Joe Manchin is deeply concerned about West Virginia’s non-existent billionaires

The ostensibly Democratic senator says he's worried about “targeting” the wealthiest of the wealthy — none of whom he actually represents.

UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 19: Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., conducts a Senate Energy and Natural Reso...
Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc./Getty Images

Another day, another opportunity for West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin to once again play spoiler for his own party’s increasingly desperate plans to pass anything resembling meaningful legislation. At issue this time is a proposed “billionaire income tax” designed to cover the expenses associated with the Biden administration’s massive (but not quite as massive at it once was) $2 trillion spending package of social programs and environmental protections.

After quipping on Tuesday that “I haven't seen the text on it” (here you go, Joe!), Manchin circled back Wednesday, telling reporters “I don’t like it” when asked about the Democrats’ proposal to levy a capital gains tax against increases in values on tradable assets (think stocks, bonds, and the like) for anyone who either reported three consecutive years of more than a billion dollars net worth, or three years of making $100 million or more in income. All told, Democrats estimate the tax plan would affect about 700 people, total.

“I don’t like the connotation that we’re targeting different people, as people that basically, they contributed to society and create a lot of jobs and a lot of money and give a lot to philanthropic pursuits. But it’s time that we all pull together and grow together,” Manchin continued.


To make Manchin’s convoluted opposition all the more asinine, consider also that just one day earlier he’d declared he was “all for a minimum 15% corporate [tax].” When asked by Punchbowl News reporter Max Cohen why that was okay, but a billionaire tax wasn’t, he answered simply “they’re all good Americans.”


Here’s the terrible icing on Manchin’s already garbage-covered cake: The “billionaires” he’s so worried about being targeted by this proposed tax? He doesn’t represent them. Any of them. At all. Of the approximately 1.8 million constituents who live in his home state of West Virginia, exactly zero of them are billionaires. None. The last time there was a billionaire in West Virginia, it was current governor Jim Justice, who earlier this year was revealed to have $850 million in loans from the now insolvent Greensill Capital financial services company, which knocked him out of the three comma club.

So if Manchin is worried about a theoretical tax that “targets” absolutely zero of his home state constituents, you can’t help but start to wonder: Who exactly does Joe Manchin represent?