Coal stock has yielded a substantial profit with a surge that is expected to increase its value by 22% before the end of the year. Does this matter to anyone more than Senator Joe Manchin? Perhaps now, his financial advisors will tell him, is the time to sell his stock in coal. It would resolve his conflict of interests, and he could stop fighting an uphill battle against clean energy. He won’t be disappointing coal miners, because his efforts on behalf of the industry do nothing for them; he has been protecting his money.
Manchin could champion environmental reform, giving the well-being of the next-generation priority over his portfolio. That is the democratic platform, is it not? The problem is that Manchin’s greed is also fed by other fossil fuels. He was paid $400,000 last quarter by oil industry lobbyists. He has no shame in the legacy he is building as the driving force steering the country toward authoritarianism. He’d rather you not focus on that.
Manchin, a man who was elected to represent his state with 290,510 votes, has directed President Biden to remove all climate reform from the budget. Over 81,284,000 voters cast their ballots for President Joe Biden last year, but Joe Manchin holds more power.
Manchin is not the only cog stopping the wheel of democracy; he has a partner in crime. Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema, (elected by 1,191,100 voters,) has been bought by big pharma. She has pocketed $1.1 million from pharmaceutical lobbyists in the third quarter of this year. What’s with the 456% increase in contributions from big pharma? It’s payment for her no vote on lowering Medicare prescription drug prices. It’s also a reward for holding up Biden’s budget, which includes pharmaceutical pricing reform. 90% of her “campaign donations” come from donors outside her state.
We can’t blame Republicans for their commitment to fiscal responsibility… [We talked about —>sarcasm<— last week.] The GOP added $11 trillion to the deficit during Trump’s occupation, giving the wealthiest 1% and corporate America a tax-free ride. Republicans also raised the debt ceiling three times in four years to accommodate Donald Trump. They still want you to consider them to be the party of financial restraint.
Manchin’s argument that Biden’s bill is too expensive is moot because it comes at $ZERO cost. It would be paid for by reinstating corporate taxes and taxes on the wealthiest Americans, taxes that were cut by Republicans in 2017.
Joe Manchin has exposed himself after hiding behind the filibuster because it allowed him to vote with Democrats (for appearances) while sabotaging results. His refusal to support abolishing the filibuster serves him well, except that on this occasion they did not invoke it. Manchin had no choice but to show us his cards. He held up Biden’s budget proposal with vague arguments like “it’s too expensive,” without offering alternatives.
Taxing the rich would yield more than the proposed cost of the $3 trillion budget. That money would fund:
- Medicare is expansion, adding dental, hearing, and vision. Grandmother deserves teeth after a lifetime of paying into the system, don’t you think? She should be able to see her grandchildren’s faces and hear their voices.
- Biden’s plan includes pre-k,
- Free community college because everyone deserves an education.
- The money will repair the infrastructure before bridges and roads collapse.
- Pharmaceutical companies may no longer charge Americans twice as much as they charge Canada and other countries.
President Biden’s proposed social spending bill was $3.5 trillion. To negotiate with Republicans, he reduced it to $2.2 trillion, but that didn’t change minds. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (elected by 1,233,315 voters, ) is, like Manchin, more powerful than he should be. He controls the GOP, and they stand united in their obstruction. McConnell’s decisions are political rather than ethical. Rather than work for of his constituents, he works for corporate America. If not for backlash from those donors, he would have sacrificed the economy, forcing a government shutdown, refusing to raise the debt ceiling a necessity to pay for Trump’s spending. Why? Because he thinks that would make Joe Biden and democratic in Congress look bad. His focus is on winning back the Senate majority in 2022. When he has the majority, he concentrates on packing courts with conservative judges. Biden’s package has now been whittled down to $1.5 trillion, and it still doesn’t have 51 votes.
For comparison, let’s look at the Senate defense appropriations bill. It gives the Pentagon $10 billion more than the $725.8 billion requested. We have money for war, but not for hearing aids.
Manchin has finally confirmed our suspicions. His opposition to Biden’s bill is with “the clean energy standard.” The cost of the climate provision, $150 billion— which is low. That isn’t the problem. He is protecting his finances, which are invested in fossil fuel. He wants the provision for environmental reform removed. He’ll destroy his reputation before risking his investments.
*Spoiler: Manchin is playing games. Line items continue to be cut, the cost lowered, and he will say no until his interests are protected— fossil fuels and big pharma.
Senator Bernie Sanders has called out Manchin and Sinema for holding up Biden’s agenda. Manchin responded, saying,
“There’s 52 senators who don’t agree, okay, and there’s two that want to work something out if possible in a most rational reasonable way.”
He wants to know why the media is focusing on him. Because Joe, you’re on the other team.
Not only is Joe Manchin profiting from his stocks and dividends, fossil fuel lobbyists paid Manchin S400,000 in a single quarter. Those contributions that traditionally come from Republican donors.
If only there was a way to save the planet and ensure Manchin maintains his extra iincome.
We can thank Sinema and Manchin for exposing just a few of the many flaws with our political system. His fossil fuel portfolio is a conflict of interests that, in a better democracy, would have rendered him ineligible. Sinema has been bought by pharmaceutical lobbyists. Politicians should not be allowed to profit by their votes.
The biggest danger these two Senators pose, because of their greed, is retaining the filibuster. In so doing they hider the passage voting rights legislation, and without it the 2022 midterms are at mercy of 14 states where voter suppression laws have been put into place.
Fewer people identify as Republican than six years ago. To win back their base, Republicans can change their platform to reflect what their constituents want, or they can cheat. They chose plan B. Our democracy has never been as unstable as it is today, and by disenfranchising voters we are one step closer to authoritarianism.