Op-Ed: Joy to the world, Build Back Better’s demise has come

On December 19, just days before millions of Americans gather for Christmas festivities, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) delivered a much-needed early present to the nation when he let it be known that he would not vote in favor of President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better bill.

While on “Fox News Sunday,” Manchin succinctly stated, “I cannot vote to continue with this piece of legislation.”

When pressed if there is any room for future negotiations, Manchin dug in his heels, saying, “I’ve done everything humanly possible … This is a no. I have tried everything I know to do.”

Although the possibility exists that portions of Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) bill could be resurrected in 2022, based on Manchin’s comments, it seems it is a fait accompli that the current version of BBB is dead and buried, forever.

For most Americans, this is welcome news.

Several recent polls show BBB is unpopular with the public. For instance, according to a Dec. 9 poll conducted by NPR/Marist, only 41 percent of Americans support BBB.

Unsurprisingly, only 42 percent of those polled said BBB “will help people like themselves,” while just 35 percent said BBB “will help lower inflation.”

Apparently, and thankfully, the American people have a better understanding of basic economics than most members of the U.S. Congress, particularly those in the Democratic Party.

Without a doubt, BBB would have supercharged the rampant inflation that is already wreaking havoc throughout the U.S. economy.

As of this writing, the inflation rate, as measured by the consumer price index, has reached a 39-year high of 6.8 percent, with no sign of abating anytime soon. Even worse, the producer price index, which measures final demand for goods and services and functions as a gauge of future inflationary pressure, just hit an all-time high of 9.8 percent.

In other words, the rapidly rising rate of inflation is unlikely to trend downward anytime soon.

For all Americans, inflation has become a persistent problem.

Per a report from the Penn Wharton Budget Model, “inflation in 2021 will require the average U.S. household to spend around $3,500 more in 2021 to achieve the same level of consumption of goods and services as in recent previous years (2019 or 2020). Moreover, we estimate that lower-income households spend more of their budget on goods and services that have been more impacted by inflation. Lower-income households will have to spend about 7 percent more while higher-income households will have to spend about 6 percent more.”

However, despite the alarming signs that inflation is picking up steam and causing significant pain and suffering for American families, the Democratic Party could not care less.

Immediately after Manchin put a stake through the heart of BBB, prominent Democrats and much of the mainstream media were in a tizzy.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) went into full-on attack mode, saying, “we all knew that Senator Manchin couldn’t be trusted, the excuses that he just made, I think, are complete bulls***.”

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) chimed in with this quip, “The Senate must return to session immediately and bring this historic and transformational bill to a vote so Senator Manchin – and every Republican who has opposed it from the very beginning—can demonstrate, on the record, the contempt they have for their constituents and for everyone who calls America home.”

What Omar, Pressley, and too many other radical leftists fail to understand is that Manchin is representing his constituents, the people of West Virginia, who overwhelmingly oppose BBB.

According to a recent poll, 53 percent of West Virginians strongly oppose BBB, and 59 percent of independent voters in West Virginia strongly oppose BBB. What’s more, 64 of West Virginians strongly agree that BBB will make inflation worse while 66 percent strongly agree that “Congress should slow down and reconsider the Build Back Better Act in light of inflation concerns.”

Fortunately, for now, at least, Joe Manchin has dealt a devastating blow to President Biden’s Build Back Better bill. It remains to be seen whether or not Manchin caves and votes for BBB-lite.

Yet, regardless of what happens in the future, we should celebrate the Christmas miracle that is the demise of Build Back Better.

Chris Talgo (ctalgo@heartland.org) is senior editor at The Heartland Institute.

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