Why didn't the government just give everybody $10,000 or $20,000 each to do with as we please?
By Gary Abernathy
Student loan forgiveness: Government savior complex
I was struck by something said last week by Miguel Cardona, the Secretary of Education for the Biden administration. Cardona was discussing the student loan forgiveness announced by President Biden. He said, “And the goal of this is to really address the impact of the pandemic. We don't want folks to come out worse off now than they were before the pandemic.”
What struck me about it was that it was so similar to something I had heard before, from Donald Trump when he was president, shortly after the pandemic began in early 2020. Trump said, "We're also going to be talking about hourly wage earners getting help so that they can be in a position where they're not (going to) ever miss a paycheck, (and we’re) working with…a lot of companies so that they don't get penalized for something that's not their fault.”
From the beginning of the covid pandemic until today, spanning two administrations and two different parties, and over the course of more than two years, our government officials have sadly reflected the reality of what too many people think our government should be: A combination smothering nanny/helicopter parent/benevolent benefactor, protecting us all from the consequences of bad things when they happen, no matter the cost.
It’s a curious notion when you think about it, this idea that no one should ever suffer any harm due to “something that’s not their fault,” as Trump put it back in 2020. In the real world, of course, that happens all the time. Or, it used to. Years ago, we learned from childhood going forward that life is not always fair, nor should we expect it to be. And while the government should have policies to make life less onerous than it might otherwise be — within its budget — it’s a page out of Fantasy Land — or Marxism — to think that the government’s job is to make sure that no one ever misses a paycheck or that no one emerges from an unfortunate event worse than they went in.
Modern thinking in the U.S. is that government is our savior from all bad things. Welcome to 2020-2022 and beyond.
When people accept such benevolence from their government, they naturally begin to expect it over and over again. They begin to look at it as a right. Don’t worry about anything. Your government will always make things right again.
Such thinking leads to irresponsible decision making. When bad things happen, tough choices normally have to be made. What to keep and what to let go are usually among the choices, based on need and affordability. When you never have to worry about the consequences of your actions, it tends to lead to bad actions.
I pointed this out in a Washington Post column at the time.
Without having every reason to believe that Uncle Sam would step in, perhaps governors around the nation would have hesitated to close business and industry. We’ll never know. Instead, they felt empowered to act with impunity, safe in the knowledge that no matter how many businesses were forced to close and people thrown out of work in the name of public safety, there would be a federal bailout.
And so they were right. This week, our leaders agreed to devote trillions of dollars to respond to this economic calamity of our own creation, spending at levels that will make the 2008-09 bailouts and stimulus package look like testaments to frugality. It will be what we do from now on.
And, of course, it has been what we have done from then on, and what we will continue to do forever and ever. As the education secretary said, no one should have to come out worse off than before the pandemic. Why not? Well, just because. And so, there are trillions of dollars spent, often directed to communities that couldn’t figure out how to spend it all, each American household receiving thousands of dollars funneled into their bank accounts whether they needed it or not — and now, student loans forgiven that were originally given to people with the understanding they would be repaid. Now, not necessary. Enjoy.
I do not understand — in line with modern government fiscal thinking — why every American is not simply being given $10,000 or $20,000. If those who have student loans chose to use the money to pay off their loans, well, great. But to forgive student loans for those who borrowed money with the understanding it would have to be repaid, and do nothing for citizens who have either paid off their loans or never took them out in the first place, boggles the mind.
No, Trump never said people should ingest bleach
Each time I mention the lie that former President Trump suggested that people ingest bleach or any other kind of disinfectant — either by drinking it or injecting it — to combat covid, I hear from people insisting that yes, he did say that. They swear they heard it themselves, live on television. And they always cut and paste the same words to make their point.
Here’s the statement by Trump that they always quote to me:
"And then I see the disinfectant, where it knocks it out in one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning, because you see it gets in the lungs and it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it’d be interesting to check that, so that you’re going to have to use medical doctors with, but it sounds interesting to me. So, we’ll see, but the whole concept of the light, the way it kills it in one minute. That’s pretty powerful."
When people speak, they don’t use punctuation marks, unless they’re dictating a verbal text message, for example. So Trump didn’t say, “And is there a way we can do something like that, question mark.” Therefore, it’s left up to the reporter or editor to decide how to punctuate the sentence. Starting a sentence with, “And is there a way…” is clearly the beginning of a question. But too many outlets don’t use a question mark, such as the example above.
