Biden and the Democratic Party establishment are lucky they have Trump. No matter how bad they suck, they're always the lesser evil. As he fades away, that won't last forever. Many people will remember that Biden's first big policy move, even before being sworn in as president, was to worm out of his promise to send out $2,000 survival checks. Instead of working on sending out monthly checks like Canada and EU countries, Biden and his apologists are pretending that $1,400 checks equal the $2,000 checks that he and the Georgia Senate candidates promised would go out as soon as he was-- and they were-- in office. No one said $1,400 checks. But Biden is an inveterate liar and has been for his whole career, not quite as bad as Trump, but worse than any other high-profile American politician. This isn't good:
On Friday the Daily Poster carried a piece by David Sirota, Julia Rock, and Andrew Perez, Dems Reject Bigger Survival Checks, Float Tax Breaks For The Rich, making it clear what kind of GOP-lite exconomic policies we can expect from the Biden administration. At the same time Biden and his people are lying about the $2,000 promise, they are already talking about tax breaks for the rich, tax breaks "that could cost nearly as much or more as the savings gleaned from reducing the survival check.
Biden isn't a Republican, so his proposals will never been as bad as Republican proposals, but that will never make them good proposals. "If passed," wrote Sirota's team, "the new stimulus proposal released this week by president-elect Joe Biden would significantly boost the minimum wage and funding for unemployment benefits and rental assistance." That's the good news. "But the Biden initiative recommends sending $1,400 checks instead of $2,000 checks-- a reduction that would save the federal government somewhere between $164 billion and $200 billion, based on estimates from Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation and the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget. At the same time, Democratic lawmakers are reportedly considering resurrecting their past proposal to temporary repeal a cap on state and local tax (SALT) deductions that high earners can deduct on their federal taxes. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, temporarily repealing the current $10,000 cap on the SALT deduction would cost $136 billion over the next two years, which was the timeframe proposed for such a repeal in legislation pushed by House Democrats last year... If Democrats choose to permanently repeal the cap, it would cost almost $600 billion-- or three times the amount it would cost to boost the $1,400 checks to $2,000.
The survival checks and the SALT tax breaks are mirror opposites when it comes to distributing benefits.
$2,000 checks would target help to the bottom 60 percent of income earners, who would see an average increase of 11 percent in their annual income, and it would be a particularly big income boost for the poorest Americans. By contrast, the SALT deduction would mostly benefit wealthy households, with the top 5 percent of households receiving over 80 percent of the benefit.
The top 1 percent of households would get roughly 60 percent of all the benefits of a SALT cap repeal, which translates to “an average tax cut of more than $33,000,” wrote Howard Gleckman of the Tax Policy Center.
“This is not a tax cut for those hit hardest by the virus,” wrote Richard V. Reeves and Christopher Pulliam of the Brookings Institution. “Democrats’ pursuit of such a deeply regressive tax cut casts serious doubt on their egalitarian claims. It is a shame to see Democrats urging a big tax break for the richest, whitest families, which is arguably the very last thing the country needs right now.”
...[R]ather than pushing for a full $2,000 check, the president-elect and party leaders decided to parse their own rhetoric and offer up a legalistic justification for a smaller amount of relief-- a big win for conservative Democrats such as Joe Manchin, who has said that many people don’t need the checks and argued instead for more “targeted” relief.
Biden’s choice is illustrates his priorities and political reflexes-- and it’s not a small matter.
The difference between $1,400 checks and $2,000 may not be significant in the scope of the federal budget, but millions of Americans are seriously behind on rent and can’t afford food. Democrats are now putting themselves in a position where they are forced to justify sending those people less money. And this could undermine perception of the rest of the stimulus bill, no matter how many important items are in it.
The truth is that Americans need more than a one-time $1,400 or $2,000 check-- they need recurring help. The incoming vice president, Harris, was the lead author on a bill last May to give people monthly $2,000 survival checks until the pandemic is over.
Instead of rallying behind that legislation-- which polls show is wildly popular-- Democrats are debating the meaning of a $2,000 check and offering Americans $1,400, all while considering new tax breaks for the rich.