Today was a big day for the United States of America. The House of Representatives passed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, accepting the changes to the measure that the Senate had added. This bill marks a sea change in our government. Rather than focusing on dismantling the federal government and turning individuals loose to act as they wish, Congress has returned to the principles of the nation before 1981, using the federal government to support ordinary Americans. With its expansion of the child tax credit, the bill is projected to reach about 27 million children and to cut child poverty in half.
Thank you, Professor Richardson.
I know you do not write the news, but your framing of the events of the day is unlike that of any I’ve known. I’ve become familiar with your “voice” not just from your Chats, but your written voice expressed here in these missives, and I value it.
The measure you take of events, your passion for history, for context, and for the well-being of our Democracy, might go unnoticed were it not for these Letters and that would be a shame. It is this passion – this enthusiasm and thoroughness, even joy, you bring to your work – that distinguishes it and sets it above the noise that often passes for informed commentary in these fractured times.
What follows may sound a bit unhinged but indulge me for a moment.
I am not a particularly spiritual person, but there have been a handful of times in my life when I didn’t know where to turn – tough times, nothing but the change in my pocket times. And for some reason I cannot explain, a cat appeared – a normal house cat – and by appeared, I mean either literally showed up in my room unannounced and for no apparent reason or happened to live in the place where I was taking refuge at the time. I can’t explain it – but it happened. And these cats stilled me, befriended me when I needed a friend.
Now, I’m not exactly comparing you to a cat, Professor Richardson, but when I had reached the point where I could no longer make sense of what was going on in our country – you appeared. A student of mine sent me one of your Letters and I have been here ever since, listening, comforted in the knowledge that much of what we are experiencing has happened before in one form or another.
So, thank you great Spirit, whoever or whatever you are, for cats and Professor Heather Richardson.
Thank you Heather. I appreciate your roadmap for today's happenings.
Much to be pleased about for certain.
I can't help but think the 30 votes against Garland represent a fairly reliable source as to who was involved with January 6th. Maybe I'm overthinking that, but......as I had posted earlier tonight on the announcement of Garlands' approval, gird your loins GOP.
Be safe, be well.
We've gotten so used to our government unable to do anything really big—and dare I say it—revolutionary, that when it happens, we have to pinch ourselves to believe it is real. But so it is. And thank you Dems for hanging together and remaining strong for all the right reasons.
I take a small pleasure in the coincidence that this landmark legislation — likely the most significant of my adult lifetime — was passed by Congress on my 65th birthday... a day on which I officially begin receiving the benefits of one of the most important pieces of legislation of my youth.
Double the estate tax. Triple it!
Given the advantages afforded the children of the wealthy, especially in education, they should have little trouble making their own fortunes, and have the satisfaction that comes with making one’s own way in the world. Should their interests lie elsewhere, in the arts or science, they still start out two steps ahead of their middle class fellows.
As Warren Buffet said about his own children,
“They will have enough to do whatever they want. They will not have enough to do nothing.”
Thank you for the informative news today. I watched a few Representatives "debating" the American Rescue Plan. The Republicans who spoke mentioned reasons they were against the plan, but are those reasons valid? In this type of "debate", no one can respond or take the specific point made and show where it is faulty, or exaggerated, or just plain partisan and untruthful. This has always bothered me when listening to each side defend his position in what they call a "debate". To me, this feeds into misinformation. It is unfair to the public, who is struggling to know the truth.
Sen Mike Crapo (R-ID)
The jokes write themselves.
A very good day for Americans yesterday. The American Rescue Plan helps more people than the Republican-endorsed tax cuts even aimed to do. Merrick Garland will restore, well justice, to the Department of Justice. And Marcia Fudge's and Michael Regan's confirmation proves expertise matters and hopefully shows Republicans trying to enact even more acts of voter suppression that we all matter and we all can participate in our democracy. While it was a good day, it also served as a reminder (not that we needed it) of the callousness of the Republican Party. Not one, yes, not one, voted for Americans. And 30 Republicans voted against Merrick Garland -- under what grounds? So what's clear to me is simple. We're on track. But the narrow margins the democrats hold must be widened. And we can't leave it to others. It's in our hands.
Heartwarming to read your letter. The sound bites of the news of how expensive this bill is without giving the context is so misleading. This bill will bring children out of
Poverty. The trickle down theory of Reagan and Trump has done nothing for the safety net. How in God’s name could we pass a bill for the same amount that benefits the top 1% 4years ago? If the Republican’s are concerned about debt maybe they should initiate repealing that bill.
