We can’t disagree with the anger aimed at Joe Manchin for dragging the Senate along for months before finally admitting there’s no pared-down version of a Build Back Better bill he will support after all. Manchin uses inflation as an excuse but simultaneously says he can’t countenance raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans and businesses, which might actually help curb inflation.
It genuinely hurts to see a single member of the majority party stick a shiv in legislation that would’ve helped middle- and working-class Americans with child-care costs, accelerated rollout of clean energy technology, expanded the Earned Income Tax Credit, built gobs of affordable housing and scored a big win for a Democratic president — all because it would’ve meant having the richest among us pay the Treasury a bit more. The 2017 Trump tax cuts ballooned deficits and debt, did far less than advertised to stoke economic growth and were enduringly unpopular with the public. They must be targeted, not protected.
What’s left of the package — lowering prescription drug prices while expanding Affordable Care Act subsidies — is surely worth sending to Biden’s desk. But Democrats should’ve delivered much more.