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Inflation Reduction Act?

The mis-named Inflation Reduction Act passed the Senate and will certainly go into law. It is an economic disaster and a political mistake.

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The Inflation Reduction Act passed the Senate 51-50, with the Vice-President casting her Constitutional tie-breaking vote. That, at least, is how official sources, a government organ, and government-sympathetic organs are reporting this event. In blunt fact, “Inflation Reduction Act” is a misnomer. This new law will provoke inflation, and already the spin doctors are teeing up their excuses. Biden and his administration, for their parts, are giddily trumpeting their triumph – at having blown something up. The American people must now decide whether the Democrats will permanently blow up the economy – or whether they have immediately blown up their strategy to retain Congress this Midterms and the White House two years later. And the latter might no longer depend on whether Joe Biden wins renomination – or Liz Cheney takes it away.

Sources for the Inflation Reduction Act

Reportage (I use the term loosely) on the Inflation Reduction Act comes first from NPR. They have a how-it-passed article and a what’s-in-it article. More to the point, they were good – or brazen – enough to include a Document Cloud link to the bill.

Other reports come from CNBC, Vermont Biz, and Vox. Actually Vermont Biz almost doesn’t count, for all it has is a statement by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.). His claim to fame is that he’s the President pro tempore of the Senate. But the statement is worth saving for the truth claims it makes – truth claims that CNAV will some day check. In relevant part, the Senator – fourth in line of Presidential succession – says:

Today the Senate advanced a once-in-a-generation bill to meaningfully address the real threats of climate change. It addresses the exorbitant price of prescription drugs. And, despite claims to the contrary, it is poised to reduce the deficit. Does this bill address every crisis facing our country? No. Does it take substantial steps forward in meeting the greatest threat to future generations in climate change? Yes.

All the other reportage contains summaries of the bill by its authors, prime movers, and apologists in the leftist media. NPR spares only one sentence of commentary in opposition to the measure. Therefore CNAV simply cannot independently verify the truth claims these organs are making. For that reason – with apologies to YouTuber Diktor van DoomcockCNAV presents this as unverified propaganda. Take it with a grain of salt.

The truth claims: climate change

The Inflation Reduction Act makes two basic truth claims about climate change. First, it claims, or assumes, that human beings are cooking the planet with fossil fuels and inefficient energy use. Second, it claims that it will turn down the heat, if not take the planet off the burner altogether. To that end, it proposes to spend $369 billion on things like:

Paying some (not all) people to buy electric vehicles, $7500 to buy new or $4000 to buy used. This would renew, without phase-out, the credit for buying such vehicles from any maker, regardless of that maker’s unit sales.

Paying people to install heat pumps. Heat pumps, or reversible air conditioners, can heat a home or building more efficiently than making new heat on-site. But that applies mainly in the south, with its mild winters. (It does not apply in Texas, which is the target of the Arctic Flying Wedge.)

Covering some or all the cost of rooftop solar panels. Most figures on solar power economics look at peak solar power and available reimbursement. They do not consider the cost of extra batteries to manage intermittent and inconsistent power. Nor do they consider that solar panels wear out. In twenty years – thirty at most – those panels will go to landfills.

Nor does this bill address where electric vehicle makers will get the lithium for their batteries. We hear nothing about the coalition of ranchers, “indigenous people,” and environmentalists trying to stop a lithium mine in Nevada.

Miscellaneous truth claims for the Inflation Reduction Act

Nevertheless, climate action groups breathlessly support the bill’s truth claims with wild truth claims of their own. They claim a 40 percent reduction in “greenhouse gas emissions” by 2030, using 2005 as the standard. Then they claim 550,000 “new clean energy jobs.” Do they also claim that these measures will not cost existing jobs? On that question they are as quiet as mice.

Those estimates come from American Clean Power, who at least try to offer some hard, watchable numbers. The Solar Energy Industries Association, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Rocky Mountain Institute, and the American Council on Renewable Energy offer nothing but generalities and bally-hoo, none of which is worth repeating.

The apologists for the Inflation Reduction Act offer more subdued praise for what got through the Senate on prescription drugs. Now the Secretary for Health and Human Services will negotiate prices of some (not all) drugs for Medicare. It explicitly caps the price of insulin for Medicare patients at $35 per month. It also caps all out-of-pocket drug expenses at $2000 a year, effective in 2025. Finally, it extends for three years certain subsidies relating to coronavirus.

Finally the Act changes tax law. It creates a 15 percent minimum tax on corporations reporting $1 billion or more in revenue. It also includes a one percent excise on “stock buybacks,” effective in 2023. In one change that gets too little attention, the bill has an $80 billion budget boost for the Internal Revenue Service.

The Heritage Foundation counters those truth claims

The Heritage Foundation, in the past two months, has filed three stories countering the truth claims of the Biden administration. In June they filed a massive Backgrounder report to estimate the true costs of “climate action.” They concluded:

  • Trying to reduce “greenhouse gas emissions” by 50 percent (Biden’s original goal) by 2030 would crash the economy before then. The Inflation Reduction Act sets a goal of 40 percent – only slightly more modest.
  • A carbon tax would cause a depression and cost 1.2 million jobs. As far as CNAV can determine, this new bill does not have an explicit carbon tax.
  • Eliminating all “greenhouse gas emissions” would reduce global temperature by less than 0.2 degrees by 2100.

Last month they published this article in The Daily Signal demonstrating the obvious: you can’t spend inflation away. Spending worsens inflation. The only way to beat inflation is to reduce the size, therefore the cost, of government.

Then last week they published this in The Daily Signal, detailing the true tax impact of the Inflation Reduction Act. According to it, no American resident would escape a tax increase. Even households earning less than $75,000 a year will shoulder more than a quarter of the extra tax burden.

The Heritage Foundation supports their truth claims with graphs, charts, and hard figures. So until a big-enough movement arises to repeal this measure, one can check out their truth claims easily.

What to do next?

The Biden administration, the House and Senate Democratic Conferences, and most of all, Senators Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) made almost a rookie political mistake. They passed a big tax increase in an election year – Midterms, to be sure, but still an election. Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchine will both face re-election in the Presidential election of 2024. Thus Patriots in both States can oust both these swing Senators using the real President’s coat-tails. Furthermore, several Senators – like Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) – who cheered the loudest for this bill, face re-election this fall.

Hint, hint, hint! If you are not registered to vote, get registered. Now. Today. This instant.

The primary season is still not complete. So Republicans still have time to field the largest collection of true patriots they’ve ever fielded in a federal election.

More important, the issue in the general election will be: Repeal. What Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization may be to the Democratic base, the Inflation Reduction Act will be to the Republican base.

Correction

CNAV has corrected this article to reflect when Senator Joe Manchine (D-W.Va.) will actually face re-election. The earlier version had suggested that West Virginians would have to wait until Midterms 2026 to pass judgment on him.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

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