Monday, August 8, 2022

A Very Big Deal

From the Washington Post:

The Senate on Sunday approved a sweeping package to combat climate change, lower health-care costs, raise taxes on some billion-dollar corporations and reduce the federal deficit, as Democrats overcame months of political infighting to deliver the centerpiece to President Biden’s long-stalled economic agenda.

The party-line vote was a milestone in a tumultuous journey that began last year when Democrats took control of Congress and the White House with a promise to bring financial relief to ordinary Americans. With a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Harris, the 50-50 Senate sent the bill to the House, which aims to approve it and send it to the White House for Biden’s signature later this week.

Dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, the package would authorize the biggest burst of spending in U.S. history to tackle global warming — about $370 billion to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below their 2005 levels by the end of this decade. The proposal also would make good on Democrats’ years-old pledge to reduce prescription drug costs for the elderly.

In part by tweaking federal tax laws — chiefly to target tax cheats and some billion-dollar companies that pay nothing to the government — the bill is expected to raise enough money to cover its new spending. Democrats say the measure is also expected to generate an additional $300 billion for reducing projected budget deficits over the next 10 years, though they have not yet furnished a final fiscal analysis of their legislation.

It should be well-noted and long-remembered that the Republicans contributed nothing but whining and bullshit, not to mention a great deal of opposition research for the Democrats to run on in the mid-terms and on to the presidential election of 2024. They stood in the way of everything, including the price cap on insulin because of course Big Pharma has made it their mission to screw over every diabetic to make up for the fines and criminal liability some of their cohorts are paying for the opioids they flooded into the country. They make Walter White (“Breaking Bad”) look angelic.  There is not a little schadenfreude in certain quarters this morning for Mitch McConnell who is finding out just what it feels like to be given the fuzzy end of the lollipop.

More important, though, than the political gamesmanship that the Democrats were able to finally pull on the Republicans is that this is actually good for all of the country, not just tax cuts for the rich and special deals for their lobbyists.  This will benefit everybody, and it will actually begin to make a dent in the climate change that is beginning to ravage the planet.  It will get the biggest corporations to pay for privilege of stinking up the air and fouling the water, and it will generate revenues to bring down the deficit that the Republicans ran up during the last administration.

So, this is a big deal, capping off a week in which a lot of good things were done.  A terrorist taken out.  Job growth at pre-pandemic levels and unemployment down to the lowest level in decades.  Gasoline prices falling again: at my local station they’ve dropped a dollar a gallon since June.  And now passing this bill that will give us hope that we can do what needs to be done, proving that every now and then, intentionally or otherwise, Congress can do the right thing.  There’s hope yet.

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