The Land Of Somewhat Normal

Audio Length: 00:51:23


S2: Hello. Welcome to the land of somewhat normal edition of Slate Money, your guide to the business and Finance News of the Week.

S3: I’m Felix Salmon of Axios here with Anna Shamansky of Breakingviews. Hello here with Emily Peck of Huff Post. Hello. And a very, very special guest. It’s caviar, Neal. She’s back on the money. There was a headline about a cock in a box being asked, and there was no there was no way that Kabi could not come back on the money. So welcome back to Candy is going to be talking to us about hacking penises. She is going to be talking to us about that’s going to go my Twitter bio-fuels. She’s going to talk to us about the parlor hack. We’re going to talk about how CEOs and corporations are exercising political power in unprecedented ways. And, of course, we are going to talk about the one point nine trillion dollar stimulus proposal that Joe Biden has just come out with. We hope it will happen. All of that coming up on Slate money. Emily, one point nine trillion dollars, I have a rule that we don’t talk about vaporware on this here show, so if someone does something big, then we talk about it. But if someone just talks about some vague promise of big things in the future, we wait until that actually happens, except for one point nine trillion dollars is so big. We should talk about this. What am I talking about?

S4: Yeah, we should talk about it. This is the Biden coronavirus rescue plan that he unveiled on Thursday. It’s a one point nine dollars billion package. And it’s like at a store when everything is 99 cents. They couldn’t go to two trillion. They just kept at one point nine. And it includes lots of goodies. It’s basically it’s a message. And the first message is you can’t rescue the economy if you don’t stem this awful pandemic. So there’s lots of money to do that. There’s money to ramp up vaccine distribution, including like a jobs corps of people that would go out and help actually administer vaccines. There’s money for schools so they can reopen if they weren’t able to because they couldn’t afford PPE or like distancing or ventilation. There’s a lot of women stuff that makes me really super happy. There is money to rescue the ailing child care industry, which has been really in bad shape right now. This is kind of like a back door small business rescue, if you look at it in one way, because these are small businesses that are absolutely crucial to the functioning of the economy, that let allow mostly women and parents work. There’s robust paid family medical and sick leave. It’s a huge a huge momma.

S3: And did we mention the 15 dollar minimum wage that goes on there as well and a 15 dollar minimum wage recommendation?

S4: And I believe and I was asking them about this this morning, a proposal or a pitch to get rid of the tipped minimum wage, which is like a nightmare thing we have.

S3: Yeah, that’s when they get rid of the tipped minimum wage, get rid of the low. You know, there’s a lower minimum wage for disabled people. I think getting rid of that. Yes.

S4: Get rid of these things. They’re so discriminatory. The minimum wage really discriminates against against women, especially women of color. Right. Like in some places you make like two dollars and change an hour. It’s just it’s absolutely wild. So it’s a package that recognizes the people who have been really disproportionately hurt by the pandemic and it recognizes how the pandemic and the economy are intertwined. And I’m sure you will want to talk about how it’s also like a package that’s like, yeah, we’re going to borrow money to spend to do this. Like the deficit doesn’t matter.

S3: There’s no pay for in this at all. This is one of the most refreshing things about this package for me is that it divorcées the taxing in the spending. Right, like fiscal policy is made up of taxes and expenditures. And in Congress for decades, there’s these two have been very closely linked. And every time you come out with a spending program, you need to come out with this thing called to pay for like some kind of like, how are you going to pay for it? And I have no problem with taxes going up, revenues going up, deficits coming down. I have no problem with that. But like, that’s separate. And so I feel like it really makes sense to me. It’s like, let’s just do the spending that we need to do. And if we need to raise taxes for whatever reason, at whatever time, we can do that in a separate bill. And you don’t need to tie them together.

S1: Yeah. Also, because if you are significantly increasing taxes, that could also offset some of the spending that you’re doing. So while it is perfectly reasonable to say that once the economy is on sounder footing, we can consider various spending increases, I think that that’s reasonable. But I don’t think it makes any sense to do those right now when the economy is still very weak.

S3: So, Kathy, this is every liberal’s wet dream, right? This is exactly what everyone wanted. All the right thinking leftists.

S5: Can I be honest? I didn’t read as much about it as you guys just said, but it does sound pretty good. The only sort of pause I have is what you said about like the minimum wage for people with disabilities, which is that like I have a friend who has an entire company based on giving people with disabilities an opportunity to work, and they just can’t be as productive as people without disabilities. Like she specifically wants to give them jobs. And that’s going to ruin her business. She won’t be able to employ them. You know, it’s actually a company that builds things for people with disabilities. Like it’s a really, really wonderful company that really needs that exception to stay in business. But anyway, I’m just saying, like, that’s a relatively minor detail in this larger a very good story. And I hope it works. I mean, the real question, of course, and feel like you’re right to point out that we shouldn’t pretend to pay for everything as we go. But like the real question is, can this actually happen?

