Yamiche Alcindor: Dems 'Disturbed' by Manchin's 'Use of the Word Entitlement'; 'Stereotyping African-Americans'

By Susan Jones | October 11, 2021 | 7:58am EDT
 Yamiche Alcindor is moderator of PBS's "Washington Week." (Photo: Screen capture/NBC's "Meet the Press")
Yamiche Alcindor is moderator of PBS's "Washington Week." (Photo: Screen capture/NBC's "Meet the Press")

(CNSNews.com) - The Democrats' $3.5-trillion "human" infrastructure plan would use taxpayer funds to subsidize child care, elder care, expanded Medicaid, housing programs, tuition-free education, and much more.

But don't call them entitlements, PBS's Yamiche Alcindor told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday:

Take Senator Manchin in particular, when I talk to my Democratic sources, yes, they're frustrated with the fact that he's sort of wondering whether he wants to spend trillions of dollars on social policy programs that most in the Democratic Party do think are necessary, but they're also very bothered and simply disturbed...by his use of the word "entitlement."

That is a word that so many people see as stereotyping African-Americans, as calling some sections of Americans lazy. So I think you're seeing both a passion in people having real policy differences, but also this real feeling that there are Americans who feel as though that they are being again criminalized and stereotyped as being locked out of the American dream.

The new social programs, or entitlements, in the Democrats' $3.5-trillion bill would go to people of all races, of course, and most incomes, since some of the new programs do not set income limits for beneficiaries.

Manchin told reporters on October 6, "I don’t believe that we should turn our society into an entitlement society. I think that we should still be a compassionate, rewarding society...Compassion means taking care of those who can’t take care of themselves, whether they’re young, whether they’ve had some type of a challenge in life, whether it be mental or physical..."

And Manchin is not alone. According to the Wall Street Journal, "For the first time in U.S. history—except possibly for the pandemic years 2020 and 2021, for which we don’t yet have data—more than half of working-age households would be on the entitlement rolls if the plan were enacted in its current form."

Alcindor told NBC that "a sense of urgency" is a major disagreement among Democrats as they push for Biden's social agenda, which they label "human infrastructure."

"When you talk to young Democrats, base voters, some of the people who feel passionately enough to show up at Senator Sinema's class in Arizona or on Joe Manchin's boat, they feel like they're fighting for their survival in the middle of a COVID economy where women are locked out at higher rates, where people of color locked out at higher rates," Alcindor said.

They feel these are the times where they need the federal government to step in and to say here is the lifeline that you have and here is the sort of lifeline to being able to access your future.

And then you have Senator Manchin and others who are sort of saying, okay, we need to sort of change this, but we don't want to change too fast, and we don't want to have a wholesale retelling of the social policy.

Because let's remember where President Biden is essentially saying what he wants to do is overturn in a large and big way -- in one of the largest ways in history, our social policies in this country. He's wanting to redo how we look at child care. That's a completely different outlook than what Senator Manchin wants to do, which is really sort of change people's lives bit by bit, but not in a wholesale way.

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