The $6 Trillion Dollar Man

It has always been obvious to the more astute observers of the political scene that Joe Biden is a party man, a partisan hack, and not a very bright one at that. Regrettably, some people actually fell for the line that on the contrary, Mr Biden is a moderate who  would “reach across the aisle” to find “common ground” etc. etc. By now, they should have been disabused of that notion. 

In his first 100 days in office Biden the moderate has proposed $6 trillion in new spending, much of which is for middle class welfare programs. We are for instance, going to have “free” community college, paid leave, new spending on child care and on and on. The list is endless. 

All this is supposedly going to be “paid for” by taxing “the rich”. Except of course that it won’t be. There isn’t enough money in the world to pay for Mr. Biden’s fantasies. Regardless, the idea of taxing the rich to pay for a whole new menu of middle class freebies simply completes the progressive journey from feigning self-sufficiency to promoting welfare dependency. That has been the agenda all along. After all, it has such an impressive track record, as in Venezuela. 

Among the more fascinating proposals Mr Biden is flogging are the ones for education and police reform. They are the purview of state and local governments. Both the management of police and public education in America’s cities have been fiefdoms of the Democratic Party for at least 50 years. The management of these institutions has been a gargantuan failure, particularly for minorities. Mr. Biden proposes to give us more of the same. 

In the meantime Mr Biden’s cheerleaders in the press are ecstatic about his poll numbers. The latest has his support around 52%. As the Washington Post helpfully points out, 52% is a majority. What the Post didn’t mention was that, with the exception of Donald Trump, Biden’s poll numbers at this point in his presidency are lowest of any president’s since 1945. 


Incompetence v. Catastrophe

The Biden Administration is not (yet) a calamity, but it seems determined to get there. After all, the Administration appears to be taking a whole host of progressive policy proposals seriously, a prospect that ought to dampen the spirits of anybody who resides on this side of sanity. Fortunately there are some reasonable Democratic Senators—a dwindling group to be sure—who are uneasy with the current state of affairs, and who are consequently unlikely to support the more extreme structural proposals. 

It is doubtful for instance, that the Senate will succeed in either packing the Supreme Court or eliminating the legislative filibuster over the next two years. But all bets are off for after the 2022 off-year elections. If the historical pattern is upset and the Democrats retain the House and grab a few more Senate seats, the stage will be set for transitioning from mere incompetence to real catastrophe.  

I can hear the chorus wailing now…”But Donald Trump…”. Please let us get this straight once and for all. The fact that Donald Trump was and remains an ignoramus from the Archie Bunker school of applied politics is utterly irrelevant. The “what about Trump” argument is nothing more than a vacuous school yard taunt in the time-honored tradition of “so’s your grandmother”. It has nothing intelligent to say about the merits of the Biden policy agenda. 

So, about that agenda. Progressives seem to be pushing on an open door. The policies that the supposedly moderate Mr. Biden campaigned on have been tossed out the window. Instead he has embraced an agenda that actively subverts the Constitutional order and guts the rule of law in favor of bureaucratic central planning. All this under the guise of “saving democracy” and promoting “equity”. 

It has apparently not occurred to Mr. Biden that the point of the Constitution is to preserve liberty by dividing power. It was never designed to promote equal outcomes, which is what “equity” is code for. In fact, outcome guarantees are antithetical to liberty and an affront to the idea of equality before the law. Perhaps Mr.Biden missed that lecture during the time he was suspended from law school for plagiarism, a habit he seems to have retained from his school days.

Back to the progressive agenda. Needless to say the marketing campaign for it is, as usual, replete with dishonesty, combined with unyielding ignorance. Which may explain why CNN, The NY Times and The Washington Post are so enthusiastic about it.

For instance, consider the recently introduced Democratic bill to expand the Supreme Court to 13 members. In supporting the bill, Rep Mondaire Jones (D-NY) argued that “Court expansion is something that is deeply rooted in the American tradition”. Really? Congress last passed an act to amend the Justice system by increasing the number of Supreme Court justices to 9 back in 1869. That was 152 years ago. The size of the Supreme Court has remained at 9 justices ever since. 

As a follow up, President Biden has appointed a commission to consider changing the structure of the Court, including its expansion.  Speaker Pelosi has said that she supports Biden’s commission, but that the Democratic bill to pack the Court won’t get a vote on the House floor. That would be the same Speaker Pelosi who claimed that impeaching Trump (the 1st time) would require an overwhelming bipartisan consensus. We know how that worked out. 

All this is nothing more than an attempt to intimidate the Court into ruling the way progressives wish them to. This is the same crowd that spent the last 4 years accusing the Trump administration (often correctly) of violating democratic norms and politicizing federal agencies. And now they have launched a full fledged attack on the third branch of government; the branch that is supposed to be non political. The branch that is supposed to protect individual rights against mob rule. 

And speaking of mob rule, Representative Maxine Waters (D-CA) was in Brooklyn Center Minnesota where, referring to the trial of Derek Chauvin who is on trial for murdering George Floyd, she had this to say when asked what protesters should do moving forward:

“We’ve got to stay on the street and we’ve got to get more active, we’ve got to get more confrontational. We’ve got to make sure that they know that we mean business.”

We can be thankful in a way. Progressives have revealed what they are really all about, and always have been—the iron fist in the velvet glove—operating under the guise of democratic majoritarianism. Individual rights do not matter; they are subsumed by an ever changing collection of “group rights” AKA demands of Democratic constituencies.

What remains to be seen is whether there are enough Democratic Senators and Congressman willing to put an end to the madness. Perhaps there are, but we are getting very close to the edge. If not, the Biden administration is very likely to melt down like Icarus did as he approached the sun. Then we will be faced with a real calamity instead of a potential one. 


The Deplatforming Problem

Deplatforming has become one of the weapons of choice for the command-and-control crowd that will fight to the death for your right to agree with them. Their ability to successfully deploy this strategy depends, among other things, on their ability to intimidate. Which in turn depends on the centralization of power in the hands of a small group of ideologically aligned players who, not coincidentally, are powerful players in Washington, DC.

One possible solution to this problem–and it is a problem–is to decentralize the structure of the internet. This would give consumers control over their own data and identities, and drastically reduce if not eliminate, the monopoly power Big Tech has over the dissemination of information.

Some very forward looking innovators are working to do just that at this very moment. The video below from the libertarian Reason Magazine presents a discussion of some of the issues involved.