After a long hiatus due to other demands, I am back to once more contribute to this fine site. I trust you have all kept well.
In this piece, I seek to discuss seeming parallels between the Biden and Trump Administrations on policy. This is not a one-to-one comparison, so please put that strawman away. The policies of the President and his Administration are what are under consideration here. Not civility, decency or any of that other polite-society nonsense. I seek to look purely at the policy decisions of the Administration. Under this lens, I see evidence of a disturbing pattern of continuity that flys in the face of claims that Mr. Biden is the new FDR or some other agent of transformational change.
I’m Seeing a Pattern Here, Part One: Biden Appoints Trump Judges
The Hill is reporting that the Biden Administration has appointed ‘a slate’ of judges, first considered under the previous Administration, to immigration courts. Specifically, quoting
The Biden team has hired a slate of immigration judges initially selected during the Trump era, angering advocates who argue the White House is already failing to deliver in its pledge to push back against the prior administration’s shaping of the judiciary. The first 17 hires to the court system responsible for determining whether migrants get to remain in the country is filled with former prosecutors and counselors for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as well as a few picks with little immigration experience
Trump judges appointed by a Democratic Administration? The same Democratic Party who spent the previous six years mindlessly bashing Trump? If I were a conspiracy theorist, I would say that Trump himself was the issue, not his policies and appointees, but that is for another time.
Also, interesting, is it not, that prosecutors and lawyers who worked for federal immigration enforcement agencies should become judges? No bias in those appointments. In addition, picking some individuals with no experience also screams competence. The Hill even adds that almost none of these appointees spent their careers representing migrants in court. Bodes well, Mr. President.
A former immigration judge, now serving as a law professor, aptly sums up the situation when he says
This is a list I would have expected out of Bill Barr or Jeff Sessions, but they’re not the attorney general anymore. Elections are supposed to have consequences…No one on that list is among the top 100 asylum authorities in the country, and that’s the kind of people they should be hiring — not prosecutorial re-treads.
Much to unpack here. The judge correctly identifies the Trumpian nature of these appointees, noting acerbically that ‘elections are supposed to have consequences’. This latter point gets to the core of the issue: there is seemingly little difference between Biden and Trump on this issue, at least in terms of judicial appointments. For Biden to appoint a slate of Trump’s judges does suggest some form of agreement with the policy of the previous White House. Before anyone suggests it, I am not making a one-to-one comparison. Rather, I am suggesting that Mr. Biden could have found his own appointees more in line with his apparently more humane immigration philosophy. He was not obligated to take on nominees considered by the previous Administration. You are what you do, and this does not reflect well on you, Mr. President
I’m Seeing a Pattern Here, Part Two: The Trump Tax cuts
Business Insider reports that, as part of negotiations with Republicans to fund his recovery agenda, Biden offered to reverse his pledge to do away with the 2017 Trump tax cut. This bill, according to the Tax Policy Center, was a large redistribution of wealth to the top. This study is the basis for a claim some of you may have heard, that 83% of the benefits of the 2017 tax bill went to the top 1%. One may argue that compromise is the essence of practical politics, and that campaign rhetoric is meaningless, but this still looks terrible. By even offering to maintain this plutocratic tax bill, the President has released blood into the water, displaying weakness on which Republicans will seize. Your negotiation strategy needs work, Sir.
I’m Seeing a Pattern Here, Part Three: The Military Budget
The Hill reports that President Biden’s Administration has set forth a military budget of $753Bil, approximately a $20Bil increase. While this figure admittedly does basically line up with inflation, it must be said that three-quarters of a trillion dollars is outrageous for a military budget. You lead the nominal ‘left’ party in America, Mr. President. Your military budget is more than the previous guy, who was allegedly an agent of a foreign power? That much establishment criticism of Trump was rendered hollow by the fact that they continued to grant him gargantuan military budgets should not be doubted.
But why, you ask. Why should the leader of the nominally ‘left’ party maintain these absurd budgets when Flint, Michigan has no clean water? While anywhere from 45-60000 people die every year because of the American ‘health’ system?
Conclusion: It’s the Corruption, Stupid
The motivation behind the apparent continuation of many Trump policies under Mr. Biden, many with bipartisan support, is quite simple. In no small irony, corruption is a bipartisan thing. What former President Eisenhower so prophetically christened the military-industrial complex has successfully purchased the loyalty of both parties. But the military-industrial complex is hardly alone. Have you ever noticed that issues receiving actual bipartisan support are almost always in the interest of the donor class? This is simply the reality of American politics: both sides are, in fact, bought.
Epilogue: Why Must We Vote for Biden Again?
The President is what the President does as I said above. While not ignoring the President, my ire is for those hacks who said ‘gotta vote for Biden, gotta vote for Biden’ like the partisan parakeets they were. The simple question, is why? Why should the Democratic base vote for Biden? His policies to some considerable extent mirror those of the Great Orange Disaster. What is the difference?
Mr. Biden aptly summed up his term (and indeed the Democratic Party) when he said
Nothing will fundamentally change.
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