All posts by Pearl

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120 – DEMOCRATS CAN GIVE ON TWO THINGS ONLY WITH THE COVID RELIEF BILL (In My Opinion)

It is hardly a shock that Republicans, and even some Democrats and Independents, are balking at passing the full Biden Covid relief plan as it initially exists.  Now I frankly do not believe that the Republicans will okay ANY additional Covid relief even if the Democrats make some compromises to the plan.

However, I do believe that the Democrats can not only improve upon the Covid relief package but also come away at least looking like they made a definite effort to compromise.  Here are the two compromises that I recommend.

#1.  Lower the annual income eligibility threshold to receive stimulus payments

Neither my wife nor I have ever been comfortable with the stimulus payments, whatever they may be, being allowed to be sent to Americans who really don’t need it. 

As best I have been able to find, here is a table showing who would be eligible to receive stimulus payments under the existing Covid relief plan.  As you can no doubt see, it is quite complex.  You should also be able to see that there are an awfully lot of high income people who would be eligible to receive checks under the current plan.


These are the things that jump out to me.

Single Eligiblity

  • If you are a single adult, you can make up to $115,000 annually.
  • If you are a single parent with 2 children, you can make up to $232,500 annually.
    • (Why a single parent with 1 child is not listed in that graph is a mystery to me, as is the absence of a single parent with more than 2 children.)

Married Eligiblity

  • Married with no children, you can make up to $230,000 annually.
  • Married with from 1-5 children, you can make from $270,000 up to $430,000 annually.

If you make over $200,000 annually, I do not understand how someone should be eligible for an additional stimulus payment, regardless of how many children they may have.

Now remember, this is only for the stimulus payment.  People making that amount of money can certainly have businesses and employees to support, or they could be laid off from their places of business.  In the event of either of those situations, there are additional elements of the Covid relief plan that provide business relief and/or increased unemployment benefits.

Now, I don’t know exactly what amounts the thresholds should be set at but there obviously is some wiggle room which Democrats can use to try and get Republican buy-in.

Include Retirees?

Since my wife and I are retired, as are friends of ours, it is also our contention that people on Social Security do not really need any more stimulus payments (nor the original stimulus payments for that matter).  I’m not exactly certain how that could be written into the law. 

  • My guess is that Democrats would be less likely to give on omitting Social Security recipients since it would appear to be unfairly omitting retirees. However, I do think that most retirees would agree that they would rather see the stimulus money go to lower income people who have lost their jobs, or who have small businesses and employees to support.

#2.  Take the increase of the hourly wage up to $15/hr out of the bill. 

I’m not saying don’t fight for this entirely because I absolutely feel that it is the right thing to do, and it is already the law in a number of states anyway.

What I’m saying is don’t waste time or energy trying to include this in the Covid relief bill.  Just make sure that low income people, who are most often working at or below that $15 minimum, get that stimulus relief first.


So those are the two items I think are eminently negotiable –

  • The stimulus payment income threshold
  • The $15/hr minimum wage.

If Democrats are willing to compromise on those two items, not only does it make more sense to us, it will give them leverage in the court of public opinion that they are seriously in their efforts to compromise.

But Let’s Get Real

Here’s the rub.  Even if Democrats DO compromise on both of those items, I don’t believe for one second that almost any of the Republicans would vote for the stimulus, much less the 10 of them that would be needed to get to 60 votes.

But Democrats need to at least make the offer.   Money in the Covid relief bill must go out to things like …

  • Funding Covid vaccine production, distribution and vaccinations
  • Funding schools so that they may reopen safely
  • Increasing and/or extending unemployment benefits
  • Making money available to lower income businesses that are in danger of being lost
    • By the way, this time, let’s be sure to NOT include big chain stores and restaurants.
  • Funding state and local governments so that they are able to avoid having to cut essential personnel like police, fire and medical personnel.

This needs to be done quickly.  It really does not matter how long the Republicans drag negotiations out … SO DON’T LET THEM.  They will likely NEVER agree to any more Covid relief.  With that being the case, Democrats should make the initial offer to compromise as quickly as possible.  If the Republicans don’t take it, then go immediately to Reconciliation so that the bill can be passed with just 50 votes plus the Vice President.

