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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/2/21

Why Republicans Won't Agree to Biden's Big Plans and Why He Should Ignore Them

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From The Guardian

 
The new president can achieve huge and vital reform and relief without the party of Trump -- and they know it

Joe Biden
Joe Biden
(Image by Gage Skidmore from flickr)
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If there were ever a time for bold government, it is now. COVID, joblessness, poverty, raging inequality and our last chance to preserve the planet are together creating an existential inflection point.

Fortunately for America and the world, Donald Trump is gone, and Joe Biden has big plans for helping Americans survive COVID and then restructuring the economy, rebuilding the nation's infrastructure and creating millions of green jobs.

But Republicans in Congress don't want to go along. Why not?

Mitch McConnell and others say America can't afford it. "We just passed a program with over $900bn in it," groused Senator Mitt Romney, the most liberal of the bunch.

Rubbish. We can't afford not to. Fighting COVID will require far more money. People are hurting.

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

Repairing ageing infrastructure and building a new energy-efficient one will make the economy grow even faster over the long term -- further reducing the debt's share.

No one in their right mind should worry 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, there's another alternative. They can support a tax on super-wealthy Americans.

The total wealth of America's 660 billionaires has grown by a staggering $1.1tn since the start of the pandemic, a 40% 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?

The real reason Republicans want to block Biden is they fear his plans will work.

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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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