This NBC story used the same basic comments — although quoted slightly differently — but at least it added the question mark:
"I see the disinfectant that knocks it out in a minute, one minute. And is there a way we can do something like that by injection inside or almost a cleaning? As you see, it gets in the lungs, it does a tremendous number on the lungs, so it would be interesting to check that."
Immediately after that, news outlets rushed to medical experts on disinfectants and manufacturers of bleach to get them to warn about the dangers of ingesting bleach, as though Trump had suggested doing such a thing. He did not. He asked a hypothetical question. He noted that disinfectants and light can kill viruses on countertops and other surfaces, and simply mused, wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way for something similar to kill the virus inside the body?
Now, some may say it was a stupid question. Maybe it was. But news accounts would lead you to believe that Trump suggested that Americans drink bleach or inject themselves with disinfectant. He did not. It’s a lie to suggest that he did.
Among those who lied about what Trump said was Joe Biden, who said on the campaign trail in 2020, "And when it comes to COVID-19, after months of doing nothing, other than predicting the virus would disappear, or maybe if you drank bleach you may be okay, Trump has simply given up."
Let’s put aside for a minute that contrary to “doing nothing,” Trump actually shepherded a vaccine to market in record time, as well as doing many other things. But let’s stick with the “disinfectant” claim.
Biden claimed that Trump suggested that “if you drank bleach you may be okay.” That was a lie. PolitiFact fact-checked the claim, and got it mostly right. But even PolitiFact fudged on what Trump actually said versus how it summarized what he said.
Here’s what PolitiFact summarized: “Trump did not explicitly recommend ingesting a disinfectant like bleach. But he did express interest in exploring whether disinfectants could be applied to the site of a coronavirus infection inside the body, such as the lungs.”
In fact, Trump did not “express interest in exploring whether disinfectants could be applied to the site of a coronavirus infection inside the body, such as the lungs.” He specifically asked, “And is there a way we can do something like that, by injection inside or almost a cleaning…” Doing “something like that” is not suggesting “disinfectants” should be applied. In fact, a complete reading of his remarks shows that Trump was more focused on the concept of “light” killing the virus than bleach or any other kind of chemical disinfectant.
And expressing interest in exploring something is a far cry from suggesting that people do it — and too many news outlets reported that Trump suggested doing it.
PolitiFact rated Biden’s statement “Mostly False.” In fact, it was completely false, considering that Biden said that Trump said that “if you drank bleach you may be okay.” But editors continue to allow reporters and columnists to say that Trump told people to drink bleach or inject some other kind of disinfectant. It’s a lie.
NY Times suggests Trump may never be charged over docs
In its latest story on the FBI raid of Mar-a-Lago and Trump’s request for a special master to review documents taken from his private residence, the New York Times — in a four byline story — Glenn Thrush, Charlie Savage, Alan Feuer and Maggie Haberman — has a most interesting tidbit buried in the eighth paragraph.
Here’s what it it says, almost as an aside: “But department officials are not expected to file charges imminently, if they ever do. And the specific contents of the materials the government recovered in the search remain unclear — as does what risk to national security Mr. Trump’s decision to retain the materials posed.”
What? Following day after day of breathless reporting on how national security is imperiled over Trump’s possession of national security documents, “department officials are not expected to file charges imminently, if they ever do.” Seriously?
There’s a lot to this story that is yet to be fully reported. It’s always interesting when little asides such as this find their way into otherwise bombastic tales of mystery and intrigue. It’s like saying, “Hey, there’s a lot here to be seriously alarmed about — but on the other hand, it could be that charges are never filed.”
As I’ve noted many times, these endless investigations of Trump without ever culminating in anything close to criminal findings or convictions are wearing out the country. Fish or cut bait, please.
On explaining your politics to your grandchildren
Trump haters say, email, post or tweet things that often invoke grandchildren, either theirs or mine. A typical comment is, “I’m glad I’ll never have to explain to my grandchildren that I voted for a reprehensible character like Donald Trump.”
I’ve read that a hundred times in various forms from different people. If that thought actually makes them glad, I’m happy for them!
Here’s another example from an email I received from someone complaining about Trump’s behavior: '“If you have children or grandchildren, when you saw something like that, did you call your kids or grandkids, and say, ‘Come here, I want you to see how a great political figure worthy of your respect treats anyone who criticizes him?’”
The answer is, no I didn’t! Glad we settled that.
