June 14, 2010 | Commentary on Taxes, Energy and Environment

Tax, Baby, Tax

‘So I Know Whose A** to Kick’

President Obama uttered that unpresidential phrase last week. He needs to stop the threats, take a deep breath and calm down—especially when reacting to criticism by the press and the American public. That’s part of what you get when you’re elected President of the United States. Many Americans were shocked that this President would, yet again, pass the buck and blame others for problems in the gulf.

On the “Today Show,” he used the bully pulpit, in a moment of pure populism, to threaten violence against an unnamed enemy.

“I was down there a month ago, before most of these talking heads were even paying attention to the Gulf. A month ago, I was meeting with fishermen down there, standing in the rain, talking about what a potential crisis this may be, and I don’t sit around just talking to experts because this is a college seminar. We talk to these folks because they potentially have the best answers, so I know whose a** to kick.”

The President reportedly told staffers to “just plug the damn hole.” But he admitted that he has yet to speak to BP CEO Tony Hayward. If President Obama is wondering whose “a** to kick,” he might want to look in a mirror, because the American people and the media blame him for a lack of leadership, for having no clear plan for capping the spill, and for economically devastating ideas and an unwillingness to personally engage in problem-solving.

TARP Jr.

Congress is readying work on a bailout of small businesses. The legislation titled the “Small Business Lending Fund Act” provides “temporary authority to the secretary of the Treasury to make capital investments to eligible institutions in order to increase the availability of credit for small businesses.” This legislation creates a new bureaucracy to spend more than $30 billion for the federal government to lend banks for the purposes of extending bailouts to failing small business. This legislation has been termed “TARP Jr.” because it extends the failed model of the Troubled Assets Relief Program to small business.

Tax, Baby, Tax

Rahm Emanuel’s vow that the Obama Administration won’t let “a serious crisis to go to waste” is in full effect this week. Buried in the $140 billion bill being debated by the Senate is a provision to increase your taxes, the “Tax Extenders” bill. (H.R. 4213), provides an extension of expiring tax benefits, extends unemployment benefits and provides an increase in payments to doctors providing Medicare services. 

Add a tax increase to that list of items. Senate leaders have inserted legislation to increase the tax on a barrel of oil from 8 to 41 cents. Their excuse? They need to increase funding for an oil-spill cleanup fund. Some in the Senate are concerned that this will become yet another slush fund for a congressional spending spree.

Most of the funding in this bill is declared emergency spending and will increase the federal debt, which now stands at approximately $13 trillion. The tax provision will double-down on the Obama Administration’s tax-and-spend policies. Clearly a hike in energy taxes will increase energy prices on the average American and hurt the economy.

This Congress and this administration just don’t get it. They have no clue how to promote policies that will expand the economy.

Ban, Baby, Ban

As the federal government slowly responds to the ecological disaster in the Gulf of Mexico, they are also creating an economic disaster in that area by implementing a six-month ban on new drilling. Sen. David Vitter (R.-La.) is frustrated by reports that many companies are closing drilling sites in the Gulf as a result of President Obama’s ban on exploratory drilling at 33 deepwater sites. 

Vitter said that “this alarming news is just one more setback for people along the Gulf Coast. And it is precisely what we feared: The moratorium will cost us more jobs and economic devastation, on top of the repercussions of the spill itself, as energy companies move their businesses away from the coast. This administration’s policies aren’t helping Louisianans—they are shutting down huge parts of our economy.”

The people in the Gulf have enough trouble preparing for the ecological disaster unfolding before their eyes. They don’t need a drilling moratorium as well to hurt them economically.

Brian Darling is director of U.S. Senate Relations at The Heritage Foundation.

About the Author

Brian Darling Senior Fellow for Government Studies
Government Studies

First appeared in Human Events