$2000.00 stimulus checks are popular. Their popularity was such, even in Georgia, that it led to the Democrats taking control of the Senate. (It was a big part of the campaigning for the runoff)
Now, the very serious people are trying to scale back and means test the stimulus to irrelevancy.
It is patently clear that this is bad policy and even worse politics. It is George H.W. Bush’s no new taxes pledge all over again:
On January 4, Joe Biden made an unequivocal pledge, telling voters that by electing Democrats to Georgia’s senate seats, “you can make an immediate difference in your own lives, the lives of people all across this country because their election will put an end to the block in Washington on that $2,000 stimulus check, that money that will go out the door immediately to people who are in real trouble.”
Now they are counting the $600, so $1400 is the new 2000, saying that it will take months to pass the bill, making overtures to Republicans, etc.
A little more than a decade later, the public option fight should be a harrowing cautionary tale for Biden on both the policy and the politics. He had a front-row seat in watching a bad-faith Republican opposition kill a much-needed initiative, and then use Democrats’ failure to deliver to win at the polls. He of all people should know that this story never ends well.
The $2,000 checks initiative does not have to go down the same way the public option went down. The president and congressional Democrats do not have to do what weak-kneed, wimpy Democrats of the past have so often done. They do not have to negotiate against themselves, word-parse their way out of campaign pledges and delude themselves into thinking that Republicans are good-faith legislative partners.
They could instead try to use their election mandate — and the weakened state of the GOP — to demand full survival checks, rather than pretending that bad-faith Republican senators have any standing to make policy arguments.
The “Very Serious People” are going to “reasonable” themselves into losses in 2022 that make the 2010 blood letting look like a walk in the park.