tv Washington Journal Indivar Dutta- Gupta CSPAN August 30, 2022 11:02am-11:49am EDT
office. here many of those conversations during season two of c-span podcast presidential recordings. >> they are part private conversations part deliberations and 100% unfiltered. >> let me say that the main thing is my heart goes out to those people who with the best of intentions were overzealous. as i'm sure you know if i could spend a little more time thing but a politician and this time being president i didn't know what they were doing. >> find presidential recordings season to wherever you get your podcasts. >> "washington journal" continues. host: indivar dutta-gupta we are joined by your to talk about the inflation reduction
act. thank you for joining us. let's talk about your organization what does it do. guest: it is a 53-year-old national anti-property organization that focuses on racial equity as well. we also do work at the state and local level and we work across the whole range of dimensions of poverty as it relates to a range of issues from income to childcare to jobs and more. host: is this efficacy on capitol hill are there other aspects to what you do? guest: we work research analysis, advocacy as well, partnerships in cooperation with other groups. we are 501(c)(3) organization so a nonprofit. we are primarily funded through foundations from individual donors and we do provide some assistance and have been funded by state governments at times. host: the inflation reduction
act the name talks about one thing but as far as low uncompleted how did the two connect? guest: that is a great question. first the inflation reduction act as a have a number of measures that help with low incomes, immigrants and others indirectly and directly including some of their costs. there are as well a number of areas that if left unattended and we have a number of ideas on how to build upon it. let's start with the inflation reduction act and what is in it. we have important provisions for health coverage costs for families. reducing out-of-pocket premiums, helps the insurance market. we also have cost reductions for medicare beneficiaries or prescription drug provisions. there are things people have not paid attention to for example there is a really important
provision that would make affordable vaccines for many adults who are participating in medicaid as parents or caregivers and have been left out a free and affordable vaccines that even other folks would get. that is important for all of us because we seek much lower rates of for example getting the flu vaccine. that is obviously a public health issue. that is a few of the measures on the health side. there is a case to be made that a lot of the measures on the climate and energy side over time will have the effect of reducing the cost families face and have to pay for fuel and energy we can talk about. host: can you elaborate on that? guest: part of what the act is doing when it comes to climate and energy equity by investing
in communities that suffer from just -- disproportionate environmental hazards. that is an important and exciting part of the act that will reduce families'help spending. another part is like clean energy tax credits that can invest and help encourage those who have the capacity to invest in cleaner energy especially in some of the more marginalized communities and communities that have been affected by extraction industries and more. it is helping us with the green transition. what does that mean for people's pockets but -- pocketbooks? you will see a reduce any demand for fossil fuels which can reduce some of the prices for fossil fuels. for those of you have to continue to rely on filling up there car there is have their
that the inflation reduction act will help folks with the pocketbooks but in the long run it will make it much more affordable to have green and cleaner energy that we all will need to come to the light on. host: taking a look at the inflation reduction act that it has minimal inflation -- impact on inflation. with that be the main emphasis for especially those in the low income brackets the immediate reduction of inflation versus those other things? guest: it is tougher policy to immediately reduce inflation through the means that were on the table here. if policymakers had instead put forth significant subsidies for child care and education, something that my organization does and did argue for and fight for you can see immediate reductions in the cost but people face. that i will emphasize there is inflation overall and there is a cost that people face.
even with the inflation protection act it doesn't reduce health care costs immediately it will continue really important subsidies that will keep the out-of-pocket costs that families are facing down by extending these subsidies for a few more years. host: one is the deadline guest: of this extension? guest:american rescue plan has included some really important subsidies that extended existing subsidies under the affordable care act so when people have to buy health coverage and to pay premiums we started seeing no cost premium costs -- coverages. and expansion of lower-cost options. those subsidies were going to expire within the year. we really needed to do with the fact that a lot of people would suddenly find health-care coverage unaffordable if they have to buy it on their own. it will buy three more years in
these more affordable plans through the increased subsidies. host: our guest from the center of policy. if you want to ask questions particularly how it impacts low income people (202) 748-8001 for republicans. (202) 748-8000 for democrats and independents (202) 748-8002. if you want to text our guest and ask a question or make a comment, (202) 748-8003 is how you do that. you highlighted it but what should the bill have contained? how much further should it have gone? guest: when you think about the cost that families, low income families and moderate income families and middle income families face that make them struggle financially we are looking at a number of areas beyond health care that really the bill should have tackled and didn't.
