Sunday, October 11, 2020

Arizona, California, Iowa, Indiana, Illinois, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Virginia, and Wyoming

MONDAY, OCT. 12 in Georgia 
TUESDAY, OCT. 13 in Kentucky and Texas
WEDNESDAY, OCT. 14 in Kansas, Rhode Island, and Tennessee,
THURSDAY, OCT. 15 in North Carolina
FRIDAY, OCT. 16 in Washington
SATURDAY, OCT. 17 in Massachusetts and Nevada

What did Donald Trump do today?

He forgot which version of his COVID-19 relief story he was on.

Trump told a cable news host today that another relief package to combat the damage done by the uncontrolled COVID-19 package was a done deal, and the only hangup was that he "can't get Nancy Pelosi to sign the document."

Of course, it's presidents who sign bills into law—not members of the House. But if what Trump means is that he hasn't yet managed to strike a deal with Congress, that's correct. Other than a temporary loan in the form of a payroll tax deferral that most private employers have refused to take part in, Trump hasn't shown much interest in economic stimulus since the CARES act passed in March.

Since then, the House has passed the HEROES Act, another broad relief package. It contains industry-specific aid that Trump wants, a direct payment to households he goes back and forth on, and extended unemployment for the tens of millions Americans out of work that he has shown no interest in at all.

Trump, on the other hand, has had enormous difficulty deciding what he wants. In the space of about a week, he's proposed or demanded all of the following:

  • routine negotiations with Democrats in Congress over the total size of the package
  • the politically popular $1,200 relief checks and specific industry bailouts but nothing else
  • a compromise $1.8 trillion bill, slightly less than the $2.2 trillion bill proposed by the House, and
  • an unspecified "bigger" bill than the House had passed.

In other words, Trump has come out in favor of no bill, a small bill, a medium-sized bill, a bill almost exactly like the one passed weeks ago in the House, and a bigger bill.

It's not clear which of these "documents" Trump thought he couldn't get Speaker Pelosi to sign.

Why does this matter?

  • It's bad if the president has no idea what his policy is from day to day.
  • The economic recovery of the United States is more important than Donald Trump's short-term political needs.