Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Deceptive Bunch

This is largely accurate.

According to The Marshall Project,  "President Biden's signature American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 gave local governments $350 billion to recover from COVID-19. They spent much of it on police, prisons, and the courts."

Revenues for local and state governments plummeted in 2020 and would surely do so in 2021. Congress passed the legislation designed to help local officials around the country finance essential needs without dramatically raising taxes. The funds could be used on virtually anything those officials wished and therefore went "to programs and institutions not with the greatest need during a public health crisis and economic upheaval but those with the most existing political and budgetary power: police, corrections and the courts."

It was essentially free money, which in years past would have sent into orgasm a Party which always had argued that the government "closest to the people" knew far better than the federal government how to spend taxpayer money. Depending on the locale, funds were spent on such things as cars (including armored vehicles), jail/prison expansion projects, surveillance cameras, body scanners, tasers, firearms and ammunition. In many cases, shiny new objects and programs were the beneficiaries, in others, salary increases and additional personnel. For the courts, there was "additional staffing in prosecutors, public defenders, and court operations."

Allocation of funds obviously varied greatly. Certainly, law enforcement agencies gained a great deal and probably in most cases, there was some increase in safety and security for the public. It constituted a needed injection of public, and indirectly private, spending into the economy.

So, of course, members of the party which claims to speak for local and state governments, as well as for law and order, voted unanimously against (one not voting) the American Rescue Plan Act. They were determined not to give President Biden a victory and if the economy were then to suffer, it would be collateral damage, thus undermining Biden's presidency. 

Undeterred by a strong economy and a declining crime (especially violent) rate nationally, Republicans are still flogging the "Democrat Party defund the police" trope. Very few Democrats ever endorsed defunding the police and several prominent Democrats, including Biden and James Clyburn, vigorously denied their party wanted anything to do with it. Nonetheless, "defund the police" became almost as bad a message as "black lives matter" became a great message (well, almost almost). 

And now, House Speaker Johnson is jointed by Representative Cory Mills, Representative Byron Donalds, Governor Doug Burgum, and Vivek the Fake Ramaswamy as they pose, in matching dark blue suits and red tie, outside of Manhattan Criminal Court to exalt Donald Trump by denouncing the courts and federal law enforcement. If you're going to follow your Lord and Savior, the uniform must conform while you give the shiv to the American people.

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