Letter: Stuck in Limbo

“I alone can fix it [U.S. governance]” was President Trump’s mantra at the 2016 Republican Convention. Last Friday, the public witnessed a complete breakdown in White House and congressional decisionmaking at a time when the pandemic is exacting its highest U.S. death toll ever (164,000 and counting) and the economy is reeling from Depression-level unemployment (10.5 million). This breakdown in U.S. governance suggests that Trump’s self-confidence was misplaced. His remedial Saturday executive orders were administratively and legally unworkable. By any measure, his White House governance has been incompetent, churning through more West Wing executive positions (chief of staff, national security adviser, communications director, White House press secretary, etc.) in four years than seen in any previous administration. His fourth choice of chief of staff, Mark Meadows, seems more interested in promoting conservative ideology than in addressing the current economic and public health crises. This may explain why the White House-blessed coronavirus rescue package assembled last week included billions of dollars for Air Force jets and a new $1.75 billion FBI building. Despite these billions of dollars for non-COVID-19-related expenditures, this Republican draft response to the Democrats’ $3 trillion HEROES coronavirus relief bill passed by the House last May was still $2 trillion shy of the amount that the Democrats said was necessary to blunt the damage being caused by the twin crises. While the House Democrats are united, there is an unbridgeable divide within Senate Republicans between ideologically rigid budget hawks and Trump-at-any-cost supporters. This Republican disunity makes it difficult for the Republican Congressional leadership to reach any deal without majority support of Democrats. The rescue package money that leaders of both political parties say is needed to stave off the worst effects of the current economic recession is in limbo because of the resulting political deadlock. Millions of increasingly desperate Americans are getting little help from Washington. It is no wonder that 74 percent of Americans polled last week said that the country was on the wrong track. Only the U.S. electorate can resolve this political train wreck by electing to replace these incompetents 12 weeks from now.

William McCarthy

The Malibu Times is the first newspaper in Malibu, serving the community since 1946.

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