It’s a sad history, but it tells us everything we need to know about the prospects for substantial progressive change under the nation’s current political leadership. An ambitious social spending bill addressing critical needs – for family support and reducing child poverty, for education, health care, jobs creation, and for making a start on addressing the climate emergency, among other things – is now a pale shadow of itself. Originally priced at $6 trillion (over 10 years) when Bernie Sander first promoted it, the Biden “FDR-like” agenda was first cut back to $3.5 trillion, then to $1.75 trillion in its latest iteration. And even then its passage is not assured.
What’s more, despite insisting for months that they would not approve an infrastructure spending proposal (widely criticized as a large-scale giveaway to corporate interests) without simultaneous approval of “Build Back Better” social safety net expansion, the Democrats – including virtually every member of the Progressive Caucus – caved once again, on Friday voting up the infrastructure bill on the word (!) of so-called “moderates” that they will, eventually, support the final version of Build Back Better.
We can at the very least expect still more cuts to the proposed social welfare programs and spending. In fact I think there remains a very good chance that even the remnants of meaningful social welfare policy change will be tanked altogether, leaving Democrats (exactly zero Republicans support social spending increases) to try convincing voters that they (the voters) just need to elect more Democrats if they want to see something really get done. Pathetic.