Joe Biden is a genius
We almost lost America in November 2020. The MAGA people had no idea what they were voting for, but if you’ve traveled to any of the former democracies like Turkey, Philippines, Brazil etc you know what it is that we narrowly avoided: a broken country where a corrupt dictator uses organized crime, the military and crony business leaders to stay in power forever.
The other Democratic candidates in 2020 wouldn’t have beaten Trump — they would not have garnered enough union and blue collar voters and would not have rebuilt the blue wall while simultaneously securing the votes of educated middle class and higher income voters. Only Joe could have won 2020.
Then in January, America moved in stunned silence and confused feeling of relief and anxiety, our national PTSD in some undiagnosed state of denial, to see what Joe would do. The angry mob of progressives, woke people, and the hate-the-rich brigades were ready to pounce on Biden at the first sign of a sellout or weakness in the face of corporate special interests. The Fox News crowd have behaved as expected, slamming everything the new White House has done as socialism and America-hatin’ God-hatin’ gender blending. That’s OK because we knew that was in the script. Centrists everywhere held their breath and hoped that Joe would focus first on Covid, then on the economy and jobs, then on the border, and then to somehow rebuild the country.
Grandpa Joe has taken the right steps to curb Covid and we should see a transition to a new normal sometime over the summer. The Mexico border is a giant mess. Not Biden’s fault: the waves of migrants amassing at the border are fleeing horrors that most of us don’t fully understand, and they’ve convinced each other that after Trump there will be a more sympathetic US border and that they’ll be able to get across it. Biden’s hands are tied because opening up is the wrong answer and whatever he does he will face vitriol from both the far right and far left. We will have to muddle through this one and it may take some time.
Biden’s $10.9Trillion rebuild plan is pure genius. It incorporates all of the essentials needed to inject optimism, new income, economic growth, jobs and hope back into a severely injured and damaged America. Back to my PTSD comment: one reason we’re so divided is because we’re in pain. We’ve done what the clever manipulators programmed us to do: fear each other. The Biden rebuild plan will not only repair the economic wounds inflicted by decades of erosion of decent middle class jobs, pushing people down into shitty retail jobs with horrible shifts, no benefits and no career path. It will help heal the hurt caused by racial injustices, economic injustices and a growing class divide. Millions of people will move up from shithouse jobs into unionized, well-paying jobs with healthcare, vacation pay, childcare and disabled care benefits. They will experience the forgotten delights of family vacations, holidays together, homebuying, saving for retirement, and crazy undreamed of pleasures like gardening, camping trips and planning college for the kids.
How many families have been hobbled by illness or disabled condition of one family member, requiring another family member to abandon their career to take care of them? How many young people abandoned their education because parents are divorced and both working in retail, no chance of helping a young person reach for a better life. How many single mothers have had zero opportunity to work because childcare and kindergarten is not available to people who can’t pay for it. How many families have been destroyed by drugs and opiates and addiction without help? We’ll release millions of people from their trapped situations into high-potential employment, and this time we’ll do it with diversity and equal opportunity as a top priority. Unlike the 1950’s and 60’s when it was a white program.
Technology eats jobs. We don’t have to like it, but we can’t stop it. Offshoring of IT and admin jobs kills yet more jobs. Importing cheap stuff from China kills even more. Immigration is necessary and good, but it causes deflation and lowers salaries by adding many people willing to do the same work for less. The rebuild package will replace millions of lost jobs, offshored jobs, deflated jobs and outdated jobs with real jobs that are actually worth doing. Eventually this wave of middle class prosperity will create its own momentum and won’t need government spending to maintain its job creation and wealth creation pace. New job titles and business types will emerge to serve the newly comfortable middle classes. The engine will be revved up again, like it was in the 50’s and 60’s but this time with all skin colors, genders, and religions.
