Archive of Articles for September, 2021

The COVID Generation

[ Posted Thursday, September 30th, 2021 – 15:44 UTC ]

This is taking silliness to an entirely new level. This entire sequence of "let's just give generations letters" began a long time ago, mostly pushed by Baby Boomers who (perhaps) didn't want any other generation to have a label cooler than theirs. After all, for a good decade or so, the Baby Boomers themselves were referred to (disparagingly) as "the Me Generation." Everything always had to be about them, in other words, so the following generations would just have to make do with "X," "Y," and "Z."

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Figuring The Odds On Tomorrow's House Vote

[ Posted Wednesday, September 29th, 2021 – 15:01 UTC ]

All week long, we've been playing a big waiting game on what is going to happen to President Joe Biden's domestic economic agenda in Congress. His promised "Build Back Better" plan initially had three parts. First, there was the immediate relief needed for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Next, physical infrastructure projects. And finally, human infrastructure investments. The pandemic relief passed soon after Biden took office (back when most Americans hadn't even had the opportunity to get their first vaccine shot). The other two remain undone. The negotiations to get both of them on Biden's desk for his signature are what we've all been seeing play out -- not just this week, but for the past three or four months. We're (hopefully, at least) now in the endgame of the waiting game, to mix a few metaphors with abandon.

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Put The Reconciliation Bill's Numbers In Perspective

[ Posted Tuesday, September 28th, 2021 – 16:34 UTC ]

Sadly, the public debate over the budget reconciliation bill in Congress has so far usually been reduced to a single number. I say "sadly" because what this means is that while the media (and, also sadly, too many Democratic politicians) obsess over that one number, it means they seldom (if ever) talk about what is actually contained within the bill itself. Perhaps Democrats can pivot to having this discussion if the bill ever actually passes. But for now, I'd like to put that big, scary $3.5 trillion number into some necessary context.

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Get It Right: It Is Corporatist Democrats Versus Mainstream Democrats

[ Posted Monday, September 27th, 2021 – 16:19 UTC ]

The mainstream media, as usual, is mostly presenting the power struggle taking place right now within the Democratic Party in a rather slanted way. The fight, we are told, is a fairly equal one between "moderates" or (as is becoming more in vogue recently) "centrists" and the progressives. The progressives are usually painted as the radicals, while the "centrists" are seen as those cautioning moderation and compromise. Virtually none of this is true, however. What is really going on is the old-guard "New Democrats" are being forced to confront the reality that it is no longer the 1990s, and their particular brand of "Wall Street-friendly" Democratic politics is not only seriously on the wane but has now been almost totally eclipsed. Senator Bernie Sanders was at the vanguard of effecting this drastic shift, but it is almost complete. And the old guard is none too happy about it, as they cling to the remaining leverage they still have.

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Friday Talking Points -- Crunch Time

[ Posted Friday, September 24th, 2021 – 16:58 UTC ]

It's one of those rare weeks in Washington, where Congress is actually forced into doing its job -- legislating, holding hearings... you know, the things the taxpayers actually pay them to do. As usual, they are facing multiple deadlines. They deserve zero pity, though, since they just returned from their annual month-long summer vacation. If they had stayed and worked instead of gone and played, then they wouldn't be facing all these time crunches simultaneously. Which is why we say: zero pity.

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Abolish The Debt Ceiling

[ Posted Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 – 15:23 UTC ]

Here we are again. The Washington Kabuki theater is raging while all the media cheerfully go along for the ride. Will the United States reach its debt ceiling without Congress acting, and will the country then default on its debts for the first time in over 200 years? What will that do to the world's economy? What will it do to the American economy? Red flags are waved, warning beacons go off, fire alarms sound, signal flares are launched. It's all merry fun until a way is figured out (at the last minute!) to save us all from the "fiscal cliff" of defaulting on our obligations. It's all as regular as clockwork, now. But it just doesn't have to be this way.

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Delta Wave Crests

[ Posted Wednesday, September 22nd, 2021 – 16:59 UTC ]

America may have just turned the corner in the fight against the Delta mutation of the COVID-19 viral pandemic. This is good news, obviously, if the trend continues. It could mean a return to at least the normalcy of the beginning of the summer, which would be a welcome relief to all. And it could signal that the next variant which hits us (whatever Greek letter it happens to have) will be less destructive. And that's really good news for all.

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Monday House Deadline Looking Shaky, At Best

[ Posted Tuesday, September 21st, 2021 – 16:22 UTC ]

In less than a week, congressional Democrats will face a deadline of their own making. Next Monday is the day Speaker Nancy Pelosi promised she would bring to the House floor the bipartisan infrastructure bill that the Senate has already passed. Because it has cleared the Senate, the next step for the bill (if the House passes it) is President Joe Biden's desk, for his signature. But unfortunately, it is increasingly looking like the companion budget reconciliation bill will not be ready for a vote -- perhaps not in either chamber. Since these two pieces of legislation are linked, this may mean neither one of them passes (at least, not next Monday). This would endanger the two bills which not only form the base of Biden's agenda, but also the basis for Democrats to run their campaigns on next year. Either both bills pass, Biden will be seen as a transformative president (on the order of L.B.J. or even F.D.R.), and the Democrats can run on a spectacular record of getting good things done in Washington -- or none of that will take place at all, which would pretty much doom the Democrats chances in the 2022 midterms. In other words, it's an important week -- one that may actually stretch into being an important month.

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Senate Parliamentarian Rejects Immigration Reform In Reconciliation Bill

[ Posted Monday, September 20th, 2021 – 16:17 UTC ]

Last night the Senate parliamentarian released the first in a series of opinions about the Democratic efforts to draft an enormous budget reconciliation bill. She said that, in her opinion, legalizing millions of undocumented immigrants should be seen as a policy proposal, not a budget proposal. If Democrats follow her advice, they'll have to remove the path to citizenship from the reconciliation bill. This would be a major blow to immigration reform, although not entirely unexpected.

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From The Archives -- Royal Pain

[ Posted Friday, September 17th, 2021 – 16:15 UTC ]

[The Scene: A warm Philadelphia evening, 226 years ago. The delegates to the Constitutional Convention -- after a long and miserably-hot day of respectful debate (and quite a lot of just plain bickering) over the text of Article I, Section 10 of the proposed draft of the new United States Constitution -- take up the final item on the agenda. We join the Founding Fathers as they (somewhat-wearily) begin discussion of the final subject of the day. Since the debate was conducted behind closed doors, this re-creation uses no names for the participants, to protect their anonymity.]

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