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Flip-Flop: Manchin Said He Couldn't Raise Taxes in a Recession

AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

As Vespa reported on Wednesday night, Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) reached a deal with Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to move ahead a revived zombie version of President Joe Biden's build back better reconciliation package. And, in the process, Manchin contradicted not one but two of his previously stated beliefs about what the economy can handle from Congress.


The deal is a reversal for Manchin who, as Vespa noted, "caused his party to melt down when he rejected the initial spending bill that included a deluge of cash to address global warming" citing concerns about soaring inflation and the deficit.

Guy had a in-depth look at how Manchin finally got in line behind Schumer and how Manchin appears to have played Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republicans to get the CHIPS bill through the Senate and still move ahead with BBB:

Manchin secured a few concessions on fossil fuels, but there's plenty of "climate" "investments" in there, too. And while some of the tax provisions are perhaps at least partially fanciful (more IRS enforcement is always a bit suspicious), those are some major tax increases, too.  Let me say this: If this thing passes, despite it being a shell of the atrocious BBB behemoth, it is absolutely wild that Democrats are actually going to spend hundreds of billions of new dollars in the middle of rampant inflation -- while also raising taxes (including on businesses) right as the US economy is staring down the barrel of an active or looming recession.  It's nuts.  But they've got the power for now, so they're steaming ahead.  Incidentally, I do not believe for a second that the "deficit reduction" Manchin is talking about will actually materialize from this bill.  Spending and taxes will go up, and so will the debt.  It's how DC works.


As it turns out, Manchin's reversal from his previously stated opposition to more spending amid inflation is not his only flip-flop. No, the senator from West Virginia is also reversing another previously stated belief by supporting the tax-increasing legislation as second quarter GDP made a U.S. recession official.

In a 2010 U.S. Senate debate, Manchin explained that "I don't think during a time of recession you mess with any of the taxes or increase any taxes." Interesting. "I can't look the people in West Virginia in the eye and ask them to pay a penny more until I know we're running this government efficient," Manchin added at the time. 

On Manchin's first point that blew up Democrat hopes of passing Biden's bloated spending agenda, inflation is still raging, accelerating even, over the summer months. If non-transitory rising prices was reason to object to spending more money before it certainly is now.

And when it comes to his 2010 statement that taxes shouldn't be raised during a recession — because he couldn't look his constituents in the eye and ask them to pay a penny more while they were struggling — then now is certainly not the time to raise taxes as a second consecutive quarter of negative GDP growth made a U.S. recession for the first half of 2022 official. 

What's worse, the bill Manchin now supports includes a permanent increase to the coal tax, going further than the 10-year extension that existed in the original Build Back Better bill, which might be something his constituents back home in West Virginia care about. 


Clearly, the Democrat agenda is more important to Schumer and Manchin than delivering solutions for the American people who are already suffering under Biden's economic policies. Denying the reality of what tax and spend policies have already created while seeking to double down on new spending and tax hikes will only further alienate voters who are just months away from deciding who gets to control Congress. 

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