Now go back to your TV news or your digital news feed and tell me what are you hearing. The ‘red’ people are screaming about socialism being out of control, it will destroy America, they say. The ‘blue’ people are screaming about the red people, and about racism, and about the poorest and the oppressed. Which means that nobody is pulling for the underemployed middle classes, the retail workers trying but failing to make a life. The millennials paying down student loans and losing hope because they can’t find a job that isn’t a dead end shithouse with no hope and no future. Nobody is pulling for you. Tune into MSNBC, CNN, NPR — are you hearing anything about your needs? No. It’s about racism, black lives matter, homelessness, migrants at the border, and it’s about white supremacy groups posting nasty stuff. These are the stories that sell ads. Your middle class struggle doesn’t sell ads because it lacks drama and emotional dynamite. So the news factory keeps pumping out high-drama content. None of this helps you make a better life. Nobody is pulling for you.
Except: President Joe Biden. He understands, and he’s building this roadmap — for you and me. Joe Biden understands that resurrecting the middle class will be his legacy for decades to come. Millions of people will look back and remember their fast food job or their big box retail job before 2021, and compare it to their cool new job in #RebuildAmerica as they help tear down a dilapidated bridge built over the Mississippi in the 1930’s, replacing it with a modern beauty with twice as many lanes, bike lanes and a commuter rail track. They’ll tell their kids about the project and will never forget their role in helping #rebuild. All along, they collect a good salary, with full health insurance, paid vacations, 401(k), childcare assist, and disabled family member assist. They take weekends off and go on trips.
As America rebuilds, we will also heal the hurt. One family at a time. Moving out of grubby apartments in high-crime neighborhoods into new homes with solar roofs and insulation, safe streets and better schools.
The woke people will continue to squeal about white privilege and ingrained racism, but we’ll gradually stop listening to them as we improve our lives, all of us, all skin colors, religions, cultures and ages. We won’t have time for manufactured sob stories because our new lives are taking shape and we’re busy embracing the new — better — normal. The hate-the-rich brigades will continue to scream injustice as they point to yet another billionaire, but we won’t have time to play victim and join the complainathon because we’re buying a Tesla and opening a 529 account to put money away for Junior’s college fund.
We will do all of this without burning the palaces or decapitating any billionaires. It will be a bloodless revolution with no significant loss of wealth by the top 1%, who will inevitably pay more in taxes as we close loopholes and raise the progressive tax rates at the top, but we will not need to fleece anyone or take away their Ferrari.
What problems will we fail to fix? Homelessness will be reduced but not eliminated — every country has a small population of maladjusted and displaced. We’ll do all we can with our healthy GDP and improved federal and state tax revenues but we will never conquer the problem 100%. Racism will be reduced but not eliminated. Small pockets of white supremacist underground groups will remain, and we’ll tolerate them as long as they stay within the law, refrain from inciting violence or organizing sedition, at which point we will convict and incarcerate them. We will not fear them: this culture belongs to low-rent, uneducated and deeply unhappy people. There simply aren’t enough of them to constitute a threat to the rest of us.
The biggest problem we can’t fix is the erosion of jobs by technological progress. We will struggle to outpace the elimination of driver jobs, delivery jobs, call center jobs, retail checker and retail stocker jobs. While caregiving will employ millions more people, we will also face the reality of having to pay universal basic income to many people who simply can’t find work, even in our New Better Normal.
Neither the red people nor the blue people are thinking ahead. They’re too busy in tribal warfare to see around the corner or build an image of where we’ll go from here. Imagine the 50’s and 60’s but inclusive of all people, no racial discrimination. A giant wave of middle class growth and opportunity that allows people to climb a few rungs up the ladder to a better life, as well as the social programs to help those who are not able to help themselves. There won’t be time or energy for anger against the billionaires. Blue collar workers won’t hate immigrants because there are so many jobs available. What I’m seeing is better than Denmark, Norway and those countries atop the human development index. We’ll have everything they have, plus the American entrepreneur spirit. The one that dreams big, even when it has to start small.