Trump leaves Biden with millions out of work and worst deficit in history


Biden is inheriting an economy in shambles.

When President-elect Joe Biden takes the oath of office in six days, he will inherit an economy in shambles, thanks in large part to Donald Trump's failed coronavirus response — a calamity that experts say will require more stimulus to get back on the right path.

Nearly 10 million people are currently without jobs, according to the most recent data, which will make Donald Trump the first president since Herbert Hoover in 1933 to leave office with fewer people employed than when his term began.

What's more, the deficit is currently at its highest level ever, standing at more than $3.1 trillion as of October. That number was more than double the last deficit record from 2009, when the deficit reached $1.4 trillion during the Great Recession.

Part of that deficit is thanks to the coronavirus relief legislation Congress passed.

However, the deficit was growing prior to the pandemic. Experts say one reason was the tax law Republicans passed in 2017. While Republicans claimed the tax cuts would pay for themselves, a study found that the tax cut instead helped the rich get richer without creating any positive impact on economic growth.

Now, experts say Biden will need to push through more economic stimulus to get the economy back on the right track.

On Thursday, Biden plans to unveil another coronavirus relief package, which includes a round of $2,000 stimulus checks, as well as increased unemployment insurance payments. It comes with a price tag of $2 billion, CNN reported.

Democrats are likely to be on board, as they wanted to pass $2,000 checks last year but were thwarted by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who blocked the bigger checks from passing.

Democrats will control the Senate once Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris are sworn in, as Harris will serve as the tie-breaking vote in the 50-50 split chamber.

Yet Senate Republicans will still have considerable power to block legislation, thanks to the filibuster. The arcane rule forces Senate legislation to garner 60 votes to advance, and thus allows the minority party to block bills.

Senate Republicans, who didn't care about the national debt when Trump was in office, have already signaled that they will once again block legislation, citing fears of its price tag and how much it will add to the deficit.

During the debate over the last round of coronavirus relief, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) railed against the bill's price tag.

"If free money were the answer, if money really grew on trees, why not give more free money? Why not give it out all the time? Why stop at $600 a person? Why not $1,000? Why not $2,000?" Paul said in a speech from the Senate floor in late December, as the relief bill was being debated.

Democrats are likely to point out the hypocrisy over the GOP's deficit position.

"Interesting how the deficit only matters when it comes to helping people, but not when it comes to bailing out corporations & tax breaks for the wealthy," Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) tweeted during the last coronavirus relief debate. 

But it remains to be seen whether charges of hypocrisy will move Senate Republicans.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.