The president flew out today, on his way to Europe to talk up his new spending plan. Which, at present, is half what his first spending plan was and does nothing to reduce our spending deficit, not to mention our debt.
Which is fine. Keynes explained it to us: Why it is that, in tough times, we need to borrow and spend so that the good times return sooner. He used many pages of complicated mathematical formulae to back up his premise, and the number of people who can even understand them much less comprehensibly explain them is tiny, so let’s just take his word on it, shall we? The government is right to borrow and spend. We may disagree on how it spends what it gets—
Ah, but that’s the point, isn’t it? We do disagree. We pretty much all disagree, and volubly, at great length.
It’s highly unusual for a new president to address Congress within his first year, much less his first hundred days. With a near-deserted hall (thanks to COVID) in a fortified building surrounded by heavily armed riot police and not a few National Guardsmen, tonight’s address made history in several ways.
What wasn’t unusual was the content. Although it was delivered in an almost informal, folksy style, we heard exactly what we expected to. The tone was optimistic, and the message was clear: Biden laid out his agenda for the coming months, and he expects to make it happen. How, exactly, is another question entirely.
President Obama had his detractors — some focusing on policy, others for far less admirable reasons — but he did have two qualities that I’m missing dearly right now: First, he was incredibly charismatic, capable of inspiring people; second, he was not merely capable of complete sentences but remarkably well-spoken.