More Clarity Needed
Sen. Joe Manchin said he won't support the $1.75 trillion social safety net expansion bill Democrats are negotiating until there is "greater clarity" about the impact it will have on the country's national debt and the economy, casting major doubt about whether President Joe Biden can get his agenda through Congress.
At a news conference on Monday afternoon, Manchin laid out fundamental concerns over the approach that Biden and his party are taking in their sweeping agenda. He rejected the party's push to expand social programs and castigated Democrats for using "gimmicks" to hide the true cost of the plan and said far more time is needed to evaluate its economic impact to guard against potential negative consequences.
"I'm open to supporting a final bill that helps move our country forward, but I am equally open to voting against a bill that hurts our country," he said in a warning shot to his party.
"As more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games and budget gimmicks that make the real cost of this so-called $1.75 trillion dollar bill estimated to be twice as high if the programs are extended or made permanent," he said.
He also lambasted his colleagues for pushing forward a bill that could increase the national debt.
"Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact that it will have on our national debt, our economy and most importantly all of our American people," he said.
Later, he said, "To be clear, I will not support the reconciliation legislation without knowing how the bill would impact our debt and our economy and our country. We won't know that until we work through the text."
Lie of the Day
The lie of the day is Manchin negotiated this framework.
He certainly did not.
Progressives Have to Give Up Something, What Will It Be?
Please recall my October 4 program, Progressives Have to Give Up Something, What Will It Be?
“There are two options,” said Sen. Tim Kaine (D., Va.). “You could take pieces out, or you could start a piece in year 2, rather than year
Or you do some for five years, not 10, and count on it being so popular that when you come back in year six, well of course we’ll want to do it.”
AOC, Bernie Sanders, Manchin
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) also floated the possibility of funding programs for shorter durations, telling CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, “We do have to compromise.”
“Those programs will never end,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.), a key centrist in the talks. “Once you start doing something it becomes ingrained into it.”
Manchin's Comment Today
"Throughout the last three months I have been straightforward about my concerns that I will not support a reconciliation package that expand social programs and irresponsibly adds to our $29 trillion in national debt that no one seems to really care about or even talk about. Nor will I support a package that risks hurting American families suffering from historic inflation. Simply put, I will not support a bill that is this consequential without thoroughly understanding the impact that it will have on our national debt, our economy, and most importantly all of our American people."
There was no real compromise.
Manchin never agreed to a framework Progressives and Biden tried to cram down his throat.
“Those programs will never end. Once you start doing something it becomes ingrained into it,” accurately stated Manchin.
And the Progressives practically bragged about it.
“Here’s the key question: What’s the way to get something funded for a long time? And the way is to make it big enough and universal enough and important enough so that the people demand it continue,” said Rep. Andy Levin (D., Mich.), a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
Fact Checkers Replaced by Unicorns
Also recall my September 29 post Fact Checkers Replaced by Unicorns After Biden Tweets "My Build Back Better Agenda Costs Zero Dollars"
“Every time I hear this is going to cost A, B, C, or D—the truth is, based on the commitment that I made, it’s going to cost nothing,” said Biden.
Fact Checkers Missing in Action
Where are the Democratic fact checkers when you need them?
Even if you grant Biden allowances that he really meant "My package will be fully paid for by tax hikes," it's still a lie.
Lies, Gimmicks, and Phony Numbers
To make the package seemingly appear as if taxes will cover it Budget Tricks Disguise the True Cost of Biden’s Vast Entitlement Plans.
- Start with the child allowance, which is among the bill’s most expensive provisions. Extending the $3,000 to $3,600 per-child payments for a decade would cost roughly $1.1 trillion. That’s as much as all of the income tax increases on individuals passed by the House Ways and Means Committee. Democrats have hidden the real cost by extending the allowance only through 2025. Even if Republicans gain control of Congress and the White House in 2024, Democrats and their media allies will bludgeon them to extend the payments, which will cost another $110 billion each year. [For 5 years - Total $550 billion]
- Democrats are using a different time shift to disguise the cost of their Medicare expansion. New vision and hearing benefits would kick in over the next two years and cost about $20 billion a year. But Democrats are delaying the phase-in of the much more expensive dental benefit to 2028. This “saves” $420 billion over 10 years, but the costs explode after that. [Cost $420 Billion minimum in future years]
- Then there’s the new universal child-care entitlement, which gives $90 billion to the states—but only from 2022 to 2027. But what happens when the $90 billion runs out, which may occur before the 2027 expiration? The bill automatically appropriates “such sums as may be necessary for each of fiscal years 2025 through 2027.” [Cost $90 billion plus any shortfalls to 2027]
- Democrats also charge states with standing up a universal pre-K entitlement, which would start next year and run through 2028. The House Education and Labor Committee bill doesn’t specify an appropriation, but President Biden’s budget projects this new entitlement would cost $33 billion a year when fully phased in. [This one kicks back to a state responsibility, but who really believes that? I don't, so factor in another 33 billion for 4 years totaling $132 billion.]
10-Year Shifty Math
Biden uses an arbitrary stop date of 2025 on child allowances, a start date on dental of 2028, a stop date on child care of 2027, and a stop date of 2028 on "free" college.
In practice, once entitlements are granted, they are never taken away.
Total up the shortfalls over a 10 year period and Biden will need to come up with another $1.192 trillion in taxes on top of his proposed tax hikes.
Another problem in all of this is projected economic gains and tax revenues never meet promises. Never really means never.
For example, Biden estimates that expanding the IRS would bring in $463 billion, but the CBO projects $120 billion.
Oops, that another $343 billion shortfall.
The above is how things looked in early October.
Democrats did drop some ideas but mainly they shifted time frames over Manchin's objections.
What Manchin Agreed To
$1.5 trillion in honest projections. That's it.
And he specifically asked Progressives to pick one idea and not play games with time frames.
The proposed $1.75 trillion Build Back Better proposal is more like $2.5 trillion (or more) if you count the time shift gimmicks and the overstated Democrat revenue projections.
Manchin certainly never agreed to the framework Biden and Progressives tried to cram down his throat.
Kudos to Manchin
Kudos to Manchin and to a far lesser extent Senator Kyrsten Sinema for not melting like butter in Death Valley in the face of Progressive badgering and blatant lies.
Thank you Senator Manchin!
Thanks for Tuning In!
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