Modern politics in America largely boils down to millionaires telling struggling families that they don’t deserve anything better in life. It’s an abhorrent and repulsive state of affairs made all the worse by undemocratic political institutions — like the U.S. Senate — deliberately designed to entrench power in the hands of an unfeelingly cruel minority. Nothing demonstrates the ironclad grip that servants of the oligarchy hold on American politics than the debacle playing out in Washington right now as two right-wing Senators, Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema, hold the President’s agenda hostage as they seek to cut out anything that might reduce the working class’ vulnerability to exploitation and abuse by corporate employers.
On Sunday, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia declared that the child tax credit — a monthly $300 payment to working parents to help with the skyrocketing cost of childcare — must include a “firm work requirement” and a family income cap of just $60,000. The change would “dramatically weaken” the program, according to Axios, and is bound to enrage those Democrats who are actually sincere in their efforts to substantially improve the material lives of the American people at a time in which the prices of literally everything — energy, gasoline, housing, healthcare, childcare, you name it — is exploding out of control.
So two parents who each make $31k per year are too rich, in Joe Manchin’s view, to qualify for this form of assistance. https://t.co/twOsuB8R56
— southpaw (@nycsouthpaw) October 17, 2021
Manchin claimed that he’s spoken to his constituents about this and is merely obeying their wishes — but who did he talk to, exactly?
Oh, of course, “business circles.”
— Tom Scocca (@tomscocca) October 18, 2021
“Business circles” have a vested interest in keeping money out of the hands of working families, because otherwise, they might feel a little more comfortable not subjecting themselves to underpaid and abusive jobs and taking a stand against exploitation — as tens of thousands of Americans are doing right now, going on strike and demanding the working conditions that they deserve.
Joe Manchin, who made a fortune off polluting the atmosphere with coal and then gave his children control of the company, has no right to dictate to American workers how much help they need to raise their children or what they need to do to get that help. It is monstrous to see yacht-owning oligarchs so entirely out of touch with the needs of regular people work overtime to deny the meagerest sliver of support to families in need just to satisfy the greed of the wealthy.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.