See Related: Susan Estrich
He is President Joe Biden. The answer, at a minimum, is that more of the same just won't do. Biden's presidency, to date, has been a failure.
The real question is whether it is too late.
For cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving (they say the price will be 50% higher if you buy your cranberries in preciously scarce cans).
For sleds for Christmas.
For the country's confidence.
How is it that a truck driver beat the president of the New Jersey State Senate?
It's hard to escape the conclusion that Sen. Joe Manchin reached, when he announced that the country (as opposed to the Democrats in the House) is somewhere to the right of the center on the ideological spectrum. That is certainly where Virginia was on Nov. 2. It is, even, where New Jersey was on Nov. 2. And if that is where two Biden states were on Election Day, where will they be next year on Election Day? Or three years from now?
Will the progressives in Pelosi-land accept the verdict?
Certainly not. The way Congress works these days, most seats are safely Democratic or safely Republican. Moderates of any stripe are an endangered species; witness the number who aren't running for reelection, which is one reason the prediction markets say that this Congress will pass absolutely nothing of significance.
They could have. That's the tragedy. There really was a bipartisan bill on the table that would have built bridges and highways that could only have helped. But the progressives refused to vote on it unless the social spending bill — which did not have enough votes to pass — was voted on at the same time. The result: nothing. The verdict: total dysfunction. The winner: the truck driver who got mad that he couldn't carry his gun around.
What is wrong with my party?
But I shouldn't complain. They actually want to give me a tax cut. ME? Why in the world would anyone want to give high earners like me a tax cut? A hundred dollars to fill up the tank and you want to give lawyers a tax cut?
It's true. The billionaire's tax might be off the table, but a tax cut for high earners in high-tax states? Exactly what we need to fix the supply chain?
The last administration put a $10,000 limit on how much individuals could deduct for state and local taxes on their federal returns. The thing is, billionaires don't actually "earn" billions or even millions a year; they collect it. Professionals like me — lawyers, doctors, accountants and consultants, who live in high-tax states like New York and, yes, home sweet home California — pay taxes on every dollar we earn to the state and the city. More than $10,000 a year. So, my friends the Democrats want to get rid of the $10,000 cap so folks who report six or seven figures a year in earned income can deduct more of it from their federal taxes.
Tax cuts are just a different kind of government expenditure. The taxes the government doesn't collect as a result are what is called "tax expenditures."
So, why, at a time when working families are struggling to pay for food and gas, would anyone be proposing a major spending program for high-earning professionals and executives in high-tax states?
It can't have anything to do with the fact that the leaders — of the House (Nancy Pelosi) and the Senate (Chuck Schumer) — come from New York and California respectively, or that huge percentages of political donors in those states are the ones who would benefit?
So is it just that they are utterly tone-deaf to what is going on every day in supermarkets, gas stations and even takeout taco joints?
Could it be that they just don't "get it" and that no one has the guts to tell them? The voters tried on Nov. 2. If the tax-cut proposal is any guide, it may well be too late.
Susan Estrich can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.