Sunday, April 2, 2023

comparing policy accomplishments of Biden, Trump and others

A few principles to try to apply consistently:

-If you take credit for spending, you gotta take credit for the subsequent taxes and undemocratic debt. Unless you do something impressive with the spending, then that's at best a net zero-- or a clear net-negative for a supposed democracy-lover like Biden.

-Spending money is easy and politically useful for the President & Congress-- and thus, not some mark of great courage or leadership.

-We can elevate "gun safety bill" to top-tier if you want, but then you have to be consistent and give other presidents credit for similar-level accomplishments. (E.g., Trump on whistle-blowers, human trafficking, veterans, etc.)

-I prefer to keep the waters clearer and focus on significant accomplishments that required some combo of vision and courage and/or moved the needle a lot. In the case of Trump, for example, I'm thinking of tax simplification, knocking out a ton of loopholes. I can't think of a Biden policy achievement that comes close to this. (I can think of one for Obama's eight years-- and that was decidedly mixed-bag.)

-At some level, you'd want to weigh in big policy plunders and missed opportunities (had majorities in both Houses but didn't do anything about the things that are apparently more fun to moan about than to take steps). In contrast, Reagan worked with a strongly Dem House to accomplish a bunch of impressive things.


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