Nothing But Hot Air - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1798801

Nothing But Hot Air

Let’s give credit where credit is due.

Recognizing the impact of the pandemic on families, President Joe Biden and the Democratic Congress built into the American Relief Plan aid to American families with children. The Biden plan provides for advanced child tax credit payments directly to normal people’s bank accounts. Americans with kids over 6 get $3,000; those with kids under 6 will get more. The first of these checks are already on their way.

I’m guessing lots of people are breathing a sigh of relief.

The genius of the Biden plan is the inroads being made into “populist” terrain thought to be the property of the former guy. How? By doing stuff to actually help them.

Think about it. Mr. Trump tapped into the populist strain that pervades American politics. Mr. Trump invoked the powerful and enduring image of “the common man,” and he got those Americans to think of themselves as forgotten victims. Then he positioned himself as their savior — the only one who cared enough to help them. He promised to deliver more than any president delivered before.

At the end of the day, though, he never delivered, not even once. Sure, he gave some a “good feeling” of seeing “us” stomp others. But he never delivered any material help. His promise literally was nothing but hot air.

As the presidential page turned, so did this picture. The Biden administration brought trillions of dollars in aid to businesses and families devastated by the pandemic. Hopefully, the American economy will get its long-needed boost from the Biden “hard” infrastructure plan. The social safety net should get reinforced as well, if Congress passes the Biden “soft” infrastructure plan, which would promise guaranteed prekindergarten and child care allowances, and better health care for all Americans, among other things.

So far, the Biden presidency has been universally “populist.” Instead of excluding most people, as did his predecessor, he and the Democrats are including most people. They are expanding the economic pie, taking populist politics and making it popular, so only the cast iron-skinned ideologues among us feel like an injustice is being done.

With enough normal people feeling enough support from their government over a long enough period of time, we should hope that the former president’s supporters, at least those who have not been completely indoctrinated, will fall away, perhaps recognizing that all that talk was just talk.

At the very least, let’s hope that they think about how it feels to have a government on their side, compared to a government that only said it was.

Bruce Colbath