“President Biden delivered his first prime-time address today to speak about the past year and present a hopeful vision of America in returning to normal, and then the Republicans were given 30 minutes for rebuttal.” – Seth Meyers
So, a joke or not?
Based on public opinion, the joke is squarely on those who mocked Joe Biden.
That’s “Sleepy Joe,” via Donald Trump, “doddering Joe” by Sean Hannity.
So decrepit. So pitiable.
Well, pity his foes. Biden has done more in 50 days than any president since FDR.
Republicans in Congress, in their stout unanimity against the American Rescue Plan, must gulp to see the 70 percent-plus public approval of the measure.
Even Americans who identify as fiscal conservatives are embracing federal assistance aimed at households rather than board rooms.
That, of course, brings up the age-old question that Republicans never ask themselves when they control the wheel: What about that deficit?
In 2017, when Republicans went all in on a $1.9 trillion tax-cut bill weighted almost criminally toward mega corporations and the wealthy, nary a peep escaped their lips about that deficit.
Similarly, the Republicans couldn’t come up with a good reason why those tax cuts were necessary. The economy was robust. Their motive came down to one reason: They did it because they could.
Economists advise against cutting taxes when the economy is growing. That’s what our economy was doing coming out of the Great Recession.
Who knew a pandemic and job numbers not seen since the Great Depression were around the corner? The GOP’s signing off on budget-busting tax cuts was a crass gesture for a party living for the moment, a farmer feeding seed corn to the swine.
As to Republican criticism that the pandemic package is not solely targeted at the poor, one could ask them: To what targets were your tax cuts directed?
The Democrats’ bill does more for the poor than any piece of legislation since the Great Society.
First, let’s talk about the checks that will go to most Americans. We are talking about two tiers of taxpayers and what those checks will do.
The first is low-income people for whom those checks will pay for rent and heat.
The second, those less distressed financially, will use their checks to repair a roof or put some money down on a replacement vehicle.
That spending will mean jobs for those desperate to get off unemployment.
Beyond those checks, Biden’s signature is going to mean transformational assistance for the less privileged.
It will extend unemployment. It will make unemployment benefits during the pandemic nontaxable.
It will dramatically increase the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit, lifting millions of American families above the poverty level.
That’s not all. It will provide additional subsidies to make the Affordable Care Act more affordable. It will provide small business loans and assistance to restaurants.
The support for the Democrats plan, after electing a Democratic president and congressional majority, may signal that the nation is turning the page from trickle-down mythology. It’s harder to convince a majority of voters that “government is the problem.” A system of untenable inequality is the problem.
Could it be that this nation no longer is under the voodoo spell of Reaganomics and the top-down, trickle-down approach to addressing the nation’s ailments?
With a transfer of assets from social programs to the military and the wealthy through regressive taxes, Republican rule was never about fiscal austerity. It was about unfairness.
If it were about austerity, the deficit would have been tamed.
The fact is that Democratic presidents have been more successful through the years in reducing deficits. However, Democrats also have shown that when the economy is flagging, they are willing to step up with a bold rescue.
Our new president, true to his promise, has stepped up to lift both the nation and its neediest out of despair.
We have gone from trickle-down to geyser-up. Let’s see which gets us higher.
Sleepy Joe? Doddering Joe? Let me suggest a nickname more suitable for this president as he dedicates himself to the nation’s needs geyser-style: Old Faithful.
Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.