ChrisWeigant.com

Archive of Articles in the "Economics" Category

Deal Or No Deal?

[ Posted Monday, July 26th, 2021 – 15:35 UTC ]

Last week was supposed to be Infrastructure Week. I naively believed this was possible. However, Senate Republicans then blew a big hole in that, leaving in doubt if even this week will prove to be the grand time when bipartisanship reigns once again in the Senate chamber and hands President Biden a big bipartisan gift... or not. Because so far, all the Republicans seem to be proving is that they are capable of Olympic-level stalling. They can always come up with new reasons why something can't get done. They are masters of it, in fact.

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Friday Talking Points -- "We're Just The Guys To Do It!"

[ Posted Friday, July 23rd, 2021 – 17:23 UTC ]

It's like the Republicans all suddenly got put on double-secret probation or something. It seems to have finally dawned on them that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is actually real, and it is now killing off an inordinate number of their own base voters. So some of them had, as President Joe Biden said this week, their "altar call" moment.

Of course, hearing "Delta," what popped into our minds for this tectonic shift was Animal House's John Belushi asking his fellow Delts: "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!" Of course, his speech ended when his frat brother stood up and proclaimed: "I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part." To which Belushi responded: "And we're just the guys to do it!"

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Biden Torpedoes Half His Agenda

[ Posted Thursday, July 22nd, 2021 – 16:52 UTC ]

Last night, President Joe Biden participated in a town hall in Cincinnati, Ohio, hosted by CNN and moderated by Don Lemon. He made some news there, because when he was directly asked if preserving the Senate filibuster was more important than passing voting rights bills, he sounded like he kind of wanted to have it both ways. He seems absolutely convinced that either: (1) Republicans are going to suddenly magically develop a conscience and a high-minded sense of civic duty and start joining with Democrats to pass good legislation; or (2) that getting rid of the filibuster would somehow "throw the entire Congress into chaos and nothing will get done." The first seems naive, at best. The second, however, is completely backwards.

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Infrastructure Week

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

It became a running joke in the previous administration (the phrase a mockery since none of it ever came to fruition), but we may now have finally arrived at a real, honest-to-goodness "Infrastructure Week." Or, to put it another way, it's finally time for everyone to stop kidding around. By week's end, we may know what sort of legacy President Joe Biden is going to leave. He could be counted by history as one of the more transformational presidents of the modern era, or it all may fall apart at the last minute. Either way, this week will likely be the pivotal one.

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Friday Talking Points -- GOP Defunded The Tax Police

[ Posted Friday, July 16th, 2021 – 17:00 UTC ]

There were two interesting developments in the congressional sausage-making process this week, both of which Democrats should immediately adopt as their main messages for the next week or so.

The first was that Senators Bernie Sanders and Mark Warner announced they had come to a compromise on the reconciliation bill which will fund the lion's share of President Joe Biden's economic agenda. They settled on a total figure of $3.5 trillion in new spending, which is far less than Bernie's original goal of $6 trillion (just for this bill alone), but also far more than the opening bid of the fiscally-conservative Democrats, which was in the $1.5 to $2 trillion range. It also will mean that Biden got the exact total he asked for in his "three-legged stool" of economic legislation. His first big legislative achievement (the American Rescue Plan) spent $1.9 trillion, and the bipartisan infrastructure deal represents $0.6 trillion more, which will mean a grand total of $6 trillion for all three -- which is exactly what Biden asked for in the first place.

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Legalize It

[ Posted Thursday, July 15th, 2021 – 16:17 UTC ]

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced this week he will be moving legislation to the floor of the Senate to legalize marijuana at the federal level. This is an important milestone (even if the measure fails), since such legislation has never had leadership support in the Senate before. The House has passed similar bills already, knowing full well they were all going to die in the Senate. But with Schumer on board, the chances that the federal War On Weed could end have improved considerably.

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Bernie Sanders, Dealmaker

[ Posted Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 – 16:46 UTC ]

Although few are pointing it out today, Senator Bernie Sanders is truly the man of the hour in the Democratic Party right now. Much faster than anyone expected (myself included), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced last night that a deal had been struck within the Democratic caucus over the reconciliation bill that Bernie Sanders is in charge of writing (as chair of the Senate's budget committee). This deal was principally negotiated between Sanders and Senator Mark Warner, who represented the penny-pinching faction within the Democratic Party. But even with this necessary trimming, what was just announced is simply breathtaking in its scope and reach.

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Radical? No, Actually It's Mainstream.

[ Posted Tuesday, July 13th, 2021 – 15:20 UTC ]

Can Democrats still be bold? We are perhaps on the brink of finding that out. Joe Biden campaigned as a total moderate, but has been sort of thrust into a historical moment when boldness might actually be possible -- and be rewarded. By the time he got into office, Biden had realized this and was already talking about being a "transformational" president rather than just a moderate caretaker.

The COVID-19 pandemic was what set the stage for all this bold action, and Biden has done an admirable job of delivering on his promises on this front. But the rest of his economic agenda is now on the verge of becoming reality as well, and if the lion's share of it passes, Biden will indeed bask in comparisons to F.D.R. and L.B.J.

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From The Archives -- Arkansas Highpoint And Gangster Museum

[ Posted Friday, July 9th, 2021 – 17:01 UTC ]

I've been warning everyone for the past two Fridays that I was taking today off, so there will be no Friday Talking Points article today, sorry. Tune in next week, when we'll have a new one up as usual.

Since it's summer holiday time, though, I thought I'd re-run a vacation travelogue article I wrote in August of 2018. This article has nothing to do with politics at all, it was just a few days on the road winding our way towards the Netroots Nation conference in New Orleans.

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Friday Talking Points -- Happy Independence Day!

[ Posted Friday, July 2nd, 2021 – 17:57 UTC ]

Happy Independence Day! No, that heartfelt wish is actually not premature, as we pointed out years ago. The second of July is indeed the day American declared her independence from Britain. All the histories, all the traditions, all the celebrations get it wrong each and every year. No, really!

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