The editors of the New York Times strike a hopeful note:
For the midterms, Democrats adopted a trio of policy goals: lowering health care costs, creating jobs by investing in infrastructure, and cleaning up politics via a comprehensive reform package that would tighten ethics laws and shore up the integrity of our electoral system. These are popular causes with bipartisan appeal.
First up on the Democrats’ agenda is expected to be the reform package. But they also plan to move quickly to address the plight of the Dreamers, some 700,000 immigrants brought to the United States illegally as children and granted protection from deportation by President Barack Obama. Huge majorities of Americans support letting the Dreamers stay. Finding a compromise path with Mr. Trump would be good policy and good politics.
Of course, even if the president is interested in chalking up a few bipartisan wins, the Republican Senate is unlikely to play along. There’s nothing wrong with Democrats pursuing legislation, such as to raise the minimum wage, that fills out their governing priorities even if, for now, it does little more than clarify the contrasts between their priorities and their opposition’s.
I will admit that I struggled with that adjective.
Despite my misgivings I’d actually support the agenda of the first two quoted paragraphs. I think the editors would be disappointed at the actual number of jobs funding for more roads and bridges, the way “infrastructure” is typically defined these days. We don’t really need more roads and bridges and maintaining them is mostly the job of state and local governments. Contractors who can meet the bidding requirements already have all of the equipment and employees they need. And “lowering health care costs” has come to mean lowering out-of-pocket costs to consumers rather than actually reducing costs. Time will tell what might be meant in this instance.
I think it’s far more likely that, aping the Republicans under President Obama, we’ll see a constant stream of investigations, politics masquerading as oversight, and the House will signify their virtue by sending a stream of bills including a $15 national minimum wage, rescinding the cuts in the personal and business income taxes enacted under the last Congress, and environmental legislation, maybe even including a carbon tax to the Senate where they’ll die in silence.