Wednesday, April 28, 2021

"Status Quo Joe" is going big on the economy. A welcome change

I may not watch much (if any) of President Biden’s speech before Congress tonight (these rarely do much for me as a jaded middle-aged man). But I am intrigued by what will likely be the economic centerpeice of the speech.
Billed as "generational investments in our future" to out-compete China and transform the U.S. economy, the families plan includes $1 trillion in spending over the next 10 years, according to senior administration officials who agreed to discuss the specifics on the condition of anonymity. An additional $800 billion would cover targeted tax credits for the middle class.

The proposal to Congress would be paid for in part through a crackdown on taxloopholes used by high-income tax-filers. Biden also wants to nearly double the capital gains tax from a 20% rate to 39.6% for households making more than $1 million, among other changes.
Not seeing any downside here, I gotta say.

Tell me more about what will be in this plan. In addition to the child tax credits, families of pre-schoolers would get a second type of financial assistance from having their kid in a fully-funded classroom vs having to pay for child care.
Biden is proposing $200 billion to make free prekindergarten available to all three- and four-year-olds regardless of their families' incomes. This would be made primarily through "partnerships" with states, but the federal government would seek to work directly with preschools in states that don't participate.

The national pre-K expansion would benefit 5 million children and save the average family $13,000, according to the White House.
It’s another step toward rebalancing an American economic system that doesn’t do much for many that aren’t rich and wealthy.

Charlie Pierce at Esquire is heartened by Biden’s desire to go big with his agenda. He says it echoes what LBJ was saying in 1964, when Johnson called for the Great Society that gave us education programs like Head Start, and Medicare for older Americans.
That speech was given while the country was still recovering from the shock of a murdered president, and one that was confronted daily by the implacable moral witness of the Civil Rights Movement. (Two months later, President Johnson would sign the Civil Rights Act of 1964.) In other words, it was a time when a president was handling a number of different crises at once. What else could he do? LBJ threw long.

This president took office at an even worse set of circumstances, not the least of which was trying to pull the country and its government out of the abyss that his predecessor had sunk them. So, rather than retrench and hunker down, he has chosen to take steps that will reverse 40 years of American political history, returning especially the Democratic Party to what it once was, and to what it has been afraid to be for decades.
Pierce adds that Biden’s agenda has the added benefit of being something that Americans want.
If the country goes back in this direction, the Republicans have got nothing, and they know it. The bluff’s not working anymore, because the president knows how popular so many of these initiatives are, how many everyday needs they meet, how much easier they will make life for so many people. He also knows he has a very narrow window through which to wedge this monumental change into law. If the Republicans think they can bluff him down, no matter how much he talks about bipartisanship, I think they’ve misjudged the man and the moment, and I’m a person who wants to roll back the Reagan tax cuts, let alone that abomination that the Republican Congress passed on behalf of a vulgar talking yam. The man and the moment have collided, and the fallout is all around us now.

I wasn’t anticipating all of these big moves this early, but I sure love to see it. It’ll still take a lot of work to get these measures through the tight pro-Dem majorities in both houses (especially since GOPs can't afford to have things get better before the 2022 midterms), but it’s at least a possibility that we can turn around the economic direction that my country has been on for virtually my entire life.

We know the current system doesn’t work for the overwhelming majority of us, so let’s try a different way for the next few years, shall we? One that actually rewards work and families over legalized gambling on assets.

EDIT- This goes out to the GOP staffer commenter below.


  1. We'll soon be back to the glorious 70's, folks! Remember runaway inflation, the Middle East in flames (Bring on those Iranian nukes, baby!) and gas lines?? Just like Clueless Jimmy, it's coming your way again thanks to Clueless Joe and his merry band of drooling supply-side dipshits. America really must be populated by idiots. Own it, you Dem M-1 sluts. I'm sure it'll be a surprise to all of you when it hits.

    1. Name a republican president after Eisenhower that did any good for America's economy or employment levels.