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NEW YORK CITY- Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s constituents weighed in on how Democrats removed a proposed tax hike affecting billionaires from the Inflation Reduction Act in order to pass the massive spending bill and its climate initiatives.
“The billionaires are the people with the power to really change whatever it is that we’re trying to change,” one man, Daniel, told Fox News. “We shouldn’t vote for it if that’s something that’s not being addressed.”
But another man, Paul, said: “Passing a bill for the environment—anything that would help climate change, I’m for it. If the rich get a break, big deal.”
The Senate on Sunday passed the Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act, a $433 billion spending bill which included $369 billion in spending for climate initiatives while imposing a 15% minimum tax on corporations with more than $1 billion in annual profits. The legislation at one point included language that would have effectively raised taxes for the richest in the country by changing rules for carried interest, but was removed to secure Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s vote.
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“The whole bill is a mess,” one man, Tom, told Fox News. “It’s a feel-good bill so the Democrats can say they did something and maybe they won’t do so badly in the upcoming elections.”
“There are things in the tax code that allow people to write off various things, so what are you going to do?” he said.
Daniel said Democrats should vote against the bill until the carried interest provision is added back in. As it stands, carried interest – a share of an investment fund’s profits paid to executives – has a lower tax rate than other workers may see.
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“If they’re not going to pay their share … I think that’s definitely something that needs to be tweaked in the bill,” Daniel told Fox News.
Another man, Zion, was skeptical about how much the bill could actually accomplish.
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“I don’t really trust anything that the government has going on when it comes to the climate or when it comes to really anything,” Zion told Fox News. He added that politicians already “failed humanity” with their inaction on climate change over the past two decades.
Sens. Sens. Bernie Sanders of Vermont and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, both liberals with a history of knocking financial “loopholes” voted for the Inflation Reduction Act. Ocasio-Cortez, known for her aggressive stance toward increasing taxes on billionaires, is set to vote on the bill Friday.
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“Climate change is something that’s gone ignored for far too long,” Max told Fox News. “If there are places where you have to compromise in order to get change done efficiently and quickly, I think it’s just something that we have to take on right now.”
Zion said he’s lost faith in the government’s ability to help the average American.
“It’s always going to be for the betterment and the protection of people who are at a higher social and economic status than people like myself and people who reside in this area,” he said.