I have watched President Joe Biden’s speech before a joint session of Congress. There were some things I liked about the address, and a lot I did not like. I am not a big fan of Joe Biden. Unlike many of his supporters who think he is a good man trying to do his best for a divided nation, I think he is corrupt and dishonest. But, while character is crucial, like Trump before him, what matters most to me is policy, not whether or not Biden is a saint. I cannot address here everything Biden said, of course, so I will concentrate on what struck me most.
Most Americans are pleased and supportive of the government’s efforts to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus and for getting Americans vaccinated. I certainly do not deny Biden his well-deserved laurels for his administration’s organization of efforts to get the vaccine out there and get people vaccinated. I am glad Biden encouraged everyone to get vaccinated, and I hope people respond positively. Given how often Biden talks about unity and wanting to work with Republicans and acknowledge their ideas, however, I think it would have been gracious of him to acknowledge and give a shout-out to the Trump administration for the success of Operative Warp Speed in developing vaccines in record time. Do I think Trump would have been so gracious? I doubt it. Which would have made Biden’s doing so even more impressive.
Biden touted the American Rescue Plan as bringing relief to many Americans in the wake of the devastating pandemic. But, less than 10% of the funds went directly to fighting the virus, many schools remained closed or barely open because of the intransigence of teacher’s unions, and only one-third of the money in the plan that Biden said was desperately needed in order to re-open schools this year is going to be spent this year, even while billions of dollars from previous plans remain unspent. Yes, people got checks for $1400, (at a cost of $14,000 per household added to the national debt), but $1400 does not really go very far for most people, and what is really bringing relief to Americans from the pandemic is the vaccine that is allowing businesses to re-open and re-hire people. Biden praised his jobs and infrastructure plans, but skeptics are less enthusiastic. Tanya Snyder, Transportation Reporter, writes that Biden’s administration had been overly optimistic about the number of jobs it would create. “While administration officials liked to say that the jobs plan would add 19 million jobs to the economy,” Snyder writes, “they later had to admit that Moody’s [Analysis] had predicted that the plan itself would be responsible for adding just 2.7 million jobs.”
According to Anita Kumar, White House Correspondent, “The White House says Biden’s priorities in the next 100 days will be the combined $4 trillion in spending he has proposed for everything from roads to bridges to pre-kindergarten and child care, which would usher in a government overhaul of the economy” (emphasis added). My question is, do we want a government overhaul of the economy? Do we want government being the engine that runs the economy? Democrats and classic liberals, like Biden, are big on big government. Most Americans, I think, would rather the government provide the necessary services no one else can, and then keep out of their lives. That’s not Biden’s type of government, however. David Siders, National Political Correspondent, writes, “At its core, Biden is arguing for a return to the era of big government, with the federal government playing a meaningful — and expensive — role in people’s lives.” Again, the question is: Is this really what we want of our government?
Biden says that he will not raise taxes on people who make $400,000 a year or more, and that those who make that much or more will see their tax bracket raised to 39.6%. But, that means couples who file jointly who make a combined $400,000 or more will see a tax increase. So, really, if you make $200,000 and you spouse makes $200,000 and you file jointly, you will be subject to the tax increase. Also, Aaron Lorenzo, Tax Reporter, reveals, “Factor in a 3.8 percent Obamacare tax on top earners and those atop the income spectrum would face a federal income tax rate of 43.4 percent.” So, it is not 39.6%, but 43.4%. Leave it to a politician to leave out this important detail. As well, Biden supports the PRO Act, which favors the labor unions that contributed millions of dollars to his presidential campaign. The PRO Act would require that private sector workers contribute hundreds of dollars a year in dues to unions, whether they want to join the union or not, effectively requiring workers to unionize. Now, I have never opposed the right of workers to unionize, but it should be the choice of the workers. Unions ought to have to earn the loyalty of members, and not rely on the federal government twisting worker’s arms to join unions and pay dues. Also, what good is it to promise middle-class workers that you are not going to increase their taxes if you force them to pay hundreds of dollars a year in union dues?
Biden says he wants to pay for his government spending by taxing corporations, claiming that 55 corporations paid no federal income tax in 2020. That is true, but it is even worse. Some of those corporations have not paid federal income taxes in the last three years and others actually received tax returns from the government. The New York Post explains that, “Big firms were able to take advantage of a provision in the bill to use losses they racked up in 2018 or 2019 to offset profits from previous years, which slashed some of their 2020 tax bills to less than zero, according to the report. That measure accounted for at least $500 million of the 55 giants’ tax breaks.” Fair enough. They can use the money to keep their business going in the face of losses, hire more people and make investments. But, that only accounts for a smallish percentage of the tax breaks these corporations received. Did you know that the NFL is a tax-exempt organization? Why? Because Congress passed a law decades ago making it so. That is ridiculous. I have no objections to corporations paying their fair share, especially since most of them receive substantial credits from federal and state governments. Corporate taxes have been steadily declining since WWII. It seems about time for a fair increase. Whether or not increases in corporate taxes will actually pay for Biden’s big spending is another question.
