August 12, 2020

So many bad ideas, so little time

One of my favorite WV legislators has been known to call the state capitol the "bad idea factory." If that's the case, then the White House these days is more like the bad idea Death Star.

 No doubt the Gentle Reader is aware of the disastrous impact of COVID-19 on the economic well-being of millions (make that billions) of people. And, most likely, of the lack of agreement on a meaningful response from Congress to deal with the problem.

What we have instead, so far anyhow, are executive actions from the Trump administration that don't do a lot of what needs to be done and does some things that shouldn't be done. 

As Robert Greenstein of the DC-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities argues here, the executive act doesn't adequately address any number of problems, including public health, unemployment, evictions, fiscal aid to states, and food assistance.

As if all that wasn't bad enough, the actions include cutting the payroll tax, which would be a major hit to Social Security and Medicare, which are more needed now than ever.

Here's his conclusion:

To all of these shortcomings and gaps, add the enormous uncertainty that the executive actions will create because they are legally suspect and because of serious questions about whether the Administration actually can implement aspects of them.

There simply is no shortcut to the hard work of crafting a bipartisan economic relief package that meets the needs of a reeling economy, struggling families, and cash-strapped states and localities. And under our constitutional system, the President and Congress together — not the President acting alone — have the power to appropriate funds and decide how to use them. The President cannot substitute executive actions for congressional action and cannot, acting unilaterally, provide the strong help that families and the economy need.

To help a nation suffering through one of its gravest crises in many decades, the White House should withdraw the executive actions, return to the negotiating table, and do what’s needed to reach the deal that our nation so badly needs.

No comments: