Scratchings in the Dirt

"The person who is making America great again is Joe Biden even as the opposition tries to portray him as a lost old soul, bent in the back, scratching pictures in the dirt with a short stick, alone and mumbling."

Scratchings in the Dirt
Amtrak's 150 mph Acela Train Running in the Northeast Corridor

“For the unlearned, old age is winter; for the learned, it is the season of the harvest.”   - Hasidic saying

I’ll take the old guy.

Joe Biden could be 90 and drooling, barely in control of his faculties, and he’d still make a better president than Trump. The argument is very easy to make that the President is sufficiently competent to conduct the affairs of state. If you are looking for a priori evidence, there is an abundance in just the economy, which has acquired around 15 million new jobs and maintained almost two solid years of unemployment below 4 percent, and 800,000 of those new jobs are in manufacturing. That’s a hell of a performance for a “well-meaning, elderly man.” Nothing even remotely close to that happened in the four years of the Trump administration.

Need more proof an octogenarian can bring an A game? Without a majority in the House and only a narrow edge in the Senate, Biden got through a massive infrastructure law that has launched 40,000 projects in more than 4,500 communities in all 50 states, including Native American Tribal lands, and the District of Columbia. This $400 billion dollar act will provide broadband internet for millions more Americans, build roads, a national network of recharging stations for electric vehicles, high speed rail, and airports and bridges. Amtrak is getting $16.4 billion just for the modernization of the Northeast Corridor between Washington, D.C. and Boston. Trump did nothing more than endlessly promise an “infrastructure week.”

High Speed Train from Los Angeles to Las Vegas Gets $3 Billion from Biden

The doddering, shuffling President also managed to pass the American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion dollar funding vehicle to get the country, its businesses and citizens, through the Pandemic with reduced harm. Every adult received a $1400 check and small businesses got non-recourse loans to pay employees when work was no longer available. Tax credits were offered or increased for children, dependents, and on earned income. Washington provided funded extensions on unemployment insurance for workers who lost their jobs while also lowering health care premiums and delivering a 100 percent federal COBRA subsidy. Trump stood around talking about how he expected the virus to disappear in days and when that didn’t happen he suggested drinking bleach or downing horse tranquilizers.

Biden’s fairly accomplished for a guy who surely drinks his Geritol hourly in a closet so no one can see his feebleness. Between gulps, though, the President managed to pass the Inflation Reduction Act to invest in domestic energy production and manufacturing with a goal of also reducing carbon emissions 40 percent by 2030. The Affordable Care Act program was expanded and extended to 2025 and millions of Americans who were previously without, now have health care, and Medicare has been empowered to negotiate prescription drug prices and patient out-of-pocket costs were capped at $2000. Hundreds of billions are also being invested in paying down the deficit and the permitting process for new energy projects has been reformed and expedited to accelerate the construction and development of domestic resources. Changes in the tax code bring in $437 billion from IRS enforcement and is supplemented by a 15 percent minimum corporate tax. All this is accomplished without adding new taxes to families making less than $400,000 annually.

States with New Semiconductor Plants Under Construction

Maybe while he was taking one of his many old man naps, the president dreamed about the CHIPs Act, which provides around $53 billion dollars, including $39 billion in subsidies and a 25 percent investment tax credit, for semiconductor computer chip manufacturing in the U.S. As a result, there are already massive facilities under construction and nearing operation in Texas, Arizona, Ohio, Idaho, Florida, and New York. In addition to bringing chip-making plants back to domestic operators, the act also funds $11 billion to create a National Semiconductor Technology Center that will perform research and development to keep the U.S. out front in competition for new products instead of perpetuating a dependence on off shore vendors. Innovative companies will be helped with speeding their new technology to the marketplace with these advancements.

Ol’ “Sleepy Joe” has done a damn good job of caring for America’s veterans, too. The Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics, or PACT Act, commits hundreds of billions of dollars to care for former service members who were exposed to toxic burn dumps, agent orange, or other deadly substances. Veterans had been without an ability to make health care claims with the Veterans’ Administration unless they were able to prove a connection between service and their diseases, which tended to be nearly impossible. The PACT Act eliminates the assumption such claims are unfounded and provides screenings and presumption of needed care. Veterans from Vietnam, the Gulf War and Iraq War, Afghanistan, and any contemporary conflicts will be covered for health issues caused by toxic exposures. The president’s son, who served in Iraq, was reportedly exposed to a toxic burn pit, which might have been a cause of his fatal brain tumor.

Maybe the reason Mr. Biden’s memory stumbles is because his gray matter and synapses are clogged with all the data regarding legislation he has championed and made law to improve the lives of Americans. Under Trump, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was allowed to lapse when it was left out of the federal budget. The law delivered funding for services to prevent violence, support of crime victims, and changing public attitudes about violence against women. After three years, the measure was reauthorized by the elderly gentleman who today is resident in the Oval Office. Maybe he got that done while taking rest breaks between codifying marriage equality into federal law or when he was improving gun safety with federal regulations or cancelling $136 billion dollars in student loan debt for 3.7 million borrowers who can now begin to save and spend and take more realistic steps toward the futures they had planned.

I’m not sure how somebody so old can cause the DOW and the S&P 500 to surge to record highs while also presiding over an economy where real wage growth is outpacing inflation and consumer sentiment is increasingly positive. Interest rates are almost certain to fall, too, by mid-year, right in the middle of the presidential campaign. Trump will still be trying to figure out whether Nikki Haley or Nancy Pelosi was Speaker of the House during the January 6th insurrection he can’t seem to remember that he started. Hell, Trump cannot even recall a woman that a jury confirmed he raped in a department store dressing room, nor recognize a picture of his former wife. His memory is so bad he remembers things that never happened. When he made a speech to the Boy Scouts of America in 2017, the former president said he had gotten a call from the group’s national leader to inform Trump that the speech was the greatest one ever made to their organization. The Boy Scouts, however, confirmed to CNN that no such call was ever made to Trump. And don’t forget, like he did, that he made a payment to Stormy Daniels, the porn star with whom he had transactional sex.

The person who is making America great again is Joe Biden even as the opposition tries to portray him as a lost old soul, bent in the back, scratching pictures in the dirt with a short stick, alone and mumbling. Media and analysts will continue to snort and sniff about his age even as he keeps working and building coalitions to accomplish goals that have left other leaders confounded. A measure to resolve the border crisis moved through the Senate and ran into Speaker Moses in the House because Republicans don’t want to solve the immigration problem and rob Trump of the issue he plans to use as a campaign cudgel. Party before country in the Trump cult. No voter should have to struggle with their decision in November. As President, Trump did nothing but hand out a giant corporate tax cut and bungle the pandemic response and cause millions to die through his incompetence. Joe Biden’s leadership and legislative accomplishments are transformative and will continue to improve life in the United States.

Long after he has stiffly shuffled off into the sunset.

James Moore is a New York Times bestselling author, political analyst, and business communications consultant who has been writing and reporting on Texas politics since 1975. He writes frequently for CNN and other national media outlets and can be reached a