Our Economically Divided Society

This is obvious. The new Biden administration is inheriting a seriously damaged economy. The decline in payroll employment reflects the recent increase in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and efforts to contain the pandemic.

The BLS December report said this:
“In December, 15.8 million persons reported that they had been unable to work because their employer closed or lost business due to the pandemic-that is, they did not work at all or worked fewer hours at some point in the last 4 weeks due to the pandemic.”

“This measure is 1.0 million higher than in November. Among those who reported in December that they were unable to work because of pandemic-related closures or lost business, 12.8 percent received at least some pay from their employer for the hours not worked, little changed from November.”

After trending down to 787,000 new jobless claims from a high of over 6 million at the end of March 2020, the new claims jumped to 965,000 last week.

Food Pantry line in NYC

This situation was obviously driven by the continuing and growing impact of COVID-19.

However as the virus continues to spread car sales have been surging.  Home sales have been surging.  The stock market set an all time high this month.

These realities reflect on the fact that we have an enormously divided society between the haves and the have-nots.

For the better educated, who hold white collar jobs, their accumulation of wealth has created  a whole class of people — at least the top 20% or so of earners — who’ve had to worry little about such things as having a job. And as lockdowns gripped the nation, millions of people, especially those at the upper end of America’s socio-economic ladder, were able to redirect money they would have otherwise spent on things like entertainment, dining and travel toward savings or, better yet, investments.  With the rising stock market their wealth has grown significantly.

The continuing pandemic isn’t ending any time soon. According to Biden administration Surgeon General nominee Dr. Vivek Murthy, it may take until late spring to finish vaccinating high-risk populations, if all goes according to plan. If that happens, the general public may be looking at a rough time-frame of the middle summer before widespread vaccine distribution begins.  To me that translates to millions not going back to work until the fall of 2021.

Unless Americans are willing to have a nation of massive homelessness the federal government will have to provide funding for rents, food, and education for our youth.  Joe Biden will have to convince a majority of both houses of congress that this must be job one.

Joe Biden’s First Days in Office as President

This will be the most dramatic change in federal policies since the early days of the FDR administration starting March 4, 1933.  Biden’s new team will face the gravest national challenges of any new administration since those dark days of the Great Recession. 

This is what is being reported.

The day he takes office, Biden is planning to return the United States to the Paris climate accords and repeal the ban on U.S. entry for citizens of some majority-Muslim countries. He will sign an order extending nationwide restrictions on evictions and foreclosures and implement a mask mandate on federal property.

Plans, spelled out in a memo Saturday by Biden Chief of Staff Ron Klain to incoming White House advisers, will address what Klain called “four overlapping and compounding crises.”

They are the Covid-19 pandemic that has claimed close to 400,000 U.S. lives, the resulting economic downturn, climate change, and a national reckoning over racial equity in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Ron Klain, Joe Biden Chief of Staff

“In his first 10 days in office, President-elect Biden will take decisive action to address these four crises, prevent other urgent and irreversible harms, and restore America’s irreversible harms, and restore America’s place in the world,” Klain wrote. “President-elect Biden will take action — not just to reverse the gravest damages of the Trump administration — but also to start moving our country forward.”

The Tragic Destruction of the American Democracy

Capitol is barricaded out of fear of its citizens

The situation in Washington D.C. today is all Donald Trump’s fault. He has convinced his followers that election results can’t be trusted.

The basis of the American democracy has been elections that identify the winners and the losers. None of the those who have lost an election are happy. The loss means that their ideas were not compatible with the voters wishes.

This isn’t the first time that the losers have challenged the results, but no loser has still denied the results after re-counts have been completed.

Donald Trump believes he did not lose the November 3 election despite the recounts. His ability to convince his supporters that he won the election is what makes the current situation so frightening.

Trump has convinced many of his followers that the election he lost was rigged. Almost half of his supporter refuse to accept the election results according to reliable polling.

With his supporters so furious, we are about to see an inauguration conducted behind barbed wire fencing. The wire is installed on the top of a security fence surrounding the Capitol. Trump followers appear to be ready to more than protest. Reports, if accurate, indicate there could be armed confrontations.

How can we have a democracy when large numbers of people do not trust election results? Joe Biden will have the job of restoring confidence in our elections. If he can’t accomplish that objective you can kiss the American democracy good-bye.

