WORD: OMG! The Democrats are in rouble the media is writing but that’s pure tabloid bullshit. The Republicans are finally leaving Trump behind and Virginia is not a referendum on who is in the White House. The truth is Biden is getting things done and more Republicans realize that Trump is more toxic than Chernobyl waste.
Just six months ago, a monthly report showing that a mere 266,000 jobs had been created in April was greeted as though it was one of the greatest economic catastrophes in American history. But it now appears that while we still have a ways to go before the effects of the pandemic recession are over, the economy is recovering quite nicely.
Last week was a major victory for the American people with Congress passing both the infrastructure bill and the Build Back Better bill, two enormously important measures that will have demonstrable positive effects on the country and individual Americans’ lives.
In an act that defines hypocrisy, some Republicans are talking about the costs of these bills.
Placing the big numbers in context will help foster understanding of what is at stake in enacting a program that will bring so much help to middle- and working-class Americans.
Although it’s true that inflation has surged in recent months, economists are virtually unanimous in judging that the latest figures are an artifact of the reopening of the economy post-pandemic, with inadequate supplies of consumer goods meeting surging demand, and that the inflation rate will come smartly back down in coming months.
Federal debt held by the public is approaching a near-term peak as measured against gross domestic product — more than 80%, by the estimate of the Office of Management and Budget — but it’s nowhere near a record. World War II was a crisis, but so too is the pandemic, and so too is the systematic withdrawal of government services from the middle and working class and the poor, which can only stifle future economic expansion.
It’s also proper to consider the Biden program in the context of the federal budget as it is today — about $6.6 trillion in fiscal year outlays.
If Manchin or the other members of the spend-not caucus were really serious about stemming America’s debt spending, they’d be more outspoken about rolling back the Republican tax cuts of 2017, which are projected to cost $2.2 trillion over 10 years.
What’s lost in the debate over the gross numbers in the measure, treating them as though they represent only “spending” is a recognition of what they really are: not spending but investments — in child care, education, the environment, the rebuilding of America’s physical structure.
Are Democrats really in trouble?
It is true that the Democratic Party is large and chaotic with a wide array of political positions among its elected officials, which is what happens when you’re a coalition imperfectly representing a wide array of voters, by class, race, and position from moderate to radical on the political spectrum. It’s also true the US is a two-party system and the alternative at present is the Republican party, which is currently a venal and utterly corrupt cult bent on many kinds of destruction. It’s the party whose last leader, with the help of many Republicans still in Congress, produced a violent coup in an attempt to steal an election.
It’s also true the US is a two-party system and the alternative right now is a venal and utterly corrupt cult bent on many kinds of destruction. It’s also the party whose unrepudiated last leader, with the help of many Republicans in Congress, produced a violent coup in an attempt to steal an election. A friend who is an independent Democratic party organizer remarked to me: “Democrats are analyzed completely differently from Republicans, mainly because Democrats try to govern and to enact policies that affect the entire country.
Republican efforts to suppress votes and undermine voting rights, control or replace election officials, gerrymander like crazy and overturn election results are the moves of a party that doesn’t believe Republicans can win fair elections.
The New York Times editorial board, in one of those familiar “the party is doing it wrong” claims, declared Tuesday’s results “a sign that significant parts of the electorate are feeling leery of a sharp leftward push in the party, including on priorities like Build Back Better,” though Data for Progress reports that “With a +29-point margin, likely voters support the Build Back Better plan.
Eric Levitz at New York Magazine has noted that, according to polls, “only a quarter of the public thinks the Build Back Better agenda is going to help ‘people like them’”, and he links to an ABC report that also says “Democrats are failing to sell the legislation to the public, who are broadly unaware of what is in the spending packages.”
This week’s election swept in a lot of progressive mayors of color. The most prominent was Michelle Wu, who won the Boston mayor’s seat as the first woman and first person of color. Elaine O’Neal will become Durham, North Carolina’s, first Black woman mayor, and Abdullah Hammoud will become Dearborn’s first Muslim and Arab American mayor. Aftab Pureval will become Cincinnati’s first Asian American mayor. Pittsburgh elected its first Black mayor, and so did Kansas City, Kansas. Cleveland’s new mayor is also Black. New York City elected its second Black Democratic mayor, and Shahana Hanif became the first Muslim woman elected to the city council (incidentally, New York City and Virginia have about the same population). In Seattle, a moderate defeated a progressive, which you could also phrase as a Black and Asian American man defeated a Latina. A lot of queer and trans people won elections, or in the case of Virginia’s Danica Roem, the first out trans person to win a seat in a state legislature won reelection.