SUCCESS FOR BIDEN? by:  Marvin L. Covault, Lt Gen US Army, retired January 18, 2021

Looking four years ahead my sincere hope is that the Biden Administration is successful. Having said that, I need to define it.
In the larger context, I define success as that which is best for the American people, not some of us, all of us. More specifically, I believe success would be a secure nation, safe communities, a strong military deterrence, and sustained economic growth; that is, every sector of the economy grows.
Am I optimistic? Not yet. Let’s look at a few of the policies that are likely to be implemented, some of them very soon, and see what we come up with. Remember the measure is success, i.e., what is best for all Americans. 
IMMIGRATION REFORM:  Biden said, “ I will send an immigration bill to the United States Senate with a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people in America,”  Four things are bothering me.
Eleven million is a number that has been around for years. Experts tell us the real number is a lot closer to 22 million. Facts: we don’t know who they are, where they live, or how long they have been here. So, if the number is really over 20 million and Biden says 11 million will become citizens. How does he deal with the number’s discrepancy?
Two, how does he sort out the hard-working, law-abiding illegals from the gang members, drug dealers criminals, and those who have become totally dependent on US social services? 
Three, precedent is a powerful force, especially when it comes to government policy. It is highly likely that amnesty will become a green light for millions more illegals from around the world to overpower the border and get in line for the second round of amnesty. 
Four, this immigration reform policy shift is not some big humanitarian gesture by the democrats. It is the finishing touch to a long-standing plan to establish a new identity voting block consisting of tens of millions of newly naturalized citizens. 
Is this what is best for America? If you want to see a different immigration reform plan that will voluntarily identify and locate every illegal immigrant in America, sort out the good ones and deport the criminals, stop the flow of illegals coming here for work, provide a path to citizenship, have the illegals pay taxes and do it all without new federal or state funding or the establishment of a massive/forever bureaucracy; if that appeals to you look at an article entitled IMMIGRATION REFORM PLAN, published August 2020 on 
OPEN BORDERS:  Biden will not call it open borders but there is every reason to believe he will at least revert to the Obama/Biden policy of catch-and-release. Under this policy illegals crossing the border would actually seek out border patrol agents so they could get “processed” and be on their way. 
As I write this, there is a caravan of about 5000 Guatemalans on the way. Why? They want to be here when amnesty is announced. Border patrol is anticipating wave after wave of illegals in the coming months.
What do we know about those 5000 who are on the way to our southern border and the tens of thousands who will follow? We know they will all fall into one or more of the following categories:  Criminals, drug dealers, gang members, Covid-19 carriers, sick, unemployed, or children who need free education in Spanish. And this is good for America?
“SHUT DOWN DEPORTATION FOR THE FIRST 100 DAYS”, Biden says. Why? Because the democrats have long campaigned to shut down ICE, Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
Of the 85,958 illegal aliens removed from the U.S. interior in 2019, more than 75 percent – 64,991 – had criminal convictions. Another 13,498 had pending criminal charges. Using this data, on average, ICE deported 215 criminals per day. Biden’s 100 -day shut-down will keep 21,500 criminals in our communities who could have been/should have been deported. 
In all likelihood, the 100-day shutdown is just the prelude. Is eliminating ICE, and leaving tens of thousands of criminals on our streets, the best course of action for safety in our communities?
“I WILL INCREASE MINIMUM WAGED TO $15 PER HOUR ACROSS THE COUNTRY,” Biden promises. I see two down-side issues here. 
One is timing. Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of COVID-19-impacted small businesses hanging on by a thread. Increased minimum right now could be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and put them off the cliff.
The second issue is math. The democrat sound-bite is the $15 minimum wage will lift 1 million Americans out of poverty; an admirable goal. However, many small businesses operate with slim profit margins and cannot tolerate increased wage costs. The solution, they will cut back on employees and experts predict 1.3 million will lose their jobs.
