If you look at what’s in the proposed Inflation Reduction Act, you’ll see why Republicans are throwing a hissy fit over it.
Yes, they’re angry that Senate Minority Leader/consummate hypocrite Mitch McConnell appears to have been outmaneuvered by Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Joe Manchin. Even blatant liars, cheaters, and political cowards have some pride.
But their main bitch is that the proposed legislation goes against everything the GOP and its pro-rich, anti-poor-and-middle-class, anti-environment agenda stand for.
If it becomes law as its currently written, the act would have the rich and corporations pay closer to their fair share of taxes, address climate change and the fossil fuel industry’s contribution to this building crisis, lower Medicare drug costs and, in turn, the profits of the big drug companies, help people to get affordable health care, and increase enforcement against tax cheaters, who are often the rich.
No wonder Republicans hate it.
With pretty much zero GOP support, the bill must go through the reconciliation process in the Senate, which would allow it to pass with 50 votes and a tie-breaking vote from the vice president. Manchin and Senator Krysten Sinema have been the flies in the ointment in these kinds of cases in the past. Now Manchin is on board, and we still don’t know if the enigmatic Sinema will give her okay.
Let’s take a look what’s in the bill, using a recent Vox story titled “What Democrats’ big new bill would actually do” as our guide.
Tackling climate change
This is the largest attempt that the United States has ever made to address climate change – at a cost of $370 billion. Democrats said it will help cut climate pollution by about 40 percent
It attempts to move American consumers and industries away from their reliance on fossil fuels. This involves the largest share of the spending and includes tax credits and rebates for various renewable technologies – such as solar panels, wind turbines, heat pumps, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles.
It also includes incentives for companies to manufacture more of that technology in the United States, along with investments in energy efficiency at industrial sites and for forest and costal restoration.
It sets the first fee that penalizes fossil fuel companies for excessive emissions of methane, and it provides funding to help disadvantaged communities with monitoring and cleaning up pollution and building their resilience to climate impacts.
Health care and prescription drugs
The act would enable Medicare to negotiate the costs of a handful of prescription drugs. The prices are currently set by the manufacturers. This could lead to significant cost reductions for this small subset of drugs after the new changes take effect in 2026. After that the number of drugs that are subject to negotiations will eventually increase to 20.
It also caps out-of-pocket drug costs for seniors at $2,000 and requires drug companies to offer a rebate to Medicare if they try to raise the cost of their drugs at a faster rate than inflation.
The Congressional Budget Office projects savings at $288 billion over 10 years.
The act extends Affordable Care Act subsidies for three years, through the end of 2025, ensuring that millions of people won’t face a surge in their healthcare costs during that period. The extension is expected to cost $64 billion, according to the CBO.
The proposal calls for a 15-percent minimum tax on corporations with profits over $1 billion. While the current corporate tax rate is 21 percent, dozens of major companies pay much less than that.
This move is expected to raise $313 billion, but there’s debate among tax experts about how and whether this would work.
It closes the carried interest loophole. Currently, private equity and other investment managers get to treat part of their earnings as capital gains, taxed at a lower 20 percent rate, instead of as income, which would be taxed at a much higher rate.
The bill also increases funding for the Internal Revenue Service so it can increase enforcement of unpaid taxes. Democrats claim that by investing $80 billion in the IRS over a decade it will increase collections by $203 billion.
You can read the Vox story here.
Democrats claim the legislation will reduce the deficit because the bill will bring in about $300 billion more in revenue and savings over its cost -- $739 billion in revenue and savings vs. $433 billion in spending.
Who can be against that? Oh yeah, Republicans.
Look, I don’t know if all the numbers that Democrats are pushing in this bill will turn out to be true. I just know that it includes a lot of good things that should benefit our country and our planet.
I hope the media doesn’t let Republicans get away with their typical soundbite statements. I hope they press them every day about what they think of the individual parts of the bill and factcheck them along the way.
When Republicans line up to vote against this bill, they’re just staying in character. They’re just trying to protect their rich corporate and individual donors, including the fossil fuel and pharmaceutical industries. They’re just serving their rich masters instead of their constituents.
And if they tell you otherwise, they’re just lying.
Thank you for reading my post. You can see more of my writing on my blog: Musings of a Nobody.