“Do you know what your problem is?”
It’s a question no one wants to face, much less a Democrat leader trying to promote consensus on what’s turning out to be a nearly impossible to agree upon budget resolution, or at least one that can survive the reconciliation process. Earlier this week, for example, the senate parliamentarian (Elizabeth MacDonough) put an end to the Democrats’ fantasy of an easy push through blanket amnesty for millions of illegal aliens (or to the media, “undocumented persons”), temporarily removing from the leftists’ wish list one of their top priorities included in the bill: to instantly create more Democrat voters with one sweep of a pen.
The obviously mean and heartless parliamentarian -- who enjoys outsized authority to declare what can stay and what must go in any budget-related bill -- suggested that granting leniency to an entire class of people wasn’t properly connected to budgetary considerations. And “poof!” it was gone in an instant! But it will be back…
It isn’t so simple for most other topics currently dividing the Democrat senate (and House, too) caucus, since each senator and House member has his or her own constituents to please, with each party voter back home extending his or her hand to receive a check from the federal treasury to address issue x or y -- or to simply reward a generous donor for their support!
Therein lies the difficulty of being a Democrat who promises everything to everyone and then voluntarily dives headfirst into the political mosh pit in Washington, where the entire governing class -- which includes Republican establishmentarians, too -- wants what they want and won’t quit until they get what they get. In this sense, Democrats don’t even need to be asked if they know what their problem is, since they’re encountering the phenomenon every time they sit around a table to discuss how to go about passing a massive spending bill without a single party dissenter.
Senate Majority Leader “Chucky” Schumer’s phone must be ringing off the hook with underlings complaining about certain other Democrats poopooing their plans to feed their hungry special interests. What had appeared promising a couple months ago when the budget “blueprint” was released has turned out to be a he said/she said in the negotiation room. There haven’t been any reports of book throwing or intra-caucus knife fights, but it’s getting down to crunch time and the liberals aren’t close to finalizing their grand slush fund in its full form.
Republicans are united in opposition for a change, which places the ball squarely in the Democrats’ proverbial court. And the dribbling ain’t going smoothly.
“Democrats are facing tough choices as they grapple with how to make good on their promise to deliver a sweeping social spending bill crucial to President Biden’s agenda.
“The high-profile balancing act is testing Democrats’ razor-thin majorities and putting a spotlight on long-dormant divisions. ‘This is a little bit like a Rubik's cube on steroids. ... It's complicated,’ said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) about the state of play.
“Here are some of the toughest hurdles for Democrats: [How big should the bill be? Medicare vs. Medicaid; Drug pricing; Climate; Corporate tax rate; Inheritance tax plan; SALT (Trump-era cap on the state and local tax deduction), and, Income requirements.]”
Well, at least immigration was taken out of the bill and off the docket. There probably aren’t many Democrats who would publicly admit it, but the parliamentarian did them all a favor by removing another contentious issue from their briefing books, though Democrat leaders insist they’re going back to the drawing board to come up with language that would satisfy Ms. MacDonough’s picky judgment. If amnesty for illegal aliens were to be included in the big bill, Democrat senators from border states or red states would’ve thrown a tizzy fit because it would guarantee a losing hand at their election night poker table.
Democrats have it hard enough attempting to hammer something out without adding yet another contentious problem. The American people are already starting to tilt towards the GOP ahead of next year’s midterms, and the pressure must be intense for Schumer and Speaker Nancy Pelosi to produce grist for every liberal legislator to keep their people happy. They definitely could use the Judgment of Solomon on this one, though I’m not quite sure offering to split a baby would foster an agreement between two sides that aren’t rational to begin with.
Take the tax issue as a test case. One group of Democrat senators -- Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, probably most of them, actually -- doesn’t want to give in on hiking taxes for the “rich” because not only do the liberal lawmakers crave more revenue for their schemes, it’s part of their platform and belief system to stick it to the wealthy. Agreeing to cut their rate demands is akin to admitting that they might be wrong about high taxes in general -- and they’re stuck with their backs against a proverbial wall in the process.
Ditto for “green” projects and “climate change” mitigation programs. How can any Democrat politician make the argument that the earth is predestined to melt in ten, eleven or twelve years (or what’s the real number now?) if they don’t hold fast on their position of saving the planet with carbon credits and mandates and regulations and restrictions and made-up numbers regarding emissions and fossil fuel exploration elimination?
West Virginia senator Joe Manchin chairs the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, which, according to Carney’s report, is responsible for drafting the “climate” language for the big bill. That could be a problem for the vast majority of Democrats who hanker to squelch anything related to pulling petroleum (in all its forms) out of the ground. How do you get Mountain State Joe to not only give his assent for the huge spending boondoggle but also to agree to shaft his own people in the process?
Inheritance taxes are a problem, too. Democrats hate the rich (even though the super richest people in the country tend to be liberal and provide seed money for Democrat campaigns), so the notion of allowing someone to die without first dividing up their lifelong fortune is against the liberals’ secular religion. It’s easy to carve out deductions and credits for personal income tax purposes, but the estate tax is another matter entirely.
The problem for Democrats is, when you lower the amounts exempt from the tax -- meaning you decrease the threshold from say, 10 million to 6 million -- it creeps right smack into the middle class. Does a six-million-dollar estate make one wealthy? Try asking a family that desperately hopes to hold onto the farm after the owner passes but their land and equipment is worth millions if you sold it on the open market.
The same goes for many small businesses, with are the backbone of the American economy.
Senator Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren is a lawyer and former Harvard professor who thinks all wealth should be taxed to provide “equity” and goodies for favored Democrat constituents. She’s got a particular disdain for corporations and is one of the main drivers behind the movement to practically double the current 21 percent corporate rate (established by the Trump tax cuts). Manchin and Virginia senator Mark Warner want the rate to be no higher than 25 percent.
That’s what a “moderate” Democrat does -- he raises taxes in a big way (4 percent!), but only a quarter as much as the socialists would do, so the media calls them “conservative” Democrats! Talk about abuse of the term.
The Democrat problems aren’t just on Capitol Hill, either. Senile Joe Biden is in the White House and he’s got his own list of lobbyists and campaign shysters to pacify. Using the corporate tax rate as an example, the president (or more accurately, his handlers) has let it be known he desires a 28 percent rate. What orifice did he pull that figure from? Or did the administration hold a Bingo game in the Oval Office with the first card winner “winning” the chance to set the Biden tax number?
So, there are a lot of problems the Democrats must overcome to pass their big budget resolution in both chambers with majorities that won’t allow for much if any disunity. This isn’t to say it’s impossible, and if I were a betting man (which I do partake occasionally), I’d wager that the liberal party leaders will twist enough arms to get the taxes and welfare programs that they want individually.
Perhaps “Chucky” Schumer will threaten to cry until Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema agree to the more bloated spending package. And Nancy Pelosi will make her House holdouts wear masks when eating and kissing their spouses until they relent. Or, simply deprive them of all oxygen until they pass out with a “Yes” card glued to their hands.
Chances are that Democrats don’t fully grasp the issues they face before being permitted to assault the country with another round of needless and wasteful spending. But asking them to articulate their problems isn’t a good way to get them to concede. Merely showing them Biden’s latest poll numbers might do the trick -- and then call them out on their sinister schemes.
$3.5 trillion budget resolution
Sen. Joe Manchin
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema
income tax rates