Joe Manchin has emerged in the most dubious manner possible. He has become the most maddening politician in America.
Yes, the West Virginia Democratic U.S. senator is driving me batty. Nuts. Crazy.
The senator who represents one of the nation’s poorest states, where residents overwhelmingly support President Biden’s Build Back Better legislation, has decided to vote “no” on the package. His opposition seems curious, given that he offered a counter proposal that Biden reportedly accepted.
Now the senator has turned his back on it. He calls it too costly.
My goodness, the legislation aims to do a lot of good things for all Americans. Oh yeah. That means West Virginians, too. Which explains why the residents of that state favor it so dramatically.
What makes me nuts is that I happen to support the BBB package. It’s not that Manchin and I are on the same page. He has emerged as an outsized player in a drama that is building daily. Sen. Manchin does not deserve to play such a huge role in killing legislation that is going to help Americans from coast to coast.
Manchin has taken a “my-way-or-the-highway” approach to this matter. He knows he holds more power than he deserves given that he serves in a Senate made up of 50 Republicans and 50 Democrats (and a couple of independents who caucus with Democrats). Any “no” vote among Democrats can kill this package, as no GOP senators have signed on.
Joe Manchin’s arrogance defies description.
I should direct these comments to the Republicans who comprise the Texas congressional delegation.
All of ’em, to a person, voted “no” on President Biden’s infrastructure proposal and on the $1.7 trillion package billed as Build Back Better.
Some of them have issued harsh policy statements criticizing Biden as well as their Democratic colleagues, calling them “socialists” and “spendthrift” liberals who don’t give a damn about the national debt.
Ah, yes. But … will they say “no” when the government starts parceling the money to their states or congressional districts? Hardly!
Indeed, I fully expect some of them to actually use these improvements as grist for their re-election efforts in 2022 and beyond. Will they realize or recognize the hypocrisy of that message? Not even, man!
One man’s piling onto the national debt is another man’s “investment in the future.”
So it goes with the debate over Build Back Better, which is President Biden’s domestic spending initiative that is hung up in wrangling between congressional Democrats and Republicans and, yes, even between factions within the Democratic Party.
Whether it’s a $3.5 trillion spending package over 10 years or a $1.5 trillion package, it’s a lot of money.
What is so damn troubling, though, is that the GOP caucus is now worried about the national debt. It wasn’t worried one little bit about it when Donald Trump pitched an idea about cutting taxes for rich people, depriving the government of revenue it could “invest” in programs to help the rest of us. Now, though, it is all hung up on the debt and the cost of the infrastructure package that Biden and some within the Democratic caucus want.
Yeah, I know. It’s politics. That’s a family member of mine’s favorite rejoinder. It’s his fallback position when he can’t find any justification for the nonsense being bandied about.
It still stinks, man.
As a good government progressive, I find this discussion over Build Back Better, the debt ceiling and ways to avoid a government shutdown an example of just how ugly good government can be.
Man, it is damn ugly.
But I will stand by my belief that good government, which is the government of the possible, must be ugly in order to get anything done.
Indeed, the older I get the less ideological I become. I once was a flaming liberal. I took a two-year turn in the U.S. Army in the late 1960s, went to war for my country, came home as confused about that war as I was when I arrived, then got involved in presidential politics. I campaigned in my home state of Oregon for George McGovern in 1972. He lost big … remember?
Time went on. I grew up a bit more. We’re now watching the progressive wing of the Democratic Party battle with the more moderate wing. The progressives have made some good points about wanting to spend a lot more money than the moderates want to spend. However, I am going to await the end of this haggling to see how it plays out.
Thus, we are watching how good government might look ugly.
In reality, I believe it will produce a thing of beauty at the end.
A certain amount of context has been tossed aside in the discussion over whether to approve President Biden’s plan to “Build Back Better.”
We have become fixated on the number: 3.5 trillion … as in dollars.
What has become tossed aside is that the number that Biden and congressional progressives want would cover a 10-year period.
So, that figures to be a $350 billion expenditure annually to do a number of things: improve roads and bridges; modernize air travel; develop ship channels; improve Internet broadband service.
Here’s some more perspective. The United States of America boasts a $20 trillion annual economy, which suggests to me that $350 billion each year is like so much spittle in the proverbial bucket.
Congressional Republicans and some moderate congressional Democrats are wringing their hands over the amount of money that progressives want to spend. Again, I have to wonder: Why?
If the plan is to spread this expense out over a 10-year span of time, why are we quibbling over the total figure that in the grand scheme seems less relevant when you add some needed context to the discussion?