Republicans are busy too. Sure, Democrats are working at battling the pandemic and trying to pass a massive infrastructure plan but... they have completely ignored issues that are important to Republicans-- like keeping yoga banned by Alabama public schools to prevent evangelical children from going Hindu. And then there are the ones who, for whatever reason, want to spend their time and energy keeping Matt Gaetz in the headlines so that every single American understands that the Republican Party represents hypocrisy and child abuse. Writing for The Atlantic this morning, David Frum explained how the GOP is busy twisting itself into knots and making itself unrecognizable and how their new version of "freedom" puts greater priority on right-wing cultural folkways than on rights of property and ownership-- or even health and life. He brought up the GOP's latest obsession: banning vaccine passports (as Ron the Reaper DeSantis is trying to do in Florida) and as bizarre sex-addict Marjorie Taylor Greene whines about on Twitter.
"DeSantis," wrote Frum, "surely does not agree with those Republicans who dismiss COVID-19 as a hoax, the COVID-19 vaccines as a menace, and vaccine certificates as the mark of the anti-Christ. He has repeatedly said that he will take the vaccine when it’s his turn. But he must reckon with a party in which anti-vaccination has joined pro-gun as an indispensable cultural marker-- and as a potential veto bloc for anyone aspiring to a future Republican presidential nomination. To appease those cultural blocs, Republican politicians must be willing to sacrifice everything, including what used to be the party’s foundational principles. To protect the gun, or to avoid contradicting the delusions of anti-vaccine paranoiacs, property rights must give way, freedom to operate a business must yield. The QAnon-curious Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene expressed the new mentality when she took to Facebook to denounce vaccine passports as “corporate communism.” It sounded crazy. But if you understand that she interprets communism to mean “any interference in the right of people like me to do whatever we want, regardless of the rights of others”-- then, yeah, the property rights of corporations will indeed look to her like a force of communism. A sizable minority of Americans want to use airplanes belonging to others, theme parks belonging to others, sports stadiums belonging to others-- without concession to the health of others or the property rights of owners. With guns, with COVID-19, with tech, the new post-Trump message from the post-Trump GOP is: Private property is socialism; state expropriation is freedom. It’s a strange doctrine for a party supposedly committed to liberty and the Constitution, but here we are."
This morning, Robert Reich seemed to be living on a different planet from anyone in the GOP media bubble. He was discussing something Republicans have no intention of engaging on-- how to save the country and the planet from the man-made factors contributing to the Climate Crisis. He, like many progressives (see Pramila's statement here), are concerned that Biden's omnibus infrastructure/Climate bill is too small to meet the challenges.
After recognizing all the good stuff Biden's plan is trying to accomplish, Reich worries that his New American Jobs Plan "has a kind of pray-and-spray quality to it, as if put together by a committee of publicly spirited people each of whom had their own view of what must be done for the environment, infrastructure and jobs. Each had a good idea, which was incorporated into the plan, but the ideas don't exactly cohere. Lots of new initiatives here without a single all-encompassing, transformative end. There’s something for almost everyone, even including the Business Roundtable and Wall Street-- which have somehow managed to preserve a big part of their Trump tax cuts. Which raises a host of questions: Why isn't Biden simply repealing the Trump tax cut? Why isn't he touching the giant incomes and humongous personal wealth that have ballooned at the top?
Since it's almost all public investment which will grow the economy, why concede that it needs to be paid for with tax increases in the first place? As the economy grows, it should pay for itself by reducing the debt as a portion of the total economy. (Note to Democrats: Don't ever again allow Republican supply-siders to claim "dynamic" scoring on tax cuts. Dynamic scoring is far more appropriate for public investments.)
Biden had vowed to spend $2 trillion over four years to transition the American economy to net-zero emissions. Well, this plan won’t do it, by a long shot. And it falls way short on his promise to decarbonize the electricity sector.
So, the question I'm left with is: Why such a modest proposal? I’m sure Senate Republicans have been telling Biden to rein in his ambitions, especially in light of the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 bill just enacted. But Biden wouldn’t have got a single Republican vote on the New American Jobs Plan even had he halved the size of it. And regardless of its size and ambition, he’ll still have to run the gauntlet of the Senate parliamentarian and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WA).
So why not $3 trillion? Why not a million new high-paying construction jobs? Why not a total repeal of the Trump tax cut plus a tax hike on the super-rich? Why not a green revolution?
Maybe it's not bigger because there's another big one coming-- Biden's American Family Plan, focusing on needs like accessible child care, early childhood education and free community college-- and he wanted to save some room.
Yet, time is running out even now. Much of the public thinks the pandemic is over and the economy is mending, losing the sense of urgency Biden needs to get more done. And don't forget the "For the People Act" addressing voter access and election integrity, which is going to require every bit of political capital he can muster-- and may be the most important initiative of all.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m thrilled with Biden's plan, as far as it goes. As I said, it's lots of steps in the right direction. It just doesn't go far enough. It’s a good deal for America but not a big deal nor even an exceptionally good deal. Frankly, I was hoping for more.
I don't mean to insult Reich but he's a Democratic Party activist and dances around the key point as every Democratic politician is. Biden is fucking us. The bill is not the solution we need to existential climate change. It's a step in the right direction. But it does not solve the problem and this is the only opportunity we will have to solve the problem since the Republicans are at least an even bet to take back the House next year-- because of half-assed Democratic bullshit like this-- and there is virtually no way New Hampshire Senator Maggie Hassan will be reelected (after voting against raising the minimum wage). That gives the GOP a 51-49 seat majority-- and you can count on Schumer to run Republican-lite, lesser of 2 evils candidates in Florida, Iowa, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Ohio, states Democrats could win... if real Democrats run (not the Kyrsten Sinema facsimilies Schumer is looking for). [By the way: real Democratic 2022 Senate candidates can be found and supported here.]
Biden is not offering the Green New Deal, which is precisely what the GOP is "accusing" him of doing. Net-zero emissions by 2030? I don't see it in the plan. Do you? The Thrive Act does; it's what AOC is talking about in the video up top. It's a visionary, decade-long $10 trillion program that actually solves the problems that Biden's plan tidies up a bit. It is meant to rapidly wean the U.S. off fossil fuels and to replace corroded water systems, remediate toxic industrial sites.
The original Thrive Act Resolution, introduced by Deb Haaland in the House last September, had 89 cosponsors. There's a big difference between $10 trillion and $2 trillion. Jason Call, a candidate for Congress in a northwest Washington district where the incumbent is a garden variety corporate Democrat who did not co-sponsor the Thrive Act and never would. Just now Jason told me what all progressives are thinking today-- not that most are afraid to say: "We find ourselves faced with the stark reality that the administration we have elected to lead us over the next 4-8 years simply does not have the vision, the clarity, the boldness, or the integrity to implement the systemic changes that are required to effectively tackle climate change. Scientists have thrown up all of the warning cries that any rational government would heed immediately: we are on the brink of irreversible environmental catastophe, right now. From Australia being on fire, to the capitalist assault on the Amazon rainforest, to the first-ever loss of glaciers in Iceland, to the wholesale commercial destruction of our oceans, how much more evidence do we need that we must reverse course. We cannot allow the profiteers to continue environmental devastation. We have the capacity to change-- where will we find the political will? It won't come from corporate Democrats, or anyone in the pocket of the polluting industries that currently hold power in Washington."