Throughout President Obama’s eight year tenure, one man stood out as the biggest hurdle to anything and everything Obama and his team proposed. That man, of course, is the ignoble Mitch McConnell … the poster boy for why we need term limits. McConnell’s power is far greater than it should be and when he pledges obstruction, you can count on him destroying everything in his path … even our lives.
Most recently, McConnell has pledged to do everything in his power to keep the infrastructure bill from seeing the light of day in the Senate. Frank Bruni, writing for the New York Times, addresses the infrastructure bill and McConnell’s self-serving intended obstruction in his latest newsletter …
Mitch McConnell, Fickle Fiscal Prude
By Frank Bruni
The numbers stagger me too.
All of this comes after the Trump administration’s mammoth relief-and-stimulus spending in 2020, and all of this precedes what will almost certainly be yet more requests for additional trillions from the Biden administration.
We’re in uncharted waters. Experts offering assurances that all will be well — or even better than well — are giving us their best educated guesses. No one — not the cheerleaders, not the naysayers — truly knows how this will all turn out.
But here’s the thing: At some point you have to pick a path, choose a side, place your bet. In many instances the potential price of a flawed wager is almost certainly less steep than the cost of inaction. This instance, I think, is one of those. Maybe America will go too big in the end. But too small hasn’t worked for us.
Too small led to the economic dispossession and pessimism exploited by a junior-league demagogue and would-be despot who hurt this country gravely. Too small factored into our shameful and unsustainable degree of income inequality.
Too small was a culprit in America’s world-leading number of coronavirus infections and Covid-related deaths last year. By contrast, too big — or rather, big — was a partner in the speedy development and distribution of vaccines.
Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader in the Senate, has pledged to fight Biden’s infrastructure package “every step of the way,” as a sudden defender of fiscal discipline. I say “sudden” because his attachment to it over the past few years, before Biden took office, was as steady as a Slinky.
He was perfectly happy to run up the federal debt to stay in good with President Donald Trump, who wanted tax cuts and more gleaming military hardware. Now? We mustn’t leave crippling bills to our children and grandchildren! How horridly gluttonous! How downright immoral!
How utterly laughable. The truth about most politicians and spending is that they’re for it if the outlays bolster their electoral fortunes and against it if the other side may have more to gain. They’re not in thrall to some fixed economic ideology. They’re bound to partisan rivalries and enamored of ideological fashions of the moment.
Remember all of those fiscally principled Tea Party candidates who rocked the Republican Party and swarmed to Washington in 2010? That didn’t turn out to be any kind of revolution. Many of those candidates, along with most other Republicans, exiled their thriftiness when President Barack Obama exited the White House, then embraced Trump in all of his profligacy.
But back to infrastructure and Biden’s big-ticket legislation. Over recent decades of congressional sclerosis, America has fallen behind and imperiled its future prosperity. We’ve no choice but to catch up, and catching up, I believe, will cost more than McConnell is willing to agree to. It may cost even more than Biden is pitching.
Or not. Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that the choice is between overdoing and underdoing. That it’s that clear, that stark. I’d vote for overdoing. We haven’t tried that in a while.
And my read of the American mood right now is that people are frustrated with the status quo and the timidity of politicians too focused on one another to focus on everyone else. There’s a hankering for movement of some kind — of any kind. There’s an appetite for boldness. Let’s feed it.