White House gimmicks can’t save Biden’s ‘Build Back’ monstrosity

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So much for that White House “framework” for a $1.75 trillion “Build Back Better” bill settling Democrats’ civil war over President Joe Biden’s vast social-spending dreams: Sen. Joe Manchin (at least!) says he’s not on board and rightly so.

“As more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games, budget gimmicks, that makes the real cost of the so-called $1.75 trillion bill estimated to be almost twice that amount,” Manchin said Monday.

Indeed, it’s closer to $4 trillion if you assume the new entitlements actually last 10 years, as the proposed tax hikes to pay for it do. For example, the plan extends a $3,600 child tax credit for one year, at a cost of $110 billion. But over 10 years (as Democrats plainly want) it’d be at least $1.1 trillion — and the “framework” offers no way to fund that.

In a sense, Manchin refusing to go along means those House progressives were right to refuse to allow a vote on the smaller bipartisan “infrastructure” bill that’s already passed the Senate: The “framework” doesn’t remotely guarantee they’ll get any of their wish-list passed; it was just a bid to con them into handing Biden a win as he headed to Europe.

That doesn’t make the lefties wise to keep holding the infrastructure bill hostage but only smart enough to recognize a trick.

Manchin, meanwhile, is entirely right to put his foot down — even if it’s at the cost of the bill he strongly favors.

Progressives led by Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and the AOC squad, meantime, are stuck holding a hostage they have no actual desire to shoot. They say they won’t let the bipartisan bill pass the House until the Senate passes some transformative version of the “Build Back Better” plan — but if Manchin sticks to his guns, that just won’t happen.

Which is all to the good: Any version of the “Build Back” monstrosity would be bad for the country since it funds programs America doesn’t need with tax hikes that would further slow the economy’s recovery.

That’s the fundamental reason the president’s signature legislation has no clear way forward, and it’s something no White House gimmicks can change.

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