A big deal

8/18/2022, 6 p.m.
Let’s be clear. Your grocery bill won’t go down and your rent won’t drop because President Biden signed the Inflation …

Let’s be clear.

Your grocery bill won’t go down and your rent won’t drop because President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Action into law on Tuesday.

But make no mistake, this legislation has all the earmarks of a big deal.

This new law will allow this country to make its biggest investment ever in encouraging all of us, through tax credits, to get involved in battling climate change.

Just as important, this legislation will immediately reduce the cost of life-saving medicine for senior adults on Medicare and also crack down on wealthy tax cheats and prevent big corporations from avoiding paying their fair share of the cost of government.

We agree with President Biden that this is the kind of important legislation we expect from Congress.

While it does not go as far as his original Build Back Better plan, he sees the sweeping legislation as helping “to build a future where everybody has an even shot. That’s the America I believe in.”

Of course, lest we forget, every Republican in Congress refused to support the bill, an indication of where they stand.

Senior adults, which includes many of us, will benefit from the provision that will cap the out-of-pocket costs for Medicare recipients to $2,000 a year.

That’s a big deal for our Black elderly whom data show are 1.5 times more likely than white Americans to report difficulty in affording medications.

For senior diabetics on Medicare, the cost of insulin will be capped at $35 a year.

But not for anyone else because Republicans successfully blocked a Democratic proposal to extend that cap to private insurance, which Virginia Democrats were able to do in this state. Instead, GOP members shamefully pushed to ensure that the cost of that life-saving medicine remains as expensive as possible for as many as possible.

The legislation also will provide more free vaccines, including one for shingles shots – which our community is twice as likely not to receive.

And for the first time, this law will allow Medicare to negotiate prices for some of the most expensive drugs in a bid to make them more affordable, capping a 30-year Democratic campaign to make it possible.

The law also maintains subsidies for Obamacare for three more years, prolonging one of the great Democratic achievements of the 21st century. The White House estimates this provision alone will enable 500,000 Black Americans to gain health care policies with premiums ranging from $0 to $50.

The legislation offers incentives through tax credits to replace energy-guzzling cooling and heating equipment, buy more energy-efficient appliances and weatherize our homes.

By some estimates, the credits could cover 30 percent of the cost.

There also are tax credit incentives to help landlords invest in such equipment to benefit tenants in their apartment communities and to enable solar projects in affordable housing developments.

In addition, there is funding for grants to plant trees to cool off hot, urban neighborhoods that often are home to people of color.

Further, the legislation includes more than $5 billion in relief for struggling Black and minority farmers.

Republicans such as Senate Minority Mitch McConnell of Kentucky have railed against the bill, claiming it will impose job-killing taxes – which appears to mirror the Republican claims of election fraud.

In reality, the new law will, for the first time ensure that corporations that make more than $1 billion a year in profit pay some taxes and boosttheefforttoensurethatpeoplemaking $400,000 a year also pay their fair share.

If you don’t make that much, the new law will not change your tax rate, the White House has said.

Let us applaud those who stood up for us and let us remember those who did not at the polls.

If we want to have a Congress that can make big changes, we have to vote for those willing to participate and make a difference.