Sprinkles from the Left

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.56 minutes to read.

“The good news is that the American Rescue Plan Act, enacted in March, has been effective. At a time of unprecedented health and economic crisis caused by the pandemic, it did exactly what a democratic government in a civilized society is supposed to do: respond to the needs of people in despair…

The bad news is that the American Rescue Plan didn’t address the long-neglected structural crises that many U.S. families face: Three people own more wealth than the bottom 50%, real wages for workers haven’t increased in almost 50 years, and we are facing the existential threat of climate change.

We need structural reforms to improve the lives of U.S. families. If Democrats can’t get Republican support for these reforms, then we have to do it alone through the reconciliation process.

In recent years, Republicans used reconciliation to pass trillions in tax breaks, which primarily benefit the rich and large corporations, and they used it to try to repeal the Affordable Care Act and throw some 32 million people off the healthcare they had. We are going to use it too. But we will use it to support the middle class and struggling families and, in the process, create millions of good-paying jobs…

This is a large and unprecedented piece of legislation. But we are living in an unprecedented moment. Now is the time for bold action.”

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I–VT) (Published in the WSJ)

“The progressive budget proposal vastly expands governmental social, environmental, educational, and healthcare programs — including funding for universal pre-K, nutrition assistance, the child tax credit, and clean energy initiatives — all of which would be paid for by tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and American businesses.

Ultimately, regardless of the plan’s outcome — that is, passage or failure — pursuing this proposal will end up being a lose-lose situation for Democrats in the 2022 midterms.

Put another way, it is highly unlikely that Biden will be able to get credit both for this larger $3.5 trillion social reform bill, passage or no passage, and for passing infrastructure in a bipartisan fashion…

Democrats faced a similar fate in 2010 in President Obama’s first midterm election, when the party lost control of Congress once again due in large part to voters’ perception of governmental overreach by the Democrats in power…

Given the political risks to Democrats associated with this $3.5 trillion proposal — risks with both the bill’s passage and failure — I urge the leaders in my party to reconsider their next steps on this proposal, which could very well put them in the minority in Congress in 2022.”

Douglas E. Schoen is a political consultant who served as an advisor to President Clinton and to the 2020 presidential campaign of Michael Bloomberg.

Sprinkles from the Right

⏰🚀 Ready, Set, Go: These opinions take 1.47 minutes to read.

“Democrats are starting to notice that mounting inflation might derail their electoral prospects next year, and none are noticing more than Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The Senate’s most important swing vote last week became the first Democratic lawmaker to warn the Federal Reserve about rising prices…

The consumer-price index rose 5.4% year-on-year in June. The Fed’s preferred inflation measure—personal consumption expenditures, excluding food and fuel—rose 3.5% year-on-year. Producer-price inflation hit 7.3% year-on-year, auguring more inflation to come…

Progressive economists claim this inflation will be temporary. But politicians are getting an earful from constituents who can see how rising prices are eating into their budgets. Mr. Manchin is right to worry about the politics of inflation.

By the way, Mr. Manchin is smart enough to notice that the Fed isn’t the only inflation culprit. “I am deeply concerned that the continuing stimulus put forth by the Fed, and proposal for additional fiscal stimulus, will lead to our economy overheating and to unavoidable inflation taxes that hard working Americans cannot afford,” he notes in his letter (our emphasis). Unprecedented fiscal blowouts have stoked demand while supply struggles to keep up—a classic inflation recipe…

So, Senator, you’ve noticed that your constituents are struggling with higher prices… Now how about putting your votes behind your inflation convictions?”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“Despite previous promises that it would be “fully paid for,” Democrats left open the possibility that their $3.5 trillion spending bill would only be half paid for.

As flagged by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the reconciliation instructions for the spending bill allow for up to $1.75 trillion in borrowing…

What this means is that if Democrats fall short of raising enough taxes to finance their spending over the course of negotiations, they will just go ahead and issue new debt.

This despite the fact that the U.S. has already spent $6 trillion above its already high budget in response to COVID-19 and that President Biden’s own budget expects debt as a percentage of the economy to smash the World War II record this year. It should be noted that Democrats’ task has been made a lot easier by the fact that the infrastructure bill that Republicans have helped Democrats pass would increase deficits by $256 billion despite prior GOP promises that it would be fully paid for.”

Philip Klein, National Review