August 5, 2022

Sinema Caves … Exactly as Expected

It sure seems to us the concessions she won in the Democrats’ big tax-and-spend bill were part of the plan all along.

Democrats certainly aren’t cool good guys like the ‘80s television A-Team. But they must be quoting the show’s Colonel Hannibal Smith right about now: “I love it when a plan comes together.”

All eyes were on Arizona Democrat Senator Kyrsten Sinema this week after Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Chuck Schumer (D-NY) came up with a grand compromise to raise taxes to “pay for” $430 billion in new climate and healthcare spending. Notably, The Daily Wire calls the $369 billion for climate “the largest legislative climate spending in U.S. history.”

Would Sinema, the last Democrat holdout, go along with this partial Build Back Better boondoggle?

She will at least “move forward,” she announced Thursday night. But only after having secured key changes that we just can’t shake the sense were planned all along simply to give her some credit and make it all appear like this was a hard-fought compromise.

“We have agreed to remove the carried interest tax provision, protect advanced manufacturing, and boost our clean energy economy in the Senate’s budget reconciliation legislation,” Sinema said. By “protect advanced manufacturing,” she likely means addressing the 15% minimum tax on corporations, which would hit manufacturers especially hard.

“The tax would cover accelerated depreciation, which lets companies immediately expense investment in equipment,” explains the Wall Street Journal editorial board. “This contrasts with financial accounting, which requires companies to depreciate assets roughly tracking their decline in productivity. That can be decades. By reducing the immediate cost of investment, accelerated depreciation encourages more. The corporate book tax would do the opposite, which is why it would especially hurt U.S. manufacturers competing against foreigners.”

It’s not yet clear what changes will be made to this provision in the bill. In any case, Sinema said, “Subject to the Parliamentarian’s review, I’ll move forward.”

Schumer certainly took it as having her on board: “I am pleased to report that we have reached an agreement on the Inflation Reduction Act that I believe will receive the support of the entire Senate Democratic conference.” And that means it will pass the Senate because Democrats are using the reconciliation process to ensure they need only 50 votes plus Vice President Kamala Harris to drop this inflation bomb on the American people just ahead of a critical election.

Naturally, Democrats want you to think they’re helping fight inflation. “We’ve taken another critical step toward reducing inflation and the cost of living for America’s families,” Joe Biden boasted. “The Inflation Reduction Act will help Americans save money on prescription drugs, health premiums, and much more. It will make our tax system more fair by making corporations pay a minimum tax. It will not raise taxes on those making less than $400,000, and it will reduce the deficit.”

Nearly every claim in that statement is false.

“The so-called 'Inflation Reduction Act’ would do little to help our current crisis,” argued Mississippi Republican Senator Roger Wicker. “Instead, it would reduce bottom lines for job creators and hike taxes for Americans across the spectrum.”

According to the Penn Wharton Budget Model, the bill “would very slightly increase inflation until 2024 and decrease inflation thereafter.” The 0.05 percentage point rise followed by a 0.25 percentage point drop, Penn Wharton noted, is “statistically indistinguishable from zero.”

We think they’re too kind. By authorizing another spending spree while raising taxes — yes, dear “fact-checkers,” we know the doesn’t raise rates, but it does raise the number of dollars collected in taxes — the Orwellian-named Inflation Reduction Act will only increase inflation, adding fuel to a fire already consuming millions of Americans.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell doesn’t exactly deserve a lot of credit for good strategy to stop Democrats, but he did get it right by saying, “Apparently, our Democratic colleagues do not want to be responsible for just skyrocketing prices alone: They want Americans to be faced with skyrocketing prices and higher taxes and fewer jobs, all at the same time.” He should have been smarter about stopping them, not just scoring political points by criticizing them.

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