After Trump got into a high-profile verbal spat with someone a few years ago, a reader asked me, “Which of those would you want your grandchildren to model their lives after?”
Is that a trick question? The answer is - neither one! Did I pass?
The intent, of course, is to imply that anyone who voted for Trump should be so embarrassed, so filled with remorse, so ashamed as to require constant watching. And someday they’ll have to beg their grandchildren for forgiveness as they attempt, futilely, to explain or apologize for voting for Trump.
It never occurs to most of those folks that apologies might be in order someday for voting for a string of politicians who have basically turned America from capitalism to socialism, along with many other sad developments from the left.
Actually, I think people can vote for anyone they want and never have to explain or apologize for it to relatives or friends or enemies, whether they voted for Richard Nixon or George McGovern or Michael Dukakis or Mitt Romney or John Kerry or Bill Clinton or Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump or Joe Biden — or even Bernie Sanders. But people can disagree.
In the case of a lot of people I know, voting for Trump was actually a family affair — the grandparents and parents and grandchildren ALL voted for Donald Trump, in two consecutive elections. So that spares everyone having to explain things to anyone else up or down the family tree. Right? Or maybe it gets reversed, as in young Bobby or Mary, casting their first vote in their young lives, saying, “I’m can’t wait to explain to Grandma why I voted for Donald Trump!”
Not that anyone owes anyone an explanation. But it would be fun for people to start tweeting, posting or emailing things like, “At least I’ll never have to explain to my great uncle on my mother’s side why I voted for Donald Trump.” Or, “I’m glad I’ll never have to explain to my third cousin twice removed why I voted for Joe Biden.” Let’s make that a thing. Why should grandchildren bear the brunt of hearing all the explanations?
Here’s where Trump demonstrates delusional notions
Donald Trump does say stupid things. For example, after allegations that the FBI may have contributed to the Hunter Biden scandal being suppressed on social media, Trump said the following: “Declare the rightful winner, or hold a new Election, NOW!”
This is why I can’t support Trump going forward, despite there being a good argument in some of his other points above. He just doesn’t get that the election is over. He wouldn’t accept reality and participate in the peaceful transfer of power, and he still harbors delusional notions that he could be reinstated or that another election could be immediately held. That’s crazy talk.
I’ll agree with criticism of Trump when it’s warranted, such as for the above reason. But I won’t jump on every bandwagon of anti-Trump hatred, and I’ll defend him when he’s unfairly in the crosshairs of the media or law enforcement — not that it’s always unfair when he’s in those crosshairs, to be clear.
By the way, it’s hilarious that Trump is banned from Twitter, but Twitter is filled with screenshots of his posts from Truth Social.
Gorbachev was a historic figure, Reagan even more so
Former Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev died this week. Gorbachev was indeed a historic figure, someone who broke the mold of those who had preceded him. But the liberal media has always inflated his contributions to the end of the Cold War — which are substantial enough without embellishment — at the expense of the person who really took on the Soviets head-on and won — Ronald Reagan (along with Margaret Thatcher, Lech Walesa and even Pope John Paul II, as a friend pointed out on Twitter).
While Gorbachev brought reforms and more freedom to the Soviet Union, he never wanted the union to dissolve. Reagan did.
Washington Post columnist George Will wrote a brilliant piece summing it up.
President Ronald Reagan, abandoning the niceties of detente, turned up the rhetorical and military temperature. In 1983, he described the Soviet Union as “the focus of evil in the modern world.” With the Strategic Defense Initiative, he launched a high-tech challenge to a Soviet Union in which 30 percent of hospitals lacked indoor plumbing. Reagan sent lethal aid to those fighting the Soviet forces in Afghanistan. When Gorbachev retreated from there, Taubman writes, it was “the first time the Soviet Union had pulled back from territories it had ‘liberated’ for Communism.”
…The Soviet Union’s brittle husk crumbled as Gorbachev struggled to preserve it. His reputation rests on the world’s amnesia about this: When elevated to general secretary of the Communist Party, Taubman says, Gorbachev claimed to have re-read all 55 volumes of Lenin’s writings, telling a friend, “If you were to read Lenin’s disputes with [the German Marxist Karl] Kautsky, you would understand that they’re far more interesting than a novel.” Of Lenin, the architect of the first totalitarian system, who let loose rivers of blood, Gorbachev said — in 2006 — “I trusted him then and I still do.”
RIP Mikhail Gorbachev. Long live Ronald Reagan.
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