One year ago today, enactment of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) brought our nation a step closer to genuine tax fairness. And since the roughly $500 billion the IRA will raise over the next decade exclusively from the rich and corporations will fund critical responses to the climate crisis, it also brought us a step closer to saving our planet from environmental destruction. On top of all that, seniors got a break on their medication costs by the IRA finally empowering Medicare to negotiate down sky-high prescription drug prices.
“The Inflation Reduction Act, which lowers household drug and utility costs while addressing climate change with fairer taxes on corporations, investors, and wealthy business owners is an anniversary well worth celebrating. A year later, as we see the extensive benefits of the IRA, we are also faced with a Republican-led House plan that funds corporate tax cuts by cutting budgets. The stark contrast in party priorities reflects sharply different philosophies,” explained David Kass, ATF’s executive director. “The GOP believes economic growth comes from giving tax breaks to the wealthy, while Democrats hold the key to general prosperity is raising taxes on the rich and wealthy corporations and investing in working families.”
The IRA addressed the scandal of tax-free corporate titans by placing a 15% minimum tax on America’s biggest corporations, boosted the budget of the resource-starved IRS so it can better serve regular taxpayers while cracking down on rich and corporate tax cheats, taxed Wall Street stock buybacks that further enrich CEOs and wealthy shareholders at the expense of workers and communities, and curbed the ability of rich business owners to cut their taxes with paper losses at their firms.
The investment in the IRS is already paying off: the agency is answering millions more phone calls than before the boost in funding and callers are spending a fraction of the time they used to on hold, the IRS has opened dozens of taxpayer assistance centers to offer in-person help, and more paperwork has migrated online. At the same time the IRS has been pursuing ultra-wealthy tax dodgers, recovering unpaid taxes from multi-millionaires— money that can now be invested in public services instead of on more luxury cars and exotic vacations.
The IRA proved that despite overwhelming opposition by multinational mega-corporations and their shadowy billionaire owners—with the help of the Republican Party that does their bidding—the American people’s demand for greater tax fairness can be fulfilled. As the mission of achieving progressive tax reform continues, the IRA will be an inspiration.