Both sides of the progressive-moderate debate in Congress may “mislead” the American public about the true extent of the Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill, writes Eric Levitz for new York.
Critics like Sen. Joe Manchin (DW.V.) and supporters like Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) Frequently point to the price of the $ 3.5 trillion proposal. The first describes it as too exuberant and risky, while the second defends it as historic and transformative. If passed, it would ultimately be the biggest expansion of the U.S. welfare state in half a century, Levitz admits, but it’s for the long haul. Its immediate real fiscal cost, over a single year, is $ 350 billion.
The reason Levitz thinks it’s worth making this distinction is because Manchin and other moderates have backed two coronavirus relief bills over the past year that cost $ 2 trillion and $ 900 billion. dollars up front, which means lawmakers have already backed more expensive packages. And while the main concern with the bill is that it could drive up inflation, the immediate cost is a better measure, argues Levitz.
“By any reasonable measure, the reconciliation bill poses less inflationary risk than the relief bills that Joe Manchin and his “moderate” colleagues have already voted for, “writes Levitz, explaining that direct relief payments are more likely to quickly boost demand to the point of exceeding supply than investments in the reconciliation bill.
Although Levitz criticizes Manchin’s position, he also suggests that supporters give more ammunition to the holdouts by continuing to frame the bill as it is. Read the full argument on new York.