The Disappointing Joe Manchin

Senator Joe Manchin (D, WV) seemed, initially, like a center-left Democrat and a man who was capable of bipartisan work when he came on the scene a few short years ago.  Recall, for instance, his firm support of our 2nd Amendment and his opposition to much of Obamacare and to then-President Barack Obama’s (D) war on coal.

Now, though, he’s a proud member of the Progressive-Democratic Party’s caucus in the Senate, and the conflict between his claimed values and his voting against the just passed tax reform bill is showing.

“There’s some good in this bill. I acknowledge that,” Manchin said, when West Virginia radio talk show host Hoppy Kercheval asked the senator why he opposed legislation that will benefit the “vast majority” of taxpayers and businesses in the state.

“The things that you mention are correct. Initially people will benefit and see some changes in their taxes[.]”


Manchin blamed his opposition on projections from some analysts that the tax overhaul would increase the national debt, and that cuts directed at individuals and married couples is temporary and sunset in 2025 without further action from Congress, versus the corporate cuts, which are permanent.


Why did the permanency have to go on the big end, and not on the individuals who really got left behind?

He’s carefully eliding a number of things, though, with his rationalization.  One is that if he’s truly concerned about the national debt, he should get out of the way of Congressional efforts to cut Federal spending.  But he’s a Party man.  And the only way those temporary cuts actually will expire is if he and his fellow Progressive-Democrats go against Party tenets and prevent their extension or being made permanent rather than demanding the tax increases expiration would create.  But he’s a Party man; so are Progressive-Democrats all, all Party men.

Further, businesses plan—must plan—farther into the future than do us individual citizens.  They are far less agile than we can be; their costs for things like production supplies and for labor, to name just two factors, have to be planned for far in advance.  Businesses need the stability of permanence far more than we do; eight years is close enough to permanent for us.  Manchin knows this, or he’s too economically ignorant for national office.


He [Manchin] also complained of a coming increase in health care costs because the legislation repealed Obamacare’s individual mandate to purchase insurance.

He’s eliding another fact here, too.  Health coverage (not care) costs have been skyrocketing under Obamacare since the first months after it was enacted.  All that repealing the penalty for disobeying the Individual Mandate is doing is freeing up 13 million Americans—especially those at the lower end of the economic scale—from having to buy an Obamacare plan they can’t afford or that the rest of us can’t afford to subsidize.  Those health care costs have been sky-high all along—due to the lack of a free market in that particular industry; Obamacare only exacerbated this.  Manchin knows—or should know—this, as well.

Keep this in mind as this Progressive-Democrat runs for reelection in West Virginia next fall.

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