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Joe Biden Doesn't Need More Time. He Needs Progressives to Demand an Ambitious Agenda
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“Give Joe Biden time.”

“He just got there.”

“Trump left him a hell of a mess. It’s unreasonable to expect him to turn things around in a month or two.”

“Now is not the time to criticize him or the Democrats. When would be a good time? I don’t know, but certainly not now. Later.”

These are talking points used by President Joe Biden and his defenders against progressive critics — progressives who, for the most part, voted for him — who attack him for doing too little on COVID-19 stimulus, health care, minimum wage, student loan debt forgiveness and other important issues.

Despite being couched in an oh-so-reasonable-sounding tone, “give the man more time” makes zero sense.

Asking the left to be patient would be reasonable if President Biden had an ambitious agenda. But he doesn’t. Like fellow incrementalist former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Joe Biden isn’t proposing any big fixes or programs. His ideas are nips and tucks ranging in impact from the symbolic to a Band-Aid on a giant open wound. Which is why none of them will work.

If Joe Biden wanted Congress to approve a $10 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that would put $2,000 a month into the pocket of every American until the end of the lockdown Depression, as Bernie Sanders proposed, which would put a major dent into the pain felt by the tens of millions of Americans who have lost their jobs over the last year, Democrats would have a strong case for asking their left base to hold their fire while Biden fights with Congress and makes his case to the American people via the bully pulpit.

But he doesn’t.

Instead of actually trying to fix the problem, Biden is proposing a watered-down $1.9 trillion bill whose price tag would sound impressive if not for the fact that the American economy is teetering on the brink of collapse. It’s a weak proposal that contains what was originally promised to be $2,000 just one single time and then reduced to $1,400 one single time and now — after consultations with right-wing DINOs like Joe Manchin of West Virginia — will be radically curtailed by even less generous means testing than was used by former President Donald Trump’s administration. Even if passed as is, which is unlikely in a split 50-50 Senate, Biden’s so-called stimulus will fail. It cannot work.

It’s just too small.

So why should progressives shut up until some unspecified future before raising their voices? For progressives and anyone with half a brain, the issue isn’t that the stimulus is taking too long. The issue is that there isn’t enough stimulus. We can see that now. The passage of time isn’t going to help. Rather than waste time waiting for a wimpy solution to fail, leftists ought to take to the streets now to demand the big fix needed to save the unemployed and the working class from ruin.

ORDER IT NOW

No one can say that the working class has been anything other than patient when it comes to the minimum wage. Full-time workers at some of the toughest jobs in the country still earn a pathetic $7.25 per hour, the same as 2009, the year Apple introduced the iPhone 3GS. If the minimum wage had kept up with inflation since 1968, it would be well over $25 per hour.

In large part to woo progressives who supported Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren during the primaries, Biden promised to support a $15-an-hour minimum wage. He reneged. Under his proposed rider to his stimulus bill, the wage would only increase to $9.50 an hour, gradually scaling up to $15 an hour by the year 2025, with no allowance for a cost of living increase. Moreover, the House parliamentarian ruled the rider inappropriate — something Biden, who worked in the trenches of Capitol Hill for over four decades, surely expected.

Why should workers and their allies stifle their outrage? Oppressed workers need more income now, not at some unspecified future point in time. It’s not like Biden was going big on the minimum wage ($30 an hour would be about right) and needed our acquiescence to present a united front against reactionary bosses. At this point, he’s literally proposing nothing. Waiting for Biden to start caring about working people is an obviously doomed exercise in frustration, one that will only lead to more poverty.

So it goes on almost every other issue. Biden has continued Trump’s policy of violently turning back political refugees from Central America at the U.S.-Mexico border. He has continued Trump’s brutal drone assassinations. The torture camp at Guantanamo Bay is still open. The average American college student graduates with over $30,000 in loan debt; Biden won’t forgive more than $10,000.

Wait?

Why?

For what?

Waiting to speak out against Biden’s crimes of action and inaction accomplishes just one thing. It plays into the hands of the do-nothing Democrats until their next excuse to tell us to shut up: next year’s midterm elections.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Democratic Party, Joe Biden 
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  1. anon[262] • Disclaimer says:

    Dude, the House already passed HR-1, the “Democrats Rule Forever Act”, plus the US is ramping up the bombing in Syria…the one-party state plus perpetual war.

    What more could Progressives want?

