January 3 2013
The View from Out West
Among the most popular New Year's Day resolutions for the average American is to better manage personal finances. We determine to pay down debts, cut back on expenses, and even save a little for a rainy day. Not so with Congress which resolved in the wee hours of the morning on January 2nd to add to the national debt, increase spending, and raise taxes.
With the biggest tax hike in two decades, Coloradans earning more than $250,000 will pay higher taxes. They won't be the only ones; families making more than $50,000 a year will also see less take home pay. Altogether the bill adversely affects some 65% of Colorado families. On top of the income and payroll tax increases, five of the 18 tax hikes in the Affordable Care Act will take effect this year. Coloradans are likely to see an increase in the cost of insurance and out-of-pocket medical expenses. In other words, they can plan on smaller paychecks and higher expenses.
While Congress raised taxes on American workers, it doled out tax breaks for Hollywood ($430 million), NASCAR ($70 million), wind energy producers ($12.1 million), railroads ($331 million), bio-fuel producers ($59 million), and island rum makers ($222 million). These special interests were naturally quite pleased with the bill. Apparently average Americans should consider getting themselves a DC lobbyist.
Not content to simply raise taxes, Congress increased spending by $330 billion for expanded unemployment benefits, Medicare payments, and agricultural subsidies. Over the next decade the bill will add $4 trillion to the deficit and pile debt upon debt. The next generation can thank Congress and the President for the $16 trillion and growing debt they will have to pay back. Equally alarming, Congress did nothing to address the $48 trillion in unfunded obligations to Social Security and Medicare, a coming disaster which makes this past "fiscal cliff" look like an ant hill.
Before returning to his vacation, President Obama hailed the bill, as "one step in the broader effort to strengthen our economy for everybody." Judging by what's actually in the bill, everybody must mean those working in several favored industries, the chronically unemployed, and Members of Congress who can count on special interest paybacks. Indeed, their personal economic situation has improved. With the economy likely to slow as the government bleeds more money out of the private sector, the everybody not in the above mentioned groups can plan on tightening their belts.