Robert Reich: When the GOP Say ‘Compromise,’ They Mean ‘Surrender.’ Biden Shouldn’t Budge

Ten Senate Republicans have proposed a roughly $ 600 billion COVID relief bill. That’s less than a third of Biden’s plan. They promise “bipartisan support” if he agrees.

Your proposal is not a compromise. It would be a total surrender. It reduces direct payments and unemployment benefits that Americans desperately need. Biden should refuse immediately.

Republicans say America cannot afford Biden’s plan. “We just passed a program worth over $ 900 billion,” grumbled Senator Mitt Romney.

Rubbish. We cannot afford not to. This is a national emergency. Millions hurt.

Plus, with the economic downturn, there is no time to worry about spending too much. The best way to reduce debt as part of the economy is to let the economy grow again.

Beyond the COVID aid, Biden is waiting for further suggestions, such as repairing an outdated infrastructure and building a new energy-efficient infrastructure. This would make economic growth even faster in the long term and further reduce the share of debt.

There is no chance that public spending will “crowd out” private investment. If you haven’t noticed, borrowing is especially cheap right now. In the search for borrowers, money spills over the world.

It’s hard to take Republicans’ debt concerns seriously when they had no concerns four years ago about implementing one of the biggest tax cuts in history, especially for big corporations and the super-rich.

If you really don’t want to increase the debt, you have another alternative: a tax on super-rich Americans.

The total wealth of America’s 660 billionaires has grown by a staggering $ 1.1 trillion since the pandemic began, an increase of 40 percent. You alone were able to fund almost all of Biden’s COVID relief package and were still as rich as they were before the pandemic. So why not a temporary emergency COVID wealth tax?

Let’s be honest The real reason Republicans don’t want Biden’s plan is because they fear it will work.

This would be the Republicans’ worst nightmare. All of the anti-government gossip traps they’ve sold since Ronald Reagan are exposed as nonsense.

Government is not and never has been the problem. Bad government is the problem, and Americans have had just four years of it. Biden’s success would make Trump and Republicans’ utter failures a lot easier on COVID and jobs.

If Biden carried out his plans, he and the Democrats would reap the political rewards in 2022 and beyond. Democrats could even win the presidency and Congress for a generation. After the FDR saved America, the Republican Party went dark for two decades.

Trumpian Republicans in Congress have an even more diabolical motive for blocking Biden. They assume that Americans will lose confidence in democracy itself if they remain in perpetual crises and ever deeper fears.

This would pave the way for another strong demagogue in 2024 – if not Trump, a Trump impersonator like Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley or Trump Junior.

However, if Biden succeeds, American confidence in democracy could recover – marking the end of the nation’s flirtation with fascism. If he helps build a new economy of green jobs with good wages, even Trump’s angry white working class base could emerge.

Biden doesn’t need Republicans anyway. With a wafer-thin majority in both houses of Congress, Democrats can implement Biden’s plans without a single Republican vote.

I worry that Biden wants so badly to demonstrate bipartisanism that his plans are watered down so much that Republicans get what they want: failure.

Forget the non-partisanship. Mitch McConnell and the Senate Republicans were not concerned about bipartisanism when they and Trump were in power.

If Republicans try to block Biden’s COVID relief plan, Biden and the Democrats alone should undertake a maneuver called “reconciliation,” which will allow a simple majority to pass the budget laws.

If Republicans are trying to block something else, Biden and Democrats should scrap the filibuster – which now requires 60 senators to end the debate. The filibuster is out of shape. It’s anti-democratic and gives a minority of senators the power to block the majority. It has been rarely used for most of the nation’s history.

The filibuster can be ended by a simple majority so that the Democrats now have the power to remove it. Biden will have to turn the arms of some unruly Democrats, but that is what presidential leadership often requires.

The numerous crises in America are enormous. The time window for addressing is small. If ever there was a time for boldness, it is now.

Robert B. Reich is an American political commentator, professor, and author. He served on the administrations of Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton. Reich’s latest book, The System: Who Tampered It How We Fix It?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author.

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