Desperate Democrats are either the most comical or the most dangerous or maybe both.
The whiff of desperation surrounding Washington Democrats trying to save Presidentish Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” agenda has become a stench so strong that it’s impossible to mistake from my home on the Front Range.
If you haven’t been following the situation on Capitol Hill — and it’s in so much flux that it’s almost impossible to stay completely up to date — I’ll give you a brief rundown before we get to that odor.
“Build Back Better” is Biden’s slogan for a massive expansion of welfare, spending, regulation, the likes of which we haven’t seen since LBJ’s Not-So-Great Society. Massive change on slender majorities is not a good idea, either politically or for the nation’s social fabric, but Dems gotta Dem.
BBB comes in two parts.
The first is a $1.2 trillion-with-a-T “infrastructure” bill that doesn’t contain much actual infrastructure spending, but is nonetheless supported by enough Republicans to almost guarantee its passage. (We’ll get back to the “almost” momentarily, so stick a pin in that.)
The second is another, even larger bill so absurd that its contents fall under comic sci-fi writer Douglas Adams’ “bistromathics.” There have been several versions of this bill, ranging in price from the current “compromise” bill costing $1.8 trillion (so they say) to the original Bernie Sanders (CPUSA-Vermont Oblast) version weighing in at $3.5 trillion (but actually $5 trillion).
No one knows what any version would actually cost. My friend and colleague Stephen Kruiser heard from a Senate aide on Thursday that the current bill is 2,500 pages, has no table of contents, and we probably won’t know what’s in it even if it does pass.
This brings us to a defining concept of bistromathics, recipriversexclusion, a number whose existence can only be defined as being anything other than itself. So if Democrats claim the bill costs precisely $1,790,238,032,455, then you can be sure it costs some figure exactly not that (but higher).
One problem with the second bill is that Democrats have to pass it via reconciliation in order to dodge the filibuster. The Senate is split 50/50, with alleged Vice President Kamala Harris to break any tie votes, but Democrats can’t afford a single defection.
Another problem is that West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin is opposed to some of the spendings, and Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema is opposed to the taxing.
What’s a tax-and-spend party supposed to do?
Right now, they’re trying anything and everything and none of it’s working.
Hence the desperation.
Complicating matters — here’s where we get back to the “almost” part — the House Progressive Caucus is holding the bipartisan bill hostage if they don’t get the Sanders version of the bigger bill.
“Those that respect the law and love sausage should watch neither being made.”
That’s why on Thursday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-House of Wax) postponed yet again the vote on the bipartisan bill.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had told Democrats earlier in the day she would call a vote after President Biden said “my presidency will be determined” by the passage — or lack thereof — of his two massive spending bills.
The Speaker pulled out all the stops on Thursday to pass the bill, including a caucus-wide visit from the president, a release of the text for the $1.75 trillion spending package and a Rules Committee hearing — but to no avail.
While Biden needs to get something, anything passed to try and prevent becoming the nation’s only first-term lame duck, the most radical House members of his own party have taken an all-or-nothing approach.
It’s even funnier on the Senate side, where the Wall Street Journal reports the Democrats are scrambling to raise taxes without raising taxes to pay for a bill that Democrats also say costs nothing.
I swear I’m not making this up.
Here’s the WSJ summary:
One day it’s an increase in tax rates on corporations and the affluent. But wait, that doesn’t have the votes. How about a carbon tax? That won’t fly either. Hey, there goes Jeff Bezos. Let’s tax him and 699 other billionaires. It polls well. Everyone hates billionaires!
Oh, but that may be unconstitutional. We still need money, so let’s try a 15% corporate minimum tax—though be sure to exempt investments in green energy and other pet progressive ideas. So it will have to be a minimum tax on some companies but not others. Bring on the Gucci Gulch lobbyists, campaign checkbooks at the ready.
And don’t forget to cut taxes for some of the rich by restoring the state and local tax deduction, though only for two years. Need those New York and New Jersey House votes.
Democrats aren’t making sausage. They’re desperately dropping live pigs into a woodchipper and praying that a tasty snack will somehow emerge from the other side.
Meanwhile, the fate of Joe Biden’s purported presidency hangs in the balance.
It would take a heart of stone not to laugh, except that I sure feel sorry for all those pigs.