by Wayne McLaughlin
There is no such thing as ‘shovel ready’ sitting on someone’s shelf waiting to go. With Trump’s construction background, he knows that and after exposure of Obama’s empty ‘shovel ready’ shelf, the Democrats know that. Repairing a creaky infrastructure requires substantial engineering for development of documents that the shovel wielders can bid on which will take a minimum of two to three years to even be bid-ready.
These are never done ahead of time because, (a) they are expensive and available money has digging with lane closures etc. as a priority and, (b) why do it for an indefinite future project when the requirements will probably change.
And so, we have Kabuki politics with elaborate costumes and stylized choreography as Trump and Schumer take the measure of one another while going through the appointment and approval process. Talk of agreement on public works and how to pay for it, as-a-way to get the economy moving, is completely specious.
Ground breaking on anything substantial and expensive is at least three years away and if the economy can’t support if financially by then, Trump can get ready for an early retirement.
Economic nourishment will come in the form of tax cuts and repeals of Dodd-Frank and Obamacare. These are tough nuts to crack and senate Republicans have a big decision about what to do with the filibuster. Following on the Harry Reid precedence will probably eliminate it forever as a protection of minority rights in the Senate on things that count.
And who really speaks for the Democratic party and who is the rank and file? Is it the disaffected middle class who went for Trump in search of jobs and security whom the party wants to recapture or the street gaggle in funny hats who carry provocative signs and break windows?
Traditionally, Democrats and Republicans have traveled parallel paths, separated by different problem solving philosophies, but converging with compromise to address critical issues. As alternatives to mainstream media communication came into use, fringe philosophies gained electoral viability and purged both parties of moderate voices. Winning replaced compromise as the only acceptable outcome to any substantive debate.
Racism, misogynistic and worse became the lingua franca of legislative debate resulting in stalemated positions that lead to presidential executive orders as the only way to move off the dime. This leads to instability and unpredictability since those orders are only valid for the life of a presidential term. Voters view the results as a ‘do-nothing’ congress and a chief executive with alarmingly increasing power.
The Republicans have their leader for the next four to eight years, but who will emerge on the Democratic side with the communication skills and leadership ability to set the tone going forward. Will it be Chuck Schumer, as a voice of legislative reason or a shrill, let’em all burn in hell, Elizabeth Warren or Cory Booker, a wannabe Obama redux? Or somebody else?
The result will determine how far and how fast the U.S. economy can regain its strength after 16 years of post-millennium falderal.
by Wayne McLaughlin