Shirking Class Joe

Joe Biden might portray himself as the boy from Scranton. He might contrast himself with President Trump’s supposed in-office venality. But it doesn’t add up next to his record or his own dishonesty while in office.

The New York Post’s lastest Biden exposé on Thursday uncovered the former vice president’s alleged participation in schemes he denies ever discussing with his son, Hunter.

A statement from Hunter’s former business partner, Tony Bobulinski, attests Joe Biden was indeed a player in the scandal engulfing his son.

Bobulinski states that talk of “Russian disinformation” is itself disinformation, that the “email is genuine,” and “the big guy” mentioned in it is indeed Joe Biden.

This isn’t new for “Middle Class Joe.” The reality of Biden’s political career is not that of the storied boy from Scranton.

A Familiar Tale of a Corporate Croney

The Democratic establishment’s case for Joe Biden settles on his alleged electability, a term once etched within a few words of the name Hillary Clinton. The fable goes like this: Middle-Class Joe will reconquer the rust belt and bring home both the party’s blue-collar emigres and the White House.

Biden’s folksy demeanor is almost cliché, a hackneyed pantomime allegedly magnetic to the millions of Obama-Trump voters who deserted the Democrats for President Trump’s bread and butter common sense, and rust belt renaissance.

But Joe Biden’s blue-collar credentials betray his record, even a cursory glance at which reveals Biden’s firm hand in every disaster befalling the United States since the early 1990s. The irony of Biden’s candidacy is, without him, President Trump would not be president.

Biden built his senatorial career from his home state of Delaware, the capital of corporate America, and a safe haven for over half of U.S. public companies headquartered there for its low taxes and easygoing regulatory climate.

As far back as 1978, Biden did the bidding of Delaware’s banking industry, pushing emasculatory laws corrosive to ordinary Americans struggling with loans they could not pay.

That year, Biden steamrolled bankruptcy protections for graduates with federal student loans, later in 1984 adding vocational school loan recipients to the list.

Biden never forgot who was sending him his campaign money. The chief sponsor of the 1990 Crime Control Act, Biden slipped in further erosions to bankruptcy protections enjoyed by those strangled in debt.

In 2005, Biden’s everyman mien escaped his shilling for banking interests. The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act skinned debtors’ hopeful of a “clean slate” condemning them to a modern debtor’s prison.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debt relief grants the bankrupt a clean slate from which they can rebuild their standing. Biden’s work instead subjected them to punitive Chapter 13 provisions—a “wage earner’s plan” indenturing borrowers to their creditors.

Biden’s cloistered relations with the banking giants headquartered in his state earned him the moniker of “The Senator from MBNA” and protection from any meaningful challenge to his seat.

As it happens, MBNA employees (now Bank of America) were Biden’s largest campaign contributors throughout his Senate career. That firm also employed a 21-year-old Hunter Biden as an executive, and later as a highly rewarded consultant.

For a man of blue-collar cloth, Joe Biden’s work with the finance lobby does not compute.

Perhaps the succès de scandale of that industry lay within Biden’s work repealing the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act, which amputated investment banking from commercial banking.

In 1999, Biden joined 90 senators in junking Glass-Steagall, effectively permitting bankers to gamble with depositors’ cash—a move many sober critics attest ushered in the 2008 economic meltdown.

In 2016, the departing vice president said that vote was “the worst vote I ever cast in my entire time in the United States Senate.”

The repeal, he said: “Allowed banks with deposits to take on risky investments, putting the whole system at risk.”

That “whole system” collapsed above the heads of millions of Americans.

Critics note that not once during eight years of office did Biden try to punish the “architects” of the 2008 meltdown. Yet, Biden’s vote was part of the architecture in the Glass-Steagall repeal. The “architects” did what Biden and 90 senators enabled.

Dissolving the Middle Class for Fun and Profit

The dissolution of middle class America continued throughout Biden’s time in office.

Last year, in an address to an Iowa crowd, Biden scoffed: “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man. I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They’re not competition for us.”

China is the world’s second-largest economy. Prominent figures in academia, business, and politics have long expressed the view that China is a serious and credible threat to the United States. Indeed, this view is not exclusive to the cognitive class—the Rust Belt fled to President Trump for this very reason.

Yet the Obama-Biden Administration heralded China’s rise as inevitable. In 1994, Biden strapped rockets beneath a rising China.

First, voting for North American Free Trade Agreement, and second, welcoming permanent normal trade relations with China just seven years later.

Already reeling from NAFTA’s hollowing of U.S. industry, the Rust Belt then contended with the gangrenous welcome of China.

Biden recently claimed he was against NAFTA before he voted for it. That vote crushed millions of high-paying blue-collar jobs, outsourcing chunks of industrial America to China and Mexico.

NAFTA has dissolved the middle-class, closing 56,000 factories and destroying 5 million manufacturing jobs in the states where Biden now touts his newfound economic nationalism.

The afterglow is credited with rising income inequality, real wage cuts, weakened workers’ rights, and diluted benefits.

That economic death portended despair deaths among America’s blighted swathes.

Researchers Anne Case and Sir Angus Deaton found that three-decade assault on U.S. industry spiked an epidemic of alcohol, drug, overdose, and suicide deaths among those NAFTA assigned  surplus Americans. In 2017, they discovered:

An epidemic of overdoses, suicides and alcohol-related illness is causing a surge in deaths among white Americans with a high-school education or less that now makes them more likely to die early than those who are black or Hispanic . . .

This specter of “despair deaths” accelerated as NAFTA and China strangled blue-collar Americans.

“In 1999,” Case and Deaton found, “white men and women aged 50-54 with a high school education had a mortality rate 30 percent lower than black Americans. In 2015 it was 30 percent higher.”

Fracking Flip-Flops

The grim realities of the Rust Belt animated President Trump’s 2016 march to the White House, with traditional Democrats abandoning that party to turn the Rust Belt red for the first time in decades.

Under President Trump, American manufacturing enjoys something of a renaissance, and the president’s championing of fracking has reclaimed him the support of Americans whose prospects Joe Biden helped send overseas.

Yet, Biden’s shapeshifting fracking views threaten that recovery.

As detailed within these pages, what Biden thinks about fracking depends on what his audience thinks about fracking.

In July last year, Biden said his administration would “eliminate” fracking and subsidies for fracking and coal. In March, Biden pledged: “No more—no new fracking.”

In Pennsylvania last month, Biden morphed, saying: “Fracking has to continue, because we need a transition. There’s no rationale to eliminate, right now, fracking.”

Biden’s current fracking position is one of indignation: In Pittsburgh, recently he said: “I am not banning fracking. Let me say that again: I am not banning fracking. No matter how many times Donald Trump lies about me.”

Fracking, a drilling technique to extract oil and natural gas from underground rock formations, employs 32,000 in Pennsylvania’s south-westerly and north-easterly regions alone.

According to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a 2021 fracking ban would kill, like NAFTA did, 6 million jobs across seven states by 2025. Six-hundred-thousand Pennsylvanians would join the unemployment line.

Biden’s campaign now states that he does not support a nationwide fracking ban but will stop all oil and gas drilling on federal lands and will oppose new fracking permits.

If Joe Biden’s long political career is anything to go by, his presidency will end the brief ceasefire of the elite’s 30-year civil war on the American middle-class.

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About Christopher Gage

Christopher Gage is a British political journalist and a founding member of the Gentlemen of the Swig. Subscribe to his Substack, "Oxford Sour."

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

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