I am pretty sure this is not what most of us thought we were getting in a Biden presidency. I imagined someone more like Ike or Coolidge, which, personally, sounds pretty good.
But I also know that’s not the modern presidency.
A successful presidency, if such a thing is still possible at all, aims big.
So, while this is not what most people were expecting, it certainly is interesting.
And while doctrinaire free-market types will scream that this is madness, is it not possible that the American government, as it relates to the economy, should change with circumstance? In other words, one medicine is not right for all ailments and all circumstances. When you have a migraine, you do not call for chemotherapy. And when you have cancer, you need more than aspirin and hot tea.
Maybe there is a time for activism and a time for contraction.
If the Reagan argument could be boiled down to: Government is not the solution, it is the problem, the Roosevelt-Biden argument can also be boiled down. The mantra is as follows: If government cannot help ordinary people get through life during a Great Depression, or a pandemic, why do we have government?
We used to call this “positive government.” The notion is that sometimes, like saving the American auto industry, Uncle Sam needs to step in, because no other entity can or will do it. (Maybe Uncle Sam should have hung around and insisted that, in return for a bailout, U.S. auto industry jobs stay in the U.S.)
But can we afford all this? $5 trillion? Really?
I have my doubts. I am not sure state and local government can even absorb the rescue money intelligently.