It’s time for the Democrats to admit the voters didn’t give them a mandate for the kind of change they are trying to push through Congress. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s decision to go it alone on reconciliation has led to a precipitous drop in their party’s approval numbers.
Most pundits now believe the Republicans will likely retake the majorities in one or both congressional chambers in the 2022 election. That’s an easy prediction to make. Congress’s approval rate among Democrats, which was 55 percent in September’s Gallup Poll, has dropped to 33 percent. At the same time, the number of voters who trust the GOP on key issues like education, fighting inflation, and creating jobs are higher than they’ve been in some time.
The reasons behind the decline are relatively sophisticated. Mrs. Pelosi, Mr. Schumer, and President Joe Biden misread the results of the 2020 Presidential election. They thought voters endorsed a return to big government initiatives generally not seen since Ronald Reagan’s 1980 victory set the country on a different course. Americans still favor limited government and are not enamored of the taxes and borrowing needed to make the progressive policy wish list a reality.
The Bernie-Biden plan now under consideration and revision is a scheme to redistribute income and wealth on a massive scale. It will fund projects the American people may tell pollsters they want but are unwilling to pay for.
This is not an inconsistency. Instead, it reflects the intensity of importance they place on the issues the Democrats talk about the most. They may want the government to address the problems the Biden-led initiatives are meant to solve but not at the projected cost.
No one can say for sure what that will be. The Congressional Budget Office hasn’t been given anything it could score. Nonetheless, others are trying to figure it out. The Tax Foundation most recent analysis of the House bill found it would, in its most current form, raise a net $786 billion through higher taxes, price controls on pharmaceuticals, by having the IRS conduct more audits, and through other provisions. It would also add $752 billion in accumulated deficits over the next ten years while reducing long-run growth in the GDP by 0.4 percent and killing just over 100,000 jobs.
The analysis also showed after-tax incomes shrinking in the long run for the top 80 percent of filers. That means the middle class will get hit, too, contrary to what Mr. Biden promised during the 2020 campaign.
Simply put, it’s a bad bill. Bad for America and bad for the American taxpayer. Congressional leaders should stop revising it and admit defeat. While beloved by the Democrats who make up the party’s activist base, their plan is too extreme for most people.
It should be tossed aside, and, having done that, congressional leaders should also abandon the go it alone approach they’ve taken to reconciliation. Using it to go for everything they wanted sounded like a smart way to get around any objections Senate Republicans might have had to the spending and taxes, but they forgot some members of their party who might share them.
Right now, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have carried the load, but, we suspect, there are enough other Democrats who’d like to vote “No” that the Bernie Biden plan is doomed. The Democrats bet that, rather than work with the Republicans to build a consensus, they could take an all-or-nothing approach, do it by themselves, and win. How’s that working?