But before going back to Reconciliation, and even without any Republican help, I think the Democrats should go ahead and lower the income thresholds as to who is eligible to receive the stimulus payments. 

If they do that, not only can Democrats then legitimately say that they tried to compromise with Republicans, they can also say that even without the Republicans, they understand the need to target the stimulus payments to only the most needy.  So their proposal is now attempting to better do that.


I don’t know.  That seems like a logical plan to me.  I don’t usually ask for feedback, but since I very seldom receive ANY feedback to my editorials, I want you to know that I am sincerely interested to know what YOU think of my suggestions.

Please leave a comment at the end of this post.

119 – What a Great Friggin’ Day – An Editorial

Was this day alone worth having to live through these past four years? 

Hardly …

But damn, it was close !

From the inaugural ceremonies at noon, to the first working afternoon of both the new Pres and Vice Pres, to the wonderful Celebrating America production on television this evening, I can’t imagine that this day could have gone any better, or have been any more personally enjoyable.

For all of the disquiet and apprehension leading up to this day, there were no disruptions at all of which I am aware.  For all of the military presence that there most certainly was, I was not aware of it at all during any of today’s activities.

I hope that you got a chance to see this evening’s 90 minute Celebrating America  shown at least on both CNN and MSNBC, and possibly NBC, ABC  and CBS as well.  Meanwhile, not only was it not shown on Fox, Fox spent its time talking about no less than the “Hunter Biden scandal” and how the Democratic war on the police will now continue and accelerate.

If you were able to see any of the virtual Democratic National Convention this past summer, and you enjoyed that, well tonight’s production was that on steroids.  There were so many excellent musical performances – my favorites being those of John Legend, and also Lovely Day belted out by Demi Lovato.

I particularly enjoyed seeing the three former Presidents speaking together and all wishing Biden and Harris their best, and offering their assistance if ever they want it.

Other high points for me today were …

  • All three singers at this noon’s inauguration ceremony – Lady Gaga (dressed in her best Hunger Games outfit), J Lo, and even Garth Brooks (sans his ubiquitous hat).
  • The wonderful young poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman, and her inspiring delivery.
  • Vice President Harris swearing in the three, new Democratic Senators – Warnock and Ossoff from Georgia and Padilla from California.  It was cute when Harris introduced Padilla and laughed when she read that he was appointed to replace former Senator Kamala Harris who had resigned.
  • President Biden telling the newly, virtually sworn in government employees that if he ever hears that they have treated someone with disrespect, or have talked down to someone … “I will fire you on the spot.”
  • Jen Psaki’s first edition of the return to what promises to be professional, competent daily White House press briefings.
  • The interviews of new Senators Rev. Ralph Warnock and Luis Padilla by Rachel Maddow on MSNBC.  Both came across as intelligent, fresh, serious additions to a U.S. Senate which is badly in need of all of those qualities.
  • Katy Perry’s final song that accompanied the spectacular fireworks that engulfed the Washington Monument, and which completed this evening’s Celebrating America.

I found myself smiling at the television today perhaps more than I have in total over these past four horrible years. Best of all, I don’t think I so much as thought of He Who Must Not Be Named even once.

We’re a long way from being out of the woods with our multiple national crises. But I for one certainly feel so much more optimistic with the people who took charge today.  

We should all hope that my optimism is not misplaced.

Quick Quips: MY GOD. MY GOD. WE CAN’T ALLOW IT TO LOOK LIKE THE CAPITOL TERRORISTS HAVE WON !

In the inimitable words of the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida …

I CALL B.S. !

Just because changes have to be made to ensure the safety of next week’s inauguration, and the safety of state Capitol’s around the country, that doesn’t mean that the terrorists and insurrectionists have won.  All it means is that we have been forced to make some changes.

After 9/11, we made significant changes to security in airports all around the country.  But that didn’t mean that the “terrorists won”.  It just meant that we had to make changes to try and lessen the chances of that happening again.  It was not our fault that we made those changes.   It was the terrorists fault for having forced us to make those changes.

