In these troubling times, it can be hard to see a way forward given the division and lingering anger that still prevails. Ten days into the Administration and executive orders still rule. Despite the cries of foul and pressure from the press that Biden had lambasted Trump for the use of executive orders, progress so far has been fairly good. No CEO can step into a role and change the world overnight and Biden is just scratching the surface of the bumpy road ahead. For a summary of the EO's so far, take a look at this article by CNN. Whatever you feelings on the use of Executive Orders, there can be little doubt that without them, Biden would now be stuck in the gate unable to move. So whilst legislation is always preferable, they do have a place in the big picture.
I hear lots of talk that the Republicans are at war over the future of their party. I have to tell you that this is simply incorrect. The Republicans have decided to hitch their wagon to the Trump criminal enterprise.
Yes there are moderate Republicans like Liz Chaney Adam Kinzinger who are fighting a futile rear guard action. However, the reality is, Trump tapped into small donations from gullible racists and nationalists. This has proved a rich vein of campaign finance and is now perceived as the future, as large corporate donors walk away. We are hearing much about thousands of Republicans leaving the Party. I’m not sure how much of this is happening, but if true, it’s another reason why the GOP has to move even more to the right to capitalise on the Trump base. It appears that Trump himself is setting the impeachment trial up as a television event to advance the big lie and fire up the money machine. The lawyers he has settled on, will be more than willing to promote whatever narrative he wants, so buckle up for a TV spectacular. This puts Republicans in an impossible position. It appears that to acquit him, they're going to have to go on record to support his big lie, implying that Biden is not the legitimate president. Trump doesn’t give a damn what damage it does. He’s just interested in the cash it will generate. Whilst this rumbles away in the background, real life continues and the GOP has to settle on a policy agenda, which it simply can't do, because just as before, Trump has no agenda other than self-enrichment.
The one thing you can guarantee, is that the GOP will want to stand in the way of progress by the new administration. Everywhere you look, Republicans are complaining about the use of Executive Orders and that President Biden has no intention of working together on anything. They know that's not the case, but it makes for good media clips. The new born fiscal conservative GOP will not support the $1.9 trillion package, so going around in circles to try and find common ground serves no useful purpose. There simply is no common ground. Republicans don't want to spend a cent, so that's their starting point. Frankly, they don't have a leg to stand on, given their use of budget reconciliation to pass huge tax breaks in the last administration. My personal view is just do it. This is not about Democrats or Republicans, it's about hard hit families who are really suffering across America. It really isn't worth further discussion, because without the package, Biden is just making a bad situation worse. He just has to hope that ALL Democrats will vote for the budget reconciliation move.
The ten Republicans pushing a $600 billion counter proposal, did the rounds on the Sunday shows to make their case and Biden has agreed to meet with them. Whilst I have no problem with this in principle, I do have an issue with the fact that these Republicans appear to have been invited to the White House before Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi. The optics of this are in my view not helpful. Biden is not stupid, he's invited them because if he doesn't, he just fuels the Republican narrative that he's not prepared to compromise. If Biden is smart, he will compromise on the targeting of the stimulus checks. As I spoke of on Friday, there is a section of society that does not need a check. My compromise though would not be to reduce the overall bill, it would be to up the check value to those most impacted. So maybe, only checks to families earning below $130,000 and use the saving made, to increase the value of those checks. In the end, it's all part of the game and at this point, Biden feels he holds all the cards. Whether he does, we will see in due course. Whatever he decides, I really do think that the revised targeting measure would be a big win and would shovel money back into the economy.
One thing that remains constant, is the ever increasing death toll from Covid 19. This week the total will exceed 450,000 and begin its climb to possibly beyond half a million by the end of the month. What I am very concerned about, is the lame promotion of 100 days to save 50,000 lives. The promotion is lamentable and it seems there is more interest in jewish space lasers and QAnon supporting elected members. Of course Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert should not be sitting in Congress, but just like Joe Biden, they won their seats at the ballot box. Dems can't on the one hand espouse democracy, but only when it doesn't offend their moral sensitivities. Let me be clear, I find them and their ideas abhorrent, but that's how democracy works. Sometimes it's ugly and uncomfortable. I am sure that using their names and creating video clips in social media posts generates many retweets, likes etc. as the decency tribe hunts down the 'deplorables'. I realise this paragraph may well lose me followers, but I'm not to blame for constituents voting them into Congress as their representatives. Now I can hear the self righteous cries of 'forgive them father for they know not what they do', but you don't have the right to overturn the democratic will of the people? Your own arguments suggest not.
