Political Dataviz: Executive Orders Issued by the President in their first 100 Days in Office (The Economist)

Source: The Economist, Joe Biden is taking executive action at a record pace, Daily Chart, January 22, 2021, https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2021/01/22/joe-biden-is-taking-executive-action-at-a-record-pace.

Joe Biden is signing executive orders at a record pace. In his first two days in office, he has signed 17 executive orders; more executive orders than Donald Trump did in nearly two months in office. Compared to his old boss, Barack Obama, he has surpassed him by a couple, but it took Obama at least 50+ days to do so.

Per The Economist,

In office, though, Mr Biden has been moving at a blistering pace. Within hours of being sworn in, he had recommitted America to the Paris climate accord; restored ties with the World Health Organisation; lifted a ban on travellers to America from several Muslim-majority countries; promised to protect from deportation “dreamers”, brought to America illegally as children; extended temporary freezes on household evictions and federal student-loan payments; mandated mask-wearing in airports, public transport and in federal buildings; and halted construction of the US-Mexico border wall. If that were not enough, he also did some redecorating. A portrait of FDR, famous for his productivity early in his term, now hangs on the wall of the Oval Office.

The chart below shows the pace President Biden has started on Day One in office. Compared to many of his predecessors from 1953-2021, he is on pace to break the record of executive orders signed in their first 100 days in office.

2 thoughts on “Political Dataviz: Executive Orders Issued by the President in their first 100 Days in Office (The Economist)

  1. Makes perfect sense for two reasons.

    Reason 1: Trump refused to accept his defeat and barely allowed any access to Biden’s transition team and essentially NO assistance, from sharing daily intelligence briefs to even the most basic things like allowing access to secure phone lines. Biden was at least a month behind where he’d have liked to be when he finally got that orange-skinned squatter to leave. The country was/is in the throes of a pandemic and people and businesses are hurting financially, so Biden had to act quickly and decisively.

    Reason 2: He still could have done almost all of it through Congress, but a huge majority of the Republican Party has chosen to go along with Trump’s lie that the election was rigged and Biden’s win wasn’t legitimate (it was), and therefore even though they are a narrow minority in both chambers, they have enough clout to drag out the process of legislating and approving bills for time-critical matters like financial stimulus, unemployment extension, ordering and allocating vaccines and PPE, getting loans to small and middle sized businesses so they don’t fold while Congress is endlessly debating minutiae, undoing the last guy’s bonehead moves like leaving the Paris climate accords and the WHO, and a few dozen other things that desperately need to get done in order to minimize any coming economic recession, minimize the number of Americans who end up homeless, hungry, or you know DEAD because they didn’t get help in time.

    Republicans are completely out of touch with reality at the moment. Two-thirds of the country supports Biden’s actions, with 75% or greater support for some of the specific actions especially regarding economic stimulus and rapid vaccine deployment. Yet the recent comprehensive $1.9T package that addresses all those things that American citizens of all stripes are heavily in favor of was opposed by every single Republican in the House; one wonders who they serve because it certainly isn’t their constituents. The only line item in the package that lacked enthusiasm on the Right amongst the public was a hike in minimum wage which was duly removed and the whole thing re-approved before being passed on to the Senate — the minimum wage desperately needs to be increased, if nothing else just to track with inflation, but that battle can be fought another day.

    Because Republicans refuse to do their jobs and are apparently more concerned with opposing every move Biden makes, he has no choice in this crucial first 100 days of his presidency other than to pass measures by reconciliation or executive decree. It’s not a failing or reneging on a promise to try to bridge the partisan gap and be “united” in a common purpose of forward progress. Republicans will keep saying for the cameras that he’s being partisan rather than united. Unity, in real terms cooperation, takes both sides. It’s the clowns riding the elephants who have shown zero interest in reaching across the aisle even in these critical times, when we’re still in the grip of a virus which has killed over half a million people in the past year and is only getting more contagious.

    It’s the GOP who cares more about playing political games than taking meaningful steps to try to keep the nation’s economy from imploding. High True Unemployment (not the gimmicky way the government derives its official Unemployment figure), a dip in spending by the middle class (which always has consequences), and numerous factors like rising bond yields and slowing tech stocks, combined with slowly rising inflation, signal that indeed an economic contraction or recession could be on the way. Republicans probably even welcome a stumbling economy, since they undoubtedly feel it would give them a leg up in the 2022 midterm and 2024 general elections. This party is willing to tank the economy and hurt millions of American citizens just so they can blame it on the current President and try to slither their way back into power.

    Under those circumstances and all that I’ve outlined here, Joe Biden can sign executive orders at the rate of one per minute until his hand falls off. The country needs him to, or we’re going to be dragged down to the swamp and waterboarded for four more years starting in 2024.

    Looking further ahead, there has got to be some kind of agreement that this way of governing isn’t working and it isn’t democracy. I’m all for divesting the Executive branch of a fair amount of its power and returning “lawmaking to the lawmakers” — Congress — but not until Congress grows up and shows it can work together, stop gerrymandering, stop trying to make it harder for people to vote, stop threatening to filibuster everything, stop politicizing the timing of appointee confirmation hearings, stop trying to delegitimize the results of a national election, and every else they’ve been doing that is a shameful embarrassment to country they purport to love so much.


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