Conservative Democrats, yesteryear’s moderate Republicans, the ones almost universally called “centrists”, are concerned that by focusing on the needs of human citizens, rather than the souls of eternal, judicially created corporate persons, the government will create an “entitlement mentality”.
That’s Joe Manchin III’s line, echoing Reagan’s racist and hugely successful “Welfare Queen” meme. That’s the rationale behind Manchin’s objection to raising the minimum wage to $15 as well as to funding programs to help struggling Americans, create well-paying jobs to care for other Americans and combat the looming climate catastrophe.
Of course, Manchin III is kind of a cartoon character, a smug, lying rich fuck who lives on a yacht, takes in bushels of toxic polluter cash, and has his son, Joe Manchin IV, manage his coal interests, which net him a cool half a million dollars or so every year while avoiding all conflicts of interest.
When I say “lying fuck” I am thinking of Joe’s recent claim that he never crunched the numbers, which is only a lie because of the “soft-infrastructure” budget memo he prepared, with a price tag just north of one trillion, and gave to Chuck Schumer at the beginning of this hammering out period for the Build Back Better Act. Joe now thinks $2,000,000,000,000 over ten years sounds a hell of a lot better than $3,500,000,000,000 over ten years. He just doesn’t think it’s fair to expect billionaires to pay their workers a living wage, or to force them to pay more than a small percentage of their income– not wealth, God forbid! — which will disincentivize them from creating jobs that pay something like the f$11/hr. that Manchin proposed. A “moderate” compromise with the radical socialist members of his party, who point out that $15 is already a compromise when the actual wage, adjusted for inflation, should be about $24/hr.
Joe’s not a billionaire, not by a long shot, but like many members of Congress, he is a millionaire. He’s concerned that taxing the corporations and billionaires that support him so generously will hurt them, will lose him what he is entitled to, with his rich guy’s entitlement mentality. Those fat checks from Exxon, Chevron, Koch, the rest of ’em, the campaign funds he’s entitled to, that he’s earned by his consistent votes and actions and inactions as chair of the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, will dry up and blow away like a fart in the wind if the Coal Baron of West Virginia does not deliver for his peeps, the big donors.
Same deal with “moderate, centrist” Kyrsten Sinema. If I was an even more coarse person than I am, I’d be tempted to call them both whores. I suppose they are. But they’re entitled to be, because the system pays some whores very well.
I’ll let Heather Cox Richardson, writing the first draft of history night after night, put Joe Manchin’s compromise offer in context of what our government spends on our behalf to “defend” us and how automatic those trillions over the decades, 39% of our annual budget, have become.
In contrast, though, Congress spends very little time discussing the defense budget, which, at its current rate, would cost $7.78 trillion over the next ten years. That amount is significantly higher than the defense spending of any other nation in the world. In 2020, the U.S. spent $778 billion on defense, making up 39% of our overall spending. China, the country with the next highest defense budget, spent 13% of its overall spending on defense at $252 billion, India spent 3.7% at $72.9 billion, Russia spent 3.1% at $61.7 billion, and the United Kingdom spent 3% at $59.2 billion.
At the heart of the question of how we spend our tax dollars, of course, is who pays those tax dollars. The Biden administration wants to fund the Build Back Better plan not by borrowing, but by closing tax loopholes and clawing back some of the 2017 cuts to corporate taxes and income taxes on the nation’s highest earners. At Rolling Stone today, reporters Andy Kroll and Geoff Dembicki wrote that political groups funded by the network of right-wing libertarian billionaire Charles Koch, who is deeply invested in fossil fuels, are pouring money and effort into killing the Build Back Better plan.
And Republicans in the Senate keep voting 50-0 to kill anything Biden puts on the table, as they did to block the re-establishment of the Consumer Finacial Protection Bureau, including the mythical ten principled Republicans Manchin keeps claiming to know, the ones who have his back on protecting the filibuster.
The Senate went on today to confirm Rohit Chopra to direct the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) for a five-year term. Chopra worked with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) to establish the CFPB after the financial crisis of 2008, and in its first five years it recovered about $11.7 billion for some 27 million consumers. Former president Trump appointed former South Carolina representative Mick Mulvaney to head the bureau while he was also the director of the Office of Management and Budget; when he was in Congress, Mulvaney had introduced legislation to abolish the bureau. At its head, Mulvaney zeroed out the bureau’s budget and set about dismantling it.
When he took office, Biden began to rebuild the bureau and, in mid-February, appointed Chopra to head it, but Republicans objected to him. Now, more than seven months later, with Republicans insisting he would be anti-business, Vice President Kamala Harris cast the deciding vote to confirm his appointment.https://heathercoxrichardson.substack.com/p/september-30-2021?r=74gv9&utm_campaign=post&utm_medium=email&utm_source=