US: 10 Republican senators are proposing an economic package that is supposed to be an alternative to President Biden’s US bailout plan. The proposal is only a third of Biden’s plan’s size and will cut the heart out of economic relief in important ways.
Republicans, however, want Biden to concede to their wishes in the name of duality. Should he?
No, no, 1.9 billion times, no.
It is not just that the GOP proposal is grotesquely inadequate for a nation still plagued by the coronavirus pandemic. Besides, through their conduct – not only over the past few months but also a dozen years ago – Republicans forfeited the right to play the dual card or even get any suspicion of good faith.
Let’s start with the fabric.
Either way, January has been the worst pandemic month so far. More than 95,000 Americans died from Covid-19; hospitalizations remain much higher than before.
Admittedly, the end of the nightmare is finally in sight. If all goes well, at some point this year, enough people will be vaccinated that we will achieve herd immunity, the pandemic will disappear, and everyday life can resume. But this is unlikely to happen before late summer or early fall.
And in the meantime, we will have to stay on partial exclusion. For example, it would not be very smart to reopen indoor eateries. And the continued exclusion will bring a lot of financial hardship. Unemployment will remain very high; millions of businesses will struggle to stay afloat; state and local governments will be in fiscal trouble, which are not allowed to have deficits.
So what we need is disaster relief to get afflicted Americans through the difficult months ahead. And that’s what the Biden plan would do.
Republicans, however, want to get the guts out of this plan. They are trying to reduce extra aid to the unemployed and, more importantly, cut off aid in June – long before we can possibly return to full service. They want to eliminate hundreds of billions in aid to state and local governments. They want to eliminate help for children. And so on.
This is not an offer of compromise; it’s a question of almost total surrender. And the consequences would be devastating if the Democrats conceded.
But what about duality? As Biden might say, “Come on, man.”
In the first place, a party cannot claim duality if many of its representatives still will not acknowledge that Biden won legally. Even those who ultimately recognized the Biden victory have spent unfounded claims of a stolen election.
Complaints that it would be ‘divisive’ for Democrats to pass a legal aid bill at a party vote, with reconciliation to circumvent the filibuster, are also wealthy from a party that did precisely that in 2017 when it won a significant introduced tax cut – legislation that, unlike alleviating pandemics, was not a response to any apparent crisis, but was merely part of a conservative wish list.
Oh, and the tax cut was trampled on amid broad public opposition: only 29 percent of Americans approved the bill, while 56 percent did not. In contrast, the Biden Plan’s key provisions are prevalent: 79 percent of the public agree with new stimulus tests, and 69 percent approve of both extensive unemployment benefits and assistance to state and local governments.
When one party tries to pursue policies with overwhelming public support, while the other offers one final resistance, who is now divided?
Wait, there’s more.
Everyone knew that Republicans, who suddenly stopped looking after deficits when Donald Trump took office, would suddenly discover the horror of guilt under Joe Biden. Even I did not expect to see them complain that Biden’s plan was providing too much help to relatively affluent families.
Think again of the 2017 tax cut. According to the nonpartisan tax policy center, the law gave 79 percent of its benefits to people earning more than $ 100,000 a year. This gave more to Americans with incomes of more than $ 1 million, just 0.4 percent of taxpayers, than the total tax break for those living on less than $ 75,000 a year, that is, a majority of the population. And now Republicans claim they care about fairness?
In short, everything about this Republican counter-offer has lousy faith – the same kind of bad faith as the GOP appeared in 2009 when it tried to thwart President Barack Obama’s efforts to save the economy after the 2008 financial crisis.
Unfortunately, Obama could not comprehend the nature of his opposition, and he watered down his policies in a vain attempt to gain support across the aisle. This time, it seems like the Democrats understand