Nothing is sweeter or more fitting than looking on people convinced of their utter seriousness and seeing supreme, laughable irony. Congressional Democrats give us this gift daily.
In throes of another COVID spike, Nancy Pelosi – having stopped major relief for individuals and small businesses last summer – suddenly decided she can now manage to help Americans without freezers of ice cream and hair stylists.
Election over, Pelosi and her high-rolling, lip-smacking Democrat colleagues, have consented to help small businesses that are still breathing, stay afloat a bit longer.
Thanks to Pelosi’s hard-bitten pre-election hubris, hundreds of thousands of small American businesses have gone under in the past six months – businesses into which people had poured their lives, savings, hopes and dreams. Some estimates put the number in the millions. See, e.g., https://www.cnbc.com/2020/04/14/7point5-million-small-businesses-are-at-risk-of-closing-report-finds.html; https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-08-11/small-firms-die-quietly-leaving-thousands-of-failures-uncounted; https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2020/05/12/small-business-used-define-americas-economy-pandemic-could-end-that-forever/; https://www.nytimes.com/2020/09/01/business/economy/small-businesses-coronavirus.html.
More than 4 million who rose on Trump’s economy are now unemployed – and no longer looking for work. More than 12 million Americans eager to work have been tossed onto unemployment, since their employers did not get a Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) extension. And even those unemployment benefits are ending.
Thank you, Nancy Pelosi. Now, in today’s irony, a subgroup of House members – who are ALL elected to solve problems and help constituents in rough times – has dubbed themselves – can you believe it? – the “problem solving caucus.”
Brilliant. Why did America not think of this earlier? A “problem solving caucus,” and, say, just in time. Thanks to this world-changing development, problems that were somehow insoluble before the election, are now suddenly to be solved.
Says Pelosi, “We have momentum” drafting a COVID relief bill, which was vigorously opposed by Democrats for being not big enough before the election, but now is half the size of Trump’s proposed pre-election bill.
Said one “Problem Solvers Caucus” member, “We are in the middle of drafting as we speak, and so … Monday is kind of a goal.” Caucus members, and the esteemed Speaker, assure us the bill is happening, “so money is allocated to those most in need.”
Such self-congratulatory tomfoolery, taking American voters for idiots, is why more than 90 percent of Americans hold Congress in contempt. Call it irony on irony: Those elected to solve problems produce a little group that calls itself the “problem solving caucus,” which delays aid that would have saved millions of jobs, and then congratulates itself for selflessness. Really?
So, where is that COVID bill, and what is in it? In short, the long-lost bill, better late than never but too late for millions, will emerge this week with “a range of emergency programs,” including extension of PPP and unemployment insurance,
The $908 billion dollar bill will end up attached to the long overdue appropriations bills for Fiscal Year 2021, which are being wrapped into a yearend “omnibus spending bill,” that will land on President Trump’s desk before Christmas.
Even then, as the economy wobbles under new uncertainties, the “Problem Solving Caucus” decided NOT to issue any new lifesaving “stimulus” checks. The irony is too rich to go unnoticed. That caucus’s Democrat co-chairman is New Jersey’s richest lawmaker, Josh Gottheimer, D-5th Dist. See, e.g., https://www.nj.com/politics/2020/11/here-are-njs-richest-and-poorest-members-of-congress.html.
Worse, Gottheimer received more than $308,000 in campaign contributions from private equity interests, then in May 2020 advocated the Federal Reserve bailout private equity firms. So, claiming to support the little guy, a leading Democrat scraps checks for those barely making it, while pushing big bucks for private equity firms. Does it surprise you? See, e.g., https://readsludge.com/2020/05/06/gottheimer-backs-bailout-plan-pushed-by-his-private-equity-donors/.
In the olden days, whenever they were, members of Congress had a touch of shame – a sense of quiet awareness at public rebuke for obvious hypocrisy – but no more. Now, we can block aid for Americans in crisis – from debilitating government lockdowns, while eating endless ice cream, getting hairdos, claiming sainthood, and blaming Republicans for heartlessness.
See what I mean about irony? We live in times that begin to look more ironic by the day, even as we lose our sense of humor, our ability to laugh at the inability of our political leaders to laugh.
Okay, assuming no further tricks in Pelosi’s hat, this relief bill should also include a compromise between Democrats pushing high-level State and local bailout money (for State and municipal pension funds, guilty of overspending), and common sense liability waivers for businesses trying to reopen – for survival.
Even so, Democrats want to add other goodies (i.e. billions for Amtrak, Postal Service, federal food aid, federalized assistance to schools, et al). Senate Republicans may be hard-pressed to block those adds. And then, just to make things interesting, President Trump has asked that this bill be “targeted” relief – tied to coronavirus impact – not a wild-eyed spending spree, adding more debt. See, e.g., https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-usa-congress/u-s-covid-19-relief-talks-gain-momentum-as-lawmakers-set-monday-deadline-idUSKBN28E2GZ.
When all is said and done, the ironies will be forgotten – of course – and the bill will be big, everyone claiming credit for having done it, blaming others for what is not in the bill, leaving Americans wondering who is really in charge – the government or the People.
Just when you want to cry, stop – and laugh. Nothing is sweeter or more fitting than looking on people convinced of their utter seriousness and seeing supreme, laughable irony. Then, because we are the People, we are the America that knows the difference between irony and idiocy on one hand, truth and transparency on the other, take a deep breath – and look toward 2022. What else can we do?