HILL: Beware the incoming legislative MIRVs

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19 vaccinations after touring a Clayco Corporation construction site for a Microsoft data center in Elk Grove Village, Ill., Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021. President Joe Biden’s plan to require vaccinations at all private employers of 100 workers or more has already hit a wall of opposition from Republican governors, state lawmakers and attorneys general.(AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Multiple independently targetable reentry vehicles (MIRVs) were intercontinental ballistic missiles developed in the 1960s and 70s that could carry three nuclear warheads. The last MIRV was decommissioned by the Obama Administration in 2014. 

MIRVs had the terrifying prospect of multiple nuclear warheads being launched on a single missile that could reach three unknown targets of the Soviet Union instead of only one, such as Moscow. 

“Build Back Better” (BBB) has the terrifying prospect of coming back to life in smaller bills each with its own poll-tested and targeted legislative “warhead” over the next few months. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Virginia) himself might be negotiating for a bill that will help West Virginians right now as you are reading this. 

Trying to pass gargantuan budgets under complicated reconciliation rules is a lazy way to get things done in Washington. Ball up as many goodies, tax provisions and giveaways as possible in two thousand pages of Washingtonese, and, the thinking goes, everyone will get something they want so they won’t vote against the whole thing in the end. 

“Log-rolling” at its worst. James Madison invented it in the Continental Congress, so blame him for it. 

“Pass the bill so we can find out what we got for our constituents!” is the mantra of such big government progressive socialist Democrats.   

BBB took the gold medal for proposing to give away trillions and trillions of dollars in free child care, health care, community-college tuition and sops to big failing newspapers and media outlets. It purported to raise taxes only on rich people — who have the means to avoid them — but it also would have given away over $1 trillion in tax cuts to very wealthy people in New York, California and Illinois through repeal of limits on SALT (state and local tax) deductions. 

The biggest surprise was that the cost of BBB wasn’t $10 trillion instead of “only” $5 trillion 

It is much harder to pass individual bills. It takes a lot more work to prepare for, debate, negotiate and then pass much smaller, more narrow bills. Each bill has to pass on its own individual merits. At least it makes proponents of any new legislation work for it.  

What else are they going to do in Washington? 

Some smart, enterprising young progressive socialist staffer is probably working with smart Democratic pollsters and consultants to come up with 10 of the most popular parts of BBB in ranked order so they can then try to pass them in succession in this election year.  

Assume Democratic pollsters find that free child care for everyone is the most popular with the American people, then the Free Child Care for Everyone (FCCE) bill would be the first one introduced by AOC and The Squad in Congress, and debate would ensue for days, maybe even weeks. The goal of the Democrats would, of course, be to pass the bill in Congress. Their backup position would be to put every vulnerable Republican on the spot in an election year and make them have to vote yes or no, for all of their constituents to see, on poll-tested popular programs. 

Smaller politically targeted MIRV-esque bills can leave more of a bruise on an elected official than a massive omnibus bill if their constituents really want it. 

The problem the Democrats have is that everything they want to pass costs a lot of money. There are only four ways to pay for any new bill: raise taxes, borrow money, cut spending in other treasured social programs and inflation.  

Everyone knows Democrats love to raise taxes on the rich. What most people don’t realize is those “taxes on the rich!” eventually “trickle down” to the middle class because limits and thresholds are not indexed to inflation. Millions of Americans found out this truth to their chagrin with the Alternative Minimum Tax before the AMT was dramatically restricted under the Trump tax cuts of 2017. 

President Joe Biden has already unleashed policies which are setting all kinds of records with “transitory inflation” that is not so transitory any longer. At an annual inflation rate of 7%, as we are currently experiencing, the policies of President Biden and the progressive socialists will have the national debt paid off in no time. 

Maybe that was their plan in the first place. They could have at least told us. 

Beware of the smaller MIRV bills. BBB is not completely dead yet.