Dems Need to Sell Record

Jeff Garis |

Republished from the Scranton Times-Tribune 

There are many critical issues on the ballot this year, but a top priority for voters is the economy, especially concerns about inflation. Democrats have a winning story, but they need to tell it.

Over the summer, Democrats in Congress passed the transformative Inflation Reduction Act with little support from their Republican colleagues. New polling by Impact Research finds that 70% of likely voters support the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act when they learn about its benefits—lowering prescription drug prices, health insurance costs, and utility charges―and that it’s paid for by making under-taxed, billion-dollar corporations pay a 15% minimum tax and increasing IRS enforcement to crack down on wealthy tax cheats, but without raising taxes on small businesses or anyone making less than $400,000.[1]

As the poll shows, however, most voters don’t know how the Inflation Reduction Act will benefit them, their neighbors, and their communities. Democrats need to talk about how the law will reduce inflation by empowering Medicare to negotiate for lower drug prices, cap out-of-pocket prescription drug costs and the cost of insulin for seniors, and lower health care premiums by an average of $800 per year for 13 million people. They would be wise to highlight the act’s investments in clean energy to lower utility costs and combat climate change, as well as how it will reduce the federal budget deficit by about $300 billion.[2]

The poll also found even wider support for a billionaire minimum income tax, with 74% support overall, including 55% of Republicans. It would require those with more than $100 million in wealth to pay their fair share with an income tax rate of at least 20%.

Many billionaires are currently paying a much lower tax rate than the average American, including nurses, firefighters, and teachers. Americans for Tax Fairness recently analyzed IRS data from ProPublica and data from Forbes and found that twenty-six of the richest people in America paid an average federal income tax rate of just 4.8% over six years (2013-18) when the growth in their wealth is counted as income–with Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg each paying an effective tax rate of just 1.1%.[3] The billionaire income tax will close a loophole that currently allows some billionaires to pay little or no federal income taxes on their investment gains.

Republicans know how to message the economy to voters, even though their policies favor the ultra-wealthy and greedy corporations at the expense of everyone else. Mitch McConnell’s billionaire-funded super PAC, the Senate Leadership Fund, is spending millions on ads trying to sow distrust in our government, the IRS, and the critical investments that will grow our economy.[4]

Democrats need to counter Republicans’ attacks by talking about what they’ve done—helping people struggling with inflation by requiring wealthy corporations and billionaires to pay what they owe—and what they’ll do in the next session of Congress—make the ultra-rich pay their fair share like the rest of us.

Americans show up every day for their families, their jobs, and their communities—but they are feeling the stress of higher prices and are vulnerable to Republican attack ads. The polling indicates that Democrats have a winning message when they talk to voters about the benefits of the Inflation Reduction Act, especially when they highlight that it’s completely funded by making billion-dollar corporations pay more, cracking down on wealthy tax cheats, and preventing drug companies from gouging prices for life-saving medications. And candidates who campaign on implementing a billionaires minimum income tax can expect an enthusiastic response from voters in 2022.

 [1] “Polling: Taxes in the Inflation Reduction Act,” Americans for Tax Fairness.

[2] “Inflation Reduction Act: Key Facts,” Americans for Tax Fairness, Sep. 28, 2022.

[3] “Based on their wealth growth, 26 top billionaires paid an average income tax rate on just 4.8% over 6 recent years,” Americans for Tax Fairness, May 19, 2022.

[4] “GOP sees path to Senate majority via Nevada and Georgia amid spending boost,” Washington Post, Oct. 1, 2022.