For The People
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There now. That wasn't so bad, was it?
They promised to fight for a livable wage, paid maternity leave, gov't funded child care, free college, expanded health care coverage, lower drug prices and a reduction in fossil fuel emissions, and they ended up doing the exact opposite. Clinton in '92. Obama in '08 and in '12. Biden in 2020. You've been through this so many times you should know it by heart.
As candidates, Democratic leaders vow to enact legislation that a majority of their base, as well as a majority of the American people, overwhelmingly support. Largely on the wings of these promises, Democrats take control the House, the Senate and the Presidency. Once in office, they're expected to introduce widespread social reform. Instead, they do everything they can to frustrate their own campaign promises while continuing to subsidize billionaires and a bloated military. When Democrats crossed over in the '90s and began "triangulating" with Wall Street, they chose to abandon working people. Flash forward to the 21st Century, all that remains is theatre.
(This helps explain the problem faced by leaders of the modern Democratic party. They front as champions of the people, but they're corporate owned and operated and everyone knows it. They don't give two shakes about workers. But they can't say it out loud. They have to at least sound like the opposition or the whole two-party scam collapses.)
To get a sense of how Democrats practice to deceive, look no farther than the tactics employed to ram through the corporate-sponsored Infrastructure bill (BIF), while at the same time slashing or eliminating virtually every single domestic policy they campaigned on, codified in the Reconciliation bill (BBB).
Corporate Democrats Krysten Sinema and Joe Manchin led the objections in the Senate, a big Pharma sell-out and a crooked coal baron, both only too happy to gut legislation that would improve the lives of the citizens of Arizona and West Virginia. Given the dismal numbers with regard to the "quality of life" in both states, you'd think Sinema and Manchin would be concerned. They're not. Update: Manchin doesn't like union workers, either.
Over in the House, for months the Progressive Caucus has been demanding Speaker Pelosi bring both bills to the floor for a vote, both Reconciliation and Infrastructure. The BIF (Infrastructure) is a full-fledged corporate give-away pushed by fossil fuel elites. The BBB (Reconciliation), on the other hand, allocates federal funding for a host of domestic programs. Progressives insisted the two bills must move together, or not at all. If the BIF passed separately, they feared, the Senate could then kill the BBB, or scale it back to nothing. (Cf. Sinema & Manchin, above.) Progressives vowed not to succumb to pressure from the corporatists in their midst. They would fight for the people. They promised.
Around the same time, a group of right-wing Democrats demands that Pelosi pass the infrastructure bill (BIF) immediately, period. Every member of the group is dangling on the end of a corporate string, so the desire to do their bidding is understandable. But it gets better. These bozos insist the BIF must be passed, even though the US Treasury has determined the bill will increase the deficit by $234 billion. That's billion. Yet these same members slammed the breaks on the Reconciliation bill (BBB) because, they said, they're "concerned it would add to the deficit." Curious, no? The CBO and the White House have already determined the BBB wouldn't add a cent to the deficit; in fact, it might even decrease it. Maybe Gottheimer and the rest didn't get the memo? Then again, maybe it's not the deficit they're concerned about. Maybe it's a federal gov't that serves the needs of the American people and not their donors.
Progressives held their ground, determined to vote "no" on the Infrastructure bill if the Reconciliation bill was not put up for a vote as well. Didn't matter. Democratic leaders found a clever way to "compromise" by negotiating with themselves. A circular firing squad. Hilarious. Then the expected hard turn right.
Democrats campaigned on "Paid Parental Leave." Before the 2020 election, they were offering 12 weeks of paid leave, badly needed federal assistance for millions of workers. It was one of the key issues that helped put them into office. Once there, they slashed paid leave to 2 weeks before finally cutting the program altogether. (After corporate hack Terry McAuliffe lost, Pelosi stuck paid leave back in. The bait before the eventual switch.)
What about the Reconciliation bill (BBB)?
The original proposal called for $6 trillion in funding. Democrats across the board, Pelosi, Schumer, Biden, even progressives hailed it as the party's blueprint to rebuild America. The BBB was popular with the public as well and quickly morphed into a minor crusade Democrats rode all the way to the White House. Then, as they got closer to voting on the actual substance of the bill, party leaders cut it to $3.5 trillion, a little over half the original proposal. It's not enough, they lamented, but it's a start, a down payment on the country's future.
So much for down payments. Within days the $3.5 trillion price tag was also deemed too costly. Democratic leaders wrung their hands. They control Congress but they're helpless. They had no choice. They had to slash the Reconciliation bill again. From $6 trillion to $1.75 trillion. Two cents for every dollar, brought to you by the party of the people.
Meanwhile, in spite of progressives saying no to the Infrastructure bill, Speaker Pelosi brought it to the floor for a vote anyway, twice, and it failed to pass both times. Publically humiliated, Pelosi went nuclear. To hell with progressives. To hell with her constituents. The next time she "forced the vote" on the BIF, she made deals with Republicans to make sure it would pass. With the enemy. Talk about resolve. Instead of listening to her base, instead of fighting for the policies she and her caucus ran on, Pelosi colluded with pro-corporate Democrats and right-wing GOPers to push through a welfare bill for Big Business. Is anyone surprised to learn these phonies even revised the Reconciliation bill to include a tax cut for the rich?
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