Biden’s 1st year, you know the thing
Almost a year after he took over the reins, it is fair to say that things are NOT getting done or at least, things important to regular people are not getting done
2022 is here everybody. Pandemic is not done; vaccines shots are not done; vaccine hesitant groups and vaccine mandate supporters being at each other’s throat, shaming and cancelling each other. Meanwhile, CDC changed its guidelines. It mostly conflates with the very scientific data they want people to trust.
With all the chaos happening around us, we can miss this upcoming milestone within blink of an eye. President Biden is finishing his first year at the office on Jan 20th. The run of the mill, no nonsense, no unicorn promises guy with the smile, memory and jokes of your old uncle Joe whom you met at the thanksgiving.
President Biden promised a reality-based government with bipartisanship as the bedrock of his presidency. He or at least his staunch supporters promised he would not be plagued by constant republican stone walling when they come to their senses after Trump withdrawal. He knows how to get things done in the Congress and the Senate. He will get americans out of the pandemic much stronger than before.
Almost a year after he took over the reins, it is fair to say that things are NOT getting done or at least, things important to regular people are not getting done.
Let’s discuss this, shall we?
Covid is here to stay and so is the pain.
We all are living through pandemic. It just entered its second year with no end in sight. Many of us thought, after the farce of a response Trump had for this pandemic, Biden will show all of us better days. But in this ‘all-encompassing, non-discriminatory, horribly dangerous virus attack on humankind’ situation too, we were able to carve out winners and losers. I mean the obvious ones, no surprises.
In the middle a hopeful phase of 2020 when vaccinations were going up, Biden administrations suddenly had an epiphany to reduce mask restrictions with no sound logic behind it. “Don’t you feel good without it” brags the first lady. All that democrats talk about is, to “believe science”, but forgot to check their notes when multiple experts from the scientist community cautioned to continue wearing masks and to keep social distancing. Obviously with delta variant coming into the picture, it had to be reversed. This added to the horrible trend of CDC and US governments (Trump and then Biden too), to tell people confusing and contradictory messages about the covid guidelines. Making it difficult to trust these institutions for people who are already skeptical of them.
With Omicron variant taking its toll, when asked about the response to the massive increase in covid cases everywhere, Biden without hesitation washed his hands off the responsibility, leaving it up to the states to tackle it. He will just support them. I mean why bother, it’s not like he is the President of the most powerful and richest country of the world or something.
We all understand the research and solutions for covid are expediated. They are not based on years and years of research and testing. Keeping that in mind, it still makes sense to take vaccine if it better prepares you against the covid infection and avoid severe effects of it. There are always researchers and citizens who do want to try different solutions to one problem. Problem which no one seems to have a complete understanding of. Biden administration, governmental health agencies and the media have continuously labelled the people who have questioned them as public enemy, selfish, and fools. The whole Ivermectin episode shows how anything other than government approved solution can be silenced, discredited, mocked, and demonized in the public eye to the point that even the mention of it either produces anger or ridicule as a common (and accepted) reaction.
Vaccine supporters vs Antivaxxers is no longer a science dispute but a culture war. ‘Us vs them’ narrative has made sure that people are busy hating each other while government and corporations are taking advantage of the disaster that is not going away.
Response to non-medical problems and troubles of covid, when it comes regular people, are like a band-aid on a gaping wound. Mortgage moratorium and rent relief needed a constant public outcry and still got discontinued. $15 wage, which was a poster policy of the Biden campaign, is nowhere to be seen. Why? cause parliamentarian said so. We thought president will do everything in their power to implement one of their flagship promises. May be parliamentarian is the one we should elect. They are making important decisions of people’s lives. They have all the power over the President and the Senate.
During the ‘most important’ Georgia Senate election, every democrat leader was shouting till their last breath about $2000 stimulus checks. ‘If you want $2000, you vote democrat’, was the war cry. As soon as voters delivered. “Sorry can’t do it every month payment”, “Sorry can do only one time $1400. The previous $600 payment was the deposit, we are giving the remaining money”, so on and so forth.
During this constant disappointment and the struggle of the worker and poor class. The rich and powerful are experiencing one of the best phases of their life. Government has created a revolving door for Wall Street gamblers, ensuring that government will always come and save them. The wealth of the superrich has increased significantly during this period with more money pouring in their pockets day by day. Powerful can go on vacations, hold award ceremonies, birthday parties, invite everyone and celebrate with no masks with no consequences.
BBB is Broke, Botched and Beaten
Even though $6 trillion in 10 years in not much but it is better than nothing for the US citizenry dealing with most insane and unforeseen circumstances and of course, highly affordable for the US economy. Despite hoping for a higher number, many progressives from the Democratic party were supporting the initial draft of Build Back Better (BBB).
Here comes the next villain. Manchin blocked the proposal saying economy is exposed to debt increase and inflation with too much social spending. This is hardly original. Every republican and conservative democrat suddenly gets very aware of debt and inflation in case of any policy which is not a defense spending or tax cuts for the rich.
