Today, President Biden gathered thousands of lawmakers, activists, and supporters for a celebration at the White House to recognize Democrats’ successful passage of the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) last month. Our very own Chairman, Morris Pearl, was among the President’s honored guests applauding the IRA as a win for tax fairness and economic justice.
Today’s event at the White House is a celebration of last month’s victory, but for Democratic candidates, it’s also a political event intended to show voters that when they vote for Democrats, good things get done. And while Democrats aren’t perfect, the choice voters face in the midterm elections, less than two months away, is clear.
Democrats want to pass legislation like the IRA that forces ultra-profitable corporations to start paying what they owe in taxes, adequately funds the IRS to go after wealthy tax cheats, and taxes corporate executives that try to line their own pockets through stock buybacks. They want to raise the minimum wage and do more to protect and strengthen unions. They want to get big money out of politics.
Of course, there are a few Democrats that aren’t on board with all of these ideas – most notably Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema – but, overall, the party has shown itself over the past two years to be committed to acting in the best interest of ordinary Americans.
Republicans, on the other hand, want to do the opposite. They’ve lied about nearly every aspect of the IRA, wrongly claiming that Democrats’ new tax provisions will target average taxpayers and hurt the economy. In reality, Republicans are the ones that want to go after ordinary working taxpayers and help out their rich, tax-cheating buddies. They want to cut taxes for the rich, they want to help wealthy criminal tax cheats get away with breaking the law, and they want to raise taxes on everyone else to make up for it. In fact, Senator Rick Scott, the Chairman of the GOP’s Senate campaign committee, issued a plan in February that would raise taxes on the poorest 40% of Americans by more than $1000 a year.
Let’s also not forget the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that Republicans passed back in 2017, which saw 83% of its benefits flow to the top 1%. The last time there was a White House celebration for a tax bill, it was when Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell, and their Republican colleagues were cheering on Trump as he signed nearly $2 trillion in tax cuts for corporations and wealthy Americans. The contrast between their celebration and today’s event couldn’t be more stark.
Thankfully, voters have clearly taken notice. Polling shows that Democrats currently hold the lead in eight of the nine competitive Senate races in the upcoming November midterm elections. Although in the past few cycles polls have sometimes missed the mark, it’s very promising that many projections point to Democrats retaining control of the Senate, and potentially expanding it to the point where the votes of Manchin and Sinema aren’t needed for certain pieces of legislation.
Given the choice between a party that fights for tax cuts for the rich, and one that fights to tax the rich, it’s no wonder that voters are more partial to the latter. And when it comes to small-dollar fundraising, that difference is profound. In key races across the country, Democrats are currently swamping Republicans when it comes to small-dollar donations of $200 or less. In Arizona, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly has raised nearly $23 million from small-dollar donors while his Republican opponent, Blake Masters, has raised less than $2 million. Similarly, in Georgia, Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock has raised $14 million from small-dollar donations while his Republican opponent, Herschel Walker, has raised only $8 million.
Republicans’ campaign finance situation has become so bad that they have taken to openly pleading with big donors to help them make up the difference between their coffers and Democrats’. Last month, Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel held a conference call with big-name GOP donors where she begged for their financial backing in competitive Senate races. They’ve certainly heeded the call: billionaires like Peter Thiel, Kenneth Griffin, Stephen Schwarzman, Timothy Mellon, and Miriam Adelson have given millions to struggling GOP Senate campaigns and their SuperPACs, hoping that their investment of millions will eventually lead to a Senate that hands them billions of dollars in tax cuts, as it did in 2017.
With less than two months to go until the midterm election, President Biden and the Democrats are right to celebrate the passage of the IRA. But after the party is over tonight, Democrats must keep the momentum going. They need to tell voters as loudly and clearly as they can that they are the party that is looking out for their interests. They are the party ensuring that the wealthy and corporations finally start paying what they owe in taxes. They are the party working to dilute big money’s influence in politics. They are the party that is actively trying to save and protect American democracy from Republican power plays and disinformation campaigns.
There’s more work to be done in the fight for tax fairness and economic justice beyond the IRA, but Democrats are right to take a moment to celebrate how far they’ve come. And in the process, they’re right to show voters that they are the ones that deserve to win at the polls come November.