Inflation Reduction Act: We’re not there yet. Let’s keep fighting!
The Senate is expected to vote soon on a tax and investment plan that taxes large profitable corporations, reins in Big Pharma’s price gouging, lowers carbon emissions, and provides billions of dollars to keep health care affordable for millions of Americans.
News broke recently that Senator Kyrsten Sinema has gotten on board with Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act. Critical investments in combating the climate crisis as well as lowering prescription drug prices and extending health care subsidies for 13 million Americans remain in the bill.
Now, as the Senate prepares to debate the bill, we’re combating bad amendments, such as anti-immigrant amendments and proposals to give corporations even more tax breaks. And we’re reminding senators that there’s still an opportunity to strengthen the bill by closing the Medicaid coverage gap, which leaves 2 million poor people uninsured, address the child care crisis for working families, and address maternal mortality rates, which are climbing and disproportionately impact Black and Latina women.
The tax fairness edition. COVID-19 cases are on the rise in a majority of states as well as Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. — in some cases, sharply. Thankfully, we are not seeing any increases in deaths or hospitalizations. But two new omicron subvariants, both descended from BA.2, increasingly are circulating in the U.S. and are spreading even faster than BA.2 did.
Meanwhile, it is that time of year when Americans are asked to settle up with the IRS. Well – some of us are asked to settle up. We now know that the wealthiest Americans, along with large corporations, profited greatly during the pandemic and are not required to pay their fair share of taxes. In many cases, this is because wealth is not taxed in the same way that workers’ wages are taxed.
You can read more about some of the statistics below. What is important to consider is, what is the opportunity lost to our country when some do not pay their fair share? What does tax fairness even look like? What kinds of things could we pay for if we taxed everyone fairly?
In his latest budget, President Biden proposed taxing income from wealth like work – his measure would bring in hundreds of billions in new revenue over the next decade. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) has introduced the Billionaires Income Tax, which would bring in even more revenue.
This, along with other fair revenues, such as increases from undertaxed corporations, is money that could help families who right now are struggling under the yoke of inflation – everything from high gas and home heating prices to rising rents to record-breaking increases for basic groceries like eggs and meat. It could help lower the cost of child care. We could pay for pre-K for every 3- and 4-year-old in the country. We could provide home-care services so that older Americans and Americans with disabilities could live free and independently in their homes, avoiding the bleak and dismal prospect of institutionalized living. We could keep Affordable Care Act health insurance premiums from rising and extend Medicaid to poor adults in states that deny coverage now.
To get even more specific: if the wealthiest Americans were taxed fairly, we could expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for 17 million low-wage workers for a decade. And we could bring back the Child Tax Credit expansion – remember those monthly payments? — for four years.
On this day, as millions of Americans settle up with the IRS, creating a fair tax system is really not too much to ask. Indeed, tax equity should be a birthright we enjoy as Americans. So let’s send a message to Congress: the wealth of millionaires and billionaires should be taxed, just like the wages ordinary Americans earn are taxed. Click here to write your Senators and Representative.
As of Sunday, April 17, 37,619 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the U.S. — a 39 percent increase in the daily average over 14 days ago. But hospitalizations were down 7 percent and deaths were down 21 percent. Tweet this.
America’s 741 billionaires have seen their wealth grow by $2 trillion since the pandemic began – a 70 percent increase. Tweet this.
$360 billion/ $555 billion
President Biden’s proposal to tax income from wealth like work would raise $360 billion over ten years. Senator Wyden’s Billionaires Income Tax would raise at least $555 billion. Tweet this.
A majorityof voters, 69 percent, agree that “billionaires and big corporations no longer being able to get away with not paying taxes” would help combat rising prices. That includes a majority of independents (68 percent) and a plurality of Republicans (47 percent). Among “economically persuadable” voters (those who disapprove of President Biden but supported Build Back Better), 80 percent agree that making billionaires and big corporations pay their fair share in taxes would help reduce rising prices. Tweet this.
The profit margins of companies listed on the S&P 500 index topped 12 percent for the first time ever in 2021, and they are expected to reach 13 percent this year. While executives complain about inflation hurting their bottom lines, consumers are the people feeling real pain. Tweet this.
Almost two-thirds of likely voters (64 percent), including 61 percent of independents, support Senator Wyden’s Billionaires Income Tax. Just 25 percent oppose the measure. Some 51 percent of Republicans support taxing billionaires’ unrealized capital gains after hearing arguments for and against, compared to just 36 percent who oppose.
In 2020, the death rate in facilities run by the Federal Bureau of Prisons was 50 percent higher than in the five years before the pandemic. In 2021, it was 20 percent higher. Advocates have long argued that not enough has been done to protect incarcerated people from COVID-19.
The Biden Administration on Wednesday, April 13 announcedit is extending the U.S. coronavirus public health emergency for another 90 days. This move will protect millions of vulnerable Americans by continuing to grant them a range of health benefits including free COVID-19 tests and telehealth services. It also will enable financially struggling hospitals to receive a 20 percent increase in Medicare payment rates for treating COVID-19 patients.
The numberof Medicaid applications that were backlogged in Missouri as of the end of February. Missouri recently expanded Medicaid after a protracted legal battle, but lacks adequate staff to process applications. The crisis in Missouri foreshadows what could happen in other states later this year as states prepare to review the eligibility of more than 10 million Medicaid recipients who stand to lose coverage after the federal government’s coronavirus emergency public health declaration expires.
The amount of medical debt found on credit reports in the U.S. — debt that disproportionately falls on Black and Latino households. Last week, the Biden Administration announced several new steps it is taking to help people affected by medical debt – steps that were immediately applauded by groups such as the National Consumer Law Center.