US President Joe Biden signed a sweeping $750 billion healthcare, tax and climate bill into law, called the Inflation Reduction Act, at the White House on Tuesday.
Notably, not a single Republican voted for the bill in either the House or the Senate, and not a single Democrat voted against it. The votes were a stark reflection of the political divide in the United States. The results are only the most direct and starkest reflection of the current congressional representation of both parties, if not the division of US politics.
Such is the reality that neither the president nor the Democrats even bothered to seek to win over at least some congressional Republicans before the voting, as they normally do.
Biden tried to portray the Act as a victory for the US people, saying that “with this law, the American people won and the special interests lost”, but whether that is the case or not remains to be seen.
It has certainly been a winner to some extent for the Democrats. By passing the Act, the administration seems to have checked its plummeting approval rating — Biden’s approval rating before the midterm elections was the lowest for any US president in history — which may help it avoid the landslide defeat in the midterm elections that it seemed to be on course for.
But that might only be a flash-in-the-pan boost, if the Act proves to be a booster to inflation rather than a cooler of it, as some predict. Opponents of the Act claim that it will only mean higher taxes, more inflated energy bills and more aggressive Internal Revenue Service audits. And the Congressional Budget Office said in an analysis that the Act would do nothing to address the inflation in the US.
The political polarization in the US has obviously evolved into an institutional tumor of the US system. Neither the Democrats nor the Republicans are willing to really put the interests of the US people first. US democracy has become nothing more than an unabashed scramble for special interests under the name of upholding people’s interests.
The elected representatives in the US are not bringing people together, instead, they are fueling the deep divisions that serve special interests. But since at least a veneer of unity is required to stop US society from breaking completely apart, external threats are fabricated and hyped up to rally Americans to the flag. This has already led to war in Europe and there is growing concern that the US is willing to spark another in the Asia-Pacific.
For the good of itself, and for global peace and stability, the US needs to get its own house in order.
Editorial, China Daily