Do congressional Republicans wish to extend the recession to injure President-elect Joe Biden?
4 years back, I may have evaluated any such conclusion to be too negative. But after enjoying Republican officeholders denigrate face masks during a fatal pandemic and parrot President Donald Trump’s deluded claim that he won reelection on November 3, I no longer think about a pro-recession GOP to stand outside the world of possibility.
The event for this speculation is the last-minute Covid-19 stimulus deal that Congress has cobbled together for the holiday season. Bowing to Senate Bulk Leader Mitch McConnell, congressional Democrats are preparing to sign on to a stimulus bundle of nearly $900 billion that leaves out the Democrats’ proposed help to state and city governments ($436 billion in the House-passed Heroes Act, $160 billion in a subsequent bipartisan package). In exchange, McConnell has withdrawn his hugely reckless liability shield proposal for organizations that fail to secure employees adequately from Covid-19
We can all be grateful that employer indemnification has been rejected, and if the resulting expense actually is the best Democrats can do today, then by all implies let’s get it passed. A $300 weekly sweetener to welfare, below the $600 paid through July, is better than nothing. (I still think Democrats would have wound up with more if they had not begun dealing away this benefit in July.)
But if it came as some surprise to me to discover that the Democrats couldn’t make a better offer, that’s since I never ever believed congressional Republicans actually implied it when they declined to think about pandemic aid to state and local governments. Conservatives proclaim to believe that beyond defense spending, the only governance of any worth happens at the state and local level. President Richard Nixon was everything about sending out federal cash to the states instead of governing from Washington. President Ronald Reagan made a routine of repeating Nixon’s “New Federalism” mantra (though when Reagan did it he combined the spending into block grants that silently decreased the aid).
Trump took a more crudely partisan method. In April, he tweeted: “Why should individuals and taxpayers of America be bailing out inadequately run states (like Illinois, as example) and cities, in all cases Democrat run and managed, when the majority of the other states are not searching for bailout help?”
At the time, Covid-19 did look like a crisis that was primarily focused in blue states and big cities. By