S3: It’s clear that the only reason he came out so big and so bold was because of the results of the Georgia election right now that. Yeah. Control of the Senate, he feels that he can ask for something big and it’s really interesting, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which has been in the pocket of the Republican Party for as long as I can remember, came out within about five minutes and said, this is a great plan. We support it. I do think there are going to be Joe Manchin, fiscally conservative Democrats who don’t want to spend this much money. But I also think it’s entirely possible, depending on how sort of constructive and cooperative Mitch McConnell is feeling, that there will be Republicans, Lisa Murkowski, people like that, who will want to sign onto this. The centerpiece of this proposal is raising the checks to two thousand six hundred. So that’s an extra fourteen hundred dollars. That’s something that not only Donald Trump has called for, but that’s something that Marco Rubio has called for. So I think it’s doable, not only doable, that they might be able to get something very similar to this through, but also given the way that horse trading works in the Senate, it’s actually possible that the total bill will become bigger rather than smaller in reconciliation. In order to get votes, they’ll throw some money, extra money at some senators pet project. And that’s going to be what gets over the line.

S1: It’s possible that if I if I was betting, I’d say it’s probably going to be end up being slightly smaller. I mean, I think you’re right that it is entirely possible that you will get Republican support. It is entirely possible that some of the more conservative Democrats will be upset. However, I think, you know, because you have things like the two thousand dollar checks, which we can argue if that’s like the best use of, you know, there are ways you could say, well, if I cut a little bit here and then you try everything else. So I would be shocked if it was bigger.

S4: I do want to say that just seeing a coherent plan released by the president elect was really. Mind blowing to me, because I realize I mean, it’s no secret we don’t like Trump, obviously, but I realize that like this pandemic has been going on for almost a year. They never put out a plan. I never got a plan from them that I was able to understand and read that had any kind of vision or any kind of recognition of the scope of crisis we’re facing. So to bring it some positivity here, like it’s heartening to see some leadership and vision. And there’s definitely little like squabbles. I noticed, you know, progressives having with the plan. But just to have an acknowledgement that there’s a huge crisis that’s been going on and we need to address it. And here are ways and like here’s our rationale is like truly seems revolutionary right now.

S3: The whole thing is a rebuke of Trump and a not very subtle way. So it’s like we’re going to spend 20 billion dollars just distributing the vaccine. There’s no way that should be necessary in twenty twenty one, you know, distributing the vaccine and stuff that should have been put through legislation sometime in the summer before the vaccine even existed. They’re going to spend nine billion dollars on extra. Basically, it’s security stuff in the wake of that massive Russian hack to try and rebuild the information infrastructure of the US government, which has now been just completely infested by Russian worms and Trojans and all the rest of it. And again, that’s something that the Trump administration should have done months ago and hasn’t done. And there’s a whole bunch of stuff in this bill that you’re just looking at and saying, well, I’m glad it’s happening, but there’s no reason, there’s no good reason why the federal government shouldn’t have done this a long time ago.

S4: The money to schools to like that should have happened in the summer before schools opened in September. This is basically the Biden administration paying off the deaths of of the Trump administration. They’re coming in and paying off the credit card bill, basically cleaning up the mess, half of it.

S1: It’s a return to normalcy. Right. You know, like we’ve I think we’ve existed in this Trump world for so long that really obvious things seem somewhat like, oh, wow, we actually have a real plan. We actually have, like, these very obvious things you would do, which probably even other Republicans would have done in the situation. They were interruptus, but he didn’t. And I think hopefully now we will at least, you know, be back in the land of somewhat normal.

S5: If you guys don’t mind me pooping on your positive, please do just a little bit. That’s your job. Kept coming up with you. We need that. And you know it. So be it. If that’s my job. No, it’s just like if you’ll excuse me, because I’m thinking I just turned in my book, by the way, which is why I have time to be here today. I’m so glad I have. But I just turned in my book called The Shame Machine to my editor. And like, I’m very fixated on the concept of norms. And like, when can we shame people? When can we not shame people? And what’s happened? Of course. And I’m not I’m just restating what you guys just said in my way of thinking about it is like we went from being completely unable to share norms and to even consider shaming Trump to being like, OK, well, at least by then speaking our language, we might not agree with him in every way, but at least he’s in our normal group and we can, like, be upset when he doesn’t represent our full view. And like, that’s really good because it’s a huge difference. Like, it goes from inescapably away from us to something that we feel a little bit of control over. But I’m just getting ready. I’m girding myself for the fact that it’s like it’s going to be really frustrating because we’re like, oh, wait, you speak my language, but you’re not listening, you know, to me, like we’re going to go back to the same frustrations we forgot we loved so much. We forgot we hated so much. That’s what I mean. It’s like it’s good because he’s within our normal group. But it’s going to be just so frustrating, but not scary and chaotic and actually existentially threatening. So that’s good.

S1: Well, but I’m glad that, like, what Biden as a moderate now represents is so much more far to the left than what would have been a moderate five years ago.

S3: So, I mean, this is this is not a moderate policy. There’s nothing in this one point nine trillion dollar bill that really especially not when you add in the extra two trillion or so that he wants to do. On top of this, once this emergency bill is done, he’s got this whole build back better plan to turn the economy green. And everything like this is he is not a moderate, economically speaking. He is a moderate sort of in his soul. Perhaps he’s, you know, an older gentleman who doesn’t he has never been the firebrand. But economic orthodoxy and the Democratic Party have moved significantly to the left since he’s got that.

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