Photo: Gage Skidmore (2019), Creative Commons License 2.0

Now that the COVID relief bill is law and the news on vaccines is looking better, the Biden administration is taking a very ugly turn, at least if you ask rightwing folks who are quite sensitive. For one thing, some Republican governors are shocked, shocked that the American Rescue Plan includes language prohibiting the bill's aid to states from being used as an excuse to cut taxes, when everyone in Washington should have already known that tax cuts are among the only thing GOP elected officials know how to do (along with restricting voting, cutting aid to the poor, and sending more police to minority communities).

Also, at her press briefing today, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said she didn't see any reason for Joe Biden to have thanked Donald Trump during last night's prime time speech on the pandemic, even though Trump personally made all the vaccines himself. So sad to see the Biden administration is now engaged in the very politics of personal destruction it claimed to decry during the campaign.


As the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is all kinds of angry about the relief bill, which he's sure is full of wasteful pork-barrel spending for blue states, and not enough for Georgia. What's worse, he declared, in addition to Georgia not getting his fair share of the money other states will waste, Kemp griped about a provision in the bill prohibiting the funds from paying for tax cuts:

"You heard that right: Democrats in Washington are now telling states they can't cut taxes, create new incentives that attract investment, or expand and incentivize school choice," he said.

"But bloated spending, special interest pork, a long list of liberal pet projects, and bailing out the states who poorly managed their economies are all fine by Washington standards."

And to think, Republicans still rail against postmodernism. But Kemp's complaint is very much shared on the Right; a Wall Street Journal editorial Tuesday griped that the provision is nothing less than a "sneak attack against conservative states," just like Pearl Harbor, maybe, if the Imperial Japanese Navy had dropped money on the USS Arizona and told the captain the money had to pay the sailors' salaries.

At issue, says the WSJ editorial board, is a provision added late in the process specifying that the aid to states should be used to

provide government services, cover revenue losses during the pandemic and "respond to the public health emergency" or "its negative economic impacts, including assistance to households, small businesses, and nonprofits, or aid to impacted industries such as tourism, travel, and hospitality."

How shocking! The editors are also upset that Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also "snuck a provision" into the bill that would allow the funds to provide "premium pay" to essential workers, as much as $13 an hour, and what sort of madness is that? But worst of all is the "gut punch" the bill aims at the abstemious abs of fiscally responsible Republican governors:

States "shall not use the funds," the bill says, "to either directly or indirectly [our emphasis] offset a reduction in the net tax revenue" that results "from a change in law, regulation, or administrative interpretation during the covered period that reduces any tax (by providing for a reduction in a rate, a rebate, a deduction, a credit, or otherwise) or delays the imposition of any tax or tax increase."

Wow. Democrats in Washington are trying to dictate to governors and state legislatures that they can't change their tax laws if they accept their share of the $1.9 trillion.

Now, the actual rules that would govern what states can and can't use the money for still have to be written by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, but the editorial is quite certain they'll be unreasonable, and will prohibit red states from tax changes needed to bribe attract new businesses forever, or at least until 2024. And what about the children? Will no one think of the children?

Some GOP legislatures also want to start or expand private-school choice programs that give tax credits to businesses and individuals that donate money for scholarships. Treasury could say these policies break the law. Beltway Democrats are essentially barring GOP-led states from improving their competitiveness against high-tax Democratic states.

How horrifying, that federal money can't go to encourage the weakening of public schools. What a world, what a world.

Still, if red states want to be free to cut taxes in the middle of a fiscal crisis, we suppose they could take the Heritage Foundation's advice and refuse the funds. That'll teach those tyrants in Washington a lesson!

In yet another assault on basic human decency, Jen Psaki today explained that no, it's not especially scandalous that in his speech last night, Joe Biden didn't thank Donald Trump for the bang-up job Trump did in giving Biden some very effective vaccines that were developed by private companies under Operation Warp Speed. Why, she didn't even remark on what a cool name that was, the monster!

Psaki noted that Biden and others in the administration have indeed praised the "Herculean, incredible effort by science and by medical experts" who actually developed the vaccines, adding, "And certainly, we've applauded that in the past and we're happy to applaud that again," but also alluding to the fact that Trump hadn't exactly built up any kind of legacy of trust in science, seeing as how he barely acknowledged there was a pandemic, frequently mocked wearing masks, and didn't even get his vaccination on camera to set any kind of example.

The reporter, NBC News's Peter Alexander, pressed the point, because after all, Trump was president when the scientists did all the work, so doesn't he get at least a little credit? Psaki passed, again, because she is still a monster, saying that the purpose of the speech was to provide an overview of where we are and what the administration will do going forward.

Americans are looking for facts, they're looking for details, they're looking for specifics. And I don't think they're worried too much about applause from six months ago when the president has already delivered that publicly.

Truly, she is the worst person ever in the world, and whatever happened to the civility and decency of the Trump years, said no person ever.

OPEN THREAD!

[AJC / WSJ / Business Insider / Photo: Gage Skidmore, Creative Commons License 2.0]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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