This was the time to show Biden his mettle. To use the knowledge of all the tricks he learned over his 40 years of experince. To work his magic. Show his skill to get things across the line. His chance to be the savior who will lift us out of perennial deadlocks in both Congress and Senate and come out as bipartisan hero who can play and win both sides of the aisle. This was the time to ‘get things done’ as advertised during his campaign.
Who would have known, getting things done means nodding your head to say ‘yes’ to all the demands made by Manchin? The political angels were showering Manchin with all the love. Infrastructure bill was separated. It got passed despite few progressive descendants in the House. Many social spending passages in the BBB were either removed or reduced as per the will of the Joe. Not the President Joe, the other one, the Senator Joe. ‘Free community college’? out. ‘Increase in corporate tax rate’? gone, ‘Medicare negotiations and expanded Medicare coverage’? sorry, not now. The social reform vehicle, if there ever was one, now didn’t have any engine to run on. The bill now has only meagre $1.75 trillion over 10 years. And surprise! surprise! Manchin said he still can’t see himself voting for the bill. Now, he wants to get rid of child tax credits from the bill and by looking at history, he will get his wish
Immigrants, Do Not Come.
‘Kids in cages’ was the big news back in the Trump days. How can we separate children from their parents? How can we put asylum seeking immigrants in such inhumane conditions? How can we be responsible for adding to the trauma of already battered people? Many of us cried looking at those horrible experiences. We prayed for them. We sought answers from Trump for their terrible treatment. It was all supposed to change when democrats get to be in the power and Biden indeed changed things in some ways. Families are not getting separated again but we still have terrible facilities getting used for keeping immigrant children.
We thought immigration processes will improve but Biden has used Trump era laws to keep the immigrants out. Biden has also kept up with, rather increased the number of detentions under his administration. Recent Haitian migrant crisis has told us that irrespective of the administration and the situation of a person who left their home, country and loved ones behind to try and seek asylum in the US, the Border police and ICE, are brutal institutions with no remorse or compassion. And when it comes to the accountability, their stupid horses are at fault. VP Kamala Harris summed up the immigration policy in very clear words “Do Not Come.”
Drill baby drill.
Common understanding about Biden is that he won’t be the climate revolutionary. But, with climate catastrophe already showing its colors on various parts of the world, including US, one would hope to see more robust policy to combat this situation. What we got was a smoke screen behind which all evils continue their work to screw up the planet. US military is one of the top polluters in the world. Only 100 corporations worldwide are guilty of causing 70% of pollution in the world. But we, common citizens are getting day to day lessons on how to use reusable mugs, metal straws, and paper bags (you should still do those things, remember great pacific garbage patch?).
There are no major changes in military operations keeping climate changes in mind instead, we have another increase in the military budget. Biden has doubled down on the Trump’s policy and lied their way into giving new oil drilling permits. Fracking has not stopped. Line 3 pipeline, despite the large protest, is all complete and ready to operate while the possibility of oil spill with irreversible damage to water resources is always on the cards.
Biden administration have assigned a mere $550 billion over 10 years for climate protection measures. That is not only laughable but insulting to the climate activists working day and night to get governments to act on climate change. $55 billion a year on climate change measures when the average expenditure in recent years on weather related disasters is $103 billion per year, is illogical or dare I say, willfully ignorant move by this government. The race is on to bury our present and next generation’s future to the grave of floods, hurricanes, and draughts with the headstone saying, ‘They loved recycling’.
Protect the country, in South China Sea
Throughout the length of previous administration, democrats kept harping on ‘the Russian collusion’ and that has no sign of fading away. If that wasn’t enough, they have a new enemy to bank on, China. Empire has identified the new enemy they need to fight with. US has been in a constant war with some other country which generally is thousands of miles away from US mainland. China and Russia are obviously the biggest challengers to the US empire over the world, but they are utilizing, not the army but trade tactics to further their footprint on a world stage. Russia have been using their huge oil reserves to make European nations dependent on them while China is helping with infrastructure projects in African and Asian countries. They are not above using these deals to get their way with countries they help but US government is behind in this competition and has amped up the war mongering efforts. NATO led troupes are at the borders of the Ukraine and there are always provocative operations going on in south China sea. It is naïve to think that US and its allies are taking a defensive step and not trying to instigate a reaction. US mainstream media is pretty much doing the job of manufacturing consent instead of asking questions like any responsible media will do. The whole world must wish themselves good luck, as countries with large stocks of nuclear weapons are at loggerheads with each other.
Trump administration, in all its Islamophobic wisdom, not only banned the immigrants coming from several Muslim majority countries but also cancelled the important nuclear deal with Iran. The deal was basically about giving Iran their money back which was held in the form of frozen assets through sanctions by US. In reply, Iran won’t try to develop any nuclear weapons. We thought that once Biden comes to power it will be back on track but Biden, as he has done in many other cases, has continued Trump’s policy. Iran deal is still on ice and sanctions are still going on, creating problems in daily life of Iranian citizens who don’t even get access to necessary medicines and other essentials. What a situation to be in, as an Iranian in the middle of the pandemic, right? Why do they hate us?
