We all know the adage about counting chickens when they are still eggs. That is how I’m operating on Build Back Better 2.0; better known as the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022.
Much was made – among other places, on both sides of the Senate aisle – when the Manchin-Schumer statement was released announcing a deal. The reality is that no Republican support appears to be forthcoming so Schumer again has to go 50 for 50, and then call “the closer” (a/k/a Vice President Kamala Harris) in. As of this writing Arizona Democrat Kyrsten Sinema still hasn’t announced which way she will go and I’m among the many who have given up trying to figure her out.
Like almost all legislation this bill (if it passes) will be a watered-down compromise. That’s legislation in a democracy. If you want complete details on the bill – assuming it doesn’t get further amended – there are several good news sources I would suggest you consult. This is not one of them.
Here are a few highlights. The bill will allocate serious money to combat climate change, especially the transition from coal and fossil fuels to renewable energy. Regardless of what the paid mouthpieces say, that transition has been happening for years and is inevitable. I wasn’t around then, but I’m willing to bet a lot of people said those new fangled contraptions known as cars would never replace horses. I haven’t seen much horse manure in the streets lately, you?
One of the most popular political proposals in recent years is to allow Medicare to negotiate drug costs. That provision, coupled with a few other related ones, is in the current legislation. If you want top help the average American with their cost of living, reducing drug prices is one sure way. It also has the added benefit of making America healthier thereby reducing overall medical costs.
The third major component of the legislation is the tax “reform”. Carried interest income would be treated and taxed as earned income. That is simply fair, extremely popular and Sinema has historically been opposed to the change. I, like most Americans, have a problem with giving people who manipulate money a tax break over people who actually work for it. Especially when we select a small portion of them for even more special treatment.
One of the proposals in the climate change portion is significant financial assistance for the purchase of electric vehicles. That is huge! One of the biggest reasons many are holding off on buying an electric vehicle is because they cost significantly more than the similar internal combustion model. This is not subsidy to an industry. It is in the pubic interest and will save us all money in the long run. Internal combustion vehicles pollute and cost at least four times as much to run per mile traveled. If you haven’t heard recent complaints about high gasoline prices you need to see an audiologist. Gas prices are a major component of the household budget and one of the largest factors in recent inflation. Pollution will either make the earth uninhabitable or we will have to clean it up. Who do you think is going to pay the price? It’s a pay now or pay a lot more later situation. It’s not a big stretch to consider this bill a hedge against future explosive inflation.
The kitchen table economics of this legislation is simple: If you reduce a family’s cost of living you bring down the effective inflation. Things like medicine and fuel are effectively fixed costs for a family.
There are also provisions to plug the loopholes that major corporations use to legally avoid paying any income taxes. That is incredibly popular with the American people because it appeals to their basic sense of fairness. There is also a provision to increase IRS funding. Doesn’t it make sense to give the only revenue producing government entity the resources it needs to enforce the tax laws?
Can you see lobbying forces fighting this? I can! At this point you can already see that Big Pharma, Big Oil and Big Coal will be spending tons of money to kill this bill. They and the Senate Republicans do not give a hoot about the American people or America’s future.
My bottom line on how do the Democrats handle Manchin and Sinema is, out of current necessity, tolerate them but don’t trust them. It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.
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