By Liam Benedict
As more Republicans among the Trump administration abandon his flailing attempts at undoing the results of this year’s election, President-elect Joe Biden has been able to continue building his cabinet––filling out the necessary positions within the highest levels of government.
So far, the Biden administration is looking promising, with a diverse group of experienced experts filling out the now vacant positions. However, there has been the occasional disappointment here and there: The most recent being the appointment of Bruce Reed.
Given his history as a Deficit Hawk, Biden tapping Reed for the deputy chief of staff position has drawn fire from the progressive left. Even though it may look like a bad omen, fighting to break out so early, many people see it as a positive sign. If we want things to get any better, then progressive politicians must pressure the new President-elect whenever he starts to stumble.
Biden’s appointee Bruce Reed has a long history of work in the government, specifically alongside the President-elect, dating back to the early 1990s. Since then, Biden was still a senator, while Reed worked in the White House as an assistant to the current president for domestic policy. Unfortunately, Reed’s long history of government work is not one to be particularly proud of.
To start, he worked closely with Biden on the now-infamous “Crime Bill,” one of the more shameful parts of the president-elect’s history.
He would go on to become chief of staff under the Obama administration until 2013. During that time, he worked on the Bowles-Simpson Commission, a bipartisan task force organized under former President Barack Obama to deal with the great increase in national debt brought about by the recession.
The plans suggested by this commission did not have the American people’s best interests in mind. As The Independent reported: “The group recommended increasing the federal gas tax by 15 cents, raising the retirement age to 69 by 2075, cutting 200,000 federal jobs, and reforming – making cuts – to Social Security and Medicaid, among other suggestions.”
It is also worth noting that Reed previously ran a think tank where one author argued for partial privatization of Social Security. This same think tank also published a column promoting Iraq’s invasion, again showing a history of bad judgment on Reed’s part.
When you examine Reed’s record, the danger surrounding his return to the White House is clear. In the time of COVID-19, having a deficit hawk back in power could be disastrous for future relief efforts.
Not to mention that both Biden and Harris have both promised that they would protect and expand Social Security, making Reed’s appointment look surprisingly counterintuitive. Luckily, his appointment is facing some staunch opposition from progressive members of congress.
A petition from the progressive group, Justice Democrats, has been making rounds over the internet, calling for Biden to reverse his decision. The Petition accurately sums up the danger of his appointment stating: “Putting someone in the administration who will prioritize paying down the deficit ahead of all other concerns in charge is a recipe for cutting our earned benefits and turning the COVID recession into a depression.”
This petition has already received 35,000 signatures and has the backing of several important politicians, including the influential group of progressive congresswomen known as “The Squad.” The newly elected representatives Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) and Cory Bush (D-Mo) have also thrown their support behind the petition.
Some people may view this turn of events as negative, saying that infighting has already broken out among the Democratic Party. Despite that, I consider what’s happening as a positive event.
The progressives rallied behind Biden in the 2020 election after Bernie Sanders dropped out––helping him win. However, just because they helped him win doesn’t mean that they accept Biden and his policies exactly as they are.
It is their duty, along with the rest of the American people, to pressure Biden when we disagree with his actions. This is the danger that we faced with Trump as his political allies, who weren’t fired, were yes men. To see that Biden’s allies are willing to criticize him gives me hope for the future.
And for those that see the same dangers in Bruce Reed that I do, I’d encourage you to sign the petition here.
Liam Benedict is a first year English major from the small town of Galt, California. He is a writer and is planning on becoming a lawyer in the future.
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