Rich Joe Manchin is protecting the wealthy so he doesn't have to pay for hearing aids or child care: professor
Joe Manchin (Screen Grab)

As part of a conversation about poverty in the worst state in the United States, Columbia Professor Jeffrey Sachs, director for the Center for Sustainable Development went after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) for continuing to deny help to his neighbors.

"This is so basic, you know," Sachs explained about the initiatives in the Build Back Better plan. "What's talked about in this plan, for instance, pre-K, child care, basic health for hearing and so on is so basic. Over other peer countries of ours, whether it's Canada or Britain or France or Germany, they all have this. This is nothing special. This is the most basic needs, but what's happening in the Senate is that rich people are protecting rich people. It's called plutocracy. You have rich people like Sen. Manchin, he represents an impoverished state but he himself is personally rich. He's an owner of two big companies. He's got millions of dollars of personal wealth, but even more than that, he's got his campaign funders saying to him, 'We don't want to pay any more tax.' The richest people in this country so that's what this Build Back Better is about. To rich people in America pay a little bit of their unbelievable wealth so that poorer people can have their kids in pre-K, so that they can raise their children, so that people can get hearing aids. It's -- it's just so basic as this."

He went on to say that it is all a game to the wealthy people like Manchin and those behind him who are "even wealthier people who are putting billions of dollars of campaign contributions so that the Congress votes against taxes on corporations and rich people."

"It's as simple as that," he continued. "And what has held back this bill is not only Manchin but also Sen. [Kirsten] Sinema (D-AZ), who said 'Oh, we don't want to raise corporate taxes!' Oh, my God, the richest people in this country — they are protecting, and then they go and turn back — 'Oh, sorry, we can't afford pre-K. Oh, we can't afford to help you with the hearing aid. Dental? That's completely out. Paid leave, no, how can we afford it?"

He noted that every other rich country can easily afford it, because they're willing to tax the rich and corporations. The United States has leaders willing to give everything to the wealthy, including Manchin and Sinema.

"There was a proposal for a billionaire's tax, where did that go?" asked Sachs, who joined with the Poor People's Campaign chair Bishop William Barber. "Well, some billionaires said we don't like that tax. Elon Musk, who has almost $300 billion of personal wealth, tweeted, 'I don't like that very much.' Come on. What, is it and then -- and then Manchin turns around and says, to the poorest people of the poorest state in the United States that he is supposed to represent but does not. He says, 'Oh, I'm so sorry. We can't afford child care. This is not affordable in America after he is the one that stopped the taxes on the rich."

Barber explained that he has taken a different approach to the poverty problem and that he and his allies are taking to Washington to demand change.

See the conversation below:

Joe Manchin doesn't care about West Virginia