I wanted to round up a few of the “should-reads” for the incoming Biden Administration, but I also wanted to take the time to just breathe. Exhale. Donald Trump is on his way back to The Shadow. And while he will still capture headlines and be a part of our politics (he does have a Senate trial looming, after all), it is not wrong to take this moment let out a sigh of relief.
Laura Barron-Lopez and Alice Miranda Ollstein have a good summary of Biden’s first-day executive orders. Will Bunch has a good piece about how truth must come before healing. Andrew Grotto over at Lawfare writes about how the Biden Administration will fend off coming cyberattacks, and former Senator Jeff Flake predicts what the Biden Administration will feel like six months in. Jonathan V. Last has a really excellent piece on Joe Biden and the Case for Optimism. Last has more detail, but the way I’m looking at it is basically this:
Vaccines are here, and will begin to roll out in full force as we get into the Spring. More vaccines into arms = more people immune to COVID-19. More people immune to COVID-19 = the faster we can open our economy.
Biden is set to spend a ton - more than the Trump Administration - to get the economy back rolling again. A simple economic truth: When the economy is down in the dumps, government can step in and spend to get it going again. When it’s doing better, government can tug on the reins. One of President Barack Obama’s mistakes (and maybe Biden’s too, since he was there) is that his initial stimulus in 2009 was not big enough. It will seem weird now, but Obama’s stimulus bill was $831 billion. That feels paltry when we are currently talking about bills that are close to $2 trillion in total cost.
The American economy is pretty resilient and looks set for a rebound even without massive government spending. Biden inherits an economic mess from Trump, but he will also inherit the rebound that comes baked into that mess.
This leaves out other reasons to be hopeful, such as the restoration of America’s image in the world (specifically to our partners in Europe). And while it will take serious time to fix the damage Trump has done - some of which is irreversible - we are better positioned to do it now than Obama was in 2009 after taking over from George W. Bush.
I want to take time to give Amanda Gorman a special shoutout. If you missed her poem, you need to watch it here in full:
She is an American treasure.
Again, exhale. Trump is in Florida, without his Twitter account, and leaves office with shame and disgrace. The nightmare is over. See you on Monday morning my babies.