On Wednesday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) released a statement about his position on the infrastructure and reconciliation negotiations. There was one sentence that stood out to me.
Proposing a historic expansion of social programs while ignoring the fact we are not in a recession and that millions of jobs remain open will only feed a dysfunction that could weaken our economic recovery.
I'd love to hear him explain how the "social programs" in the reconciliation bill would "weaken our economic recovery." For example, one of those programs is an extension of the child tax credit that was included in the Democrats' covid relief legislation. What we learned after just one payment is that it lifted households with 3 million children out of poverty. That would be a BFD to families in West Virginia.
• Child poverty rate: 20.1% (7th highest)
• Overall poverty rate: 16% (6th highest)
• Families with annual incomes below $10,000: 4.9% (4th highest)
West Virginia also ranks last in states for median household income.
What Manchin seems to be saying is that the economy is in the process of recovering from the recession caused by covid and the status quo (where 20% of the children in his state live in poverty) is just fine.
By way of contrast, here's what President Biden tweeted recently:
I believe we’re at an inflection point.— President Biden (@POTUS) September 16, 2021
Are we going to continue with an economy where the overwhelming share of the benefits go to the top?
Or will we choose a new path? One that invests in this nation and creates growth that benefits everyone.
The point of Biden's Build Back Better agenda isn't to simply help the economy recover from a pandemic, it is to address the long-term problem of income inequality and ensure that "growth benefits everyone." Getting back to the status quo isn't good enough.
It is obvious that Manchin disagrees with the majority of Democrats on a lot of the details in the BBB reconciliation package. But it seems to me that this is the heart of the issue. He doesn't think that income inequality is a problem that needs to be addressed.