It's time for all of those "end of the year lists" so why don't we start today with the Biggest Losers of 2012 today.
5--SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS. This summer's Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act means many small businesses will now be required to pay for health insurance for their employees--or pay the fine (I mean tax) for non-compliance. Either way, that money will come out of the bottom line for what could have been the hiring engines for the economic recovery. And then to make matters worse, President Obama's "solution" to the fiscal cliff includes higher taxes for those making 250-thousand dollars or more a year--which would include a good majority of "S" class corporations who claim their small business revenues as personal income. The way things are going, Small Business Owners could be on this list for a very long time.
4--THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION. This was a late riser in the rankings (knocking out the National Hockey League and its death wish lockout). The Batman movie shooting, the Connecticut school shooting and the New York firefighter shooting have even the most ardent NRA supporters in Washington rethinking their positions. Add to that the ridiculous suggestion that every school in the country hire armed guards to hopefully ward off attacks did nothing to rebuild public perception. The group might be better off learning what battles to fight in order to win the overall war.
3--WISCONSIN DEMOCRATS. It looked like 2012 would be a huge year for Wisconsin Dems. They turned in more than a million signatures on their petitions to recall Governor Scott Walker (the Government Accountability Board would later certify about a quarter million less than that) and every major labor union got behind the recall effort with big bucks. But in June, it all went wrong--as not only did Walker win--but he got a larger majority than he had just a year before in the general election. Democrats did win a slim majority in the State Senate--but it was a pyrrhic victory, as the Legislature was already adjourned for the year--and the November elections gave solid majorities right back to Republicans. With redistricting consolidating their power to small pockets in urban areas Dems face an uphill climb to ever getting back to control in Madison in the next decade.
2--OLD GUARD REPUBLICANS. With the worst economy since Jimmy Carter was driving the country into the ground in 1980, President Barack Obama still won easy re-election last month--thanks in large part to the Far Right hijacking the national conversation. Do you remember much talk about the root of our economic problems in the final few weeks of the campaign? Instead, the conversation was all about rape, abortion and birth control thanks to undercard candidates taking the bait and running their mouths about stuff NOBODY cares about anymore. Add to that the Election Night meltdowns of Karl Rove and Dick Morris and it was like watching the death throes of the dinosaurs after the big asteroid strike.
1--THE FUTURE "47 PERCENT". You would think that Mitt Romney's so-called 47% were big winners in the 2012 election--they got their free health care, their extended unemployment benefits, their food stamps and they likely won't have to wait a couple of extra years to get their "retirement" benefits. But the gains will be very short term in nature. All of those programs remain on unsustainable expense paths--and despite what they were told this fall, the other 53% don't have the resources to pay for everything that has been promised--plus all of the other infrastructure and services required to keep our society working. This will necessitate even bigger reductions in spending farther down the road--and breaking of all the "promises" made over the last four years. Of course, what should we expect from a segment of the population that singlehandedly keeps Payday Lenders and Lotto outlets in business?
Tomorrow, the biggest winners of 2012.