    • Replies: @Getaclue
  2. Getaclue says:
    @anon

    Forced Transgender Surgery on all 10 year olds?

  3. jsinton says:

    Why go small? Why not just hand out a cool million per person? Every week. Then we could all be rich, right? Wrong.

    You don’t hand out Monopoly money to people at a rate of $2000 a month for the same reason you don’t hand out a million a week: Because you go bankrupt and it intensifies the problems.

    It’s as if the government and the society has lost its job, and tries to live on credit cards. It works okay for the first month and you live pretty good. But one day the credit bills are due and must be paid or else you problems intensify beyond being saved by credit again. Then you starve and die, your sofa is on the street.

    Increasing the minimum wage only intensifies the problem: Low job growth. If you want to raise people up, you grow jobs and make a labor shortage. That’s how to raise wages.

  4. The American two-party system is like the good cop-bad cop strategy.

  5. It took 6 years of President Obama disappointing him, before noted longtime-Democrat lefty Jewish author James Howard Kunstler, finally gave up on that era of presidential hopium

    Eventually, horrified at the post-2016 ‘Woke’ & Trump-deranged Democratics, Kunstler voted for Trump in 2020 … just as the Republicans in fact came to embody a 57% majority of white blue-collar voters, along with 36% of blue-collar Latinos and 12% of blue-collar blacks – chart below; ‘Republicans now the party of labour & Democrats the party of capital’

    That Ted Rall is a leftist Democratic Party type, is not going to save him from the Woke re-education camps … Rall does, after all, post on the wrong-think-filled Unz Review, as well as being too old-school, lacking in Woke obsessiveness against the ‘normie’ working class

  6. Ted:

    If bringing tens of thousands of destitute and possibly Covid-infected illegals aliens isn’t good enough for you I don’t know what is? Oh, I guess spending trillions of dollars on broke left-wing states, destroying 230 years of parliamentary tradition, making a mockery of the Supreme court system, eviscerating what is left of our Third World voting system, and adding two more states loaded with left-wing constituents who chief vocation is collecting welfare checks. As you probably know, Communism has been tried in 33 countries with an unblemished 100% record of failure.

    Teddy, why waste your time destroying America? Just move to Somalia where the job has already been done. But move quickly so we do not have to be subjected to your lunatic rants.

    • Agree: Getaclue
  7. joe2.5 says:

    Rall,

    You’re way stupider than you appeared at first sight. Move the imperial war mafia by “demanding a progressive agenda”? Are you for real? Did you die and get embalmed as Sleeping Beauty in the Year of Grace One Thousand Ninety- Nine, dreaming a fiction of FDR on a white steed? Get out of here.

    • Replies: @Alfa158
  8. Alfa158 says:
    @joe2.5

    You know Joe, I actually like Ted for his naive idealism and good intentions, but I’m afraid your humorous description of Ted is exactly correct. Reading his columns makes me feel like a kid again, back in college in the 1960’s leafing though the latest issue of Ramparts magazine, a supposedly glorious future still laid out before me.
    Ah, sweet bird of youth, all flown away.

    • Replies: @joe2.5
  9. Anon[365] • Disclaimer says:

    Is this guy just posted here to be the commentor’s punching bag? ‘Cause I don’t even know where to start. Except that this article, like most of Patrick Cockbreath’s articles, would be right at home on NBC.

    • Replies: @anon
  10. joe2.5 says:
    @Alfa158

    Naive idealism, nothing. His is just one more good-cop method of peddling Democrat warmongering.

  11. anon[409] • Disclaimer says:
    @Anon

    Is this guy just posted here to be the commentor’s punching bag?

    Unlikely the old guys like Rall, Reed, Cockburn, etc. even read comments. Paul Craig Roberts keeps turning them on and back off again. None of them really know how to deal with criticism.

  12. Some people just want Unz Review to be a right-wing echo chamber. It’s not.

    Take it up with Ron if it leaves you unhappy.

    • Replies: @joe2.5
  13. joe2.5 says:
    @beavertales

    “Right wing” my ass. What do you figure Democrat imperialist supporter Rall to be, “left”? This is the US, friend. No “left” left here anywhere.

  14. It’s not a question of what Biden wants or should be doing. He no longer has the capacity for executive decision-making and drifts through life in an amiable, geriatric fog.

    Are you or any progressives ever going to comment on how your beloved Democratic Party has absolutely pissed in Bernie Sanders mouth?

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