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What passes for the Republican Party today seems to be having a terrible time finding legitimate gripes about the Biden administration. Complaining about the dog certainly didn’t have much traction. Hunter Biden didn’t prove to be the big payload of hyped-up dirt that Hillary Clinton’s emails provided, even with Rudy Giuliani, their go-to dirt wallower looking for it.

They can’t go the excessive time on the golf course route either. Biden has played once since he became president. The other fellow had chalked up 19 visits to the links by then (on his way to a final bill of $140 million for taxpayers).

That is illustrative of what the GOP faces, not just with Joe Biden, but with anyone following the debris trail left by the last administration. To paraphrase Irving Berlin, “Anything they claim that he does, the last guy did worser.”

Fortunately, cringing homage to a twice impeached, one-term former president, who managed to lose states that have been in the GOP column since Wells Fargo was a stagecoach line, also means that they are not hampered by annoying roadblocks like decency and reality. God knows, he never was.

Remember the lack of airports being a contributory factor in the Revolutionary War or how drinking toxic household cleaners was a cure-all for the coronavirus? How about the multiple draft-dodger who thought that military personnel who served in Vietnam were “suckers” and who didn’t like John McCain because he was captured? And who can forget the glee he displayed to acolytes while he watched from the safety of the White House as a howling mob of insurrectionist lunatics ravaged the Capitol Building on Jan. 6?

Those are mighty flimsy cross beams to build an altar on.

President Biden delivered his first State of the Union speech on April 28, although it isn’t called that because the prevailing wisdom dictates that someone who has been recently inaugurated isn’t knowledgeable enough to address Congress on matters pertaining to the overall condition of the nation. This is especially relevant when the half of the room that is largely responsible for the sorry condition won’t admit it anyway.

Evidently, the president’s lifetime spent in government doesn’t qualify him to speak with conclusiveness to a first-term, gun totin’ woman from Georgia, who has already been banned from committee assignments and blames the Clintons for the plane crash that killed John F. Kennedy, Jr. (Honest!)

The president is proposing a massive program to address the problem of the country’s rapidly deteriorating infrastructure, much the same as Dwight Eisenhower did with tremendous success in the 1950s. The Republicans, who rivaled church mice for sheer quietness while the last administration ran up a nearly $28 trillion debt, have resumed their off-season roles as penny-pinchers.

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They believe that the necessary work can be done for one quarter of the money Biden is seeking. That amount of funding will address the roads and bridges issues. Given the problem Chris Christie experienced just closing down a bridge, you can imagine how damaging, politically speaking, it is when a rusting hulk of a bridge collapses, plunging dozens of voters to their deaths.

There was a lot of sniping from GOP members that the president’s proposals smacked of “socialism.” That is a guaranteed hot-button word delivered to send gullible people into paroxysms of fear and anger. They tried it during the McCarthy era and that period still lives in our nation’s annals of shame.

Make no mistake, socialism, when it is evoked by Republican politicians, means only one thing: Whatever is being proposed is a potential threat to the rich. People tend to lose sight of the fact that a proposal might benefit millions of struggling Americans — including themselves in many instances — if it is branded with a word like “socialism.”

The Republican base doesn’t seem to have anywhere near as much trouble with the word “fascism.”

President Biden’s infrastructure ambitions have been condemned as socialistic because he proposes paying for them by increasing taxes on American corporations and making it more difficult for multinational companies to hide profits in other countries. The president’s proposal ups corporate tax rates from 21 percent to 28 percent. That is still markedly less than the 35-percent rate that corporations were paying before the balmy days of the previous administration set in.

It’s high time companies that reap millions and even billions of dollars every year pay their fair share. Corporations, with their battalions of lawyers and accountants finding loopholes that would befuddle Sherlock Holmes, pay an average of 8 percent on their taxable income.

Amazon, one of the most obscenely profitable businesses in the world, paid no income tax at all in 2017 and 2018 and received refunds in both years for $137 million and $129 million respectively. There is something seriously wrong with that. Bernie Sanders noted that an individual paying a $119 fee for Amazon Prime paid more than the entire company did in federal income tax.

Robert Frost observed that “the woods are lovely, dark, and deep,” but we aren’t out of them yet. The last administration was like a hurricane. The big wind might be gone, but the cleanup has just begun. And Mr. Biden has promises to keep.

Alden Graves writes a regular column for the Banner.


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