August 8, 2022

Every Senate Democrat Votes Tax-and-Spend

Elections have consequences, such as Congress raising people’s taxes during a recession.

On Sunday afternoon, every Democrat senator cast the tie-breaking vote to pass their intentionally misnamed “Inflation Reduction Act,” sending it to the House. Don’t let media technicalities about Vice President Kamala Harris casting that vote fool you — without every single Democrat voting in lockstep to spend gobs of your money after raising your taxes, this latest inflation bomb wouldn’t have passed.

Every single Democrat includes the reportedly hesitant Kyrsten Sinema, whose support was likely baked in the cake from the beginning. It includes Joe Manchin, who made quite the show of opposing Build Back Better — or any new spending or tax increases during an inflationary recession, for that matter — before compromising with Chuck Schumer to make it happen anyway. It includes Michael Bennet (CO), Richard Blumenthal (CT), Tammy Duckworth (IL), Maggie Hassan (NH), Mark Kelly (AZ), Pat Leahy (VT), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Patty Murray (WA), Alex Padilla (CA), Chris Van Hollen (MD), Raphael Warnock (GA), and Ron Wyden (OR), all of whom are up for reelection this year. Granted, most of those are safe seats, but some are not.

Voters in those senators’ states should remember who just cost them even more money during a time of rampant inflation. Voters should appropriately assign blame for what one economist called “economic malpractice.”

Today’s sky-high inflation was largely caused by last year’s Democrat spending bonanza known as the American Rescue Plan. That budgetary behemoth, as Mark Alexander noted recently, “dumped $1.9 trillion in taxpayer-funded graft into a $300 billion economic hole created by the COVID pandemic — on top of all the 2020 ‘COVID relief’ spending already being dispensed.” Spending another $740 billion on climate and healthcare boondoggles won’t suddenly have a different result.

Heck, even Bernie Sanders, who voted for the new bill and wants to spend 10 times as much, complained that it doesn’t do what its title claims — namely, reduce inflation. “I want to take a moment to say a few words about the so-called Inflation Reduction Act that we are debating this evening,” Sanders said on Saturday. “I say so-called because according to the [Congressional Budget Office] and other economic organizations that have studied this bill, it will in fact have a minimal impact on inflation.” Displaying a keen sense of the obvious, he continued, “Clearly, the inflation of today is pushing the average person even further behind.”

For the record, just 12% of Americans think the bill will reduce inflation.

The bill is a “give-away to the Democrats’ radical leftist base at the expense of middle-class Americans,” noted Ted Cruz. “The Schumer-Manchin bill will drive up inflation and prices, hammer small businesses and American manufacturing, increase the price of gas, and sic the IRS on Americans, all while raising taxes on Americans in nearly every tax bracket including those who make less than $400,000 a year.” That last point is contrary to repeated promises from Joe Biden and many other Democrats.

Which brings us to the Leftmedia “fact-checkers.” We warned last week they’d be all over Republican claims that Democrats are raising taxes, and, as night follows day, they showed up to do just that. Why? Because the bill doesn’t raise tax rates on individuals.

In tracing the source of the tax claims, the sleuthing Tom Norton at Newsweek discovered that it all comes from an analysis by the bipartisan Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT). Indeed, he’s correct. But then he uses technicalities to shroud the truth. “The findings by the JCT do not state that there will be a direct increase in taxes,” Norton huffs. “It is an economic analysis of the possible effects of (only some parts) of the Inflation Reduction Act, which suggests that its tax changes are likely to bear costs on everyone.” Because the JCT’s analysis “is only one interpretation,” he concludes, the Republican claims of raising taxes are “Mostly False.”

Next step: Social media suppression for anyone claiming Democrats are raising taxes. That’s how this noxious game works.

The reality, of course, is that everyone will pay for this boondoggle. That will happen in one or all of three ways: through increased costs of goods and services because yet another government spending spree will raise those prices; through the 15% corporate minimum tax that is passed on to workers in lower wages, consumers via higher prices, and shareholders through smaller returns; or through forking over more money directly to the IRS, which will be given a steroid injection by this bill. That is, for all practical purposes, a tax hike.

The Heritage Foundation estimates: “Taxpayers with adjusted gross incomes below $75,000 would ultimately shoulder an estimated $136 billion of new revenues from the corporate minimum tax and the IRS enforcement provisions, or about 26% of the total. Indeed, the revenues would fall disproportionately hard on taxpayers making less than $25,000 per year.”

According to policy analyst Christopher Jacobs, “Roughly half of the $54.3 billion in new taxes assessed under the bill will be paid by families earning under $400,000 per year.”

“The Inflation Reduction Act will reduce the deficit by $300 billion,” says Joe Biden. “And we’ll do it without raising taxes a penny on those making less than $400,000 a year.”

We’ve already rebutted the false tax claim, but as for the deficit, here’s the Heritage estimate: “The cumulative deficit would be around $52.5 billion over the next four years, at least $110 billion through fiscal year 2031, and more beyond. That would mean adding to near-term and long-term inflationary pressures.”

A final note: We mentioned the IRS getting a steroid injection, and our Thomas Gallatin covered much of that last week. But it’s worth adding that the $80 billion Democrats are showering upon the IRS includes funding for hiring 87,000 new tax-enforcement agents. Cruz, who tried to strip this funding from the bill, argued, “Democrats want to target the American people and their small businesses [with] more audits. These agents aren’t going to go after billionaires.” He added, “Democrats want to make the IRS larger than the Pentagon, the State Department, the FBI, and the Border Patrol combined.” The 87,000 hires are also, according to The Heritage Foundation’s John Cooper, “50,000 more than the number of new recruits the actual Army will bring in this year.” The IRS will be roughly 11% of the entire size of the active-duty U.S. military.

Does anyone actually think an army of Democrat bureaucrats tasked with wringing every possible dollar out of taxpayers will reduce inflation?

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