When a majority of the American people voted last month to give President Obama a second term and keep divided power in Congress, they refused to choose a clear path for the country. In the midst of the uncertainty, one thing is clear: 2013 is shaping up to be another year of big government.
The best House Speaker John A. Boehner has managed to do is to slow the growth in spending that went unrestrained when Democrats had their hands on every lever of power in Washington. The federal bureaucracy is once again about to run into the debt ceiling, so early next year Mr. Obama will demand another blank check from Congress. Unfortunately, Republicans are unlikely to be successful in stopping him.
The last time Uncle Sam hit his credit limit, a deal was reached that was supposed to achieve savings. It was a total bust. Supposed “budget caps” have been broken, the supercommittee failed to find any agreement and the mandatory $110 billion sequestration scheduled for January will probably be ignored.
In place of restraint, expect to see another agreement that claims to make cuts down the road but delivers the usual budget gimmicks, ignored limits and empty promises. Look no further than the $60 billion “supplemental” pork-ridden bill moving quickly through the Senate to see how little Democrats care about resolving the debt crisis. Next year will be the fifth straight with a budget deficit of over $1 trillion.
Mr. Obama and his Democratic friends have no intention of doing anything real about the out-of-control spending because their political philosophy holds that bigger is better when it comes to government. No matter what happens on Tuesday, the administration will win its fight to raise taxes on small businesses and those it deems “rich.” Capital gains and dividend tax rates will also likely increase in any deal, which will further depress the markets.
The new year will also bring the full implementation of the $268 billion in taxes from Obamacare that Democrats kept hidden until after Mr. Obama was safely re-elected. Health care premiums will continue to rise this coming year closer to the $2,000 more per year families are expected to pay to cover the individual mandate.
Mr. Obama promised to fight for a new “assault weapons” ban in his second term, and his ally, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, has come up with legislation that pushes the idea to the extreme. The California Democrat proposes a massive expansion of the cosmetic features that puts popular home defense, sporting and hunting rifles — and even handguns — into this demonized category of firearms. The millions who already own one of these scary-looking guns will have to pay a $200 tax, get fingerprinted, photographed and recorded in federal government registry.
Aside from keeping busy taxing and spending, the president is sure to hit the links this year like he’s already retired. In the first three years of his presidency, he averaged 30 rounds a year. For political purposes, he dialed it back to just 19 outings in the election year. In the five days he spent for family time in Hawaii during Christmas last week, he played three 18-hole games with his buddies. Expect in 2013 for Mr. Obama to swing through his 2011 record of 34 golf games. The people are getting the fore more years they wanted.
Emily Miller is a senior editor for the Opinion pages at The Washington Times.