Clearly there are ways to make life miserable for Joe Manchin
He's needed for Build Back Better. And the only thing that will work is causing him more discomfort by voting "no" than "yes."
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Much as we would like to just send Senator Joe Manchin to live deep in a West Virginia coal mine, he is necessary to President Biden’s agenda and the Build Back Better bill in this divided Senate.
His latest double-cross of the White House — going on Fox News over the weekend to say he’s a “no” on BBB while the president thought they were still in negotiations and getting closer to deal — was grotesque. But right now Manchin’s vote is necessary and we have to get him aboard, whatever it takes.
Joe Manchin doesn’t care about his constituents in West Virginia, or what they might be thinking when he’s up for re-election in 2024, if he is even running. If he did he would not have fired a torpedo at BBB from enemy lines. He’d be wanting the child tax credit extended, which is very popular in his state — and has helped more than 300,000 children in West Virginia to eat and be clothed — rather than making extension of the child tax credit the dealbreaker.
That doesn’t mean protest won’t work at getting Manchin to a yes. But the protest also needs to expose him as a detriment to the U.S. economy, someone his financial backers — the corporate donors to whom he bows, including quite a few billionaires — will be upset with for not supporting a bill that will pour trillions into the U.S. economy and American businesses, and help workers be more productive by getting them much needed aide. Any relatively minor tax increase on the wealthy is offset by the billions they will make in a booming economy — and Wall Street knows this.
As Greg Sargent noted at The Washington Post, Goldman Sachs has slammed Manchin’s actions as something that will harm investors:
…[W]e should pay more attention to the news that Goldman Sachs has downgraded the U.S. growth forecast, in response to Manchin’s opposition to BBB. This is an indication of how isolated Manchin has become, and points to a new vulnerability in his position.
In its note, Goldman declared it had reduced its projection of gross domestic product growth to 2 percent from 3 percent for the first quarter of 2022, and reduced it by a bit less for the second and third quarters
Note why Goldman did this. As it argued, this slowdown will be mainly because fiscal stimulus from the covid-19 rescue package earlier this year will wind down. Goldman projects that if BBB does not pass, that fiscal picture will be “more negative” than it might have been..
This needs to be broadcast everywhere. It should be in ads aimed at wealthy financial executives as well as average Americans who are trying to make ends meet: Joe Manchin is killing the American economy.
As economist Robert J. Shapiro told me last week on my SiriusXM program, discussing the “Biden Boom” that the media is ignoring, the claims by Manchin and others that BBB will cause more inflation are backward. And Goldman Sachs agrees, as do most economists who know that the inflation we’re experiencing currently is a global, temporary phenomenon brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and the way it’s affected the supply chain.
BBB will bring inflation down as we invest in industry and repair the supply chain, Not investing further in the economy will only harm it, while investing will help the boom to expand.
Democratic leaders in the Congress and the White House have also come to realize, finally, that Manchin needs to be exposed and shamed — and that that does actually bother him. Until now President Biden has alternately treated Manchin’s outbursts as the charming banter of a good friend or serious good faith efforts to be considered — or, when really out there, rants to be ignored. This time though the response from the White House to Manchin’s assault on BBB was fast and furious, and rightfully harsh:
…Senator Manchin promised to continue conversations in the days ahead, and to work with us to reach that common ground. If his comments on FOX and written statement indicate an end to that effort, they represent a sudden and inexplicable reversal in his position, and a breach of his commitments to the President and the Senator’s colleagues in the House and Senate….
…Maybe Senator Manchin can explain to the millions of children who have been lifted out of poverty, in part due to the Child Tax Credit, why he wants to end a program that is helping achieve this milestone—we cannot.
Democratic leaders are firing salvos too, with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer following the lead of Bernie Sanders and saying he will force a vote on the Senate floor:
Senators should be aware that the Senate will, in fact, consider the Build Back Better Act, very early in the new year so that every Member of this body has the opportunity to make their position known on the Senate floor, not just on television. We on a revised version of the House-passed Build Back Better Act — and we will keep voting on it until we get something done.
And of course progressives among the rank and file pointed to Manchin’s duplicity.
But even moderate Democratic groups are slamming Manchin.
I’m not sure why it took so long. This is how Joe Manchin — and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona — needed to be treated ever since they decided that they were going to throw the Biden agenda, and all of our lives, into chaos to pursue their own greedy interests. Already the angry but entirely legitimate pushback has received a stunned reaction from Manchin, who is horrified by the White House exposing his word as being worth nothing, whining like a baby that he’d been insulted by Biden and White House aides and that that’s why he bailed on BBB.
Apparently it was the leak that Manchin didn’t want to extend child tax credits that bugged him — because yeah, it makes him look like an evil person at Christmas.
Manchin’s actually refused to say what the reason is, but according to reports he privately raised the concern in White House discussions that the child tax credits will be spent by parents on “drugs” — which is outrageous, and not what we’ve seen, with over 3 million American children lifted out of poverty because of the child tax credits in the American Rescue plan.
It smells to high heaven, and Manchin knows that everyone is breathing it in and taking note of the stench. Democrats now have to point to him, shame him and confront him. He needs to feel more pain from being a “no”, and even if it doesn’t work, they have nothing to lose. Everything is on the line. Time to start hitting hard.
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