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Why Americans Don’t Know What’s In The Build Back Better Act – OpEd

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Poll after poll shows overwhelming support for the $3.5 trillion Build Back Better legislation – and the need to lower prescription drug costs, expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision, greatly improve home health care, make child care and housing affordable, establish Paid Family and Medical Leave and address the existential threat of climate change. And the polling numbers go astronomically high when people understand that this $3.5 trillion bill will be paid for by demanding that the wealthy and large corporations start paying their fair share of taxes.

Yet, polling also shows that despite President Biden having introduced this proposal five months ago, a majority of Americans have very little knowledge as to what is in this bill – one of the most consequential pieces of legislation for working people in the modern history of our country. Americans can be for the bill. They can be opposed to the bill. But it is absurd that so many of them don’t know what is in the bill.

Why is that? There are a number of reasons but, at the top of the list, is the reality that the mainstream media has done an exceptionally poor job in covering what actually is in the legislation. There have been endless stories about the politics of passing Build Back Better, the role of the president, the conflicts in the House and the Senate, the opposition of two senators, the size of the bill, etc. – but very limited coverage as to what the provisions of the bill are and the crises for working people that they address.

The foundations of American democracy are threatened not only by extremism, but by ignorance and lack of knowledge. It is hard to ask people to have faith in their government when they have little understanding of what their government is trying to do. Build Back Better is an enormously important piece of legislation. The American people have a right to know what’s in it. My hope is that mainstream media will fulfill their responsibilities and make that happen.

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