Biden’s Big Bills

Biden’s Big Bills


Leonard Zwelling

I was no fan of Donald Trump. I thought he set an awful example for the nation, but he did have some interesting policy ideas particularly in the international arena. He called out the Chinese Communists for the thugs that they are and actually made progress in the Middle East where none had been made for fifty years. He also initiated Operation Warp Speed and that got us vaccines way before anyone expected. He was not a complete failure and for the conservatives out there he certainly packed the courts.

Okay. But Trump is gone for now even as his party carries on with his vitriol, but now we have the big spenders in the driver’s seat.

The Senate passed the $1.9 trillion covid relief package using reconciliation and now Mr. Biden is proposing an infrastructure bill that has everything in it including the kitchen sink and all the appliances driven by wind energy. The new president wants to do big things and will tax the wealthy and many corporations to get the money to do it. That’s a brief summation of what must be a piece of legislation that will run into hundreds of pages when put into the legislative language needed by the congressional staff. Is this a good idea?

Of course, the answer is that some of it is and some of it isn’t and if Mr. Biden is going to insist he get it all or there is no bill, I fear he comes away empty handed this time as I don’t think reconciliation will cut it with an infrastructure bill. He needs to sway ten Republican senators.

Here’s the point that some of my readers are making to me.

First, yes we need major investment in our roads and bridges and making that investment will undoubtedly create many jobs and all of that is a good thing. Why not write a bill that does just that without the Green stuff added and all the rest of what is undoubtedly Democratic pork to satiate the requirements of every member of Congress, Democrat and Republican? The answer is politics. I believe that President Biden is well aware that he is hanging on to a very small majority in both houses of Congress and that it is likely that he will lose one or both houses in 2022. He wants to get done what he can for his base, striking while the iron is hot, and learning from the mistakes of President Obama who went too small, too quietly. Furthermore, Biden is wisely veering away from health care as an agenda item because that’s a loser and he does not want to lose. He’s one and zero now and he wants to up the ante to two. He could do that with a smaller bill.

Apparently Biden is already getting criticism from the left for not going big (or green) enough with his current proposal. The left is insatiable. Forget them. They have nowhere else to go.

Get the roads and bridges fixed. Add a little high-speed cable and maybe those 500,000 electric car “filling” stations so I can charge up my next vehicle when I drive to LA.

Mr. Biden may be going too big and in so doing eliminating his chances of incremental change. It is not that we don’t need a lot of investment. We do. But we can’t pay for all of it today. There’s still debt, deficit and budgets to consider and I worry that raising corporate tax rates in lieu of changing the laws so everyone pays something may hurt our competitiveness let alone lead to inflation.

However, Biden says he will listen to other ideas. Republicans, let’s hear from you. Everyone knows we need the road and bridges fixed. Let’s come up with a way to pay for it as soon as possible and before 2022. This is the topic for bipartisan work. Let’s see some.

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