If you thought budget reconciliation — a falsely advertised $3.5 trillion but actually more like $5 trillion price tag tax-and-spend-a-thon — looked like a steamroller in July, look again. Its tires are spinning in a bog of its own sponsors’ making.
It’s actually a bloated, extremist, hubristic poison package that pleases no one. And that’s the currently slimmed-down $1.85 trillion version.
The error is faulty arithmetic accompanied by political miscalculation.
First the math. Most rational people understood that in a 50-50 Senate it wouldn't be easy to get all 50 Democratic senators on board with an exorbitant, expensive, partisan package. But stalwart Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have kept their heads and their principles.
And the nearly half the House Democratic Caucus that belongs to the loony-left Progressive Caucus failed to grasp the reality of a skinny 220-212 majority. That’s math that matters.
The zealots driving the partisan budget reconciliation train apparently have been operating on a faulty set of assumptions. They seem to have thought all corners of the Democratic party — the 96-member Progressive Caucus and the 19 Blue Dogs — would hold hands, sing Kum Ba Yah and jump off the cliff to pass the measure.
Joe Biden is still waiting . . . and he isn’t pleased with the delay. He burned jet fuel to Europe, leaving behind an agreement in principle — it is still being turned into legislative language while nitwits keep trying to lard up the “agreement” and the price tag with items on the cutting room floor.
Speaker Pelosi has kept the infighting contained these past three months, for the most part, at least publicly. But tempers are flaring, patience wearing thin, and many wearing the Biden-Pelosi-Schumer jersey feel deflated like the Florida Gators in the final two minutes of the first half of the Georgia game.
Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden keeps working to insert wealth-transferring, business-destroying, novel tax schemes — crafting them on the fly, they’re untested, and no committee hearings have vetted them.
Wyden and Biden still want unrealized capital gains — not realized assets — taxed at death. Bernie Sanders and others seek to revive the step-up-in-basis repeal — treating unsold assets as if the'd been sold upon death. That would subject inheritors to paying taxes on those unrealized capital gains under a punitive tax scheme being referred to as “mark to market.”
The House Ways & Means Committee opted for changed tax treatment of grantor retained annuity trusts, or GRATS, and changes to business valuation rules that would ignore discounts from partial ownership or lack of control of an asset in determining its value — i.e., something tantamount to confiscatory taxation. That could come on top of the tax hikes in the “agreement.”
Then there’s the faulty math and political miscalculation of the spend-a-thon and a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill the tax-and-spenders have held hostage to budget reconciliation. For all its green garbage, at least the lower-priced infrastructure bill would put about a fifth of its monies into roads and bridges. The reconciliation bill would pour about a quarter of its funds into ideological climate crap. And the infrastructure bill wouldn’t make radical changes to our tax structure.
Many Washington politicians think the American people agree with policy proposals that feed inflation — itself a hidden tax —, raise taxes directly or indirectly on everybody, destabilize the United States at a time when China, Russia and North Korea are rattling sabers and put at grave risk our ability to meet current obligations such as Medicare.
The outcome remains an open question. As that baseball immortal Yogi Berra said, "It ain't over till it's over.” But the up side for those who love property rights is that the Biden-Bernie-“Build Back Broker” episode is leaving some indelible memories on the minds of many, many Americans who’d bear the brunt of this Leftist licentiousness.