Discover more from Erick Erickson's Show Notes
Democrats Skate to Where the Puck Was
This is a transcript from my radio show. You can subscribe here for premium content for only $7/month or $70/year.
Wayne Gretzky had a quote that Steve Jobs embraced for Apple, "Skate to where the puck is going to be." Apple doesn’t always get it right. They got it very wrong with one of their Macbook Pros a number of years ago. But they skate to where the puck is going to be by envisioning where the world is heading and designing products the world does not yet know it needs.
The problem with the Democrats' bill, whatever you want to call, their infrastructure bill, their reconciliation bill, their domestic spending bill, their climate bill, they're skating to where the puck was... not where it's going to be. Let me again read you this. This is now from Jonathan Weisman at the New York Times breaking down what is going to be, with excerpts in the Politico.
"To grasp the intended measure scope, consider a life, from conception to death, Democrats intend to fund paid family and medical leave to allow a parent to take some time off during pregnancy and after a child's birth. When that parent is ready to return to work, expanded funding for childcare would kick in to help cover daycare costs. When the child turns three, another part of the bill, universal pre-kindergarten, would ensure public education can begin at an earlier age regardless of where that child lives. Most families with children would continue to receive federal income supplements each month in the form of an expanded child tax credit that was created temporarily by Mr. Biden's pandemic rescue law and would be extended by the new social policy bill.
"School nutrition programs expanded on an emergency basis during the pandemic would continue to offer more children free and reduced-price meals long after the coronavirus retreats. And at high school graduation, most students would be guaranteed two years of higher education through our expanded federal financial aid geared towards community colleges. Even after that, income supplements and generous workforce training programs would keep the government present in many adult lives. In old age, people would be helped by tax credits to offset the cost of elder care by the expansion of Medicare to cover dental, hearing, and vision."
They're skating to where the puck was, and what I mean by that is the pandemic has unquestionably and objectively changed our society. If you've paid attention to any of the trendline research that's out there right now, across the board... it doesn't matter whether you're getting it from a liberal think tank, a conservative think tank, a nonpartisan think tank, or the government itself. It shows moms aren't going back to work. It's one of the reasons we're having a labor shortage in this country. Moms are not going back to work.
They've decided, particularly in married households, they can actually survive on one income or can do something from home. Many have started Etsy shops or gotten into crafts and can sell stuff online and supplement the family income. They're not going back to work. So they don't need paid family time off because they're not working anyway.
But wait, there's more. Parents, liberal and conservative, are checking out of public schools, so a federal school lunch program doesn't really amount to much when your kid's not in public school. Universal pre-K doesn't really amount to much when your kid's not in pre-K. Extra education funding for elementary and secondary school doesn't really amount to much when your kid's not in public school.
The virus, the fallout from the virus, and the government's response to the virus has caused an upending of the American way of life. We have a labor shortage in this country. We've got a surplus of jobs and not enough people to fill them right now in the country. Some of it has to do with extended unemployment, but not all of it. Some of it is families realized in the pandemic under lockdown that they are perfectly fine living on one income. They made cutbacks and are okay. Many families decided their kids are better off not in the woke public school system and opted for private school, homeschooling, or a homeschool alliance.
Meanwhile, the Democrats have prepared a $3.5 trillion budget program based on the way the world worked before the virus affected everyone's life. That's not functional. But more importantly, it just doesn't pan out. It doesn't work. It's not a viable option for people, because to take advantage of it, you must re-embrace a lifestyle that you rejected during the pandemic that you don't want to go back to.
Parents who started homeschooling their kids realized they're having a meaningful impact on their kids and would have to give it all up and send them back to the failing public schools, the government-run schools with common core, drugs, wokeness, and all that nonsense. The Democrats have failed to be imaginative. They've got lots of creative things in here for climate change, and it's all very disruptive to the American economy. But they fail to be imaginative when it comes to the way the family is going to look and operate. They fail to recognize the needs of the modern family, and this is part of the problem.
When the Democratic Party and the upper echelons of the Democratic Party are taking leadership direction from a bunch of childless Progressives, you can't really understand the way that families working. And yes, I'm not trying to be pejorative or mean, but at the upper echelons of the policy-making factions of the Democratic Party now, you've got a host of people who are childless, and you've got a bunch of young congressional staffers shaping this legislation who have no intention of having a kid unless they can have one to be able to abort it to say they've had an abortion. They're the ones who want to set social policy for the rest of us. You can't do that. You're not skating to where the puck is going to be. You're skating to where the puck was before lockdowns happened, before COVID happened.
They want to foist a $3 trillion package on us in this way. That's not going to be sustainable. It's not going to work. Families are not going to rearrange their lives according to the government. The government needs to rearrange its priorities according to the way families have rearranged their lives. This is going to lead inevitably to a war on homeschooling. We're going to eventually see the left come for homeschools in ways they have not before. They have certainly come for homeschools, but not in the way they're about to. They've got to get kids back into public schools because of these programs.
They're going to try to force a square peg into a round hole, and it's going to have cataclysmic problems for the Democrats. But on top of that, they may not even be able to get it passed altogether anyway. They may not be able to get it passed because they can only lose three Democrats in the House. They're beginning to balk at the price tag. Joe Manchin in the Senate has come out and said, "Whoa, Whoa, wait a second, guys. Maybe this is too much. Maybe we've gone too far. Maybe we shouldn't be doing this".
They're going to have problems with the politics. They're going to have problems with the votes. They're going to have problems with the policies themselves. When you're shaping society through federal legislation, $3.5 trillion worth of federal legislation, and you're shaping that society based on the way the world no longer works, you can't expect society to embrace it and you can't expect your Democratic members in the House or the Senate, who are up for election next year, to want to fall on the sword to placate a bunch of public policy prognosticators who are prognosticating based on where the puck was in society, not where it's going to be. You can't ask them to do. Now they're going to ask them to do it, but it's going to be suicide for Joe Biden's agenda.
And here's the thing. This is Joe Biden's agenda. He wants to be the second coming of JFK. He's already given us Vietnam and Afghanistan, and now he wants to give us the bankrupting great society. He is fixated on LBJ and LBJ's legacy, but it's not going to work. We're not living in 2021 like we were in 2019. And I realize, that's a lot for public policymakers to keep up with. Public policymakers tend to grasp something and hold onto it for a decade past irrelevance. We're now two years past irrelevance and they can't adapt quick enough. I get that. I'm sympathetic to it. Whether it's Republican or Democrat, they run into these problems.
But it's very obvious, based on the current trendlines of data, more mothers are staying home, more women are getting married, staying married, having kids, and decided they don't need to be work-at-home or work-from-work moms. You're having more and more people homeschooling their kids or sending their kids to homeschool cooperatives or sending their kids to private schools, not public schools. Public schools are showing a year-over-year decline, and the Democrats' entire framework for this $3.5 trillion spending project is outdated based on the data. Yet they want Democrats to vote for it. They want you to embrace it and vote for them based on giving you a massive public handout that you can't even take advantage of anymore because you're not going back to work and your kids aren't going to public school. It's not going to work out well for them.