Joe Biden learned a lot of things under Barack Obama -- but reaching across the aisle wasn't one of them. That's become quite apparent in the last week, as the new president charges ahead with a controversial COVID relief package that almost no Republicans support. Aides say the new president is trying to "avoid the missteps of the Obama years" -- but he's already repeating one of the biggest: talking about bipartisanship, but refusing to practice it.
Inviting 10 Republicans to the White House to talk about alternatives to Biden's $1.9 trillion plan was a good step -- but, as everyone would learn later, it was hollow at best. Not only is President Biden unwilling to work with conservatives, he's already hatching a scheme to "punish" the members who oppose his colossal waste of taxpayer dollars. In a not-so-veiled threat to the GOP, White House officials have warned that Republican members will suffer if they don't bend a knee to the Left's Big Government demands. How's that for "getting people to work together?"
Even the Washington Post's editorial board chided Biden for dismissing Republicans' ideas out of hand. The president, they argued, should "exhaust the possibilities for compromise on COVID relief." "Moderates in both parties have some good ideas," the editors point out. "Limiting the direct payments was one; making future stimulus contingent on objective indicators, such as the unemployment rate, could be another. Giving them a genuine hearing -- and exhausting the possibilities for compromise, even if it fails -- would enhance the legitimacy of a party-line bill when and if that becomes unavoidable. This is the approach that got Mr. Biden elected, because voters, correctly, bet that it would be the healthiest one for the country."
Bipartisanship is more than an Oval Office photo op, and voters know it. If Biden wants people to believe that unity isn't "some pie-in-the-sky dream," then he needs to prove it -- hosting honest negotiations about a bill that currently costs more than the government's annual operating budget. But, as we've learned from his flood of executive orders, this president isn't interesting in finding common ground. For all the talk of unity Mr. Biden is on course to being a polarizing president.
Meanwhile, analysts warn, the plan itself is disaster. As CNS News's Terry Jeffrey pointed out on "Washington Watch," Congress has already set aside a staggering $3.2 trillion dollars for COVID relief. And even that money hasn't all been spent! Now, Terry shakes his head, Biden wants another $1.9 trillion dollars, which would bring the grand total to an astounding $5.1 trillion dollars. To put that money in perspective, he says, 158.7 million people in the U.S. had jobs in December 2019 just before the pandemic hit the US. If Democrats pass the package Biden wants, "the COVID relief spending alone in less than one year -- that $5.1 trillion -- will equal $32,129 per worker. And the money that's already been spent -- the $3.2 trillion dollars -- is worth more than $20,000 per worker." Americans have to ask themselves, he insisted, "Did they get $20,000 worth of benefits from the federal government last year from this bill? I don't think so."
Our government is already up to its eyeballs in debt -- $27,800,000,000,000 and counting. The last thing Americans need is to pile on another $2 trillion dollars, especially when a good chunk of that money doesn't have anything to do with the pandemic. Even the New York Times admitted that only about $400 billion of Biden's plan would directly combatting the virus. The rest will go to outrageous causes like bailing out liberal states who completely mishandled the virus and destroyed their economies. Now, Biden thinks those same heavy-handed leaders, who are responsible for the decline in their tax revenue, should be rewarded for their authoritarian behavior.
"Can the White House demonstrate a fact-based explanation for sending $350 billion in unneeded taxpayer money to the states?" Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wanted to know? The numbers certainly don't seem to support it. Some new research by JP Morgan found that states have only lost .12 percent in revenue collectively across 47 states in 2020. Governors like Asa Hutchinson (R-Ark.), who -- like a lot of state leaders -- celebrated a surplus in tax revenue from 2019, don't think the extra money is necessary. "I think this is where there needs to be some negotiation down from the $1.9 trillion," he argued.
At the end of the day, Biden's plan isn't about COVID relief. It's about making people dependent on Washington. "I think what we've seen happen over the last year is these people who love Big Government, who want government to control every aspect of our life have used the pandemic as an excuse to expand their power and expand spending," Terry argued. And at this point, the direct payments to Americans could almost be described as hush money from Democrats, who are saying, "Look, we know we're spending money recklessly, but we're giving you some of it too -- so don't do anything rash at election time."
"It's a bribe," Terry agreed. "They're using the [money] of those who work and pay taxes to basically buy support from the American people with these [stimulus checks]... and that is an outrage. It's a small form of socialism, which is the general direction that our country is heading." And make no mistake: we'll get there sooner rather than later if this current version of "relief" stands.