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Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Build Back Better bill might be dead, but it isn't buried. The progressive agenda remains, and substantial parts of it will reappear in Congress in the new year.

  • If those parts are focused in such a way as to minimize costs, they're likely to feature fewer subsidies and more of an emphasis on increasing the supply of crucial services.

Why it matters: From housing to child care to energy and education, the U.S. is beset by rising costs for the goods and services needed most — and part of the reason is there isn’t enough to go around. Economists and other experts worry that subsidizing those costs could make things worse.

Between the lines: Instead of reducing the rising costs of essential services like child care, the now-dead BBB bill would have mandated higher wages and greater credentials for workers, and then offset higher costs with hefty subsidies.

  • In a November column in the New York Times, Samuel Hammond, Daniel Takash and Steven Teles of the center-right Niskanen Center said that wouldn't "reduce rising prices so much as mask them."
  • "If we try to deal with the problem of expensive health care, child care, and higher education by throwing more money at it," the economist Noah Smith wrote earlier this year, "the result will be that although consumers will pay less, society as a whole will pay more."

The big picture: If the socialism of BBB was ultimately defeated, Plan B might be what's come to be called "supply-side progressivism."

The bottom line: Next year's GDP would have been higher with BBB. But cash injections rarely improve productivity.

Go deeper: The case for creating more of everything

Go deeper

Corporate America's incredibly profitable pandemic

Expand chart
Data: S&P Dow Jones Indices; Chart: Thomas Oide/Axios

Companies are about to blast out a blizzard of quarterly profit and sales numbers over the next few weeks, as the carnival of Q4 corporate results kicks off.

Driving the news: Large banks will open the floodgates, issuing reports early Friday that mark the unofficial start of earnings season on Wall Street.

Europe's energy reliance on Russia is a crucial shield for Putin

Photo: Pavel Bednyakov/Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Cracks in the NATO alliance regarding sanctions for Russia should President Vladimir Putin order troops into Ukraine are in large part based on energy supply concerns.

Why it matters: Russia holds tremendous leverage over some European countries because it provides roughly 40% of Europe's natural gas supply. In Germany, this figure is greater than 50%.

Why the Fed might want to jolt the markets

Fed chair Jerome Powell at a hearing earlier this month. Photo: Brendan Smialowski-Pool/Getty Images

So far, financial markets are cooperating nicely with the Federal Reserve's efforts to restrain inflation. They're doing the Fed's work for it by creating tighter financial conditions, in a distinctly non-panicky way.

  • But as the central bank's policymakers meet this week, an underlying question they face is whether the adjustment is happening too slowly.