Obama President Obama (EPA/Tannen Maury)

To restate the obvious, it’s the economy that drives more votes in an election than anything else, and this will most likely be true for the 2014 elections. It’s fair to look at what President Obama and the Democrats have done in the first few months after the 2012 election to see what trajectory they have put the economy on and what the economy might look like in November 2014.

To me, it seems that if the Democrats had had a meeting to determine what they could do to snuff out economic growth, they couldn’t have come up with anything better than what they’ve done so far. First, the chickens buried in Obamacare are just now coming home to roost. The bill — which nobody read, meaning no one could begin to estimate its true cost — is beginning to affect real businesses and is already having a chilling effect on the economy.
Read what the New York Times wrote about a family-owned bakery near San Diego and the decisions they’re having to make when faced with the economic burden of Obamacare. I wonder if Obama read this story. I wonder if it made him pause, or if he thought, “Well, Ms. Shein and Mr. Pilarksi didn’t build their bakery anyway; someone else built it.” Maybe in Obama’s mind, they don’t deserve to have a successful business.

Essentially, this family-owned bakery — one example of a jillion small businesses faced with the same problem — now has to (a) capitulate to Obamacare, and maybe go broke, (b) figure out how to dissuade employees from enrolling in Obamacare, or (c) shed workers so they can get below the 50-person maximum a business can employ before they have to fulfill the Obamacare mandate.

Already, businesses are trying to figure out how to get by with lower profits and fewer employees — the opposite of what you would see in a growing economy, in which businesses make greater profits, hire more people and grow the economy. If even the New York Times would write this story, you know it must really be bad all across America, because the New York Times always pulls its punches for Obama.

Secondly, April 15 is fast approaching, and people are dealing with their first quarter under the new Obama tax hikes. The increases that Obama pushed through Congress were little more than gratuitous and mean-spirited. They obviously do nothing to help with our deficits and debt; all they do is suck money out of the private economy and into the black hole of the government.  There is no case to make that these tax increases do anything other than suppress economic growth.

And third, Republicans have long been hand-wringing and warning each other about Obama’s anti-business regulatory bias. Now, rather than having to explain this bias in the abstract, along comes a doozy of a regulation that has made its way to the front pages.

Obama has the perfect plan to raise gasoline prices for Americans. His new refining standards would act to squeeze even more sulfur out of our gasoline, after the industry has just completed a major overhaul to do so. The Obama administration admits gasoline prices will go up as a result of the new regulation, but they estimate it will only be by one or two cents per gallon. Does anyone believe an Obama cost estimate or economic forecast at this point? The industry says the regulation will raise prices by approximately 10 cents per gallon. A rule of thumb is that for every penny gasoline prices rise, a billion dollars is sucked out of consumers’ pockets. And this is only one narrow regulation. Just imagine the economic enormous cost of all Obama’s planned regulations that haven’t made the newspaper headlines yet.

Our fragile economy has probably hit rock bottom and is now bouncing back a little bit. If Obama and the Democrats did nothing, perhaps we would start to see a real recovery. But they just can’t seem to leave bad enough alone. Already, health care costs are going to swamp struggling businesses, Obama-imposed taxes are wounding the most productive workers in our economy, and regulations — particularly as they relate to energy prices — are beginning an aggressive march.

The Democrats don’t have any problems that 4 percent GDP growth between now and the 2014 elections probably wouldn’t solve.  But under their current plans, it’s impossible for them to get to that kind of growth. Republicans may be struggling with their own problems, but it looks like the Obama economy may right the ship for the GOP.