The GOP was out in full force last week, trying to make the case against the super-popular Biden COVID-Rescue package. Friendly right-wing media has helped by hammering away at their weak talking points. Yesterday, Louisiana Senator Bill Cassidy was on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace. It didn't go that well for him, since Wallace, unlike the other Fox hosts, doesn't just accept every word out of his GOP guests' mouths.
He began by noting that Cassidy voted along with all of his Republican colleagues in the Senate against the Democrats' $1.9 trillion bill. "According to the White House... Well, you tweeted this less than 10% of President Biden's spending package is actually related to COVID relief. Senator, what's your basis for saying that? Less than 10% of the bill?"
Cassidy: "If you look at that... which is related to the COVID... by the way, I have to dispute a little bit David's presentation. The White House never reached out seriously to Republicans. We had no imput into actually what transpired. If you look at the things in that package, 130 billion for education sounds great. CBO says the amount of money already allocated towards education is so much it can't be spent this year. The money that is there for education will be spent in the out years. That's not related to COVID. If everybody is vaccinated by June then it's clearly not related to COVID. There is 350 billion for state and local government. California is getting $41 billion and California has had record tax receipts, record tax receipts. That 41 billion is not related to COVID. It's related to kind of helping a blue state. Those are the things I'm the speaking of."
Weak tea GOP propaganda. Wallace suggested they talk about "other aspects of the package because, as you well know, the pandemic is not just a public health crisis, it's also an economic crisis and according to the White House, stimulus payments will go to 91% of the adults in your state of Louisiana and 93% of the children. And the child tax credit will go to the families of the million kids in Louisiana. Senator, are you saying the people of your state don't need that money?"
Cassidy: "First let me say Republicans offered an alternative which included that sort of money for the people who needed it. So yes, economic health was needed for families as well as for businesses. We're on board with that. You would have had bipartisan support for that but you know what it also includes? It includes $1.9 billion to give stimulus to inmates. Inmates are already paid for by the taxpayer. They can't stimulate the economy unless they're purchasing contaband. So here we have 1.9 billion stimulus checks going to inmates. I put up an amendment to strike that and it was unanimously opposed by Democrats. That's the sort of thing which should not be included."
Cassidy forgot to mention that the exact same thing was part of Trump's stimulus and that he [Cassidy] voted for it. But Wallace let that go and followed up by asking him if he agrees that hundreds of billions of dollars are going in economic stimulus to people and to businesses that have been hit hard by this pandemic.
Cassidy: "I agree with that. Now let's put that perspective. The payroll protection plan money that was put in the December bill is adequate for the time being. This, the additional money isn't so much for now; it is for going further out except there are some groups in which they specifically target those which are politically favored. And so the dollars are there for the need which is there now. A lot of this money is actually for the out period. Let me say one more thing. The economy is recovering. It is estimated by CBO that our economy will grow at 4.2% this year without this latest package and that the stimulus, additional additional stimulus to this package is estimated by some liberal economists it may ignite inflation. There's a danger here Chris. The danger to that same middle class income family we're concerned about that their savings evaporate because inflation is turned on. That's not me; that's people like Larry Summers and Jason Furman."
Yeah, sure, 'liberal economists'. Except he left out the word "neo." I asked an actual progressive economist what she thought of all this balderdash. "Very few economists appear to share Larry’s concerns," said Stephanie Kelton, one of the most respected and admired economists in the world. "The Biden economic team clearly doesn’t. Jared Bernstein, who is a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisors, dismissed Larry out of hand. 'I think [Summers is] wrong. I think he is wrong in a pretty profound way.' Summers helped talk President Obama out of a bigger stimulus in 2009. President Biden knows that the risks of going too big far outweigh the risks of going too small."
Wallace then noted that "Biden is going to be traveling around the country in the next few weeks saying things like this: [Biden tape: It provides food and nutrition, keeps families in their homes and it will cut child poverty in this country in half.] He and other Democrats are going to say, 'look, back in 2017 Republicans and President Trump passed big tax cuts to benefit corporations and the wealthy. we, the Democrats,' he's going to say, 'are taking care of working class people.'"
Cassidy: So first let's look at the Trump economy, if you will, in which there was record employment for those without a high school high school, for high school dropouts, for the disabled, for veterans, for African-Americans, Hispanics, women, fill in the blank, record employment. Now that was a sort if economy that resulted from the Trump tax cuts. Indeed, the last time I was on with you, you had somebody from President Biden's economic council saying they wanted to return to the economy pre-COVID. He kind of caught himself because that was the Republican Senate and the Trump economy. Now they're trying to do it by just pumping dollars in. It may work or it may ignite inflation which pulls down somebody into a vortex of losing their savings. We'll see. Is it better to let people keep their own money or is it better to take it from them give it back? That's the difference between the two parties."
There you have it-- 4 minutes of lies and distortions, that will be endlessly repeated by every Republican on every media platform they can access. All of them from McConnell and McCarthy right down the food chain to the QAnon lunatics like Boebert and Greene, at least when they're not tweeting this kind of insanity: