Presidential elections are expensive-something liberals never tire of reminding us every four years when they push for some way to nationalize the cost of presidential elections.

Except, of course, in 2008. Liberals were remarkably quiet when then-candidate Barack Obama spent money like there was no tomorrow-$741 million, more than the Bush and Kerry campaigns combined in 2004-a mindset the president seems to have carried over into the presidency.

But as expensive as presidential campaigns can be, that’s only a fraction of the true cost taxpayers must pay after the candidate is elected.

And we are only now beginning to discover just how much the election of Barack H. Obama will cost. For example:

* There’s the president’s $3.5 trillion budget for 2010 that passed last April, by far the largest in history.

* There’s the $1 trillion (for the first 10 years, but more like $2.5 trillion for the second 10) health care reform bill that is teetering on the brink of passage.

* Then, of course, there’s the $787 billion stimulus bill that passed last February, and there will probably be a “son of stimulus” coming to Congress in the near future.

But let’s not forget the numerous new tax increases. Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal says that “on Jan. 1 some 70 new taxes on the middle class and small businesses went into effect, thanks to Congress’s failure to prevent the expiration of popular and economically vital tax breaks on time.” According to Moore:

* Without a fix the alternative minimum tax will cost an extra $63 billion this year.

* Democrats are eager to reinstate the death tax, which drops to zero this year, but returns to its original pre-Bush-reform status next year.

* The 50 percent write off for small business capital purchases is kaput.

In their defense, Democrats will need lots of new revenue to pay for their health care bill. Oh, wait, come to think of it there’s some 15 new taxes in the House bill to do that.

Yes, presidential elections come with a cost. And taxpayers will be paying for the 2008 election for generations to come.

‘Today’s TaxByte was written by IPI resident scholar, Dr. Merrill Matthews.’

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