The Credit Strategist January 1, 2022
Joe Manchin’s rejection of the Build Back Better (BBB) bill offers an opportunity for our country to move back to the political center. While there is little recent history to suggest we will seize that opportunity, we should give it a try. Democrats lack a mandate to “dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country more vulnerable to the threats we face” as the West Virginia Senator phrased it in announcing his opposition to the bill. Those threats include non-transitory inflation, which persisted long before the Federal Reserve and Congress injected $20 trillion into an already over-leveraged economy, geopolitical challenges from China, Russia and Iran, and political incompetence and corruption weakening our influence abroad and management of domestic issues. Our current flirtation with socialism gained a foothold because our business and political leaders imposed a system of socialism for the rich and capitalism for the poor, but a country that dignifies the toxic proposals of Bernie Sanders and AOC is headed for the ash heap of history.
The tactics employed by progressives are unacceptable: “relentless moral condescension, the messianism of mass protests, physical intimidation, social ostracism and demands that you simply shut up and give in” (as The Wall Street Journal’s Daniel Henninger described them in a December 23, 2021 column). They are as anti-American as those who rioted at the Capitol on January 6, 2021. Our political leaders must work to reject this behavior from both political extremes so our country can return to the middle where most Americans live. President Biden should trust his moderate instincts and stop relying on advisors leading him to the deep shoals of nihilistic progressivism (defund the police, bail reform, suppression of free speech, socialism). He should not treat progressivism as a suicide pact, which is what it became for the citizens living within its precincts in Blue states and cities.