Imagining November 2022.

Mask wearing remained a contested issue in spite of an earnest and avuncular blitz of television ads by President Biden.  As a result, full control of the virus had to wait on mass vaccination

            The Covid 19 pandemic is under control by November 2022.  The development and testing of vaccines had been completed by early 2021.  A gigantic production effort by pharmaceutical companies made possible mass vaccination beginning in Spring 2021.  Lingering suspicion of the vaccines slowed the achievement of a critical mass, but it was achieved during Summer 2021. 

            Vaccination allowed a full return to the pre-Covid economy. 

            Direct negotiations between President Biden and Senate Majority Leader McConnell produced unexpected results. 

            First came a “skinny” stimulus bill previously rejected by House Democrats in the tag-end of the Trump Administration.  It covered only one year’s worth of spending, left the cap on state and local taxes in place, and excluded any aid that might be used to shore up the state pension funds of New Jersey, Illinois, and California. 

            Second, they agreed on a deal to stabilize Social Security by raising the cap on the Social Security tax for those making more than $800,000 a year.  It did not raise benefits. 

            Third, Biden announced a first step in his “Green Good Deal.”  This came in the creation of a National Coal Reserve.  The US government will pre-emptively buy all coal that is mined.  This will complete the transition of the US away from one kind of fossil fuels.  The coal will be sequestered in disused coal mines surrounding Scranton, PA.  Many thousands of jobs will be created for those retro-fitting the mines and warehousing the coal. 

            Attorney General Elizabeth Warren crusaded against the American economy of the previous two decades.  The Anti-Trust Division of Department of Justice announced attacks on “Big Tech.”  The Criminal Division launched a campaign to claw-back the “illicit profits” of American business.  This involved investigations of a thousand corporations. 

            The sustained US tariff campaign against China yielded big gains.  China agreed to buy regularly scheduled dollar values of American products.  China agreed to effective safeguards against intellectual property theft. 

            US troops were much reduced in Afghanistan and Africa.  A small, anti-terrorism raiding force continued to operate from Bagram Air Base.  In the interests of restoring alliance solidarity within NATO, Americans continued to provide intelligence and logistical support to French forces fighting to defend French-owned uranium mines in Niger. 

            Ships of an expanded and improved US Navy made highly publicized port visits in Taiwan, the Philippines, and Vietnam. 

            It became ever apparent that Biden would not seek a second term.  The lackluster performance of Kamala Harris during the 2020 Democratic primaries combined with occasional odd things that she has said in public as Vice President fueled interest in the 2024 presidential race among Democrats.  The most-mentioned candidate is New York Governor Michael Cuomo. 

            Adam Schiff celebrated his victory in the race for the Senate seat of Diane Feinstein, who had abruptly been retired.

            Wreathed in the glow of seniority, Nancy Pelosi (aged 82), Steny Hoyer (aged 83), and Jim Cliburn (aged 82) all ended their careers in public life.  This set up the House Democrats for their first new leadership in twenty years.  The leading candidates are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Abigail Spanberger. 

            Amy Walter, once of the Cook Political Report and NPR’s “The Takeaway,” succeeded Judy Woodruff at the helm of the moribund “NewsHour.”  Viewership (even among Republicans) immediately soared. 

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