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The Climatic Remarks of Jason Smith

Joe Biden was legitimately elected President. If Jason Smith cannot be bothered to state a fact as simple as that, can he be trusted about anything? Certainly, he cannot be trusted to say anything honest about the Inflation Reduction Act, and that was evident in his column (8/17).

Let’s begin with Smith’s failure to make any mention of what just about everyone (including me) thinks is the weakest part of the IRA: the concessions made to the fossil fuel industry. The IRA includes $3.23 billion in subsidies for carbon capture and storage, and that will help extend the life of highly polluting coal plants. Of course, Smith wouldn’t complain about that since he’s long been in climate-science denialism, and he’s long supported the coal industry, even if it is choking the breath out of Americans!

But let’s look at the out-and-out falsehoods Smith is pushing, such as his hyperbolic claim that increasing funding to the Internal Revenue Service will make Americans “live in fear of the IRS checking under the couch cushions of every living room” – the fact is that years of GOP underfunding has made the tax service unable to answer phone calls from average Americans seeking assistance. Worse,  it has made it more likely the IRS will audit low-income peoples’ taxes than the time-consuming  complicated taxes of wealthy people, the very ones most likely to cheat. What Smith must fear is rich people having to pay their fair share of taxes when they get audited more!

Likewise, saying the IRA will shovel funds at rich people wanting to buy brand new Electric Vehicles ignores the reality that most average Americans would like affordable cars that runs on cheap electricity and will appreciate the help making that possible. Besides, the IRA has numerous green energy incentives: that will benefit all: replacing stoves, installing a heat pump, putting solar arrays on the roof, prescription savings for Medicare recipients. If Congressman Smith really cared about low-income people, why does he consistently oppose food stamp expansion? Housing assistance? Unions?.

But Smith’s biggest offense is saying absolutely nothing about taking action against climate change! Most Americans now realize that the fires, tornadoes, floods, and droughts all point to the necessity of acting decisively. 36 people died in the Kentucky flooding, St. Louis businesses and homeowners lost hundreds of millions in the floods, water rationing has begun in many states. Around the world, things are even worse: the Po River in Italy’s farming region has dried up, in France, warm river waters are making it difficult to flush nuclear plants, in China hydropower is being reduced by lack of water, livestock are dying. Yet Smith—and all the GOP—offer no realistic proposals!

Will the IRA reduce inflation? Not immediately—it will take some time for all the provisions to go into effect, for one thing. But reducing Medicare prescription costs and bringing down energy costs will begin helping pocketbooks in a year or so. More importantly, in the long run the IRA will help protect the environment and that will mean averting wide-scale food shortages, reducing weather disasters, and keeping the planet habitable.

The IRA is not enough to halt global warming, but it is a necessary start. Too bad Congressman Smith couldn’t be bothered to help make it a better bill. As environmentalist. As Theodore Roosevelt said, complaining about a problem without proposing a solution is called whining.

Sue Hagan


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