Not To Jinx It Or Anything, But Joe Biden's Having A Pretty Good Week, Huh?
Inflation is flattening out too. This must be terrible news!
If the New York Times, Politico , Roll Call, and CNN all say Joe Biden has had a pretty darn good couple of weeks — almost all of it while isolating at the White House due to a COVID infection, which was then followed by a rebound infection — then we say it's damn well time for the POTUS to go out and catch the monkey pox.
Wait, no, we are not the New York Times Pitchbot; strike that last clause.
Still, it's been a pretty impressive run-up to Biden's summer vacation, which is due to start just as soon as the House passes the Inflation Reduction Act so he can sign it. Let's just review all the stuff that's come out of the Biden White House while Joe himself stayed prophylactically inside.
You just stop that snickering, you, it means preventively and you know it. We will have no more tittering from the back of the class.
Joe Biden Hellfired A Man In Kabul Just To Watch Him Die
August kicked off with the news that Biden had authorized a drone strike that killed al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri a few days earlier, in Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, which if you want to get technical about it, was not a place the Taliban should have allowed al-Zawahiri to even be, what with their promise not to let al Qaeda operate in Afghanistan ever again. Crom knows the drone war has often been a horror show, but this time the missile killed a genuinely terrible person that it was meant to. Naturally, Fox News quickly suggested that no one should "feel safer," because Joe Biden is just that bad at presidenting.
We bet Biden probably took the necessary lesson from that criticism, which is why the FBI served that search warrant at Donald Trump's Florida trash palace in person, instead of delivering it remotely.
Manchin And Schumer In The Senate, Their Hands Clasped
Just two weeks after it looked like Sen. Joe Manchin had sunk any hope of passing much of anything before the midterms, he and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer suddenly announced that they had reached a deal on a major effort to fight climate change, contain healthcare costs, raise taxes on the filthy rich, and even reduce the federal deficit a bit. They took most of the climate provisions in last year's Build Back Better bill, trimmed the dollar amounts a bit, added a plan to let Medicare negotiate drug prices and to cap seniors' annual out-of-pocket costs, and paid for it with a minimum tax on corporations and increased funding for the IRS to modernize its computers and hire more staff to run down tax cheats. Then they called it the "Inflation Reduction Act," because Manchin hates inflation. Hell, to get him on board with serious climate action, they could've called it the "Houseboat and Maserati SUV Appreciation Act of 2022" and we'd be for it.
For a terrific overview of the bill's climate provisions, which should help cut US greenhouse emissions to 40 percent of 2005 levels by 2030, give a listen to the Volts podcast hosted by supreme energy geek Dave Roberts, with climate policy wonks Dr. Leah Stokes and Dr. Jesse Jenkins. One nifty observation among many: Because fuel costs drive about 40 percent of inflation, a switch to clean energy will in the long term help control inflation, particularly since electricity rates are far more stable than volatile fossil fuel prices.
The Senate passed the bill last weekend, and then it went to the House, where Nancy Pelosi is expected to get it passed tomorrow, YAY PLANET AND THE LIFE ON IT, THAT'S US!
Hello, Mr. Chips (And Science Act)
Hours before Schumer and Manchin announced that they had pinky-swore to cut carbon emissions, the US Senate passed a $280 billion package of technology and science funding aimed at ramping up US microchip manufacturing, as well as a lot of investment in basic science and research and development. It's a good bill, and Republicans were soon very angry that they'd voted for it, because they are big dumb jerks. You see, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Mordor) had vowed his party would never pass the bill if Democrats revived any part of Build Back Better. With Manchin's apparent abandonment of BBB, enough Senate Rs supported the CHIPS and Science Act to get it past the filibuster.
But then Manchin and Schumer announced their climate deal, and the Republicans waxed wroth, crying that they'd been cheated into doing something good for the economy, and they hated the tricksy Democratses, HATED THEM. The GOP hissy continued the next day when the House voted to pass the bill too, but without several of the Rs who had previously supported it, because again, they are such pissy little sons of a Took. Naturally enough, Republicans in the Senate immediately took revenge on ...
The Troops, Who Almost Got Screwed, But Eventually Got Help
With the inerrant moral clarity you'd expect from the modern Republican Party, Senate Rs promptly killed a vote on the Honoring Our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics Act , aka the PACT act, which funded medical care for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who contracted any number of terrible illnesses from breathing air polluted by the "burn pits" where military bases got rid of all their garbage, latrine waste. and random military castoffs including toxic chemical waste. Only seven Republicans joined all 50 Senate Dems in supporting the bill, so it fell short of the 60 votes needed to pass. In June, a nearly identical bill passed 84-14, and no, nothing of consequence had changed in the bill.
Fortunately, after everyone in America who still possessed a functioning moral center cried SHAME! SHAME! the Senate came back and passed the bill last week, and Joe Biden signed it into law yesterday.
Americans Are Taking Americans' Jobs!
We think the ol' perception needle really started changing last Friday, when the Labor Department released its monthly jobs report, which showed a whopping 528,000 new jobs added to payrolls in July. That was just a bit more than double the 250,000 jobs economists had forecast, and it was such a surprise to Fox News, which had been anticipating weak job growth all morning, that the network ran a chyron suggesting that the report had been terrible news: "WH MISSES FORECAST ON LOWER JULY JOBS GROWTH."
The jobs news felt to us at least like it had shaken something loose in the media; the first of the "Joe Biden's doing pretty darn well, isn't he?" stories we saw, at Roll Call, posted the same day, although it didn't mention the jobs report, and dourly noted that Biden "still can't catch a break."
But the news that the nation was back to pre-pandemic employment numbers — above them a bit, in fact — was definitely included in subsequent stories . Sunday's Senate passage of the climate bill brought more headlines about Joe Biden being on a roll, like the New York Times's "Biden Is on a Roll That Any President Would Relish. Is It a Turning Point?" and Politico's "Biden suddenly is piling up wins. Can Dems make it stick?"
Inflation Didn't Inflate Last Month
Just for good measure, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Wednesday that July saw no increase in the Consumer Price Index, meaning the inflation rate was a nice round zero. That was mostly due to a decline in gas prices, although grocery items increased in cost. Not out of the woods, but definitely good news.
The BLS followed that today with a report showing the Producer Price Index — the cost of making stuff — actually declined by half a percent, again primarily due to lower fuel prices. It was the first decline in the PPI since April 2020, which is, again, good inflation news.
Heck, a new poll even shows Joe Biden's approval rating improving a touch, though only to 40 percent, but that's better than it had been much of the summer. In what could be a hopeful sign for the midterm elections, the biggest gain was among Democrats, who, you know, need to get to the polls in three months.
Now, tomorrow, the House will pass the Inflation Reduction Act, barring any shenanigans, and we can all spend the rest of August relaxing and preparing for civil war.
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