Talk about “sucking all the oxygen out of the room…” The four indictments of Trump have consumed most of the media, masking what would otherwise be a greater emphasis on administration actions and policies, and overwhelming what ought to be applauded as the enormous success of “Bidenomics.”
The Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) is one year old; it is central to “Bidenomics.” A recent Treasury Department analysis found that it has incentivized unusually strong business investment–investment Axios recently called a “tailwind for economic growth.”
Together with the bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the CHIPS and Science Act, the IRA has especially spurred investments in manufacturing and clean energy. According to Treasury officials, evidence shows that private investment has held up, even in the face of increases in interest rates. And the report also noted that most counties where IRA-related investments have been announced are areas where college graduation rate, employment and wages are lower. In other words, Republican, largely rural areas.
As Heather Cox Richardson noted in a recent daily Letter,
The IRA was the eventual form President Joe Biden’s initial “Build Back Better” plans took. It offered to lower Americans’ energy costs with a 30% tax credit for energy-efficient windows, heat pumps, or newer models of appliances; capped the cost of drugs at $2,000 per year for people on Medicare; and made healthcare premiums fall for certain Americans by expanding the Affordable Care Act.
By raising taxes on the very wealthy and on corporations and bringing the Internal Revenue Service back up to full strength so that it can crack down on tax cheating, as well as saving the government money by permitting it to negotiate drug prices with pharmaceutical companies, the IRA was expected to raise $738 billion. That, plus about $891 billion from other sources, enabled the law to make the largest investment ever in addressing climate change while still bringing down the federal government’s annual deficit.
“This is a BFD,” former President Barack Obama tweeted a year ago.
It is a “BFD,” and it is extremely frustrating that reporting on its effects has been smothered by a combination of “it bleeds so it leads” reporting and the massive amounts of propaganda “flooding the zone” ala Bannon.
The law has driven so much investment in U.S. manufacturing that the CEO of U.S. Steel recently suggested renaming it the “Manufacturing Renaissance Act.” Manufacturers have been returning previously off-shored production to the U.S., bringing supply chains back to the U.S. And as Richardson emphasized,
These changes have meant new, well-paid manufacturing jobs that have been concentrated in Republican-dominated states and in historically disadvantaged communities.
The IRA has also been enormously consequential to the fight to tame climate change.
Scientists Alicia Zhao and Haewon McJeon, who recently published an article in Science, today wrote that the IRA “brings the US significantly closer to meeting its 2030 climate target [of cutting greenhouse gas emissions to 50–52% below 2005 levels], taking expected emissions from 25–31% below 2005 levels down to 33–40% below.”
Republican presidential candidates have—predictably–refused to credit the act with these results; Richardson quoted former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who called the IRA “a communist manifesto,” although, with their usual hypocrisy, “Republicans have been eager to take credit for IRA investments in their districts without mentioning either that they voted against the IRA or that they are still trying to repeal it.”
The Environmental Defense Fund recently issued a statement rebutting several of the Republican misrepresentations–okay, lies–about the IRA. The organization noted the difficulty of getting factual information out:
The truth takes about six times as long to reach 1,500 people as false stories do. Six. Times. Longer.
And this is from a study that is a few years old, before the global pandemic and the 2020 U.S. election — events that caused an explosion of lies online by Bad Actors.
A simple google search brings up dozens of reports from highly credible and nonpartisan sources, confirming the truly massive economic and environmental benefits triggered by the IRA, and the fact that those benefits are being felt in parts of the country that have previously been left behind.
Those reports won’t reach the millions of Americans glued to Faux News and its clones, or the other millions who have turned off the news because they no longer know what or who to believe–a situation that explains Biden’s low approval numbers.
My middle son said it best. In a conversation a while back, he said “Biden is the first President I’ve voted for who vastly exceeded my expectations.”
To quote Barack Obama, Biden’s Presidential performance has been a BFD. Too bad so few Americans understand that.Comments