Perspective: Bitter, Petty Partisanship Hurts Us All

Aug 24, 2020

Two emergency economic relief measures are expiring, even while the emergency itself still threatens to overwhelm us.

One measure offered enhanced unemployment compensation benefits. The other subsidized employers to retain employees. Both measures mitigated the effects of a collapsing economy.

They need to be extended for the sake of everyone. But our broken branches of government appear incapable of acting to advance the public good. Congressional Republicans and Democrats are at loggerheads. They couldn't reach a compromise, so they just went home. Congress could not agree with the President, so now he has acted unilaterally. Bitter, petty, partisanship has replaced governing.

President Trump extended unemployment benefits at a lower level, and deferred payroll taxes for workers. There are at least two problems with these measures. First, they are executive orders, sweeping, questionable ones. Scant comfort arises from the abject abdication of the core legislative function--to legislate. Second, unemployed citizens derive no relief from a tax they aren't paying in the first place.

So what do we have? We have a bitter partisan debate overextending unemployment benefits. We have also a Congress immobilized by hyperpartisanship that has to be "rescued" by legally questionable and politically motivated executive orders.

Oh yes, we also still have a pandemic.

I am Bob Evans, and that is my perspective.