Matters on which I support Biden:
Research supports the claim that women who do the same work as men are paid less, though there is some debate on how much less. On that basis, I support the Paycheck Fairness Act, or some version of it, that would give women a larger arsenal to sue for discrimination in pay.
I also support efforts to reduce prescription drug prices.
I also support removing our troops from Afghanistan. We have to put an end to these endless wars, or to America assuming perpetual responsibility for the stability of these nations.
I also support protection for Dreamers by the passage of a Dream Act. These people did not come to the United States. They were brought here by their parents as children. For most of them, the United States is the only country they have ever known. Even Trump said he had no plans to deport illegal immigrants who had not committed crimes and were living peaceably in the country, though his administration often reneged on that promise. There is no reason these folks ought not be welcomed by the United States, so long as they have committed no violent crimes and are working and contributing to their communities, as most are. Even a majority of 2016 Trump voters support protection for Dreamers, and I suspect a majority of 2020 Trump voters do, too. It is the right thing to do.
However, I do not support the Violence Against Women Act in its current iteration. The Act requires that women’s shelters and prisons accept into their facilities men who identify as women. This puts women in shelters who are hoping to find refuge from assault by the men in their lives at risk by requiring the shelters to accept biological men. Women’s prisons would also be required to accept men who identify as women, which has had disastrous results in at least some cases. A biological man with a history of sexual assault said he was a woman and was transferred to the women’s prison, where raped a female inmate on his first day. It is common sense to protect women in these facilities. The current Act fails to do so.
Neither do I support the Equality Act. The Act purports to protect LGBTQ+ persons, but it fails to protect the First Amendment rights of churches and other religious institutions.
Neither do I support HR1, which purports to protect election integrity, but requires that states adopt a number of measures that do exactly the opposite. Also, contrary to the Constitution, HR1 takes control of elections out of local and state jurisdictions and puts it in the hands of the federal government. It is basically a power grab for Democrats.
Where I find Biden most deceitful is his constant calls for unity while acting unilaterally and forcing his policies on Americans of all stripes. He said in his address that in his first 100 days, “we’ve acted to restore people’s faith in democracy to deliver.” This is a difficult argument for Biden to make. Biden’s multiple executive orders have by-passed Congress and the will of the American people in order to impose his agenda on the nation. During the campaign, Biden said that a president who legislates by executive order is playing the dictator. He was right. But, Biden has signed more executive orders in his first 100 days than any president since FDR. Executive orders were intended by the founders to be exceptional. Modern presidents have used them to enforce their wills when they could not get the necessary support from Congress or the American people. Also contrary to the “unity” Biden supposedly wants and the “democracy” he claims to have delivered is his willingness to impose his policies on Americans who have moral or religious reservations, attacking their First Amendment rights. Biden, who says he supports pro-abortion laws because he does not believe he can impose his Catholic morals on the country, and who in the past was a supporter of the Hyde Amendment that prohibited taxpayer funding of abortion, now says it is time to get rid of it, forcing pro-life Americans to pay for abortion with their taxes. Biden also has pledged to sue the Little Sisters of the Poor and others to force them to pay for abortions and contraception, contrary to their religious convictions. Clearly, Biden has no hesitation in imposing his anti-life and anti-Catholic policies on his fellow American Catholics. Biden also supports requiring schools, including private and religious schools, to allow biological males who identify as females to compete in girl’s and women’s sports programs, which has resulted in many girls and women from advancing in their sports and jeopardizing opportunities for scholarships. Biden has created a commission to study reforming the Supreme Court of the United States, begging the question of why he feels the Court needs reforming and raising concerns about his willingness to cooperate with other Democrats in their efforts to pack the Court. Finally, Biden regularly engages in race-baiting, even foolishly claiming during his speech that intelligence agencies identify White supremacy as the greatest terrorist threat to the U. S. At the same time, Biden and other Democrats have had little to say about the left-wing riots, looting, attacks on federal buildings and churches, and even murders committed in many cities over the past several months, most of them inspired by Antifa and Black Lives Matter.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) gave the Republican response to Biden’s speech. Scott made several points that I thought were reasonable. Whether one agrees with Scott’s assessment of Biden’s agenda and the points he made in his response, hopefully most civil people can agree that the racist attacks against Scott after his response aired are uncalled for and unconscionable. The racial slurs thrown at Scott imply that people of color are only supposed to think one way about national policy, which is a racist notion in and of itself. One can agree or disagree with Scott’s assessment that we do not live in a racist country, though as staunch a Democrat as Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC) agrees with Scott. However, there is no denying that there remain racists among us. Sadly, too often it is those who claim the title of tolerant ones that expose themselves for the bigots they are at times like these.
I continue to pray for Joe Biden, that he will be converted to the fullness of Catholic morals and that he will adopt policies that are in the best interest of the country. I continue to pray for my country, that we will be healed of the divisions that hamper us and that we will be relieved of politicians and media and social elites who are more interested in holding on to power and creating further divisions than in promoting peace and true unity among us.
Be Christ for all. Bring Christ to all. See Christ in all.