in particular on the caregiving side, we have significant costs families face for more than the cost of higher education for childcare care and early education. there is nothing in this bill that tackles those costs. then we have the cost of aid family leave that the national level through the american rescue plan which is not established despite significant consensus that the united states is an outlier without such a program. similarly, homecare and community-based services again, huge costs that many people cannot afford. it is largely ignored by our system of public policies, medicaid provides some coverage for some people with limited assets and low income but it is largely something that people are just left on their own to fend for.
we also didn't do more even directly to help young people with jobs, for example, subsidized jobs or the government helps employers sometimes public and nonprofit affording the cost of training young people and preparing them. but you also can't ignore rental housing. renters, housing costs continue to rise. this predates the pandemic. of course, we did not tackle challenges people face with their rental burdens. there is more we can to cut -- discuss. host: democratic controlled white house and senate why do you think the aspects could not have made it to a final piece of legislation? guest: sometimes one or two senators have different priorities, maybe they don't quite see the value of these
investments. with our partners, we have been working to make the case and we will continue to. host: guest: there others? we shouldn't ignore that we had an extraordinary policy in the american rescue plan that reduced child poverty that did not get extended here and that was the child tax credit which dramatically reduced child poverty possibly to the lowest rates we had seen in the history of this country at least as far as measurements go back. those policies earned income tax credit for working people and their families, they were unquestionably affected with very little downside. very few policies have no dine side -- downside. it looks like a couple of senators simply did not think that they were priorities or
wanted to change the policies in ways that would have cut the effectiveness. host: dustin in georgia for our guest. you can go ahead with your question or comment. good morning. caller: [indiscernible] subsidized plans on the health market place. do not reimburse medical providers out of six specialties in my area we were the last ones to take one of the subsidies plan and three weeks ago we no longer take it. there is no place within about 80 miles so keep letting these people on these at subsidized plans, none of the doctors are going to take it because we can't do a $200 procedure and get reimbursed $30.
it has only gotten worse and the reimbursements have gotten much worse to the point where doctors and people that need high-quality medical care won't get it because the doctors are just not going to take it. guest: thank you for the question and for the care you are providing for folks in the community. i have some sense of the challenges that patients can face in accessing the care they need. it is certainly the case that a lot of health insurance plans, including medicaid itself, have quite significant limitations when it comes to access to the necessary provider networks and that is an area we need to tackle. medicaid is far less expensive than even the private plans on the marketplace.
in some ways, we get a lot of bang for our buck. there are real challenges you have highlighted and we have to look more broadly at how we can ensure that people especially with moderate to low income don't just have of coverage but can actually host: access the care. david from texas, go ahead. caller: i live in texas as he just mentioned. i would like to point out anything subsidized, anything the government is the provider for the price goes up and it goes way up. the housing, they made the rules, changed the rules for who is qualified for it and it did not lower the rates via the fed. but back to the insurance part, using the word subsidized about
20 times back when obamacare was passed we were paying about $640 a month. we were looking at paying almost 4000 a month for anything equivalent. fortunately texas was one of the states where obama allowed to stay on the plan for the wild. we were able to stay on it for i think two years to the point were we got on it, our premiums the first year we did not have a bronze land. $33,000 for the first year with a $12,000 deductible. we paid 38,000 dollars for our health care that year. we didn't get a penny of it when it came to the deductible. we had one doctor in our area, i didn't even go to a doctor that year. i will also say covid had such
an impact on the business and that we actually burned -- earned so much less money that we qualified for the subsidized plan. i am on medicare now and my wife is on the plan but it is only because we are in a much lower status that we are able to take advantage of the subsidy. the subsidies are shifting the cost from one place to another. host: we will let our guest answer. guest: thanks for the call and certainly i am sorry about you being in a worse financial situation. two things, first we do need to get people health coverage. right now, we are probably at the lowest rate of uninsurance in the united states thanks to recent provisions including the subsidies in particular. that is something i think we should be proud of as a country. we are down to maybe a percent are so uninsurance rate.
