Mehdi Hasan flamed the media for failing miserably at doing its job: informing its audience, specifically with regard to anything about Pres. Joe Biden’s reconciliation bill, other than its price tag.
“All we hear on the news is ‘3.5. 3.5. 3.5 trillion.’ Not that Joe Biden’s Build Back Better Budget Reconciliation Bill is money spent over ten years, nor do we hear much about what’s IN the 3.5-trillion-dollar bill. We in the media have done a bad job of actually telling people what that money pays for. So let me have a try. Give me sixty seconds. Start the clock,” he instructed, as a big timer appeared behind him.
He took a deep breath, and then…
“The Build Back Better Budget Reconciliation Bill
has an extended child tax credit to cut child poverty by nearly half.
Universal Pre-K for three- and four-year-olds.
Free school meals for an extra nine million kids.
New money to repair run-down schools.
Two free years of community college.
Twelve weeks of paid family and medical leave for the first time in American history.
New powers for Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which will bring down the costs of your prescriptions, which is a good thing, given that we often spend twice as much as people in other countries.
Expanding Medicare to cover dental, vision, and hearing aids, helping millions of seniors.
Lowering the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 60, again, helping millions of seniors.
Expanding home care, and paying higher wages for home care workers, again, helping millions of seniors.
Closing the Medicaid gap for low-income Americans and getting healthcare to four million uninsured people.
New money for housing choice vouchers to tackle homelessness.
New Justice Department grants for non-profits that work on reducing community violence.
And, of course, action on climate change, including a clean electricity performance program that will create nearly eight million new jobs and financial incentives to buy electric vehicles, to build charging stations for them, and for homeowners to weather-fit their homes, plus new forestry programs, flood control programs.
So stop focusing on the 3.5 trillion, and focus on the popular, necessary, and good stuff that is being invested in over — yeah! — ten years.”
I didn’t know whether to give him a standing ovation or an oxygen mask after that, but I can certainly give him props for doing what hardly any other outlet or politician is doing: focusing on the truly transformative changes this bill would have on tens of millions of people who are struggling with everything from housing to health care to schooling. And if you care about, you know, EXISTING HERE ON EARTH, it even helps encourage healthy ecological behavior.
But we’re not hearing that information being hammered home in news segments, or interviews with politicians. We’re mostly only hearing about the price tag, and whether or not some group or other is willing to go up or down in spending. You know who’s not doing that? President Biden. He’s the only one I hear consistently asking both the media and Congress to focus on what they want IN the bill, not what they want to spend ON the bill.
Now, thanks to Hasan, everyone has this handy guide to use if they’re in a big hurry. All it takes is sixty seconds.