“I’ll leave the savvy political analysis to others. I don’t know why Senator Joe Manchin apparently decided to go back on an explicit promise he made to President Biden. Naïvely, I thought that even in this era of norm-breaking, honoring a deal you’ve just made would be one of the last norms to go, since a reputation for keeping your word once given is useful even to highly cynical politicians. I also don’t know what, if anything, can be saved from the Build Back Better framework.
What I do know is that there will be huge human and, yes, economic costs if Biden’s moderate but crucial spending plans fall by the wayside.
Failure to enact a decent social agenda would condemn millions of American children to poor health and low earnings in adulthood — because that’s what growing up in poverty does. It would condemn millions more to inadequate medical care and financial ruin if they got ill, because that’s what happens when people lack adequate health insurance. It would condemn hundreds of thousands, maybe more, to unnecessary illness and premature death from air pollution, even aside from the intensified risk of climate catastrophe.”
David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | NYT Comment:
The Democrats should drop Build Back Better, and do the parts separately, starting with the climate change mitigation pieces. They should be able to get some Republican votes on climate change, and perhaps some of the others as well.
David blogs at InconvenientNews.net
“. . . Under Obama, leading Republicans claimed that their fiscal brinkmanship was motivated by concerns about budget deficits. Some of us argued even at the time that self-proclaimed deficit hawks were phonies, that they didn’t actually care about government debt — a view validated by their silence when the Trump administration blew up the deficit — and that they actually wanted to see the economy suffer on Obama’s watch. But they maintained enough of a veneer of responsibility to fool many commentators.
This time, Republican obstructionists aren’t even pretending to care about red ink. Instead, they’re threatening to shut everything down unless the Biden administration abandons its efforts to fight the coronavirus with vaccine mandates.
What’s that about? As many observers have pointed out, claims that opposition to vaccine mandates (and similar opposition to mask mandates) is about maintaining personal freedom don’t stand up to any kind of scrutiny. No reasonable definition of freedom includes the right to endanger other people’s health and lives because you don’t feel like taking basic precautions.
Furthermore, actions by Republican-controlled state governments, for example in Florida and Texas, show a party that isn’t so much pro-freedom as it is pro-Covid. How else can you explain attempts to prevent private businesses — whose freedom to choose was supposed to be sacrosanct — from requiring that their workers be vaccinated, or offers of special unemployment benefits for the unvaccinated?
In other words, the G.O.P. doesn’t look like a party trying to defend liberty; it looks like a party trying to block any effective response to a deadly disease. Why is it doing this?
To some extent it surely reflects a coldly cynical political calculation. Voters tend to blame whichever party holds the White House for anything bad that happens on its watch, which creates an incentive for a sufficiently ruthless party to engage in outright sabotage. Sure enough, Republicans who fought all efforts to contain the coronavirus are now attacking the Biden administration for failing to end the pandemic. . . . “
Historical highest marginal personal income tax rates, 1913 to 2020.
Source: Historical Highest Marginal Income Tax Rates | Tax Policy Center