It may be time to kick Joe Manchin out of the Democratic Party | Robert Reich


AAfter putting a final spear at the heart of what remained of Biden and the Democrats’ domestic agenda, West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin now rejects any tax hikes on big business or the wealthy — until that inflation is no longer a problem.

It’s rich, in every sense of the word. Raising taxes on big American corporations and the wealthy would not fuel inflation. It would be slow inflation by reducing demand — and doing so in a way that won’t hurt low-income Americans (like those living, say, in West Virginia).

Manchin State is one of the poorest in America. West Virginia ranks 45th in education, 47th in health care, 48th in overall prosperity, and 50th in infrastructure.

Tax revenues from corporations and billionaires could be used to rebuild West Virginia, among other places that need investment in America.

But Manchin doesn’t seem to give a chuckle. After all, the Democrats’ agenda — which Manchin erased — included preschool, free community college, child grants, Medicare dental and vision benefits, paid family leave, senior care, and more. others – all of enormous value to West Virginia. . (On a per capita basis, residents of West Virginia would have benefited more than residents of all but two other states.)

It’s not like Manchin stood up for everything the Democrats sought. Remember Manchin’s “bipartisan compromise” on the John Lewis Advancing Voting Rights Act? Nothing came of it, of course.

Nothing came of the fig leaves Manchin conjured up to cover his relentless opposition to all other Democratic goals.

What is happening here? It’s spelled money.

Few if any global corporations or US-based billionaires reside in West Virginia, but plenty of money is flowing into Manchin from corporations and billionaires residing elsewhere.

Manchin has not only received more campaign contributions from oil, gas and coal companies than any other senator (as well as dividends from his own coal company), but he has one of the largest war chests of any major American corporation. .

If the Democratic Party had the ability to discipline its lawmakers or hold them accountable (if pigs could fly), it would at least revoke Manchin’s chairmanship of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.

To continue to let this crucial position be occupied by the one who single-handedly blocked one of the last opportunities to save Earth is a thumbs up in the eye of the universe.

I am told that the Democrats dare not take this step for fear that Manchin will leave the Democratic Party and switch allegiance to the Republicans.

Why exactly would that be so terrible? Manchin is already acting like a Republican.

Oh no! They tell me. If Manchin switches parties, the Democrats would lose control of the Senate.

Well, I have news for the Democrats. They have already lost control of the Senate.

In fact, as things stand, Biden and the Democrats have the worst of both worlds. They see as they control the Senate, as well as the House and the Presidency. But they can’t do anything because Manchin (and his on-and-off sidekick, Arizona’s Kyrsten Sinema) won’t let them.

Thus, after almost two years of appearing to lead the entire government, the Democrats have accomplished almost nothing of what they came to Washington to do.

America is burning and flooding, but Democrats won’t take climate action.

Voting rights and reproductive rights are being shattered but the Democrats will not protect them.

Gun violence is spiraling out of control, but Democrats are offering a miniature response.

Billionaires and big corporations are siphoning off more national wealth and revenue than in living memory and paying a lower (often zero) tax rate, but Democrats won’t raise taxes on big corporations and the wealthy.

Which means that in November’s midterm elections, Democrats will have to go back to voters and say, “We promised a lot but we held on, so please vote for us again.”

That doesn’t strike me as a compelling message.

By kicking Manchin out of the party, Democrats could at least approach the midterms with a more realistic pitch: “It looked like we had control of the Senate, but we didn’t. Now that you know who the real democrats are, give us power and we will be do it.

Maybe that way they’ll pick up more real Democratic Senators, and do it.

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