Stimulus deal done.

Toxic compromises mostly avoided, but this is painfully inadequate.

Congress is passing that £900bn compromise stimulus package, already larger than the 2008–9 £800bn relief package, but shockingly inadequate and far short of the £3trn package Democrats hitched their wagons (rightfully) to. The good news is immunity for corporations in terms of safeguarding workers was left out, and the hand-tying of the fed minimised. The bad news is the aid for states is pathetically small (mostly been kept out entirely), the £600 stimulus checks, while welcome, are nowhere near the £2000 per citizen needed, and the broader provisions in the package don’t match up to the size of the crisis we find ourselves in.

This deal doesn’t contain may seriously toxic compromises with the GOP, and it’s likely the best we could get over the line before the Biden administration takes office. When it does, it must go big with its stimulus, ignore the tired arguments of deficit hawkery that caused a sluggish recovery under Obama that lead to the Trump victory in the first place, and embrace a philosophy of public investment to grow America back out of this.

Republicans will tighten the purse strings, and this is why winning Georgia’s Senate races is crucial for the Dems. But beside that, they must be prepared to be ruthless in getting relief to the American people. They must detail the provisions in their package, line up experts to sing its praises and debunk economic myths, and then dare and shame the Republicans into voting for it, or loosing their seats under the old Truman banner of the “Do Nothing Congress” in order to secure expectations-defying gains in 2022.

The Biden administration must be outward looking and public facing in how it handles the economic recovery, with Biden addressing the public at key intervals, milestones, or setbacks. This, above all, is how to cut through the lies, the spin, and the obstructionism of Mitch McConnell. Biden must put his big boy shoes on, and be prepared to go to war with his old allies in the GOP, or risk burying his party’s prospects for another decade, at which point there won’t be a nation or a world to salvage.



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Toby Lipatti-Mesme

Insightful and innovative UK journalism and commentary, from Toby Lipatti-Mesme.