Having ranted at whatever device you are using to shout at me on, let's take a step back. Being a member of Congress brings with it responsibility and a set of rules. I am absolutely onboard with expelling them from the House if they break rules that would warrant that action. If it is the consensus of Congress that they be limited in their legislative role, muting their ability to introduce any of their abhorrent beliefs into the legislative process, then that is a matter for Congress, not the vigilante inhabitants of social media. It is of course everyone's right to use social media and for that matter, any in person events, to challenge these two elected representatives. This is protected under first amendment rights. However, my advice for what it's worth, is to literally starve them of the oxygen of publicity. At the moment they are lighting up social media and the sunlight they are basking in, sees them by the metaphoric media swimming pool soaking up the rays with a cocktail in one hand and a mobile phone in the other, enjoying the storm they are kicking up. I'll leave you to give it some thought.
Moving back to Covid 19. As Joe would say, 'Here's the deal' YOU ARE LOSING THE BATTLE. At this stage of the game, America should have Covid under control, but alas, it simply can't do it. It seems it's not that it can't, it's that it won't and that has little to do with public health messaging. The issue is the human condition. We have evolved into being unable to tolerate inconvenience. I can't speak for the US, but here in the UK we have type two diabetics that can't stop eating the wrong food even if it means them losing toes or a foot. I heard one lady say that she would risk one foot if she could continue to eat chocolate and cakes. Her argument was that she had two feet, so she could manage OK with just one. This is an absolutely shocking statement, but goes to the heart of why not wearing a mask is no big deal. We spend our life seeking convenience, whether its food delivered to our door, eating out at a restaurant, shopping for stuff. We don't want to hear 'Don't do it', but if the message is unified, we tend to reluctantly fall into line. However, once the message unity is lost and one person says its OK not to wear a mask, then that message spreads like wildfire and the genie is out of the bottle. Trump actively delivered that permission to ignore public health messaging and Republican governors enthusiastically amplified it. The result is, that unless you can make the masking message resonate as you need, the only off ramp, is vaccination and that is exactly where you are.
If you accept the above premise, then the Covid Relief bill is an absolute imperative. Covid has created a multi-dimensional problem. Yes it's about money, of course it is, but it's about far more than that. Big business has been working hard in the background to prepare for a post Covid world. Let me tell you, it's nothing like the pre-pandemic world. They have been crunching the numbers and examining how they can increase the bottom line with less people. Retail and hospitality in my view has changed forever. Bricks and mortar retail has been forced to bring any online ambitions forward.
As for hospitality, the cull has already taken place and those businesses that were struggling pre-pandemic have already fallen by the wayside. Is there pent-up economic growth in the the background? Absolutely there is. As soon a people feel confident to spend, the economy will explode back to life. My point is, that the economic landscape has changed and many low skill workers will simply not benefit from that growth. It's really hard at this stage to get a good read of the impact on the low paid segment of the workforce, but it comes back to the case for a $15 minimum wage. The capitalism engine is being suppressed at the moment with the exception of a select few technology driven sectors. When you unleash it, the challenge will be to not allow it to rampage out of control as it collides with any required social responsibility that might get in the way.
This is yet another thread that feeds into my INFRASTRUCTURE, INFRASTRUCTURE, INFRASTRUCTURE mantra to deliver a better tomorrow for all Americans. The temptation will be to bring in cheap labour from South America at the cost of low skilled American workers who have been cast aside from the restructuring of corporate America. I PROMISE we will get to it tomorrow so I can lay out for you where I think the big wins are.
Thanks for stopping by and stay safe out there.