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Democrats’ progressive tilt is preventing solutions and unity

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These are critical times for the United States. Our economy is attempting to emerge from a once-in-a-century pandemic. Russia is becoming increasingly aggressive. Violent crime is escalating dramatically in just about every major American city. Race relations continue to worsen.

Unlike previous national crises such as Pearl Harbor, the Cold War or 9/11, however, Washington does not have  coordinated policies or unity of purpose. Indeed, the Biden administration and congressional Democrats seem more concerned about side issues that appeal to their progressive base and are reluctant to address real issues head-on.

To illustrate this, consider just a few points:

  • As businesses begin their climb back from the losses and disruptions of the pandemic, President Biden is focused on increasing taxes on corporations and “the rich” — the very entities and people we need to sustain an economic recovery. This may be No. 1 on the progressives’ class-warfare wish list, but it is no way to sustain a real recovery with meaningful jobs.
  • As Russia becomes more aggressive toward Ukraine, thus increasing its threat to Europe, the Biden administration has responded by signing off on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia to Germany, which will only increase Russia’s economic leverage in Europe. Paradoxically, this concession to Russia followed cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline, which was a gift to the environmental/climate change lobby that has resulted in a loss of jobs, a sharp increase in gas prices, and a lessening of our energy independence.
  • The issues of violent crime and race relations have become intertwined. The 2020 murder of George Floyd In Minneapolis caused a backlash against police everywhere. Police departments were defunded and severe restrictions were placed on police procedures and tactics. The ensuing riots and violent demonstrations of last summer were explained and excused as protests against America’s “systemic racism.” And yet, the main victims of all of this have been the minority populations in our cities who are being victimized and murdered by people in their own communities. 
  • Rather than seriously address the underlying issues in inner-city minority communities, such as inadequate education and a lack of job opportunities, the Biden administration has again resorted to progressive nostrums. In deference to teachers unions, for example, there is no serious discussion of charter schools or of giving aid to parochial schools, both of which could help to improve educational opportunities and outcomes for inner-city schoolchildren.
  • Rather than encouraging job creation, the aforementioned tax increases would appease Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her fellow progressive members of the House “squad,” while perpetuating cycles of unemployment, poverty and despair, particularly in urban areas.
  • Rather than acknowledging the achievements of the police in dramatically reducing crime in the inner cities before their hands were effectively tied, the administration continues the slanderous canard that the criminal justice system is systematically racist. 

There are no easy answers to the challenges America faces today. Those challenges are real and daunting — and Republicans certainly don’t have all the answers, or have entirely clean hands either.  

But it is time for the Biden administration and congressional leaders of both parties to put aside their partisan shibboleths and work toward real-world policies and solutions. The American people deserve much more than they are getting from their elected leaders at the moment.

Peter King retired in January as the U.S. representative of New York’s 2nd Congressional District. He served 28 years in Congress, including as chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Follow him on Twitter @RepPeteKing. 

Tags Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Federal government of the United States Joe Biden Political positions of Joe Biden Presidency of Joe Biden

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