Same situation today.  It is not our fault that we have had to make these additional security changes.  It is solely the fault of those right-wing, extremist, Capitol terrorists and insurrectionists.

So if you happened to have actually been there in Washington DC last week at the Capitol, or if you in some twisted way agree with those people who were there, then the next time you try and visit either the nation’s Capitol, or any other state Capitol around the country, and you are annoyed with all of the security, and are looking for someone to blame …

JUST LOOK IN THE DAMN MIRROR !

118 – WORDS OF HOPE FOR MY BLOG READERS, PARTICULARLY THOSE WHO MAY RESIDE OUTSIDE OF THE UNITED STATES (An Editorial)

I wanted to provide an update on my personal perspective of the tumultuous events here in the United States.

Not that everything is all that rosy for you I am sure, wherever in the world you may be.  Still, the horrifying scenes at our nation’s Capitol this past week being broadcast around the world, likely places the U.S. right at the top of the heap when it comes to worldwide concern.

First, Covid has momentarily taken a backseat to the other events that transpired this week, even as we are now losing over a record of 4000 lives to Covid every day here in the United States.  That number is as unthinkable, as has been every other increasing daily number that has preceded it.  The vaccines are certainly good news but, predictably, the rollout here, while still under the control of the current administration, has not been good. 

My wife and I remain thankfully still Covid free.  She has left the house very infrequently over the past ten months.  I do virtually all of the shopping.  We hope that you and those close to you, have been spared most of the trials of Covid as well.

Now as to our political situation here in the United States.  Above all, the future looks so much more hopeful with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris taking office in twelve days.  Thanks to the recent runoff elections in the state of Georgia, Biden now will have a Democratic led Senate to help avoid most of the almost certain gridlock and obstruction that would have been unquestionably caused if current Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was still in charge of the Senate.

Biden already has been SUCH a refreshing return back to normalcy.  Granted, he has had the lowest of bars for comparison.  But even had he succeeded former President Obama, in my opinion Biden has handled himself extremely well even if Obama was the standard, and not Trump. 

The people Biden has chosen to be in his Cabinet, and to lead the team to fight Covid, are an extremely competent, qualified and just plain seemingly decent group of people.  Not to mention being so much more representative of the diversity of our population here in the United States.

After all the disgrace and abomination of these past four years, Donald Trump finally appears to have done something that Republicans, who have somehow not only stomached, but have actively supported, have finally been pushed over the edge.  Not all of them to be sure, or even yet a majority, but enough it seems.

Our military has been consulted and appears to have assured us that, under these unique circumstances, they will not just accept, without question, any attempted Presidential order for military intervention if it is attempted in these remaining twelve days.

Certainly, there is a concern that bad actors around the world, of which there are unfortunately many, may try to take advantage of our current uncertainty.  The closer we get to the January 20th inauguration of our new President, the less likely I feel that any bad act would happen just because of the political uncertainty here. 

A brand new President might not necessarily be equipped and ready to handle an international incident if it happened literally the moment he took office.  With Joe Biden’s vast experience, and familiarity with the world, I believe that he and the people around him, will be more than ready to act thoughtfully, and decisively, if necessary.

So, that is where we are.  Trump is absolutely deranged and must be phenomenally depressed right now.  But most everyone here seems to now be acutely aware that he is, and are on high alert.

We don’t believe this will be easy at all. President Biden and Vice President Harris have their hands full, even if they ONLY had Covid to deal with.  Covid is their first priority and we hope and believe that they will help lead our country, and perhaps also the rest of the world, out of this Covid nightmare.  But the economic damage, and loss of life, will be something that will last long past the end of the immediate Covid threat.

I hope that wherever in the world you may be, you are well and are surviving this epidemic as well as can be expected.

Here’s hoping for a better 2021 for all of us.

117 – WELL JOE, THE NEXT TWO YEARS ARE NOW UP TO YOU (An Editorial)

I guess old Spike was right. Georgia did in fact … DO THE RIGHT THING.

