his audience largely wishes someone to do just that -- but perhaps no longer Obama in particular, at least for now.
That's my reading of a story out of New York that has residents of the tri-state area around Gotham not in love with the "'new' Obama."
From his war on the banks -- the lifeblood of the metropolitan area economy -- to his health care reform which could cost taxpayers here over $1 billion, President Obama's policies have sent a strong message to the tri-state area that Washington doesn't care about the middle class.Seeing predictions of political gold in these tea leaves, even Charles Schumer chimes in, but it's the Republican and a couple of man-on-the-street reactions that tell me where things really stand after the Scott Brown victory in Massachusetts.
"No, I don't see any real relief coming from Barack Obama to the middle class. I think he is still on a very liberal agenda. He's mouthing some words which maybe will play in some states but his policies are devastating to New York," Rep. Peter King said.So far so good.
Congressman King said one thing that would help taxpayers in our area is a cost of living adjustment on federal taxes that takes into account how expensive it is to live here.Granted, talk of repealing the income tax is a tad premature for now, especially in New York, and the high local cost of living is largely caused by local taxes and regulations that are not his bailiwick, but still... Why is King not proposing smaller government and a reduction in the tax rate for everyone? And why not throw the ball of high local living expenses back into the court where that game is being played? King could have done wonders for the political debate by mentioning that Barack Obama is not, alone, to blame for the problems of New York's middle class.
"If he's serious about the middle class there should be an allocation or adjustment made for people living in a high-income area, high-expense area, high cost of living area," the Republican from Long Island said.No. He'd talk about reducing the size and scope of the federal government, rather than cooking up such a stop-gap measure or, worse, a new entitlement program -- as would you, Mr. King.
But politicians are a timid lot, and their backbones are no stiffer than the wind of public opinion. If you want to know why King, of the allegedly pro-business GOP isn't in the hunt for smaller government, just test that wind:
"Who wouldn't like to have some extra help in a place that's really expensive?" asked Tom Falcone of Queens.There is a huge difference between wanting "help" from the government and wanting to be left alone by it, and thus free to secure one's own welfare. People like Tom Falcone and John Forst will not elect better than a Peter King, a Charles Schumer, or a Barack Obama because they fundamentally agree with the principles behind the massive stimulus package and the government takeover of our bodies whose projected consequences just convulsed their counterparts in the Bay State.
"Everybody needs a little more money in their pocket. It would stimulate the economy," added John Forst of Brooklyn.
But until the man on the street can see the essential similarity of the recent big government "bailouts," individual income confiscation, and a whole host of other government intrusions, he will keep typically selling his vote and being disappointed in what he gets for it.
This news article reminds me of the fable of the slow-boiled frog. I'd say that the water temperature remains on the warm side, and the frogs mostly comfortable.