Joe Manchin torpedoes global tax on tech while money laundering sails through the House – By Oliver Bullough – When I was studying Russian in St Petersburg a couple of decades ago, I made friends with a Texan student who was passionate about the U.S. Constitution – “it’s the most perfect document ever written” – in the way other people are fanatical about football teams, K-Pop bands, postage stamps or steam trains. His passion seemed quite odd at the time to a Brit who was pretty indifferent about the way his country’s government was structured. Whenever something particularly baffling happens in U.S. politics, I often wish I could phone him up and ask him what on earth is going on.

Exhibit A of my bafflement is Joe Biden’s taxation plan, which is supposed to impose a 15% minimum global tax rate on giant tech companies to help fund public services, but increasingly looks like it isn’t going to impose anything on anyone. That is a pretty modest tax rate by anyone’s standards, but even that seems out of reach.

It’s obviously opposed by Republicans, because opposing things that might conceivably strengthen the republic is what “republican” means these days. And it’s also opposed by Hungarians, which is imperiling the European Union’s prospect of approving the deal. And it’s opposed by the Wall Street Journal, where the editorial board is under the borderline-deranged impression that it involves ceding U.S. sovereignty to “the French, never mind the Chinese.”

But why is it opposed by Joe Manchin, Democratic senator from West Virginia?