Precisely 3,006 pages of new federal rules (including a Final Environmental Impact Statement spanning 1,775 pages) require automakers to boost car mileage 37 percent by 2016, at an estimated $51.5 billion reengineering cost. That year, Csaba Csere calculates in June’s Car and Driver, these standards will boost an average vehicle’s price by $926.
As if nosing around cash machines, computers, and cars were not enough, Washington Democrats wants to control everyone’s salt intake. The federal Institute of Medicine last month urged the Food and Drug Administration to limit how much salt restaurants and manufacturers can add to food products. The Institute hopes “to do so in a gradual way that will assure that food remains flavorful to the consumer.” How thoughtful. Of course, Americans who find bureaucratically correct entrees bland will reach for their salt shakers and counteract this entire enterprise. So, why not just skip it?
Of course, unlimited government means new taxes.
Congress is considering a $220 billion “tax extenders” bill through which Democrats would increase from 15 percent to 35 percent the tax on private-equity and hedge-fund profits, confiscating $26 billion. This is in addition to a new 3.8 percent Obamacare tax on interest and dividend proceeds on incomes exceeding $250,000. Democrats also plan a $10 billion crude-oil tax. Expect fewer deals and pricier gasoline.
As if from a ruptured pipeline, Washington continues to gush taxpayer dollars.
Greece soiled its national balance sheet, so European bankers and the International Monetary Fund raced to the rescue. Given America’s 17 percent share of the IMF, Sen. Jim DeMint (R., S.C.) estimates that exhausted U.S. taxpayers will pay $6.8 billion of the IMF’s $40 billion bailout of this Greek tragedy.
The Education Department requested $26 billion in emergency funds on May 13, supposedly to prevent 300,000 teacher layoffs. This is atop last year’s $100 billion in stimulus spending for school districts — including $48 billion to prevent teacher layoffs.
Meanwhile, Obamacare — essentially Disney World for federal busybodies — will require $115 billion more than advertised in March. According to the Congressional Budget Office, if lawmakers appropriate all of this legislation’s promised spending, its price will leap from $938 billion to $1.053 trillion, an anticipated 12.5 percent cost overrun just six weeks after enactment.
About the only budget cut Obama has managed is a $53.2 million, 25 percent slash in New York City’s counterterrorism funding, unveiled eleven days after the Pakistani Taliban successfully sent terror suspect Faisal Shahzad to Times Square to park a car bomb just outside The Lion King. For Obama, New Yorkers seem valuable enough to milk for votes and campaign cash. But when it comes to stopping radical-Muslim terrorists who want Gothamites dead, Obama prefers to finance his teachers’-union allies.
This potentially lethal slice of fiscal restraint aside, Democratic Washington is like a fire-ant colony beside which the American taxpayer is tied, bare-legged, to a tree. The ants keep coming by the thousands — hungry, angry, and in constant motion.
– Deroy Murdock is a nationally syndicated columnist with the Scripps Howard News Service and a media fellow with the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace at Stanford University.