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Big Fucking Deal

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The American Rescue Plan, in short, will be one of the most progressive enactments ever passed by the United States Congress. Frustrating as Manchin’s last-minute trimming was — and, apart from the $15 minimum wage that regrettably was well short of 50 votes, it didn’t alter the shape of the bill significantly — this is far beyond what my most optimistic projections of what the first (or any) major bill to hit a President Joe Biden’s desk would look like. Certainly, Biden’s leadership role in forcefully committing to a big stimulus bill and making it clear that it would be done on a party-line if necessary was important:

But it’s also crucial to remember that Biden wouldn’t have committed himself to this goal if he didn’t think he had the votes to get it done. The Democratic coalition as a whole has shifted very substantially over the last decade, having fully learned that austerity and deficit hawkery are a sucker’s game. The ARP is more than twice the size of the ARRA and also considerably more consistently progressive in content (with the latter being larded with tax cuts.)

And despite the enormous amount of money and mental energy expended on the presidential primaries, the runoff elections in Georgia matter a lot more than exactly how far to the left of the median vote of Congress the president is. There won’t be any easy lifts, but let’s see what else we can get done.

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