This week, the Patriotic Millionaires are on tour in West Virginia! We’re stopping at Joe Manchin’s district offices, college campuses, local restaurants, theaters, and street festivals across the state, speaking to Manchin’s constituents directly about the pressing need to fix our rigged tax code and get Senator Manchin on board with a full $3.5 trillion dollar Build Back Better Agenda. You can keep up with the action on our Twitter.
Our trip to West Virginia comes as forward momentum on the budget reconciliation deal comes to a grinding halt. Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are digging their heels into the dirt and refuse to vote alongside the majority of their colleagues on the full contents of this incredibly popular bill.
While Senator Sinema’s priorities remain an enigma, Senator Manchin has refused to support the full $3.5 trillion dollar bill in the name of some intangible ‘fiscal sanity.’ But the real fiscal insanity is maintaining a tax code that lets billionaires pay the same tax rate as working-class folks in Arizona and West Virginia. If these two Senators truly care about responsible governance, then they should be leaping at the opportunity to put fairness back into our nation’s tax code.
This week, we’re shining a spotlight on West Virginia and Arizona and taking a look at the problem Senators, Manchin and Sinema, their hypocrisy, and some of the falsehoods they’ve spread about the reconciliation deal.
It is incredibly frustrating to watch Senators Sinema and Manchin vehemently oppose a plan that would improve the lives of their constituents with false excuses that their obstruction is on behalf of their constituents. West Virginia, a state with widespread poverty, would massively benefit from increased social spending, and since the proposed tax increases would only affect 0.5 percent of all taxpayers, barely any residents would pay a penny more in taxes. In Arizona, over 70 percent of voters overwhelmingly support raising taxes on those who make over $400,000 dollars a year.
Last week, Senator Manchin criticized Democratic plans to increase spending and bolster the American safety net through the budget reconciliation deal, warning that it would bring about an ‘entitlement society.’ What Manchin doesn’t seem to understand with this critique is that we already have an entitlement society in our country, but it’s only available to the wealthy. Our tax code offers a vast range of loopholes and tax cuts to those who can afford a fancy lawyer and a special rate for their investment income, and if the wealthy don’t get their way they will complain to lawmakers to keep their cushy benefits.
While working Arizonans struggled to get through the last year, Arizona billionaires saw their wealth grow by 161% through August. To make matters worse, Senator Sinema’s home state recently passed a regressive 2.5% flat tax for all residents of the state, with 93 percent of the benefits going to people in the top 20 percent of incomes. The last thing the Grand Canyon State’s wealthiest residents need is yet another tax break. Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan could counteract the recent Arizona regressive flat tax while also funding safety net expansions to help get working Arizonans back on their feet, but he needs Senator Sinema to stand with her constituents, not the rich.
Senator Manchin has focused his opposition to the Budget reconciliation deal around the $3.5 trillion dollar price tag, but the size of that number is misleading. The bill involves spending just 1.2 percent of our projected national income over the next 10 years on a range of policies that would be financed by raising taxes on the wealthiest corporations and individuals. It is an incredibly sound economic plan that would balance out the increased spending (which is significantly less than the military spending Senator Manchin has repeatedly voted for) with new sources of revenue.