Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A summer of things breaking

Today, my biological Dad would have been 70 years old. He was into electronics back in the 1970s, so I'm sure he would have been engaged in a lot of the developments we've seen over the decades since then. He was also into God's Word, and he would have known that none of these things change the sinful heart of man or the struggles that we face.

As the pandemic and its effects have continued into the fall, this summer has seen a lot of things break. Relief assistance has run out, and people are turning to other ways to make ends meet. With everyone under pressure and a lot of things a stake, it's easy to make a misstep and make things worse instead of better. I've seen this with both my internet connection, and also with services I use like IFTTT and Twitter. I've spent hours on refining how I use both, only to have them throw massive amounts of that away by disabling key features of their products.

I don't like relying on and waiting for GPO and Congress.gov for things either, but at least there, the institutions pre-date the latest dot-com hype and have a record of longevity.

As for more relief, don't count on it coming or lasting for a while. Democrats are vastly overestimating their negotiating hand leading up to the election. They're treating this like just another deal where they want to spend a lot, and if they wait long enough Republicans will cave and go along. At the time of the Cares Act passing in March, several Republican Senators commented about how this was an extremely exceptional just-this-once kind of situation to stop the bottom from falling out. Their tolerance for additional spending is at supersaturated levels. They recognize the instability of our fiscal situation, even if not all outward appearances are fully indicative of our precarious financial state.

In the last week or so, there have been several headlines from Congress about how much pressure Speaker Pelosi is getting from her caucus about doing something. For Republicans, this was an ideal moment to keep quiet while the opposition fractured.

Interestingly, one Republican, the President, did not keep quiet, and instead made mention of accepting a “much higher number.” If anyone thought that would shift pressure from Democrats to Republicans, they should be quickly disabused of that notion as Senate Republicans were exceedingly quick to basically say, “Yeah, that's not going to happen.” Republicans may cave when billions are at stake, but not when trillions are on the line.

Don't count on Schumer or Pelosi figuring that out right away, though. They're already relieved the press has someone else to talk about besides them. The days still keep counting though, and when the calendar gets closer to the election, and there's still no deal, they'll see that the pressure is still on them and has been the whole time. Changing expiration dates of spending programs is a worthless negotiating tactic, even if the press parrots the “but we're meeting them in the middle” talking point for them. (Look for related links to these things on Pray for Congress this weekend.)

So far Democrats and the media seem oblivious to certain trends this year, but 2020 is shaping up to be another 2010 politically: a backlash against Democratic party overreach.

Exhibit A: Pandemic lockdowns
Exhibit B: Governor “the two would have a conversation” Northam in Virginia
Exhibit C: Virginia's General Assembly 2020 regular session

And yes, the rest of the country sees and reacts to what can happen in what they thought was a like-minded state. Kentucky, for example, is quite vigilant and aware of these things. South Dakota, too.

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