Everyone’s favorite American president is Millard Fillmore. After all, who could forget our nation’s 13th president, famous for his groundbreaking legislation and leadership accomplishments (that I am sure we all remember). People love the way he failed to do anything to soften the divide between the North and the South. FDR and Abraham Lincoln who? It is all about Millard Fillmore.
Why would anyone want bold leadership? Why would anyone want political leaders who at least try to provide meaningful help?
For Joe Biden and the Democratic majorities occupying both houses of congress, it is comforting to see them take on such an underwhelming stance towards providing COVID-19 relief. People have been clamoring for consistent and meaningful stimulus checks for nearly a year, but the wise leaders in office know that the people actually really love it when they get nothing. They know that people love means testing and deficit hawking, and especially love getting a $1,400 check when they’re thousands of dollars behind on rent.
It’s not like the Democrats did not consistently campaign on providing $2,000 dollar checks immediately to the American people if voters turned out for the Georgia senate runoff. Obviously, the Democrats were employing the beloved tactic of setting high expectations so that they are never at risk of disappointing people. Luckily for all of us, Biden and the rest of the leadership are considering taking things a step further: limiting the dispersal of checks to people under certain income levels. Since the American people are famous for their love of forcing any economic relief to go through multiple levels of bureaucratic screening before arriving in the skeleton-hands of long-ago starved poors waiting by the mailbox … this seems like a fantastic idea.
Certain “critics” from their ivory tower unemployment lines might note that putting an income limit based on last year’s tax returns will exclude thousands of Americans who made more than $50,000 in 2019 but lost their jobs and livelihoods in the pandemic from receiving the checks. What these critics do not understand is that if we provided help to these destitute citizens then it would cost more money, and we might need to raise the corporate taxes or something. People would gladly let themselves die to avoid this fate for our country.
Besides, people with a real™ knowledge of how politics work will know that this is the deal that everyone’s favorite Senator, Joe Manchin (D-WV), will agree to. Even if the leadership wanted to give the people more money for some reason, Manchin is not on board. This should be an encouraging sign to all Democratic voters, who now know that their party is incapable of getting a single senator in line for anything. Critics might call this incompetence, but it is actually a skillful display of upholding perpetual gridlock—the true American pastime.
Many adult dependents, including many college students, have not yet received any stimulus checks whatsoever. Considering this, it might seem like many adult dependents are desperately waiting for these new checks, which would finally include them for eligibility. However, everyone knows that the thing we value more than money is patience, and so adult dependents would be glad to know that these checks might not come out until mid-March. This should give us plenty of time to be aggressively beaten up by loan sharks, which builds character.
All in all, it is hard to call president Biden’s opening weeks anything other than inspiring. Historians will love the way that he boldly ignored the people’s cries for help, sagely knowing that they were just joking. His policy of giving a small check to some Americans and leaving many in the cold will surely be just as iconic as FDR’s New Deal, and will be even better because it won’t do silly things like “improve people’s lives.” For this reason, I’m sure Americans are full of hope.
Vincent Rendon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @VinceSagebrush.