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Major, bad dog: Biden’s German Shepherds sent back to Delaware

By PhillyNews.FYI , in News , at March 8, 2021 Tags: ,

<p>As much as it is a relief bill, it’s an anti-poverty bill. It represents, according to the <em>Times</em>, a bid by Joe Biden and the Democrats to use government to “tackle the pandemic and invigorate the economic recovery by pouring immense amounts of money into initiatives to help low-income and the middle class.” In addition to $2,800 per married couple earning less than $150,000 a year,<a href=”″ rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>3</a> the American Rescue Act extends $300 per week unemployment benefits through Labor Day<a href=”″ rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>4</a>; it includes $350 billion of states and cities<a href=”″ rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>5</a>; $12 billion for nutritional assistance (food stamps); $45 billion for housing assistance (including utilities); a provision allowing taxpayers to deduct from tax returns <em>half</em> of their childcare costs; and the makings of permanent cash payments<a href=”″ rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>6</a> to kids in order to cut childhood poverty over time by nearly half.</p><p>In addition to being a relief bill and anti-poverty bill, the American Rescue Act is a health care bill. For one thing, it would pay for 100 percent of your health insurance costs if you lose your job.<a href=”″ rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>7</a> For another, it would drop the threshold for eligibility for health insurance subsidies from 400 percent over the poverty line to 150 percent. (In other words, 8.5 percent of your income.) This will be a huge boon for middle-class Americans who have been boxed out of the Affordable Care Act because they make too much to qualify. (I tend to agree with those who called that Barack Obama’s “<a href=”” rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>big failure.</a>”) It moreover puts us on course to realizing Medicare for All without having to go through the trouble of arguing about it. Just drop the ACA threshold to zero.<a href=”″ rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>8</a></p><p>But even all this does not capture how monumental this bill is. In a real sense, it takes the last four decades of respectable opinion in economic policy and flips them over.<a href=”″ rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>9</a> Instead of policies starting at the top of society and trickling down, these are policies starting at the bottom and wending their way up. Nearly everything the Republicans and “fiscal hawks” are calling bad, the Democrats are calling good. The stifling fear of inflation among mainstream policymakers, which stymied the Obama administration’s response to the panic of 2007-2008, just doesn’t exist anymore. “It is as far away as you can get from repressive, supply-side economics,” said US Senator Michael Bennett. “This is progressive economics that puts money in the hands of working people who will spend that money.” This is, in other words, the beginning of regime change.<a href=”″ rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>10</a></p><p>Robert Reich has been fighting for regime change since the Reagan administration. Now that it’s beginning, however, he can’t quite see it. “We’re in one of those rare periods when Democrats control the presidency, House, and Senate,” the former labor secretary and progressive pundit tweeted. “So there’s no reason to compromise on a $15 minimum wage, or $1,400 survival checks, or abolishing the filibuster. Why are we negotiating with ourselves?” The unsaid target here is none other than Joe Manchin, which is to say, that certain someone I feel I must defend, much to my annoyance.</p><p>To Reich and other progressives,<a href=”″ rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>11</a> the conservative Senate Democrat from West Virginia is the problem. Not because of the facts of the American Rescue Act, which I have outlined and which are monumental on their face. Manchin is the problem because he plays the bad guy in a story Reich and others have been telling since the Reagan administration. The reason we can’t have nice things in this country is because some Democrats don’t want us to. They’re too conservative. Ergo, Joe Manchin is bad.</p><p>To be sure, Manchin voted against raising the minimum wage. But so did a bunch of other Democrats, some quite liberal. He did negotiate to limit who gets stimulus checks, but so what? Those who get them are going to be middle class and lower. That should make Reich happy. Manchin did insist unemployment benefits be $300 instead of $400 a week, but that’s just keeping it the same as it was the last five times the Congress went through this process. In the end, Manchin looked like the Rebellious Democrat he bills himself as—while leaving Biden’s proposals pretty much intact.</p><p>Reich’s narrative of politics isn’t based on facts. (He would be celebrating instead of complaining if it were.) His narrative is about narratives, his story is about stories—stories that are no longer relevant to, or increasingly out of step with, the facts.<a href=”″ rel=”noopener noreferrer” target=”_blank”>12</a> The longer Reich and others tell this story about stories, the more they actually threaten to undermine the public’s understanding of this paradigm-shifting new law. Many people now believe the Democrats caved again. In fact, they have begun changing the world.</p>



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