Joe Biden gives Americans his initial Plans Once he is Inaugurated

The president-elect’s pandemic-response package was presented today on cable television. It will include steps to speed production and distribution of vaccines, an additional $1,400 in direct payments to individuals and expanded unemployment benefits.  The LA Times reported on his plans

The package is titled the “American Rescue Plan.”  Biden’s proposal is divided into three major areas: $400 billion for provisions to fight the coronavirus with more vaccines and testing, while reopening schools; more than $1 trillion in direct relief to families, including through stimulus payments and increased unemployment insurance benefits; and $440 billion for aid to communities and businesses, including $350 billion in emergency funding to state, local and tribal governments. 

If the GOP blocks the Biden plan for recovery they will be seeing losses in Congress in 2022.

Ten GOP Congress Members Who Chose Principle over Party

All of these representatives have honored their sworn allegiance to the Constitution of The United States of America.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.)

“The president of the United States summoned this mob, assembled the mob, and lit the flame of this attack. Everything that followed was his doing,” Cheney said in statement. “There has never been a greater betrayal by a president of the United States of his office and his oath to the Constitution.”

Rep. Anthony Gonzalez (R-Ohio)

“The President of the United States helped organize and incite a mob that attacked the United States Congress in an attempt to prevent us from completing our solemn duties as prescribed by the Constitution,” Gonzalez said in a statement.

Rep. John Katko (R-N.Y.)

Katko issued a statement that said, “To allow the President of the United States to incite this attack without consequence is a direct threat to the future of our democracy. For that reason, I cannot sit by without taking action. I will vote to impeach this President.”

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.)

“The President’s offenses, in my reading of the Constitution, were impeachable based on the indisputable evidence we already have,” she said.

Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)

In a statement issued Tuesday, Kinzinger said, “There is no doubt in my mind that the President of the United States broke his oath of office and incited this insurrection.”

Rep. Peter Meijer (R-Mich.)

“President Trump> betrayed his oath of office by seeking to undermine our constitutional process, and he bears responsibility for inciting the insurrection we suffered last week,” Meijer said in a statement.

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.)

“I am disappointed, disgusted, and horrified by yesterday’s attacks on our U.S. Capitol. This is not the United States of America,” Newhouse said after the Capitol riot last week. “Violence of any kind is absolutely unacceptable. I can’t say that strongly enough.”

Rep. Tom Rice (R-S.C.)

After the president’s supporters stormed the Capitol last week, Rice tweeted, “To all my friends back home, I am fine. Capitol Police evacuated us from the Capitol Building. DC is in chaos. This will accomplish nothing. Where is the President!? He must ask people to disperse and restore calm now.”

Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.)

“The Congress must hold President Trump to account and send a clear message that our country cannot and will not tolerate any effort by any President to impede the peaceful transfer of power from one President to the next.”

Rep. David Valadao (R-Calif.)

“Based on the facts before me, I have to go with my gut and vote my conscience. I voted to impeach President Trump. His inciting rhetoric was un-American, abhorrent, and absolutely an impeachable offense. It’s time to put country over politics,” Valadao wrote on Twitter after he voted.

On the Brink of a Civil War We Will have a New President

A piece of history seems appropriate.
Near dawn February 23, 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln arrived secretly by train in Washington, D.C. at 6 a.m. because of a rumored plot to assassinate him as he passed through Baltimore. Lincoln was criticized for and later regretted the furtive manner of his arrival, but his advisors believed the danger was genuine. By the time of Lincoln’s inauguration on March 4, 1861, seven states had seceded, and the Confederate States of America had been formally established.

Reported on Politico Nightly
Top lawmakers say they are increasingly alarmed by a rash of new threats that could once again endanger their lives.  Senators received a briefing today from representatives of the Secret Service, and the departments of Defense and Homeland Security, and a key group of House Democratic chairs separately met with the FBI.

“Based on today’s briefing, we have grave concerns about ongoing and violent threats to our democracy,” that group of Democratic chairs said in a cryptic statement after the meeting today. The briefing included the chairs and other top members of the House Oversight, Judiciary, Homeland Security, Armed Services and Intelligence panels. “It is clear that more must be done to preempt, penetrate, and prevent deadly and seditious assaults by domestic violent extremists in the days ahead,” the statement said.

The lawmakers voiced their concerns moments after a public FBI and Justice Department briefing revealed their belief that the Jan. 6 violence could be part of a much graver, well-organized “seditious conspiracy.” A Justice Department “strike force” is seeking to assemble a sedition case against some of those involved in last week’s riot at the Capitol.

As I posted on January 10 “Trump is not done.”  I heard one rioter say he would die if need be to to ensure Donald Trump is inaugurated on January 20.  January 17 and January 20 are the two days that are anticipated to be the next assaults on the Capitol.

An inauguration inside a secured building viewed by the public on television seems like a likely scenario on January 20 to ensure the safety of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.