Democratic negotiators appear close to a deal that effectively would halve the original $3.5 trillion asking price of the social spending bill originally advanced by progressives. Disappointment abounds among progressives who were hoping for maximum financial impact on the lives of lower-income Americans. But since no one anywhere has the mental computing power to fully grasp what a trillion of anything is – be they dollars, stars or grains of sand – non-progressives should be forgiven for failing to get worked up because the final package will only – only – total around $1.75 trillion.

The deal, which the Republican minority announced in advance it would reject, exacts some hard concessions from progressives simply to win the approval of two holdout Democratic senators. Some of the concessions needed to be made because they reached too far and involved spending too much money. In other cases, concessions demanded by Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona were selfish and short-sighted. But since the bill has no chance of passage without their support in an evenly split Senate, they get to have undue influence over the final product.