by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Washington’s politicians are frightened for the economy and for their health, and in all this fear and the rush to flee the city, there might be room for a political bargain — the kind of bipartisan bargain the working class and small and mid-sized business owners need to get through what’s coming. …
… Neither party has all the ideas necessary to handle the scope of the economic impact. Both will need to support policies they ideologically oppose. It won’t be comfortable in a city that has grown used to substituting talking points and campaign ads for governance, but the nature of the coronavirus crisis demands it, and here’s why.
Democrats have prescribed a number of liberal favorites, including government-backed paid sick leave and more money toward unemployment insurance. Republicans have their own favored solutions, including a suspension of the payroll tax that hits both employers and employees. Conservatives are loathe to appear to back a Bush-era TARP-type bailout, but all sides are worried about the airline and travel industries, which are massive and have been hit hard, and both sides seem amenable to interest-free loans.
The parties have reasons to be suspicious of the other’s proposals. Handouts for business are against Democrats’ philosophy (unless those businesses are in Democrats’ favorite few, such as green energy) and are often unhelpful to workers. And Republicans know programs like paid sick leave are rife for abuse. But both sides must reconcile that in the case of a global pandemic, they each have something essential to offer.