Welcome back! Let's visit some of the stories you've seen, or missed, from the past week. A short cup of Sunday Morning Coffee to keep you limber. Oh, how we welcome the warmer weather! Now on to politics and opinion.
The American Rescue Plan
Let the grumbling begin. Yes, I've seen the posts. On Saturday the U.S. Senate voted 50-49 for the $1.9 trillion dollar bill. It will now go back to the house for a vote and be sent to President Biden as soon as Tuesday. It's a big deal. Yes, I know they stripped out the $15 an hour minimum wage and and yes they reduced the weekly unemployment benefit from $400 a week to $300 a week and yes they reduced the income threshold for individuals and families getting the $1,400 stimulus payment. Because of that Democrats have, once again, formed the circular firing squad and are shooting each other.
In the meantime the bill allows for major funding to beat back COVID19 by ramping up vaccine production, distribution, tracing. Money to re-open schools, get teachers vaccine and retrofit school buildings. It gets much needed funds to cities, counties and states that have been ravaged by this pandemic. Finally it injects billions into the national economy in the effort to heal what has been so badly broken.
It's not perfect but while the many stripes of Democrats take shots at the president and others remember the GOP always marches in lock-step. That is how they...win.
Pretty Good Work - If You Can Get It
Being a member of the legislative lobby, as a Republican, is really a pretty cool gig. No, stay with me on this. If you are a legislator and you are a Republican you don't have to worry about policy or governing. On the federal level you simply open the 2008 playbook and object and obstruct. There is no GOP agenda. There are not GOP policy ideas. The only work they have in front of them is to "Just say no!".
Meanwhile on the state level (like here in Iowa) there are real policy moves. They are all directed toward a dumber and less effective electorate. They gut collective bargaining and promote distrust and hate to those who do not march in lock-step with their idea of white supremacy. It's pretty simple.
Thought this was interesting. The former president has sent a cease and desist order to the Republican National Committee, the Republican Senate Committee and the Republican House Committee...the three fund raising arms of the GOP...telling them to stop using his name or his likeness in their fund raising efforts. Could see that coming. If he is not running the narrative it's not a good story.
Break out the good stuff the federal unemployment percentage fell to 6.2% on the heels of the Friday report indicating the U.S. in February added 379,000 non-farm jobs! Time to celebrate...right? Well, hold on. Of that nearly the entire number of jobs created in February were in the hospitality and leisure category...355.000 to be exact. Bars and restaurants gained 286,000 jobs while hotel-related hiring totaled 36,000 and amusement, gambling and recreation businesses added 33,000. And we all know how wage friendly those jobs are.
Meanwhile the number of people filing for first time unemployment hit 745,000 from a week earlier. That was much higher than expected and it was the 50th week in a row where claims were higher than even the worst week during the economic downturn of 2008 - 2009. So, hold the Champaign. (Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Back in the day when I was campaigning for the Iowa State Senate I gave a number of stump speeches. They had one major theme: "If you allow the Republicans to continue control over the Iowa Legislature you will see some of the most hateful and dangerous bills that have ever been introduced. They are evil and they will crush working families, education, civil rights and our right to vote."
Yeah...I said that. At the time it was assumed I would be running against Sen. Charles Schneider. More than once I said he was a "bad guy". I was taken to task about that because, I was told, "He really isn't that bad. He is a nice man." Right....
And...today, while I applaud the election of Sarah Trone-Garriott (D-Windsor Heights), we find ourselves in exactly where I said we would be. It's not prophetic is is knowing who the enemy is and calling them out.
I'm getting to the age where I am seeing so many of my friends...die. I really can't tell you how many "friends" I have on Facebook. I really don't pay that much attention but suspect it is over 2,000. Each day, it seems, I read a post where a father, mother, husband, wife pass away. It's really very sad. That happened again today when I learned that my friend Scott Lerdal passed away this weekend. Scott and Jacki live in Humboldt and were great Jaycee friends...back in the day. The problem is...that I didn't know he had been fighting brain cancer for the better part of the year. I last saw them during the 2018 campaign as I was helping out my friend Admiral Joe Sestak in his long-shot presidential bid. It was in Urbandale on a very hot day at the 4th of July Parade. Who knew... The image is from Jacki's Facebook Page taken back in 2011.
Sorry to be maudlin about this...but it is a reminder.
With all the "stuff" that is going on...life is still good and there are good people out there attempting to do good. We should support them in that effort.
Have a great Sunday and thanks for reading.