In the spring of 2020, at the start of one of the most disastrous years in modern American record, Donald Trump was in deep trouble for want of a better term.
His popularity ratings had plummeted as a result of his erratic management of a deadly sickness that he first downplayed but then tried to confront as it ravaged his base.
The economy was in a state of chaos. Nobody was on the job. And then the government came up with an idea: distribute money to everyone.
If you recall, Donald Trump came up with a daring scheme during the first batch of stimulus checks, with an election coming later that year: put his name on the money.
In April, Trump requested that the first $2,000 Treasury Department reimbursements have his name on the memo line, even if it meant delaying their distribution to recipients.
While it did not prevent his final loss, this was one of the former president’s more astute moves in averting his demise. Individuals remember who pays them, and they like receiving gifts.
Yesterday, we got the first indication that the Biden administration would do this since early 2021, when the stimulus check program was fast diminishing.
While it has been evident that we should not anticipate any fresh cash infusions from the government, firms have recently returned to profitability.
The economy has stabilized to the point where only the poor continue to suffer; the rollout of the government’s free at-home test delivery program and the announcement that the administration will distribute 400 million free N95 masks might be the first stages in a revolutionary strategy to rehabilitate Biden’s reputation ahead of the November midterm elections.
The critical point is that they cannot stop there. Yesterday’s early deployment of the United States Postal Service’s free test-delivery program was sufficiently effective, despite its flaws, to demonstrate what a functioning government can do for its people.
The idea that the Biden administration had to be humiliated into physically taking this step is not a good omen, nor is Jen Psaki’s contemptuous rejection of critical feedback and reasonable inquiry.
As the Democrats’ political prospects for the 2022 midterm elections lower, it’s evident that the party overall sorely needs any tangible indicators of accomplishment to pitch to voters.
And even after 2022, it’s evident that Biden may want assistance. According to a Morning Consult survey issued Wednesday morning, Biden’s approval rating has dropped to a new low of 40%.
Assume the government faces two years of a hostile parliament after a landslide victory in the midterm elections.
In that event, Biden will need to extract every ounce of political goodwill possible from executive acts, presidential directives, and stimulus programs to impact the lives of potential voters before 2024 directly.
The notion is straightforward: voters and people generally like receiving gifts.
Medicare, Medicaid, SNAP aid, and other welfare programs have been purposefully designed to be impenetrable bureaucracies. By contrast, those who benefit from them have been routinely accused of decades because the religious right in both parties recognizes the universal popularity of effective social welfare programs.
Consider a regime in which obtaining health care or food aid is as simple as enrolling in Covid testing today.
It is a philosophy that refers to the core premise of government as a superior entity that serves its members.
If the Biden administration wants to win over the American people, it should present them with tangible goods. If it cannot accomplish so via law, it must seek other means.
A prudent government would maintain and expand initiatives such as the free Covid testing and masks. Each month, send out freebies. On some level, it makes little difference what it is.
Even with the legislative impasse, the president still has a huge power over discretionary spending and instruments to make life substantially better for Americans.
Google has provided the majority of its workers with a gadget that enables them to do a near-instant, self-administered PCR test anytime they choose, in the comfort of their own homes.
Why shouldn’t the Biden administration immediately utilize the Defense Production Act to ensure that each American family has one of these boxes?
At the basic minimum, it’s easy to envision people being far more appreciative of a free pack of toilet paper delivered to their home than of some other talk on the crucial significance of a voting rights bill that has already been fatally wounded by the Democratic party’s political ineptness and the hatred of the fascists from across the aisle.
It’s unclear where Democrats’ resistance to taking credit for accomplishments originated, but as unpleasant as it may seem, they might stand to understand some things from Donald Trump.
If the president wants to offer people a mask that may keep them secure, a test that may save a family member, or a cheque for next month’s rent, they should be able to brand it whatever they like.
That is the incentive for really performing your job, which Biden seemed unable to grasp.
Critics will reduce this technique to plain bribery as they did with Trump. What difference does it make? Perhaps a little “bribery” is acceptable if it is conducted by an entity that has a constitutional and moral obligation to provide for the people it rules.
It’s ludicrous that, in the third year of a terrible epidemic, the American people haven’t received more from the agency created to serve them. Years ago, we should have had universally available free masks and exams. Anything we get today may be insufficient and premature.
However, the alternative is to make a lot of promises and deliver nothing, which has been the administration’s default position until now. Biden’s dwindling popularity rating demonstrates how effectively that strategy has worked so far. It’s time to branch out.
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