Christmas is a really good time to bury a story. With everyone more worried about gathering with their families, getting their shopping lists completed and rushing to and from church and social gatherings, while also adding pandemic concerns this year, it’s a good time watch a news piece wither on the vine.
That’s more true at the national than the local level, and some news that came out just before the Christmas holiday season this year that just didn’t get traction may be of interest to people locally.
According to The Hill, quoting CNBC, in the last two months, a political action committed named “Country Roads” (you’re probably getting there right now) received 36 donations from corporations and raised close to $260,000 in that time period.
“In November, Country Roads PAC received corporate contributions in the range of $2,500 to $5,000 from donors including American Express, Goldman Sachs, Lockheed Martin, UnitedHealth Group, Blue Cross Blue Shield and CNX Resources, a natural gas company, last month,” The Hill quoted CNBC as reporting.
In October, the PAC received donations from corporations such as Verizon, Union Pacific, Wells Fargo and PACs tied to the coal and mining industries.
Now, this rush of goodwill is not likely to be the Christmas Spirit coming on these corporations. Businesses are businesses and when they invest money it’s with the expectation that, eventually, there will be a return. Let me make clear that I have no issue with making investment with expectation of return, except, if I have to be honest, when it comes to politics. I tend to be naive enough to believe that politics should be above money, but I digress.
And this PAC’s receipts might just be coincidental, but for the U.S. senator to whom the PAC belongs — West Virginia’s Joe Manchin — who is currently serving as the main sticking point for the Biden administration’s “Build Back Better” Act.
The Build Back Better Act is the Biden administration’s key piece of legislation going into the midterms and, if I have to be honest, contains quite a few measures with which I agree — funding for universal pre-K, expanded Medicaid, reduced Affordable Care Act premiums and affordable housings provisions. I also heartily support the Enhanced Child Tax Credit, which was raised by earlier legislation from $2,000 a year to either $3,000 or $3,600 depending on the age of the child.
Manchin, according to reports, has opposed the child tax credit because he thinks that parents will use it to buy drugs, while ignoring the impacts it has had on families, especially those in his home state which have literally been lifted out of poverty by the funding.
It did come out this week that, privately, Sen. Manchin has said he has concerns aboud parents receiving this tax credit and spending the money on drugs. You’ll have to forgive me if it takes a while for me to recover from how far into the back of my head my eyes rolled on that one. I expect that from Bette Midler, not a resident of the area.
However, having grown up in and lived in Central Appalachia for a majority of my life, I get nervous whenever liberal Democrats start talking about taking on climate change and the BBBA has a large amount of funding (more than $500 billion) dedicated to this purpose. Not all of this part is bad, but I just get a funny feeling that money flood which opened up in October and November probably had a lot more to do with killing this part of the measure than it did with perhaps any other part of the legislation, except maybe taxes on the super rich.
I hope that Sen. Manchin isn’t sticking with his guns on opposing the measure, which could do some good, based solely on the money trail. However, you’ll have to forgive me if I have my suspicions. After all, Democrat or Republican, money is what talks in Washington, D.C. and that leaves me asking, “Who really is in charge after all?”