Behind Joe Manchin’s Attack on “Rights Society”: Billionaires Who Hate America

Senator Joe Manchin, echoing the PR think tanks of right-wing billionaires and all Republicans in Congress, recently said his objection to free college for students and glasses for the elderly was that such things created a “law society“, An insult that means” a nation of welfare recipients. ”

In this, he displays a fundamental ignorance of what governments do and how societies operate, as well as the difference between what we usually call the ‘social safety net’ and what people should expect just as a “Right of citizenship” at first. country of the world. He also misunderstands the difference between expenses and investments.

A “social safety net” is there to catch up with you when you fall. Unemployment insurance keeps you from becoming homeless when capitalism has one of its periodic hiccups. Food stamps help you through difficult times. FEMA programs provide mobile homes and an allowance to keep alive those made homeless by natural disasters such as hurricanes, wildfires and floods.

These are the kinds of things we generally call “wellness”. They are there to “catch us” and keep us from falling through the “floor” of society.

They also prevent people from “breaking” when they fall, whether it is a temporary setback of capitalism (recession, depression), a natural disaster, or a region that has not invested in. itself so long that there are simply no jobs available. We know, for example, that inequalities, and the poverty and mental illness that they cause, drive up the costs to society that can be met by this kind of assistance.

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Thus, these short-term (or, in some cases, even longer-term programs for those already injured) keep society stable. Finland, for example, is provide free accommodation for all their homeless; it’s cheaper than the police, hospitals, and mental health services that homeless people otherwise use. But these are still programs to “catch” people and areas that have fallen or been injured by life, not to grow and expand society.

A “right of citizenship” is something quite different. This is what nations provide as citizenship rights to keep a normally functioning society, and to help that society grow and improve socially and economically.

As American citizens, for example, we expect good public schools, decent roads, police and fire protection, and a functioning government funded by taxpayer dollars to keep it all going. As citizens, we expect that when we contribute to Social Security and Medicare all of our lives, these systems will be maintained in a way that keeps us healthy, productive, and out of poverty when we are. will retire.

While the “safety net” protects us from personal, family or community disasters, “citizenship rights” form the foundation of society itself.


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A nation’s physical infrastructure enables normal life, and the more sophisticated and functional that infrastructure, the more dynamic a nation’s economy will be.

This was the main reason why Republican President Dwight Eisenhower built the interstate highway system: it not only facilitated the visit of grandfather and grandmother, but also facilitated the transportation of goods and thus facilitated trade leading to the economic boom of the 1950s and 1980s. time.

Ditto for an advanced air traffic system, quality public transport and a national high speed rail system as in all other advanced countries.

The same is true of a nation’s “human infrastructure”.

The more citizens a country has with a university education, the more competitive and prosperous that nation becomes. The better the health of a country, the more reliable and efficient its workforce. When the government helps young parents care for their children, it enables them to participate more fully in the commercial and civic life of the country.

Thus, infrastructure – whether physical or human – is not a well-being. It does not produce a “law society”. Instead, it is the fundamental foundation on which a functioning society rests, the ground in which businesses can take root, and the launching pad for a future without horizon.

Another way of thinking is through the prism of economics and accounting.

“Well-being” is a costs. It doesn’t make things better: when funded appropriately, it just keeps them from getting worse. It pays dividends in that it keeps people alive and functioning, but barely. The government’s “return on investment” is minimal outside of its moral duty.

“Citizenship rights” like infrastructure, on the other hand, are investments. They pay returns and dividends. Invest “x” and over years or decades you will get multiples of “x” in return. Even police and fire departments, when well managed, keep neighborhoods free from crime and facilitate commerce, thus developing the local economy. New transportation, education and health care infrastructure contributes to prosperity and attracts investment throughout the community.

Failure to understand this simple distinction is the major failure of neoliberal and “conservative” politicians, guided, in large part, by “think tanks” and experts funded by right-wing billionaires who, frankly, don’t care. “Well-being” or “citizenship / infrastructure rights”.

After all, being morbidly wealthy billionaires, they don’t need one either.

They can afford the best healthcare in the world with their pocket change; they travel on private jets outside of public airports (never even having to go through security); and they send their children to the best private schools in the world, regardless of the local tax base.

And since well-being and infrastructure are the two funded by taxpayers’ money – which the morbidly rich go to great lengths to avoid paying – leading politicians to reject the two just adds more dollars to their bins of money that otherwise would have gone to taxes.

While Joe Manchin’s understanding of these fundamental differences between high school and civics education in government programs is disappointing, it shouldn’t be surprising. He was born into wealth and is a multimillionaire coal baron himself, living on the largest yacht in my old home, the Capital Yacht Club (among his other homes).

But Joe Biden – who has spent his life flying back from Washington to Delaware every weekend on Amtrak – understands this on an instinctual level. New roads, bridges and broadband infrastructure are investments that will pay dividends both to society and to our economy. He knows that strengthening our infrastructure strengthens our nation.

Biden understands that replacing fossil-fuel-based energy infrastructure with America-made renewables like solar and wind power reduces our dependence on brutal foreign oligarchs like murderer Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, while producing electricity for generations with little more than maintenance.

He knows that sending young people to college for free or at little cost – as is done in every other advanced democracy in the world – is a simple investment in families and the intellectual infrastructure of our country that will pay dividends. for future generations.

Progressives working on his legislative agenda are realizing that providing people with a robust, inexpensive health care system is an investment in our ultimate infrastructure: our people. Without healthy workers, there is no reliable economy; with healthy workers, an economy becomes increasingly vibrant, which is why all other developed countries in the world except the United States provide free or low cost universal health care and take take care of all the medical needs of their elderly.

Right-wing billionaire propaganda aside, this is not about “welfare” or “rights”, and they do not make people “get lazy” or “refuse to work”. As we grow stronger and “Rebuild better“our physique and human infrastructure, we simultaneously strengthen our nation while moving towards a cleaner, safer and more reliable future.

In every other developed country in the world, these things are just citizenship rights. They should be here too if we are to compete in the 21st century and improve our (declining) status as a first world nation.

Learn more about Joe Manchin and the “moderates” waging war on the Biden agenda:


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