Republican economic plan is an insult – 02/01/2021 – Paul Krugman

Thus, 10 Republican senators are proposing an economic package that would be an alternative to President Joe Biden’s American rescue plan. The proposal was supposed to be a fraction of the size of Biden’s plan and would severely cut the core of economic aid.

Republicans, however, want Biden to give in to their will in the name of bipartisanship. He should?
No, no, 1.9 trillion times no.

It’s not just that what we know about the Republican proposal indicates that it is grotesquely insufficient for a country still in the grip of the coronavirus pandemic. Moreover, because of their behavior – not just in recent months, but going back decades – the Republicans have lost any right to play the bipartisan card, or even give them a good-faith presumption.

Let’s start with the basics.

By all accounts, January was the worst month in the pandemic to date. Over 95,000 Americans have died from Covid-19; hospitalizations remain much higher than they were at previous peaks.

Certainly, the end of the nightmare is finally in sight. If all goes well, at some point this year enough people will have been vaccinated and we will achieve collective immunity, the pandemic will abate and normal life can resume. But this is unlikely to happen until late summer or early fall.

Until then, we’ll have to continue with a partial lockdown. For example, it would be crazy to reopen restaurants on a large scale. And the continued lockdown will impose a lot of financial hardship. Unemployment will remain very high; millions of businesses will struggle to stay afloat; state and local governments, which cannot run a deficit, will be in serious budgetary difficulty.
What we need is disaster relief, so that grieving Americans can get through the tough months ahead. And that’s what the Biden plan would do.

Republicans, however, want to get the guts out of this plan. They intend to cut additional aid to the unemployed and, most importantly, to cut this aid entirely in June – well before we can return to full employment. They want to eliminate hundreds of billions of dollars in aid to state and municipal governments. They want to eliminate aid to children. Etc.

This is not an offer in compromise; it is the demand for an almost total abandonment. And the consequences will be devastating if Democrats give in.

But what about bipartisanship? How could Biden say, “Come on, man.”

First, a party cannot demand bipartisanship when many of its representatives still fail to recognize that Biden legitimately won, and even those who ultimately admitted Biden’s victory have spent weeks mumbling baseless allegations of elections. stolen.

Complaints that it would be “divisive” for Democrats to pass a closed-ballot aid law with the party, using reconciliation to bypass the obstruction, are also quite strange from one party. who did just that in 2017, when he passed a major judicial cutoff. taxes – legislation that, unlike the fight against the pandemic, was not an obvious crisis response, but simply part of a Tory wishlist.

Oh, and this tax cut was launched in the face of widespread public opposition: only 29% of Americans passed the law, while 56% disapproved of it. By comparison, the main provisions of the Biden plan are very popular: 79% of the public approves new stimulus checks and 69% approves larger benefits for the unemployed and aid to state and municipal governments.

So if one party tries to follow policies that enjoy wide public support, while the other offers strong opposition, who exactly is sowing discord?

Wait, there is more.

Everyone knew that Republicans, who suddenly stopped caring about deficits when Donald Trump took office, suddenly rediscovered the debt horror under Joe Biden. What I didn’t even expect was to see them complaining that the Biden Plan is helping relatively wealthy families too much.

Again, consider the 2017 tax cut. According to the Non-Partisan Center for Fiscal Policy, this law granted 79% of its benefits to people earning more than $ 100,000 per year. It gave Americans with incomes of a million dollars or more, barely 0.4% of taxpayers, more than the total tax deduction for those living on less than $ 75,000 a year, or the majority of the population. And now Republicans claim to care about fairness?

In short, everything about this Republican counter-offer smacks of bad faith – the same kind of bad faith the Republican Party displayed in 2009 when it tried to block President Barack Obama’s efforts to save the economy after the financial crisis. from 2008.

Obama, unfortunately, failed to grasp the nature of the opposition and watered down his policies in a futile attempt to gain general support. This time around, it looks like Democrats understand what Lucy will do with this football and won’t be cheated on anymore.
We are a family business.
So it’s okay for Biden to talk to and listen to Republicans. But should he make significant concessions to try to convince them? Should you let negotiations with the Republicans delay approval of your bailout? Absolutely not. Just run it.

Translation by Luiz Roberto M. Gonçalves

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