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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/1/21

Biden Must Not Surrender

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From Robert Reich Blog

Classic Joe Biden
Classic Joe Biden
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Ten Senate Republican have proposed a COVID relief bill of about $600 billion. That's less than a third of Biden's plan. They promise "bipartisan support" if he agrees.

Their proposal isn't a compromise. It would be a total surrender. It trims direct payments and unemployment aid that Americans desperately need. Biden should reject it out of hand.

Republicans say America can't afford Biden's plan. "We just passed a program with over $900 billion in it," groused Senator Mitt Romney.

Rubbish. We can't afford not to. Millions of people are hurting.

Besides, with the economy in the doldrums it's no time to worry about too much spending. The best way to reduce the debt as a share of the economy is to get the economy growing again.

Beyond COVID relief, Biden has other proposals waiting in the wings, such as repairing aging infrastructure and building a new energy-efficient one. These would make the economy grow even faster over the long term -- further reducing the debt's share.

There's no chance that public spending will "crowd out" private investment. If you hadn't noticed, borrowing is especially cheap right now. Money is sloshing around the world in search of borrowers.

It's hard to take Republican concerns about debt seriously when just four years ago they had zero qualms about enacting one of the largest tax cuts in history, largely for big corporations and the super-wealthy.

If they really don't want to add to the debt, they have another alternative: A tax on super-wealthy Americans.

The total wealth of America's 660 billionaires has grown by a staggering $1.1 trillion since the start of the pandemic, a 40 percent increase. They alone could finance almost all of Biden's COVID relief package and still be 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 they fear it will work.

This would be the Republican's worst nightmare: All the anti-government claptrap they've been selling since Ronald Reagan will be revealed as nonsense.

Government isn't the problem and never was. Bad government is the problem, and Americans have just had four years of it. Biden's success would put into sharp relief Trump and Republicans' utter failures on COVID and jobs.

If Biden gets his plans through, he and the Democrats would reap the political rewards in 2022 and beyond. Democrats might even capture the presidency and Congress for a generation. After FDR rescued America, the Republican Party went dark for two decades.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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