Thursday, July 28, 2022

Contents of the "Inflation Reduction Act"

Please let me know how this so-called "Inflation Reduction Act" reduces inflation.  Here's what's actually in it:

Major items

  • Alternative minimum tax for corporations Sec 10101
    • This raises the level of business taxation, which reduces real wages.
      • IF it reduced the dispersion of business taxation, that would be a force toward increasing real wages to help offset the level effect.  BUT see below on the dozens of IRA provisions that increase the dispersion of business taxation.
    • Gives the Treasury Secretary the authority to determine an individual corporation's tax liability!  Sec 10101 (a)(2)(C), (a)(13)
      • [I changed my mind: I want to be Treasury Secretary!]
  • Close the "carried interest loophole" Sec 10201
  • $80B for IRS Sec 10301

  • 3 types of drug price controls
    • Prices set by HHS for selected Medicare drugs Sec 1191 [I think the Senate typist meant Sec 11091]
    • Inflation rate cap for Part B drugs (obtained at hospitals and clinics rather than pharmacies) Sec 11101
    • Inflation rate cap for Part D drugs (obtained at pharmacies) Sec 11102
  • Medicare Part D (i.e., drug plans for seniors) insurance-benefit floors and reduced subsidy rates Secs 11201-11202, 11401
    • Both benefit floors and subsidy-rate cuts will increase Medicare Part D premiums.  The net result could be more subsidy $ and more drug-plan expenses for most seniors.
    • One insurance-benefit floor (Sec 11201) requires that enrollees have 100% of their pharmacy bill covered after they have spent $2k for the year.  Another (Sec 11202) does the same on a monthly basis (roughly $150 per month).
    • A third insurance-benefit floor is for vaccines Sec 11401
    • Zero is a dangerous number for a price!
    • The 80% Medicare subsidy associated with these transactions is cut sharply.  This by itself would reduce distortions in the program.
    • Remember that Part D premiums are already about 75% subsidized.  At that rate (which will increase -- see below), the government expense for Part D could well increase.  
  • Increases in subsidies for Medicare Part D premiums Sec 11404
    • Specifically, expanding eligibility for "low-income" premium subsidies
  • Budget gimmick courtesy of Alex Azar: repeal rebate rule Sec 11301
    • This rule would have prevented drug manufacturers from competing for Medicare Part D business by offering rebates, thereby sharply increasing Medicare Part D premiums and the government's Part D expenses.
    • On paper, repealing this rule would reduce the federal deficit.  However, many expect that the rule would be struck down in court (regardless of whether the IRA repeals it), especially now that agencies have less latitude in reinterpreting statutes.  Hence this savings is a budget gimmick.
    • I explain in Chapter 10 of how HHS Secretary Azar concocted this rule.  We warned him and Trump that Democrats would, via a budget gimmick like this, use the rule to "fund" their big-government programs.
  • Extend the "temporary" Obamacare expansions that were put in place during the pandemic Sec 12001

  • Clean energy tax credits Secs 13101-13802
    • 291 pages of the Green Dream!
    • Interestingly, Sec 13105 increases credit for nuclear power plants, but just those already built.  Intended to slow down nuke-plant closures?
    • Otherwise "clean" refers to the various technologies that are in vogue, including bio fuels and battery manufacturing
    • Get a tax credit for purchasing a used Electric Vehicle Sec 13402
      • $4K or %30 of sale price
      • But only for households with AGI less than $150K and EVs selling for less than $25K
      • Must go through a car dealer
      • Limit of one credit per vehicle lifetime
      • Limit of one credit per taxpayer per 3 years
    • As a result, the federal government will be granted EV credits when:
      • EVs are produced,
      • EVs are sold new, and
      • EVs are sold used
  • $20B for agricultural conservation programs Secs 21001 and 21002
  • Appropriations for clean energy programs ($80-85B total)
    • Another 100+ pages of the Green Dream, not to be confused with clean energy tax credits (291pp).
    • $2B subsidies for "Electric loans for renewable energy" Sec 22001
    • Biofuel subsidies Sec 22003
    • $10B for rural electric cooperatives Secs 22004 and 22005
    • $15B for Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund Sec 60103
    • $1B for HUD clean energy projects Sec 30002
    • $3B for NOAA climate resilience projects Secs 40001-40007
    • $10B to subsidize switching from natural gas appliances to electric Secs 50111-50123
    • $1B to subsidize zero building energy code adoption Sec 50131
    • $14B for DOE loans and grants Secs 50141-50145
    • $3B for electricity transmission subsidies Secs 50151-50153
    • $6B for the Office of Clean Energy Demonstrations Sec 50161
    • $2B various other DOE Secs 50171-50173
    • $1B for clean heavy-duty vehicles Sec 60101
    • $3B for clean energy programs for ports Sec 60102
    • $6B for various pollution-reduction programs Secs 60113-60116
    • $3B for Environmental and Climate Justice Grants Sec 60201
    • $5.5B for various other clean energy/environment Secs 60502-60506
    • $3B for USPS clean fleet Sec 70002
  • Taxing fossil fuels
    • Increase royalty rate on offshore oil and gas by about 4 percentage points Sec 50261
    • Increase royalty rate on onshore oil and gas by about 4 percentage points Sec 50262
      • Both royalty rates are expanded to flared gas Sec 50263
    • Methane Emissions Charge Sec 60113
    • Permanent extension of tax on coal Sec 13901
      • Roughly $1 per ton.  For context, coal prices were sometimes below $50/ton before the pandemic

Smaller items

  • Eliminating cost sharing for vaccines in Medicaid and CHIP Sec 11405
  • Changes to Medicare payments for biosimilars (Secs 11402 and 11403)
  • Reinstate superfund Sec 13601
  • Research credit for small businesses Sec 13902
  • $5B for forestry subsidies Secs 23001-23005
  • $0.5B to further carry out the 1950 Defense Production Act Sec 30001
  • $1B for National Park Service and Bureau of Land Management Secs 50221-50223
  • $0.6B various water Secs 50231-50241
  • Regulation of offshore wind leasing Sec 50251
  • Some kind of extension of offshore leasing program Sec 50264
  • Limit encroachment of offshore windmills onto areas under lease for offshore drilling Sec 50265
  • Various other DOE and DOI Secs 50271-50303
  • Various other EPA programs (less than $1B) Secs 60104-60112
  • Small amounts for Council on Environmental Quality Secs 60401-60402
  • $4B for Endangered species programs Secs 60301-60302
  • $2B for Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program Sec 60501
  • Various other Sec 70001, 70003-80004

1 comment:

David R. Henderson said...

I read that one section:

Gives the Treasury Secretary the authority to determine an individual corporation's tax liability! Sec 10101 (a)(2)(C), (a)(13)

I think you're right. This is amazingly awful. Any more detail about it?