It was little more than a week ago that the ancient Mayan calendar ran itself out and Armageddon was supposed to have occurred. We all know how that worked out.
However, what is upon us? Taxmageddon.
After you digest all the taxes that will burden you in the new year, you may wish the Mayans were right.
Everyone's payroll taxes are going up Jan. 1. According to the House Ways and Means Committee, 21 new taxes linked to Obamacare will soon follow. Not to be left out, taxes on income, capital gains, dividends and estates will rise, too.
Wanting increased taxes as preferred by Obama and Congressional Democrats is problematic, but the true crux of the conundrum is spending. The federal government spends too much money, money it doesn't even have. Rarely does Obama address spending.
Moreover, the country is right back where it was prior to Election Day with the same cast: Obama vs. House Republicans. But, with a second term now secured, Obama plans to spend even more.
The American ship of state is at full steam ahead and set to collide into a colossal iceberg of debt so catastrophic that I wonder if anyone truly comprehends what really lies in the balance - certainly not a budget. As George Will said, the "fiscal cliff" is misnamed; its proper name is "the Democratic Party's agenda."
According to the Heritage Foundation, since 1970, median income has grown 24 percent. Meanwhile, federal spending has grown 287.5 percent. Clearly, a spending addiction exists. If you add up the total debt, including state and local municipalities, every man, woman and child in the U.S. owes $200,000.
Lance Roberts at "Street Talk Live" said that to generate every $1 of economic growth, the U.S. borrows $5.60. Madness like this is certainly no way to run an economy. It took the U.S. government over two centuries to ring up its first trillion dollars in debt. Now, our political leadership in Washington adds another trillion every nine months. Now that's what I call, "Forward." Such economic brilliance saw the federal debt increased to a record $6 trillion under Obama. There's no one the world over, whether it is a vat full of drunken Russian oligarchs, more than a billion Chinese and Warren Buffet combined, who can afford to bankroll such unfavorable returns.
Obama claims the government needs more taxes, while Republicans say the country doesn't need higher tax rates, especially on money that could otherwise be invested to create economic development and increase growth. Higher tax rates and limits on deductions is the worst possible scenario. Many economists believe tax increases will lead to reduced consumer spending, creating another recession. Here's why. If government takes more from those who create jobs, it will result in those businesses hiring fewer people or laying off employees or - even worse - both. People who have never run a business or had to make payroll, like most serving in the Obama administration, cannot relate to or empathize with the private sector.
Why not make the Bush era tax rates permanent?
Additional taxes are not the solution for uncontrolled spending. According to usgovernmentrevenue.com, writer Christopher Chantrill's "resource on government taxes and receipts in the United States," "Total revenue at all levels of government in the United States is 'guesstimated' to be $5.5 trillion in 2013." Our projected debt is $17.5 trillion. Absent reforms, the U.S. Senate Budget Committee predicts the federal government by 2016 will be in debt $20 trillion.
Clearly, it's not lack of income that is driving the debt; it is the lack of restraint on spending.
Given their sordid history when it comes to spending your tax dollars and their dearth of discipline, it is unlikely Congress would use additional taxes to shrink the national debt. They would only engage in additional spending - history proves this out.
Beginning in 2013, four out of five U.S. households would face an average of $3,701 more in taxes, according to the Tax Policy Center. Seniors and all others living on fixed incomes, many of whom depend on investment income to help fill their budget gaps, will suffer the most.
Overtaxing, increasing spending and pretending the debt is just some Mayan myth are not how to implement economic policy. When will liberals get it? Perhaps another four years of economic stagnation and escalating debt with a few riots thrown in will do the trick.
Then again, maybe not.
This new year, you're going to need more than a toast.
(Greg Maresca, a freelance columnist, composes "Talking Points" for each Sunday edition.)