Wins by Ossoff and Warnock in Georgia certainly put a completely different spin on the first two years of Biden’s Presidency.  But he has to now use these next two years wisely or the same thing that happened to Obama in 2010 may well happen to Biden in 2022.

Ever since I posted the following in an editorial about a month ago, I had been hoping against hope that I would be able to write this editorial as a follow-up. 


Well, that opportunity has now presented itself.

Thank God that McConnell will not be in a position to have any say at all over …

  • Biden’s cabinet picks
  • Biden’s federal judgeship nominations
  • What bills passed by the House are even brought up for discussion and a vote in the Senate

Senate Minority  Leader Mitch McConnell

The only thing that would have an even better ring to it

would have been Senator Amy McGrath.


It’s also now up to Pelosi to use these next two years wisely.

She has to put standalone bills up for votes.  It’s all that other garbage that gets attached to bills that gives Republicans the excuses not to vote for them.

Target the stuff that Democrats absolutely know that the majority of Americans are in favor of.

You want DACA protection …

  • Then put that in a bill all by itself, and then dare the Republicans to vote against it. 

You want to make the first Tuesday in November a federal holiday …

  • Then put that in a bill by itself and then dare the Republicans to vote against it.

You want to ban automatic weapons and multi-magazine ammunition …

  • Then put that in a bill by itself and then dare the Republicans to vote against it.

You want to fund state and city governments to be able to fight Covid, really make testing universal and easily available, and get the damn vaccinations into everyone’s arms …

  • Then put those all in a bill just by themselves and dare the Republicans to vote against it.

You want to make signficant improvements to healthcare which are begging to be done …

  • Then target specific improvements and roll back Republican efforts to criple Obamacare, and then dare the Republicans to vote against it.

You want to actually implement some greatly needed infrastructure reform …

  • Then put those all in a bill just by themselves and then dare the Republicans to vote against it. 
  • If you don’t load the bill down with lots of unrelated garbage, I actually think you will get significant support from Republicans on this one.
  • You have a young, intelligent, eloquent new spokesman to help spearhead these changes – Transportation Secretary designee Pete Buttigieg.  Turn him loose!
  • Throw Trump’s incessant “infrastructure weeks” into the trashbin of history … where they so rightfully belong.

You want to actually implement some policies that will address climate change …

  • Then put targeted things in a bill that the vast majority of Americans agree upon, such as …
    • Modernizing the electrical grid
    • Not  banning fracking but instead putting regulations in place that firmly address the abuses and negative effects of fracking
    • Investing in technology to remove carbon emissions from the atmosphere – in addition to reducing the amount of new emissions that we continue to add into the atmosphere.
    • Improve the energy standards for new and existing buildings
    • Protect wetlands and expand reforestation efforts
  • Importantly, start with targeted ideas that are able to generate widespread support.
  • For God’s sake, don’t try and start with some multi-trillion dollar Green New Deal all in one package that will only serve to piss people off before you can even get started – pretty much like healthcare did to you and Obama.
  • Start smaller and demonstrate first that these efforts can in fact work, and that they won’t bankrupt the economy the way the Right has tried to frighten people.
  • That should then hopefully open the door to the more aggressive climate change policies, made in collaboration with the rest of the world, that are necessary to really save this planet.

You want to repeal that 1.5 trillion dollar Trump tax giveaway …

  • Then put that in a bill just by itself and don’t give one solitary damn if the Republicans vote against it.
  • Just make sure and live up to Biden’s promise not to let taxes go up on anyone making less than $400,000 / year.

Once you get some real achievements under your belt, then you can at least think about trying more agressive things like …

  • Statehood for Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia
  • Comprehensive immigration reform

… and …

  • Oh, I’m sure the Progressive wing will have a few more ideas.
  • You might even want to try and throw a bone to the Republicans.

Those were amazing results from Georgia last night.  The pressure is now on Biden to use this power effectively and not just try to become the anti-Republican Party. 

I feel much more confident that Biden and Harris will be able to thread that needle, rather than perhaps other Presidential hopefuls may have been able to.

We are way overdue for a truly new day.  Perhaps, just perhaps, this might be the start of it.  

Now, Democrats …

just don’t screw it up!