Issues & Insights

Manchin Should Channel Nancy Reagan And ‘Just Say No!’

Never in American history has one political party – with as razor-thin a majority in Congress and as unpopular a president in the White House – attempted to ram through a spending bill as radical and sweeping as Democrats are now. And so far, the only person who’s been brave enough to stand in the way has been the Democratic senator from West Virginia, Joe Manchin.

On Monday, Manchin threw cold water on the Democrats’ spending spree, telling reporters that:

“As more of the real details outlined in the basic framework are released, what I see are shell games, budget gimmicks that make the real cost of the so-called $1.75 trillion bill estimated to be almost twice that amount, if the full time is run out, if you extended it permanently. And that we haven’t even spoken about. This is a recipe for economic crisis.”

But on Tuesday he was expressing optimism that a deal could be reached. Who knows what Manchin’s final decision will be, or what “compromise” he will accept. For now at least he has managed to stop the left from jamming through a massive, intrusive, gimmick-laden plan to vastly expand federal entitlements – without any public debate and with zero Republican support.

For that Manchin should be getting accolades, instead of being attacked as “anti-black,” accused of “killing our future,” and the countless other vicious attacks hurled at him.

The “framework” Manchin was referring to on Monday is the 10-year $1.75 trillion “spending framework” that President Joe Biden announced before heading off to his nap at the climate summit, a “framework” Biden says has been dialed back from the original $3.5 trillion.

But the lower (and still ridiculously large) price tag for this “framework” is a brazen lie.

It assumes that most of the new entitlement programs it enacts will suddenly end after a few years.

So, the advertised price in the “framework” for a new child-care and pre-K entitlement is  $400 billion – because it ends after six years. Assuming it becomes permanent, the real price tag is more like $800 billion.

The “framework” says the expanded child and earned income tax credits will cost $200 billion over 10 years – but it’s in effect for only one year. Assuming those, too, are made permanent, the real 10-year cost would be somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 trillion.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget lists several other such gimmicks used to artificially get the price tag down to $1.75 trillion.

The Democrats’ obvious hope is to get these programs on the books – by hook or by crook – and then count on the fact that Congress never repeals entitlement programs once they are in place. They aren’t even trying to hide their chicanery. And for that reason alone, the entire bill should be scrapped, after which Democrats should apologize to the public for this crass attempt at deception.

But even aside from the gimmicks, there is also the problem that, with the economy already stagnating and inflation rising, piling all this new spending on top of the trillions in borrowed money that’s already been pumped into the economy will, as Manchin correctly observes, be a “recipe for economic crisis.”

The bottom line is that there is no compromise that Manchin should accept.

And so, our advice to him is to take a page from Nancy Reagan’s anti-drug crusade and “Just Say No”!

Manchin will be accused of destroying Biden’s agenda. But so what? Biden didn’t run as a far-left liberal and voters denied him any sort of mandate, anyway. Plus, the public is increasingly dubious that this spending spree will help, as illustrated by the latest ABC News/Ipsos poll.

Denying Biden and his out-of-touch party this orgy of spending will be restorative for them, and better for everyone else.

— Written by the I&I Editorial Board

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The Issues and Insights Editorial Board has decades of experience in journalism, commentary and public policy.


  • Joe Biden has fostered an administration with the blind staggers, one that revels in contempt, if not outright hatred, for Americans who do not think ‘correctly’. As he beholds the culmination of his life’s work, four decades in the murky swamp, he does not recognize how he and his band of Bernie Sanders think-alikes have plundered our history and traditions. He knows only that progressive Democrats have rolled up their sleeves, for it is hard work to purge evil from the body politic. In doing the Lord’s work, they have transmuted Ponce de Leon’s quest for a fountain of youth into a fountain of freebies. They have declared in near hysterical terms a glissando of demands which will put us all on easy street, and have kidnapped a bipartisan infrastructure bill toward that end. We all should thank Sens. Sinema and Manchin, if they stand fast, for keeping ‘free’ entitlement floodwaters at bay.

  • Let’s all try to still our beating hearts and remember that Manchin is a Democrat. He’s not a radical, which is appealing, but a Democrat who isn’t radical is still a Democrat! He’ll hold out for a while and he’ll fold.

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