Half the country eagerly awaits the Biden-Harris administration, hopeful that President-elect Joe Biden will “Build Back Better.” The rest of us ponder Barack Obama’s reported warning: “Don’t underestimate Joe’s ability to f--- things up.”
What could Biden mess up? A lot.
Despite the liberal media’s apocalyptic pronouncements that President Trump has destroyed our country, a solid 56% of our fellow citizens think they are better off than they were four years ago. That suggests that for the majority of Americans, there’s plenty of room to backslide.
For example, despite the horrors of the pandemic, the economy has proved unexpectedly resilient. Our recovery from the self-imposed lockdowns of the spring has outperformed every expectation, even as large industries like travel and entertainment remain constrained and large cities like New York continue under severe restrictions.
We have regained more than half the jobs lost to the sudden downturn, consumer confidence remains high and spending is almost shockingly robust. In October retail sales rose nearly 6% from the year before, in spite of the virus. Housing is booming, home prices are rising rapidly and the stock market is setting new highs, all of which suggests that the next six to nine months will continue to see progress.
This rebounding prosperity is of no use to the 11.1 million Americans still out of work, or the unprecedented number of people lining up at food banks across the country. But as we continue to dig out of the recession, job openings will increase and employment will rise. Unemployment today stands at 6.9%, down from 14.7% in April.
How could Biden undermine this recovery? The same way the Obama-Biden White House prevented the “green shoots” of 2009-2010’s bounce-back from flourishing: imposing large-scale new regulations and programs onto anxious businesses. Biden’s quasi-Green New Deal will, like ObamaCare, stall business investment and hiring. Biden’s promise to raise taxes by $4 trillion will deliver the coup de grace. Both would flat-line our growth; both are priorities for Biden.
The economy should get a huge boost from the successful roll-out of several pending COVID-19 vaccines, which is the second thing Biden could mess up. According to people who know, the imminent launch has been planned with great precision, thanks to the professional planning undertaken by Gen. Gus Perna, the four-star Army general in charge of the vaccine’s distribution.
This is no easy task. As has been reported, Pfizer’s vaccine, for instance, has to be stored at 94 degrees below zero; also, patients must receive two shots, 21 days apart. Complicating matters, each vaccine will have its own requirements.
The government will not only have to manage the physical distribution of the vaccine, it will also have to navigate the treacherous decisions over who gets inoculated first. Though most agree that front-line health care workers, emergency responders and nursing home patients should be first in line, who comes next could become a heated debate.
Also, Joe must prevent his Democrat colleagues from continuing to suggest that President Trump’s push to deliver the vaccine might have compromised its safety, an epically heinous political attack that could delay acceptance and cost lives. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has pompously declared he’ll have his state’s medical authorities give the medication another review just to be sure; if it’s the same team that agreed with Cuomo to send infected elders into nursing homes, killing thousands, New Yorkers should demand a third assessment.
Democrats will soon have a chance to undo many of the policies that Trump’s supporters applaud.
If Biden tinkers with the distribution system in place, fails to firmly take charge of setting the priorities, or is unable to quell anxiety about the vaccine, the nation will suffer. Given his low-energy campaign and reluctance to face the public, it is hard to imagine the president-elect exerting strong leadership here or elsewhere.
Third, Trump’s breakthrough in Middle East diplomacy has shocked the traditionalists in the foreign policy establishment. No one gave Jared Kushner the slightest chance of bringing about peace between the Sunni Arabs and Israel, but he did.
Jake Sullivan, Biden’s proposed national security advisor, has expressed interest in rejoining a tweaked Iran nuclear deal, indicating he continues confident in the corrupt regime despite copious evidence that Tehran has long lied about its activities and intentions. Any attempt to revive the Iran deal could sabotage ongoing negotiations aimed at bringing more nations into the Abraham Accords, which is without question the most effective deterrent to Iranian aggression. Biden must resist nostalgia and realize that Trump’s approach is working. Most likely, he will not.
Fourth, the Trump administration has spent four years resetting our relationship with an increasingly aggressive China – a threat that Biden apparently still does not recognize. As recently as last year, Biden scorned those worried about a rising Middle Kingdom, saying “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man. … They’re not competition for us.”
The president-elect’s campaign was funded by Big Business and Big Tech; those groups hope to protect their ability to continue exporting jobs and accessing China’s vast markets. Biden will look to repay those donors by relaxing trade tensions and removing tariffs applied by Trump’s team in an effort to force better behavior from Beijing. This will not be good for American workers.
Our intelligence agencies say Beijing was rooting for Biden to win the presidency; that is all you need to know.
President Trump shattered a lot of glass during his four years in office, and upset a great many people. His transactional approach and determination to put America first ruffled feathers across the board.
Democrats will soon have a chance to undo many of the policies that Trump’s supporters applaud, like tightening our borders, demanding fair play from China, ring-fencing Iran, and inspiring businesses to expand in the U.S. From what we’ve seen of Biden’s platform and picks for key positions, it becomes ever more likely that he will, as Obama cautioned, find a way to “f--- things up.”