Joe Biden Doesn't Need More Time. He Needs Progressives to Demand an Ambitious Agenda
"Give Joe Biden time."
"He just got there."
"Trump left him a hell of a mess. It's unreasonable to expect him to turn things around in a month or two."
"Now is not the time to criticize him or the Democrats. When would be a good time? I don't know, but certainly not now. Later."
These are talking points used by President Joe Biden and his defenders against progressive critics -- progressives who, for the most part, voted for him -- who attack him for doing too little on COVID-19 stimulus, health care, minimum wage, student loan debt forgiveness and other important issues.
Despite being couched in an oh-so-reasonable-sounding tone, "give the man more time" makes zero sense.
Asking the left to be patient would be reasonable if President Biden had an ambitious agenda. But he doesn't. Like fellow incrementalist former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, Joe Biden isn't proposing any big fixes or programs. His ideas are nips and tucks ranging in impact from the symbolic to a Band-Aid on a giant open wound. Which is why none of them will work.
If Joe Biden wanted Congress to approve a $10 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that would put $2,000 a month into the pocket of every American until the end of the lockdown Depression, as Bernie Sanders proposed, which would put a major dent into the pain felt by the tens of millions of Americans who have lost their jobs over the last year, Democrats would have a strong case for asking their left base to hold their fire while Biden fights with Congress and makes his case to the American people via the bully pulpit.
But he doesn't.
Instead of actually trying to fix the problem, Biden is proposing a watered-down $1.9 trillion bill whose price tag would sound impressive if not for the fact that the American economy is teetering on the brink of collapse. It's a weak proposal that contains what was originally promised to be $2,000 just one single time and then reduced to $1,400 one single time and now -- after consultations with right-wing DINOs like Joe Manchin of West Virginia -- will be radically curtailed by even less generous means testing than was used by former President Donald Trump's administration. Even if passed as is, which is unlikely in a split 50-50 Senate, Biden's so-called stimulus will fail. It cannot work.