Have The Democrats Comes To An Agreement Among Themselves On Reconciliation?
If the so-called $1 trillion "bipartisan"-- albeit all conservative-- hard infrastructure "compromise" still has 10 GOP Senate backers to overcome McConnell's filibuster, the Democrats seem to have reached an internal deal last night for a $3.5 trillion companion piece for "soft" infrastructure-- like child care, education, Climate Crisis amelioration and finally including dental, eye and ear care in Medicare. (Note: the $3.5 trillion covers a decade of spending, not a year and is extremely inadequate but in the face of knee jerk conservative opposition to doing anything, it was all the progressives could get.) But there is plenty that can still go wrong and McConnell is working the levers he knows better than anyone in the Senate.
Speaking for his fellow conservative Democrats, Mark Warner (VA) says it's all paid for and ready to do. I have no doubt that he might be speaking for Manchin but I wonder if he really speaks for needy attention addict and all around crackpot Kyrsten Sinema, the most likely Democrat to blow the whole mess sky high. I'm hearing conservative shit-bags Maggie Hassan (D-NH) and Mark Kelly (D-AZ) are also still causing some problems, even as Schumer was running to the media to announce "We are very proud of this plan. We know we have a long road to go. We’re going to get this done for the sake of making average Americans’ lives a whole lot better."
Old fashioned conservative Democrats are still fretting about even slightly raising taxes on corporate profits and on the richest Americans. They don't belong in the Democratic Party. I'm sick to my stomach that neither Hassan nor Kelly, who are both up for reelection this cycle, has a credible primary opponent, even though Hassan is among the walking dead with virtually no chance-- after her vote to kill the minimum wage increase-- of being reelected in the general. Democrats like Hassan and Kelly-- not to mention Manchin and Sinema-- define and personify what the lesser-of-two-evils politics that runs the Democratic Party electoral strategy is all about.
The Senate conservative Democrats killed the plan-- a key Biden campaign promise-- to lower the eligibility age to 55 or 60. Writing for the NY Times this morning, Emily Cochrane reported that "To push the package-- and the reconciliation bill that follows-- through the evenly divided Senate, Democrats will have to hold together every member of their party and the independents aligned with them over what promises to be unified Republican opposition. It was not clear if all 50 lawmakers in the Democratic caucus, which includes centrists unafraid to break with their party like Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Senator Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, had signed off the blueprint. The package is considerably smaller than the $6 trillion some progressives had proposed but larger than some moderates had envisioned."
The Senate Finance Committee had been drafting tax provisions to help pay for the spending. They include a restructuring the international business tax code to tax overseas profits more heavily in an effort to discourage U.S. corporations from moving profits abroad. They would also collapse dozens of tax benefits aimed at energy companies-- especially oil and gas firms-- into three categories focused on renewable energy sources and energy efficiency.
Finance Committee Democrats will now turn their attention to the individual side of the tax code, where they want to raise taxes on large inheritances and raise capital gains tax rates on the richest Americans.
On the spending side, Mr. Biden, working with Mr. Sanders, wants to make prekindergarten access universal and two years of community college free to all Americans. Money is expected to be devoted to a series of climate provisions, after liberal Democrats warned that they would not support the bipartisan framework without the promise of further climate action.
In related news, an MIT study from 1972 predicting societal collapse due to overexploitation of planetary resources, by the middle of this century is... right on schedule. Nafeez Ahmed, reporting for VICE, wrote that the MIT analysis "was widely derided at the time by pundits who misrepresented its findings and methods. But the analysis has now received stunning vindication from a study written by a senior director at professional services giant KPMG, one of the 'Big Four' accounting firms as measured by global revenue." He neglected to mention that in 1972, Kyrsten Sinema was still 4 years from being born and from beginning her journey to destroy America.
The new look at the MIT analysis, Limits To Growth, "concludes that the current business-as-usual trajectory of global civilization is heading toward the terminal decline of economic growth within the coming decade-- and at worst, could trigger societal collapse by around 2040," following a halt in growth about 10 years from now, indicating "that continuing business as usual, that is, pursuing continuous growth, is not possible. Even when paired with unprecedented technological development and adoption, business as usual... would inevitably lead to declines in industrial capital, agricultural output, and welfare levels within this century." Standards of living will decline-- and by 2040, quite drastically. You can't just blame it all on Sinema though. There is the elephant in the room: conservative and neo-fascist political parties, like the GOP, across the world.
"While focusing on the pursuit of continued economic growth for its own sake will be futile," wrote Ahmed, "the study finds that technological progress and increased investments in public services could not just avoid the risk of collapse, but lead to a new stable and prosperous civilization operating safely within planetary boundaries. But we really have only the next decade to change course."
“Changing our societal priorities hardly needs to be a capitulation to grim necessity,” [Herrington said. “Human activity can be regenerative and our productive capacities can be transformed. In fact, we are seeing examples of that happening right now. Expanding those efforts now creates a world full of opportunity that is also sustainable.”
She noted how the rapid development and deployment of vaccines at unprecedented rates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates that we are capable of responding rapidly and constructively to global challenges if we choose to act. We need exactly such a determined approach to the environmental crisis.
“The necessary changes will not be easy and pose transition challenges but a sustainable and inclusive future is still possible,” said Herrington.
The best available data suggests that what we decide over the next 10 years will determine the long-term fate of human civilization. Although the odds are on a knife-edge, Herrington pointed to a “rapid rise” in environmental, social and good governance priorities as a basis for optimism, signalling the change in thinking taking place in both governments and businesses. She told me that perhaps the most important implication of her research is that it’s not too late to create a truly sustainable civilization that works for all.