All other wars in middle east except the active war in Afghanistan are still going strong. The military industrial complex is still racking in money in billions. US is still supporting Saudi Arabian led genocide in Yemen despite constant calls to withdraw it and it is still financing Israel led atrocities in Palestine.
The Breakfast Club memories
“If you have a problem figuring out whether you're for me or Trump, then you ain't black”. Like all the entitled democratic party leaders, Joe Biden left this pill of wisdom for all of us to chew and swallow. Still black voters delivered for him in the 2020. Biden was able to gain support among black voters due to his association with Obama and Clinton in the past, but policy wise he has not been the one to look forward to when it comes to the concerns that resonate with most of the black population in US.
Last year was marred by George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murder by cops and it led to huge BLM protests asking for police reforms. Everyone was looking for a firm stance to right this wrong. They demanded changes to the rotten law and order system which systematically treats minorities like second class citizens and puts their lives in danger. Biden come in opposition of ‘defund the police’ and revealed the intention of hiring more officers during one of the town halls. He allocated $386 million to police forces in 2021 and now has proposed nearly $651 million of funding for 2022. Biden has always projected himself to be ‘tough on crime’. That was the major drive to push the 1994 crime bill which adversely affected black and other minority citizens but Biden has maintained that he don’t regret anything about the crime bill.
Talking about delivering promises, one that would have made a significant difference in the lives of minority citizens, is the cancellation of student debt. Black women, on average, owe higher student debt and it would have helped many of them but as with any other policy related to public interest, it is not going anywhere. Community colleges, which are disproportionately represented by minority students, were also supposed to be free but the policy is stalled.
Rotating Enemy syndrome
For all the stalling and failures of various policies for Biden, you will always see someone else responsible. “It was the parliamentarian who didn’t want to add $15 min wage to the bill”. “It’s Senator Sinema and Manchin who were stalling for so many days”. “It’s Manchin who made us take out all the social spending measures from the bill”. If not anything, then “The Republicans are trying everything to block it”.
Successful delivery is always delayed or cancelled. Why? because, tire was flat, or the engine gave away, or breaks were not working, or it’s snowing, too risky to drive. No one is ready to accept that the driver themselves might be the reason for recurring delivery problems.
It is not a new phenomenon for democrats. We know that Tim Geithner and Chuck Schumer sneakily added regulation loopholes for the bankers in the Wall Street reform bill. In case of Affordable Care Act (ACA) a.k.a. Obamacare, we missed out on public option due to Joe Lieberman. After 2010 midterms, virtually every policy failure was blamed on the republicans. Little or no questions are ever asked about why in spite of having super majority for 2 years, Obama and his office was not able to whip enough votes for all these policies? and did, failures of delivering these promises resulted in the loss of 2010 mideterms, and more than 1000 seats for democrats during Obama years?
Even today we can blame all the Sinemas and Manchins of the world, but one question remains, why there is always a roadblock around social spending but money for wars and tax cuts go through without a hitch? It is the President’s responsibility to get their policies delivered. They can use their executive powers and negotiate hard with dissenting members of their own party. They are not supposed give away everything to keep this naughty bunch happy. It begs the question, who is the real enemy here?
As Einstein has said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results”. We have been told again and again that voting for liberal politicians who can work with both sides to do pragmatic changes is the best path forward because they can slowly move the needle on your side. Revolutionary ideas are good for theories, but practical world doesn’t work that way.
What does the evidence suggest? Democratic voters have elected guys who boasted about their bipartisanship and liberal values again and again. What keeps happening to the promises they make.
What if designed system gives no other result? What if the game is rigged? What if it is in interest of democratic politicians to keep going this way? Democrats are as much beholden to their corporate masters as the republicans. What if we, the regular people, are kept in the dark about the reality that these promises were never supposed to get done.
What did you expect after this?
Biden started with high rating of 53%, at the start of his presidency but his constant stalling and flipping on social spending seems to be catching up with him. His approval rating is in low 40s since December. Even if it looks bad but it is not at all surprising. His solid approval ratings among black voters have also gone down over time with many showing dissatisfaction about the state of the country. He was never a popular politician amongst the progressives but who cares about them in the mainstream media anyways.
Prediction time for 2022 Midterms
This is the traditional path of the democratic governments from 2000s. This is a sequel to the Obama presidency. Democrats went into the power with giant problems to solve. (World economy crash then, deadly pandemic now). They win with the majority in all branches of the administration. The solutions are great only for the powerful, but commoners get (not draw) short end of the straw.
So, patterns are followed to the T till this moment which means we can say with a lot of certainty that voters will not vote in 2022 midterms with the same enthusiasm as they did in 2020 presidential elections and one or both houses will be flipped. It will enable democrats to blame all future failures on the Republicans. Meanwhile, there will be headache inducing ads running 24/7 on TV and internet telling us how this is the most important election of our lives and republicans are the fascist and need to be defeated at any cost.
Sadly, there would not be any surprises to the policy implementation process. Even if democrats manage to hang on to the Congress and the Senate, there will be some boogeyman who will derail your chances to have a better life and poor democrats will not be able to do anything about it.