Saturday, April 3, 2021

Much ado about nothing: GOP's agenda

While Joe Biden proposes and gets passed a parcel of Congressional legislation with public opinion approval of 60 to 70%, the last thing the GOP wants you to focus on is exactly that.  Instead, their supportive media want you to be wrapped up with Dr. Suess, a misbehaving Biden dog, and the national debt. That is the much ado about nothing to take your mind off of much ado about much.  Some political wags have had the temerity to suggest that if the GOP wants to take on the Biden agenda head-on, they should come up with their own plan.  That's a laugh since the GOP caucus in Congress has another agenda that has nothing to do with solving their constituents' problems with constructive and effective plans.  Instead, their game is to make Biden look like a failure and just say no to whatever he proposes, regardless of its merit or popularity.  Their only rationale to say no is that Biden is being way too generous toward their constituents because it piles on too much debt and it contains public policies that are not conservative. It might even cause inflation, though that is a matter of which economist you ask.  That's a laugh, too, because the price tag of the COVID relief bill was exactly the same as Trump's tax cut to the rich, 1.9 trillion. It appears the GOP has no problem with the debt if it benefits the wealthy, but they object to the same amount if it benefits the poor, middle class, and small business. as the COVID relief legislation does.  The infrastructure proposal is another chunk of change, but an argument that can be made is that jobs will be created and the return on investment is long term, but necessary before roads and bridges collapse. and the weather disasters brought on by climate change hasten expensive mitigation measures. As the old saying goes: a stitch in time saves nine. The proposed infrastructure costs would be paid by increasing taxes on the wealthy and raising corporate taxes a bit ( from 21 to 28%, but not to prior high levels of 35%), also a popular approach.  Nonetheless, the GOP policy is just to say no for the same old reason. Stop the Democrats so we can get in power again to do nothing except approve judges.

  In one of my favorite movies, Amadeus, the emperor criticizes young genius Mozart's compositions for having too many notes.  To meet the critics' comment, there was no follow up in the movie script,, and the obvious conclusion was "what silliness!". It was Mozart's choice of notes that made him an icon of musical genius for centuries.   My take on that was, if so, which notes would the emperor have Mozart take out? Likewise what part of Biden's COVID relief law and infrastructure bill would the GOP want to cut out or reduce?    They will never advocate anything specific because they will tick off some important constituent group or other and business interests who would lose something from which they would benefit.  

The GOP has one goal, to take back the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms, but they are using a risky strategy with their obstructionism.  First, wiley Senate veteran Biden has a tiny majority,  the Presidential decision power of whether to use or not use the veto pen, and priceless knowledge of how to get around a filibuster. Given the one-vote margin Democrats have in the Senate means so far it is not enough to reach the  60 votes needed to pass  Ending the filibuster is not a wise move because what goes around comes around if the Senate flips in 2022.  However there are other tricks up Biden's sleeve that would reduce the enthusiasm for a filibuster such as returning to the prior rule of requiring the person invoking the filibuster and the senators to listen until all drop from exhaustion, Senate rules can be changed with a simple majority vote or a parliamentarian rule interpretation such as increasing the number of times the complicated reconciliation process could be used when the proposed legislation has a budget impact.  

The GOP is also taking a risk with their just say no approach. Not only are they trying to make Biden fail, but they are also failing to meet the day-to-day needs and wants of 60 to 70 percent of their own constituents. That makes for a tough-to-sell platform which will be mostly," vote for me because I am like Trump". I can see the 2022 campaign ads run against GOP incumbents by Democratic challengers. One-third of the Senate and all of the House are on the ballot in 2022.  A Democratic candidates' ad might look like this:" Hey, you like the help you got, the relief checks, the access to COVID shots, and the new bridge?. Well, your GOP incumbent voted against it, and had the GOP  been in the majority,  you would have been out of luck." 

Poll: 72 percent approve of Covid relief law - POLITICO

Voters Want to Pay for Infrastructure With Taxes on Wealthy: Poll (businessinsider.com)

CBO Confirms GOP Tax Law Contributes to Darkening Fiscal Future | House Budget Committee Democrats

COVID-19 stimulus: How much do the coronavirus relief bills cost? (usatoday.com)

The difference between the Trump tax cuts and the Biden relief bill, in one chart - The Washington Post

Biden breaks with Obama, as well as Trump, on everything from Afghanistan to spending (yahoo.com)


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