December 31st, 2021: A Year in Review, and a Preview of 2022
This week, White House Correspondent Paul Brandus sits down with Susan Page, the Washington Bureau Chief of USA Today, to review a tumultuous 2021, and discuss what we can expect in the upcoming year. Paul also sits down with Joel Naroff of Naroff Economics to discuss the economy and what 2022 has in store.
America bids farewell to 2021 — but — what will 2022 bring? We’ll look back — and ahead.
I’m Paul Brandus — you’re listening to West Wing Reports— it’s Friday, December 31st.
It has been a tough year — beginning with an attack on the Capitol, and ending with another surge in covid cases. In between — the pandemic rolled on— taking the lives of more than 400-thousand Americans — the TOTAL death toll now well over 800-thousand. And the omiricon variant throwing everything into reverse gear — as cases, hospitalizations and deaths soar — amid endless lines for covid testing.
Despite this gloom — the U-S economy — or much of it at least — has done well. The job market booming — wages up, housing strong the stock market flirting with all time highs.
But a surge in inflation — is causing pain — there could be more to come in 2022.
And there’s more — China, Russia, Iran, North Korea, climate change — and here at home political division that seems worse than ever.
No question — a challenging year awaits. And let’s just get right into it.
You know, Yogi Berra - the late great New York Yankee catcher - once said that it’s hard to make predictions - especially about the future - but we’re going to try here - I’m joined by Susan Page, the Washington bureau chief for USA Today - I’m a columnist there - and Susan first Happy New Year to you -
My thanks to Susan Page, the Washington Bureau Chief for USA Today — her next book, by the way, a biography of TV news legend Barbara Walters — her most recent books include biographies of Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Bush.
So a lot of variables politically in the new year — we didn’t really discuss former President Trump, by the way, who continues to cast a shadow over the Republican Party. The question of course — will he — or won’t he run? The same question, by the way President Biden himself — will HE seek re-election? It’s still early — even so — huge questions to keep on eye on.
Another huge question: the economy. For that, let’s bring in Joel Naroff — of Naroff Economics — a Pennsylvania-based advisory firm — he’s one of the sharpest economic observers in the country.
We’ll open up the West Wing Reports time machine in a minute — first, let’s hear about ANOTHER Evergreen podcast — that I know you'll enjoy”
Time now to open up the West Wing Reports archives — and see what made history this week in the past:
1790: George Washington told the Seneca Nation that the United States was dedicated to friendship with Indians. The president told Indian leaders that quote — “you cannot be defrauded of your lands…you possess the right to sell, and the right of refusing to sell.” Later history of U.S. relations with Indians showed that this was hardly the case—and a century to the day after Washington’s expressions of peace came the Wounded Knee massacre of the Lakota tribe. It occurred during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison.
1940 - Franklin Roosevelt — warning Americans of the menace of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany.
In his Fireside Chat — Roosevelt said America must become the “arsenal of democracy” — and shift to a wartime economy — to produce weapons to help defend Great Britain — which at the time was being bombed and under threat of Nazi invasion.
America — would be dragged into World War II — a year later.
1969 — Not your father’s GOP — President Nixon signed a sweeping tax reform bill. It cut taxes for most Americans — but raising them on the rich. It also exempted nine million low-income citizens from paying any taxes at all, and also sharply raised Social Security benefits.
People also forget that Nixon was an environmentalist— on New Year’s Eve 1970 — he signed what is arguably the most important environmental bill in U.S. history: The Clean Air Act Amendments — it required the Environmental Protection Agency — created by Nixon, by the way — to develop and enforce regulations to protect people from breathing bad air. It helped remove sulfur and nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, ozone and lead from the air—saving countless lives. He said this in 1972:
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I like to end each week with a quote — something you might find thoughtful: This week — it’s from Barack Obama — and cuts across party lines:
Quote: “We are reminded that in the fleeting time we have on this Earth, what matters — is not wealth or status or power or fame — but rather how well we have Loved and what small part we have played in making the lives of other people better.”
Think about it.
That’s all for this week — and this year.
West Wing Reports is a production of Evergreen Podcasts.
My thanks to Susan Page and Joel Naroff.
Audio clips from the National Archives.
Our producer and sound designer and engineer: Noah Foutz
Executive producers: Michael D’Aleoia and Gerardo Orlando.
I’m Paul Brandus — Happy New Year — and I’ll see you — in 2022!