I am very much encouraged by the reports of the $1.9 trillion bill that Biden wishes to rush through the Congress. It is way more progressive than anything we could have reasonably hope for from Biden when he was on his way to securing the nomination. Is it perfect? Of course not, but if passed it will make an immediate and very big difference to huge numbers of people who are in desperate circumstances. Tucked into it, by the way, is an increase in the minimum wage to $15, something that was a progressive wet dream only a few years ago. The legislative device that will be used to get it through Congress is called Reconciliation, a process which circumvents the filibuster. In the Senate, the process gives an outsized role to the Chair of the Budget Committee. And who will that be? Bernie Sanders.
I mention all of this first because I am, as you know, a naturally optimistic person. Now for the bad news. When Trump is gone, convicted or not in the Senate as the case may be, those tens of millions of fanatic supporters will remain, and as I have often remarked, they are the ones with the guns. New reporting of the events in the Senate chamber as the mob approached makes it clear that the extraordinary bravery and quick wittedness of Capitol policeman Eugene Goodman may well have saved the life of Mike Pence. Think what you will of the vice president, we really could do without a vice presidential assassination.
I am also anxiously waiting to see whether Trump issues a blanket pardon to all of the insurrectionists on his way out the door. He could perfectly well do so and it would protect them from federal charges, which means things they did in the District of Columbia. Fortunately his narcissism is so great that he probably cannot bring himself to think about them as he struggles to protect his financial interests and plan pardons for his children. It would be too delicious if his irritation with America’s Mayor causes him to refuse a pardon for Giuliani.
Back to the good news. Speaker Pelosi is apparently planning to impose $5000 and $10,000 fines on members of the House who refuse to go through metal detectors and insist on carrying weapons onto the floor of the House, these fines to be deducted directly from their congressional paychecks. I am awaiting the reports of their cries of outrage.
I know this is all trivial but I have been in lockdown for 10 months and I have to take my pleasures were I can find them.