Additionally, why $15 increase in every state? The highest cost of living state is Hawaii and the lowest is Mississippi. Does it make sense to dictate the same minimum wage for every state? 
So, with this program, we help 1 million low-income employees and start paying unemployment to 1.3 million who just got fired. Is that what is best for America?
CORPORATE TAX RATES: Biden told CNN “I’d make the changes on the corporate taxes on day one. The reason I’d make the change on corporate taxes is it could raise $1.3 trillion if they just start paying at 28 percent instead of 21 percent.”
Couple of points, corporations don’t pay taxes, people do. A corporate tax is an added cost of producing a product that gets passed on to the consumer. When the product price goes up the corporation can no longer compete in a global market. So, they find another way to cut costs; the usual result is less payroll.
That is exactly the formula that sent millions of US manufacturing jobs overseas. Do we really want to go through that Obama/Biden scenario again? Is a higher corporate tax rate really what is best for Americans?
“I WILL NOT FUND ONE MORE FOOT OF BORDER WALL,” Biden said last week. Two points:
One, security walls have proven effective for thousands of years. They work today in Israel. They work in affluent neighborhoods across this country. They are working on our southern border today and every foot that is built allows scarce Border Patrol efforts to be focused elsewhere to their greatest advantage. 
Secondly, billions of dollars will reportedly be spent to cancel contracts, rework land leases, deal with 270,000 tons of fencing materials already produced, etc. Is this the best use of American tax dollars? Would it make more sense to finish the fencing that is already funded and then, if Biden still believes walls don’t work, cancel future construction?   OIL INDEPENDENCE: For decades US Middle East policy has been complicated, delicate, and difficult. the proposed solution to every Middle East issue was predicated on consideration of our need for oil imports from the Middle East.
President Trump’s oil independence has allowed us to interact in the Middle East without fear and trepidation that our oil supplies could be cut off or cause gas prices to surge adversely affecting everyone and every business. Additionally, without oil independence, we were at the mercy of OPEC when it came to pricing oil and gas on the world’s market.
Biden flip-flopped on the issue of fracking to appease Pennsylvania voters so we do not know where he will end up on the subject of fracking.  But we do know he has not waivered on banning “new oil and gas on public lands and waters”. A couple of issues here.
First, in eight western states, 97% of the oil and gas extraction is from federal lands. So, nearly every oil and gas drilling lease comes into play. 
Second, since the federal government owns nearly half of the land in the eleven Western states, the economic possibilities of Bidens plans “are devastating”, according to Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon.
 A third point, Biden’s pronouncements on oil and gas production are likely pandering to global warming proponents. But the fact is that reducing production from federal lands, does not reduce consumption, and consequently, does not reduce emissions.
MILITARY READINESS: Under Presidents Carter, Clinton, and Obama the military took huge hits in readiness; for example, after eight years of Obama/Biden the US Army had exactly one, yes one, fully combat-ready warfighting brigade and scarcely 50% of Air Force/Navy aircraft could get off the ground. 
Here we go again; Biden pledged during the campaign to, “maintain our military superiority,” which they all say, but added, “we must do so affordably.” Which is Washington code for huge budget cuts.
Why is US military readiness a big deal? Around the world, our friends and enemies are in a constant state of assessing our military readiness for confidence (friends) and to look for vulnerabilities (enemies). In the world we live in, US military readiness is a barometer for foreign policy development and decision making.
CONCLUSIONS:  My intent was to come to some early conclusions about which way the wind is blowing on early key issues for the Biden Administration and whether they will be “successful”; success being that which is best for the American people and, more specifically, success would be a secure nation, safe communities, a strong military deterrence, and sustained economic growth. 
I wish for the best, but at this juncture, I am not optimistic. Stay tuned. 
Marvin L. Covault, Lt Gen US Army, retired, is the author of VISION TO EXECUTION, a book for leaders, a columnist for THE PILOT, a national award-winning local newspaper in Southern Pines, NC and the author of a blog,

By Rick