HILL: Joe Manchin is no budget hero — but Kyrsten Sinema might be

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., a centrist Democratic senator vital to the fate of President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion "Build Back Better" agenda, departs the Senate before meeting with Biden at the White House, at the Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021. Sinema and fellow moderate, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., have balked at the price tag and are now under pressure to show Biden what size package they could live with. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin pretty much stuck a fork in the Radical Left-Wing Progressive Socialists’ (RLWPS, for short) aggressive and dangerous spending agenda when he announced that he would not support their so-called “human infrastructure” bill pegged at $3.5 trillion, which is really $5 trillion or a whole lot more if all the budget gimmicks are taken out of it.

Manchin boldly went on to say: “Spending trillions more on new and expanded government programs, when we can’t even pay for the essential social programs, like Social Security and Medicare, is the definition of fiscal insanity.”

He was talking about spending $3.5 trillion on top of a $1.2 trillion “hard” infrastructure bill that almost all Democrats and many Republicans want to vote for since it would mean a bunch of new roads and bridges being built back in their home state. West Virginia has always been one of the top five net importer states of taxpayer-paid transportation funds from other states since before the days of Robert Byrd.

If Joe Manchin doesn’t bring home the bacon in the form of roads and bridges to West Virginia, he might not get re-elected to the U.S. Senate in 2024.

Manchin went on to say, however — without blushing or blinking an eye — that he would support spending $1.5 trillion more on new and expanded government programs, even though Social Security and Medicare shortfalls have not yet been addressed.

He committed intellectual and philosophical fiscal insanity hari-kari with his statement. $1.5 trillion is not $3.5 trillion — but it is still $1.5 trillion more spending while Social Security and Medicare still remain in technical bankruptcy.

Social Security has already crossed one Rubicon this year in 2021 when it exhausted, on paper at least, the interest earned on the surplus that was built up during the 1980s and 1990’s in the so-called, somewhat fictional “Trust Fund.” That interest has covered the shortfall between incoming payroll tax revenue from current workers and outgoing payments to current SS recipients for many years now. But now that the interest on the books is gone, that shortfall is being covered now by drawing down the actual “trust fund” balance, again solely on paper, which will run out in 2035.

Full SS benefits will be paid between now and then, but once the trust-fund balances run out, only 79% of everyone’s SS benefits will be paid out in 2036 and beyond. Retirees will still receive benefits, just not all that they thought they would get.

Medicare Part A Hospital insurance funds will run out in 2026. There are no ifs, ands or buts about that one. That is less than five years away.

There are no legislative efforts underway today in Washington to reform or refund Social Security or Medicare. Sen. Joe Manchin is just blowing hot air.

If we’re looking for a Senate Democrat who could actually be the only “Profile in Courage” if there is a book written about the last twenty years, there is one good candidate — Krysten Sinema of Arizona. In 2018, she was the first Democrat senator elected from Arizona in 30 years but only by the slimmest of margins.

Sinema will not be re-elected in 2024 by moderate and independent Arizonans if she votes like a crazy person who backs the Bernie Sanders socialist agenda, which has effectively destroyed any possibility of the Democratic Party being seen as a moderate, centrist-based political party in America.

Charlie Gasparino of FOX Business News among others have reported on Sinema’s libertarian philosophical roots that lie beneath her blue Democrat label. North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis wrote an op-ed piece on June 28 praising her for maintaining the filibuster and working with a bipartisan group of senators to craft the $1.2 trillion “real” infrastructure bill.

She appears to want to wear the “maverick” crown of fellow-Arizonan former Sen. John McCain, which he proudly wore and flaunted as he consistently thumbed his nose at Republican leadership for most of his Senate career.

Sinema now has her chance. She has said she won’t vote for the $3.5 trillion bill either, which effectively seals its doom. If she doesn’t vote for the watered-down $1.5 human-infrastructure bill now championed by Manchin, Sen. Sinema will become the real hero in this critical budget showdown, not Joe Manchin.