Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Mnuchin's ratfuck part of a larger GOP strategy to screw Biden

You know how I really knew that the Trump Administration knew they had no chance of winning the election? Not when they cleared the way for the GSA to work with the Biden folks on a transition, but when Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin took $455 billion away from the Fed, to handcuff the economy going forward.
The money will be placed in the agency’s General Fund, a Treasury Department spokesperson said Tuesday. Most of it had gone to support Federal Reserve emergency-lending facilities, and Mnuchin’s clawback would make it impossible for [the Biden-announced Janet] Yellen as Treasury secretary to restore for that purpose without lawmakers’ blessing.

Democrats swiftly criticized the move, with Bharat Ramamurti, a member of the congressionally appointed watchdog panel overseeing Fed and Treasury Covid-19 relief funds, saying “the good news is that it’s illegal and can be reversed next year.”…

The move leaves just under $80 billion available in the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund, a pot of money that can be used with some discretion by the Treasury chief. By contrast, the Cares Act funds had specific uses, and weren’t available for general government spending purposes.

Any move by Yellen to take the money back out of the general account and into the stabilization fund would likely trigger a wave of Republican protests -- a battle she may prefer to avoid early in her tenure.

The money in question includes $429 billion that Mnuchin is clawing back from the Fed -- which backed some of the central bank’s emergency lending facilities -- and $26 billion that Treasury received for direct loans to companies. Both initiatives were created under the Cares Act that was passed in March as the coronavirus pandemic inflicted economic pain on the U.S.
For me, not for thee.

So the Treasury Department is going to tighten up the ability of (mostly small) businesses to get loans at the same time that many of these businesses are going to see a loss of business (if it ever came back from this Spring’s declines). Cool, eh?

Here’s the thing – GOPs know that spending government funds helps the economy get out of a recession. It’s why they had no problem spending trillions on CARES as soon as COVID broke out, why Moscow Mitch constantly funnels pork back to his home state of Kentucky, and why Trump spent massive amounts of money on farm subsidies over the last 2 years.

And this is on top of TrumpWorld not lifting a finger to do something about the continual climb in COVID cases, hospitalizations and deaths since the election. They want things to be brutal for Biden as he takes office, and this sets up Moscow Mitch and company to tie up Biden’s plans for economic recovery, as they can refuse to allow this $455 billion to be spent.

Then they can shove the blame for a sputtering 2021-22 economy onto the new president. If this sounds familiar, it should. It was the same routine the GOP tried to pull throughout the 2010s, and they’ll keep doing it until voters hammer GOPs for their inaction.

Dems need to be shouting about this NOW, or else a whole lot of us will be facing serious economic pain in the near future, and it’ll be a lot harder for Dems to stay in power in both DC and in Governor’s mansions after 2022. And if that happens, the type of Tom Foolery that we've seen in 2020 from GOPs won't look so foolish when they have GOP Governors using their office to try to rig voting laws and in approving election results.

We can't let these lowlifes get away with handcuffing the economy again.

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