Gail: Well, that’s sort of why we converse, although I really do enjoy the historical forays, too.
Obviously, I’m a fan of Biden’s plan. The big infusion of money to jump-start the economy and support the antivirus program has such widespread national support. Is that your big problem? Or the aid to states and localities? Help for victims of domestic abuse? I know I’m trying to tilt the argument here …
Bret: Gail, did you ever see the 1980s remake of “Brewster’s Millions?” Richard Pryor plays a minor-league baseball player who learns that he stands to inherit $300 million, provided he can spend $30 million in 30 days, and not just by giving it away or buying fancy assets. Turns out, it’s not so easy to do.
- Frank Bruni, Opinion columnist, writes of the president’s quiet, effective approach: “This new, self-effacing Biden is an exorcism of Donald Trump.”
- Michelle Cottle argues that Biden has an easy opportunity to “jettison the skeezy practice of rewarding big campaign contributors with ambassadorships.”
- Ian Johnson writes that the administration’s tough stance on Chinese relations “complicates doing what is really needed: engaging, with realistic expectations, with the other side.”
- Gail Collins, Opinion columnist, has a few questions about gun violence: “One is, what about the gun control bills? The other is, what’s with the filibuster? Is that all the Republicans know how to do?”
Gail: Bret, I always thought of myself as pretty well-versed in pop culture but every week you have a TV show or old movie that I’ve never met. I am, as always, in awe.
Bret: That’s only because I don’t read books, Gail.
Gail: But I have a feeling you believe Brewster has a moral …
Bret: I do! Congress passed a $900 billion stimulus in December. Does anyone even remember that anymore or really know how the money was spent? Now we have another $1.9 trillion in stimulus, meaning Biden has to spend several billion dollars a day for the rest of the year, and that’s on top of the normal federal budget. Even the $1,400 stimulus checks he’s sending out to most families in the country only gets him to about $400 billion. This might make sense if we had to face another year’s worth of a pandemic. But, assuming the vaccines work, we’re spending into an economic boom, which means it’s totally unnecessary, hugely wasteful and probably inflationary.
I know Democrats think this is a big political winner for them, since nobody ever says no to free money. But that’s a subject we should revisit in about a year, when the cost of living shoots up and people start realizing that free money ultimately means increasingly worthless money.
Gail: Well, I don’t have a good movie reference to use as a comeback, although I could make one up — remember the comedy when Tom Hanks had to spend $200,000 a day without letting anybody in the family know he had any money?