The executive order would use “the full force of current domestic preferences to support America’s workers and businesses.

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By Michael Mandel, Chief Economic Strategist

At PPI, we strongly support President Biden’s signing of the Executive Order beefing up Buy American provisions for federal purchases. The executive order would use “the full force of current domestic preferences to support America’s workers and businesses.

But much more needs to be done, since domestic manufacturing is much weaker than most people realize. Most important, multifactor productivity in domestic manufacturing — the broadest measure of the ability of U.S. factories to turn inputs into useful goods — actually fell from the previous business cycle peak in 2007 to 2019, before the Covid recession started. …

It’s scoundrel time in Washington.

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Win McNamee/Getty Images

by Will Marshall, PPI President

Today, Congress takes up the usually ceremonial business of tallying the Electoral College votes for president, which Joe Biden won by a comfortable margin of 306 to 232. This time, however, a claque of unpatriotic Republicans in the House and Senate plans to challenge the validity of enough of Biden’s votes to make Trump president.

In the two months since the election, Trump and his lawyers have been unable to present any proof of widespread voter fraud. …

A PPI year in review. Next month, America gets a real president in Joe Biden, who will restore honesty and decency in the White House, along with a commitment to bring our country together rather than tear it apart.

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by Will Marshall, PPI President

There’s no getting around it: 2020 has been an annus horribilis for America. We’ve had to endure a deadly pandemic, a frozen economy, a corrupt president’s bid to void an election he lost, and deep racial and civil discord.

And yet our national fortunes seem to be changing. Coronavirus vaccines — developed in record time by U.S. drug companies — will soon be widely available. Next month, America gets a real president in Joe Biden, who will restore honesty and decency in the White House, along with a commitment to bring our country together rather than tear it apart. …

The idea is probably illegal, because the Constitution gives Congress alone the power to spend money.

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(THE WASHINGTON POST VIA GETTY IMAGES)

by Brendan McDermott, Fiscal Policy Analyst

Refusing to accept that the election is over, President Trump is moving forward with one of the most desperate gambits from his campaign: raiding Medicare to give 39 million seniors a $200 prescription drug card. Fortunately, Trump’s plan to bypass Congress and act by executive order did not come to fruition before the election. But this week, it cleared a regulatory roadblock and the administration says it will start sending the cards before the end of the month.

The idea is probably illegal, because the Constitution gives Congress alone the power to spend money. It is certainly bad policy, because it cuts into Medicare’s finances to pay for a blatant vote-buying scheme. That makes no sense now that the election is behind us, but then, little that Donald Trump has done or said since he lost decisively on Nov. …

A strong post-vaccine recovery that creates opportunities for economically vulnerable people is within sight, but elected officials should take this deal to ensure Americans can keep paying their bills as the world pushes across the pandemic’s finish line.

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Photo: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

by Brendan McDermott, Fiscal Policy Analyst

Dr. James X. Sullivan, a professor at the University of Notre Dame, was shocked when he and his colleagues discovered that poverty did not rise when the pandemic began, despite much of the economy freezing to a halt. He told the New York Times that “when we initially saw our results, we thought, ‘How could this be true?’…

Developing the vaccine is just the first challenge.

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by Arielle Kane, Director of Health Care

Ending the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States will require a large-scale vaccination effort. The good news is, vaccine makers have developed a vaccine in record time — almost exactly one year after the virus was first discovered, vaccines will start to become available. This is because of the hard work of researchers who have studied coronaviruses since the emergence of SARS nearly two decades ago. Prior to 2020, the fastest development of a vaccine was for Mumps and took four years.

But developing the vaccine is just the first challenge. Because some of the vaccine candidates for Covid-19 require multiple doses, successful vaccination of the population requires manufacturing and distributing more than 600 million vaccines and making sure the majority of Americans are able and willing to receive it. …

With election day looming, my anxiety was spiking. To calm myself, I drove across four state lines to knock doors for Joe Biden.

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Photo via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

by Tressa Pankovits, Associate Director of Reinventing America’s Schools

With election day looming, my anxiety was spiking. To calm myself, I drove across four state lines to knock doors for Joe Biden.

I had phone and text banked, but I wanted to canvas in one of the three Pennsylvania counties that flipped blue to red in 2016. …

No one expected Donald Trump to be a gracious loser. But his hysterical and groundless claims that Democrats are stealing the 2020 election dishonor his office and sully the image of American democracy around the world.

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Photo via Business Insider.

by Will Marshall, PPI President

No one expected Donald Trump to be a gracious loser. But his hysterical and groundless claims that Democrats are stealing the 2020 election dishonor his office and sully the image of American democracy around the world.

Sadly, they are par for the course. Whining, lying and suing is what Trump reflexively does whenever he’s cornered. The true national disgrace here is the Republican Party’s craven acquiescence in Trump’s false accusations and conspiratorial ranting. …

The doleful lesson of Trump’s mad flitting and strutting on the Washington stage is that it can happen here. Our democracy’s antibodies against demagogues, con artists and conspiracy mongers evidently are weaker than we supposed.

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Photo from CNBC.

by Will Marshall, PPI President

If Joe Biden defeats Donald Trump this week, it will begin to repair our country’s badly tarnished image around the world. An even tougher challenge will be reviving Americans’ confidence in their long-running democratic experiment.

Most countries are bound together by ethnicity, language and religion. What makes America exceptional is that it was founded on a set of propositions favoring individual liberty and equality, and the right of self-government. The 2020 election is a test of whether these liberal ideas still hold sway, or whether Trump’s virulent brand of white identity politics and illiberal nationalism will prevail. …

If Senate Republicans let these programs expire, people on PUA will lose their benefits entirely.

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by Brendan McDermott, Fiscal Policy Analyst

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned the Trump administration yesterday that if they do not reach another coronavirus relief deal, at least five million people (and potentially more) will lose their unemployment benefits, largely because two new unemployment expansions are scheduled to expire on December 26. Yet any deal they strike to extend that aid would need approval from Senate Republicans who spent the last month prioritizing partisan court packing rather than passing a relief package that they say would be a “death knell” for their majority and undermine their argument for obstructing spending under a potential Biden administration. The Senate GOP must stop playing politics with the unemployment benefits keeping millions out of poverty and extend them until job seekers can once again earn a good wage. …

About

Progressive Policy Institute

Radically Pragmatic. We seek to advance progressive, market-friendly ideas that promote American innovation, economic growth, and wider opportunity.

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