It is such a relief to see those who need help will be receiving it.
I share this imagining that some in this community might like to participate. To me the force of multiple disciplines coming together as one can move mountains.
"The United States is presently confronting a dangerous collective racist mindset that has protected and encouraged violence against Black Americans and other groups for over 400 years. The pervasiveness of white supremacist ideology shields its adherents from ostracism and prosecution while subjecting non-Whites, especially Blacks, Latinx, Native Americans, and Asians, to various forms of discrimination and violence.
Such attitudes and associated deeply-ingrained phobias and fears made it possible a few years ago for a dangerous, mentally-impaired white supremacist to become president of the United States. His toleration by many, to the point of utter impunity in the face of escalating pandemic deaths, economic devastation, civil strife, and dangerous stoking of terrorism, all culminating in a violent insurrection designed to keep him in power at any cost.
Collective social disorders can have results much like what happens to individuals: truths and priorities are distorted with maladaptive behavior leading to destruction at both the individual and social level. That is why we must find new and formal ways to incorporate psychological insights into social and political discourse before there is further collective impairment and self-annihilation.
In pursuit of this goal, and to inaugurate our Truth and Reconciliation Forum, we will be holding a Special Professional Town Hall on 13 March bringing together leading intellectuals and mental health professionals. Speakers at our Truth, Reconciliation, and Reparations Town Hall include:
Cornel West, Ph.D. – Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy at Harvard University and Professor Emeritus at Princeton University
Wade Nobles, Ph.D. – Professor Emeritus at San Francisco State University, Co-Founder of the Association of Black Psychologists, and Founder of the Institute for the Advanced Study of Black Family, Life and Culture
Gregory Carr, Ph.D. – Associate Professor of Africana Studies and Chair of the Department of Afro-American Studies at Howard University and Adjunct Faculty at the Howard School of Law
and others..... more info here:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/special-professional-town-hall-truth-reconciliation-and-reparations-tickets-144913581423?fbclid=IwAR1PgKkrtn9mfHAumtNBjhhDz0TxhH_Y72XDrgBI1j8tyPpSDHQDu8_w1nM
Finally. Something to help those earning less than $30k per year. As I checked into the bill & the lies spread by Fox & Republicans, I realized, they are prolific liars.
“The most terrifying words in the English language are: ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’” – St. Ronald the Communicator.
“I’m a Republican government official and I’m here to see that the government is able to do nothing for you.”
Heather, what a wonderful study in contrasts!
The American Rescue Plan passed and will become law on Friday. This is the end of the Reagan Era, "The bill, which President Biden is expected to sign Friday, is a landmark piece of legislation, reversing the trend of American government since Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut. Rather than funneling money upward in the belief that those at the top will invest in the economy and thus create jobs for poorer Americans, the Democrats are returning to the idea that using the government to put money into the hands of ordinary Americans will rebuild the economy from the bottom up."
Meanwhile the Republicans and Retrumplicans continue their wayward mission: "For right now, though, Republicans are continuing to push tax cuts. Senators John Thune (R-SD) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) are leading an effort to repeal the estate tax. According to Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times, this tax falls on estates over $11.7 million, about a fifth of which are worth $50 million or more. The average estate affected by the tax is worth $30 million, and it affects about 2,500 people a year. It is enacted on capital gains that have not been taxed during the original owner’s lifetime, and usually involves stock. While Crapo calls the tax “the most unfair tax on the books,” Hiltzik calls the attempt to eliminate it “a massive handout to rich families.”"
We will not change the stony hearts of these people so we will end up eliminating the filibuster and going for broke with all the legislation that will retransform our society and our lives.
I started my career in the Federal Government when Jimmy Carter was elected. I worked at HUD and helped craft the current Section 8 Housing Assistance Program. When Regan got elected, all research and development stopped. We had nothing to do. I left in 1985 when Regan got re-elected. Yet Regan is a "most beloved" President. The father figure of the Republican party. Same on Romney and others for not voting "yes."
I had not fully appreciated the effect of this bill. Thank you so much for laying it out with your usual no-fluff clarity. Just one piece of it: "With its expansion of the child tax credit, the bill is projected to reach about 27 million children and to cut child poverty in half."
As always, Heather, you do a nice job of setting this important legislation in the historical context. Thank you. Of course there is much more to be done, and it will get harder before it gets easier. Time is running out on Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema. Joe Biden should have a little talk with them.