First 100: something fundamentally changed – for now


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The last time we left things on Friday there was some breaking news on the elements of unemployment in the US bailout. Immediately after publication we had a stalemate, one of the longest Senate votes in history, a refusal and ultimately an agreement from Joe Manchin, and a compromise of the compromise that amounted to three weeks less prolonged unemployment. .

It was a lot.

Things went smoothly after that, however, and tomorrow the House of Representatives will give the last pass to a $ 1.9 trillion package which, with the exception of the loss of the minimum wage provision of 15 $ per hour, maintains all the basic contours of the then-President-elect Biden plan presented in January. He even added an important measure to save retirement benefits over a million unionized workers in multi-employer plans; it was not in the original Biden package.

I said last week that reporters are trained to focus on what’s new and what’s changed in a developing story rather than taking a step back. But I am in fact seeing a lot stories who are actually trying to connect with the realization of the US bailout. And this represents a new path forward in American politics; but only if we can keep it.

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An eligible family of four, which comprises virtually the entire middle class and 86% of the country as a whole, will receive $ 7,600 in additional payments beyond the current law, $ 8,800 if their children are both under the age of 6 years. And an additional $ 4,000, instead of being bundled with year-end tax refunds through the Child Tax Credit, will be a monthly payment.

the balance sheets areas of American life that have truly suffered from the pandemic, particularly transit and child care, are being restored, breaking the self-fulfilling cycle of austerity and decline. This also applies to state and local governments, which are being healed by the combination of revenue erosion and dramatically increased pandemic costs. Poor schools may finally be able to upgrade facilities with a share of the $ 130 billion earmarked to speed up reopening.

While he adheres to healthcare solutions in the Affordable Care Act, you could say that this bill puts “affordable” back into the equation, dramatically increasing the grants available to families in insurance scholarships. (This also prompts recalcitrant states to expand Medicaid, although I doubt that will work.) While there has been a colorable argument that the IRS could do it anyway, it clears taxes for the cancellation of the student loan, removing an objection to the cancellation of this debt by President Biden.

Contrary to the CARES law, all this help targets the low- and middle-income ends of the scale. Small businesses have received more in previous invoices, but they share some of the premium here. More importantly, he delivered aid at the scale of the problem, on time, and with the government firmly in control of the solution. And it was very popular.

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My first emotion, paradoxically, was anger. Not to the painful defeats and cracks in Bill’s armor. It was anger that we haven’t functioned this way for the past 40 years, facing crises – many of which are persistent crises – with government-backed solutions, not nudges. market or tax-advantaged savings accounts. We have not responded to the global financial crisis this way, nor to the crisis of child poverty, nor of homelessness, nor of the uninsured, nor really of any national challenge. And we could have. The political system was not impervious to its appeal. It was a choice.

And while this change is really fundamental – deficit hawks have truly been kicked out of the temple, free market solutions left hanging – it’s also fragile. We have the overview of family allowances but it expires in a year. ACA grants expire in two years. The massive expansion in unemployment eligibility for a much larger group of workers is now happening over Labor Day weekend. There is a minimum of public investment going on, but above all it brings us back to a stable state, with decisions to be made from there. These decisions will be executed in a Booming economy with low unemployment, where despair and precariousness will always be present, but in the shadows where he has worked for decades.

We could make it all permanent, with automatic stabilizers kicking in during downturns, and Federal Reserve bank accounts for every American to fill when needed. We could ensure that the federal support that maintains the essential characteristics of public life remains in place. We could choose not to create a pop-up safety net but a continuous net.

There is a theory that once you give families $ 300 per month per child for a year, once everyone in the exchanges is eligible for grants, Congress will not be able to take that away. I’m not so sure. Members have the logic of urgency behind them, that they can intervene when needed, but that it is “appropriate” to step back afterwards. The pandemic has changed some ideas about the importance of government action, but there is no guarantee that it will last beyond a time of crisis. This will require continued vigilance.

The good news is that Americans love this new era. They think it makes more sense to progress than to seek bipartisanship. Republicans have run to safety criticizing Dr. Seuss’ cancellation rather than trying to fight it. People will receive their checks and see the economy roar quickly, alongside vaccinations that seem to emerge from government authority. And maybe they’ll think we don’t just have to deploy that kind of political firepower during a pandemic. We can tackle the crises that arise every day.

The first signs do not necessarily point in this direction. The second reconciliation bill is intended for an infrastructure package, and Joe Manchin says it won’t do it without bipartisanship and deficit neutrality, because if there’s one thing Republicans love more than government funding for green energy, it’s big tax hikes on businesses and corporations. rich. (It is very good news that Manchin is bring up the topic of a talking filibuster, however.)

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There is a timeline where the current activist approach to fiscal policy dies down, and temporary advances recede, and Washington stops talking about those left behind.

There is no “end” to this struggle. This continues, from the fight for a living wage to make permanent the critical safety net measures to ensure full employment. There are no “fundamental” changes, really, until they are integrated into the fabric of American life. We have an opportunity, but uncertain.

What day is Biden’s presidency?

Day 48.

Today i learned

  • Pressure on Biden kill the filibuster could be moved; Dianne Feinstein and others of her ilk are the obstacle. (Washington post)
  • Why the government the rental assistance plan fails. The Biden team will have to tackle the implementation. (Interception)
  • Bring in the vaccine independent pharmacies, which are proven in places like West Virginia, should also be a priority. (Bloomberg)
  • By Biden decree on voting rights It was a flashback from Trump, he commissioned some reports and asked the agencies to do what they can. Not much there. (Axios)
  • Has Biden returned to foreign policy blob? (Daily beast)
  • Shalanda Young’s Boosters For OMB Get too far ahead of them. (Washington post)
  • COVID baby bust in fact means that we will need more automation in 30 years. (the Wall Street newspaper)
  • Biden’s FDA Tackles Presence of heavy metals in baby food. (Politico)


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