The White House celebrated the passage of the bizarrely named Inflation (tax, spending, climate) bill yesterday. President Biden spoke at excruciating length on the White House lawn. He had the crowd yearning for an encore by Nancy Pelosi, or even James Taylor. Opening with “What a great, great crowd,” Biden may have succeeded in avoiding the utterance of a true statement in his entire spiel. The White House has posted the transcript here.
White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre previewed the celebration at the White House press briefing (transcript here). Given the unfavorable inflation report released yesterday morning, a few of the questions inquired about the subject of the day. One reporter cruelly asked KJP: “What exactly would the Inflation Reduction Act do to reduce inflation in the short term?” Anyone familiar with the IRA knows that question is a brain-twister. KJP did not disappoint in her response:
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: So I — I — when you look at the lowering costs, in particular, for Americans, I think that’s important when you think about how inflation has — has increased cost for American — Americans.
If you think about the hundred dollar — saving $100 per year on premiums with ACA; when you think about lowering costs for our seniors, capping that at $2,000 a year instead of thousands and thousands of dollars a month — that lowering of cost, as we — as we deal with a time that is difficult for many, many Americans.
Look, experts, economists has said themselves that this would be — the Inflation Reduction Act would — would be beneficial to — that 300 — that extra $300 billion in deficit that is really important, as we have — right now have $1.7 billion [trillion] in deficit deduction [reduction] under this administration. It would — it would help lower that even more, which is incredibly important.
And so, look, we’ve heard from Republicans and Democrats who were U.S — U.S. Treasury Secretaries who said it would lower inflation.
We’ve heard from — more than 126 economists said it would lower inflation.
And so I think that is — that is also an important fact that we point to when we talk about the importance of the Inflation Reduction Act, the importance of lowering cost for American — for American families, even as you look at the energy cost as well.
KJP’s response to the question posed can fairly be translated as “nothing.” The reporter let it ride and followed up:
Q But some of the savings that you’re pointing to wouldn’t kick in until 2024 or 2026. So is it fair to suggest to people that somehow they’re going to see some inflation reduction right now while they’re hurting the most?
MS. JEAN-PIERRE: Well, that — that is actually not true. So, just — this is — just for some folks who are watching: Consumers, families, and small businesses owners can head to CleanEnergy.gov — as it relates to the energy cost component, the lowering of cost — to learn more about how they can start saving money immediately.
Thanks to the Inflation Reduction Act, tax credits and rebates — that is real. Inflation Reduction Act credits and rebates available today include a 30 percent credit to cover the cost of insta- — installing roof — rooftop solar; up to 10 percent credit to cover the cost of installation materials and other energy efficient improvements, like energy-savings windows and doors; a $300 tax credit for purchasing efficient heating and cooling equipment, like a heat pump or central air conditioner; a tax credit of up to 7- — $7,500 for purchasing a new electric vehicle.
All of these things could happen and are available to folks. Those rebates are available to folks. Those tax credits are available to folks today.
There is a Laughter is the best medicine quality to this performance, but it is both pathetic and revealing.
NOTE: James Freeman reviewed yesterday’s inflation data in his excellent Best of the Web column “The inflation election.”