A better way to build back better
The House bill has a lot of good ideas — and a few big problems
The Build Back Better Act, as passed by the House of Representatives before the Thanksgiving holiday, contains a lot of good provisions that would help people and address serious issues. It achieves that by raising taxes on the rich.
That’s great. But it’s a little hard for people to get their minds around. Not because of “bad messaging” from Democrats, but because the legislation is genuinely capacious. Its primary animating impulse is in many ways climate change, but most of the money actually goes to social assistance programs. It includes a price cap on the out-of-pocket cost of insulin, but the social assistance spending isn’t primarily focused on health care. In terms of dollars, the largest financial commitments are helping parents and children, but the most significant permanent changes are to housing. And in terms of long-term growth impact, changes to legal immigration are arguably the most important aspect.
The bill is also likely to undergo significant revisions in the Sen…