after the american rescue plan and new provisions that are extending the subsidies. we should expect inflation reduction act will continue to keep that rate down. then the question is are you getting the care you need and how much is really paying out-of-pocket? those are questions that we need to tackle, the united states may have among the highest shares that spends on health care. maybe about one in seven dollars. that is a much bigger question. even before the affordable care act, inflation was high. overall inflation and in some ways actually when we do subsidies we can regulate and control costs. we see that actually in the health care context. and more optimistic that we combine subsidies with health regulations that maintain quality. host: you mentioned medicare did
it address the gap in medicare and how does it impact low income americans? guest: what happens with medicare is that we are going to reduce the prescription drug crossed -- cost which is along standing cult of many to allow for negotiations and to contain the prescription drug cost. a lot of people purchasing medicaid, medicare excuse me. they qualify because of disability or age. that is quite important it is a real chunk of these families'costs. host: a viewer asked how is giving money helping people out of poverty doesn't perpetuate the issue by making them more dependent? guest: turns out everybody needs a basic foundation to even access and take advantage of the opportunity. but we have found with
investment like the child tax credit, families with kids, we will give you a and a mom of a few thousand dollars per child by and large the fast move or -- majority of children were covered under the enhanced child tax credit. we found there is very little reduction in work effort if any. we found huge reductions in property and hardship like being behind on payments for housing and utilities. reductions on food insecurity and hunger. there is even some evidence of this for many adults that when you stabilize them, when basic needs are met they do better. they can afford a more robust job search and the transportation needed to meet basic needs and they can spend time with kids in high-quality ways. overall i think we have good
reason to believe it is a good return on investment for taxpayers. the child tax credit alone is estimated to give a return of eight or nine dollars for every dollar spent. host: we are seeing to pay for this effort corporations will get text, ultimately how is that going on people? guest: one of the ways that inflation reduction act helps a lot of working and middle-class folks is precisely by re- announcing our tax code. a cap secret but it is a secret elsewhere, the pop one per centers are responsible for maybe 20% of the tax gap. this is where, we know under the law, a certain amount of money is supposed to be paid and is not collected.
this is concentrated with the highest income households. that has forced the irs to focus on low hanging fruit, people with more moderate incomes rather than go after the big dollar amounts where they have to have the resources in the capacity and the wherewithal to really do these and go after people who can afford high-priced lawyers. i am actually quite optimistic here that the irs's newfound features will help them rebalance their customer service. actually focusing or of their audits and enforcement on people with the highest income. one of the things to know quickly we added a minimum corporate tax for some of the most profitable businesses. according to the committee on taxation which is a nonpartisan part of congress 125 companies
in the u.s. average $9 billion in profits. they paid a tax rate of 1%. the part that we can collect from corporations and from people with high incomes, the less the tax burden and the tax responsibility will be on low and moderate incomes. the final thing i will say is there is also a new study that inflation protection act will look at prefiling. the irs will look at free filing which will reduce the burden people face and just filing taxes. hopefully something good will come from that. host: just to remind people it would allow medicare to negotiate those prescription drug prices and will extend affordable care act subsidies through 2025. 375 billion dollars for climate
change investments. it is being paid for by 15% minimum tax on corporations also when it comes to the irs which we just talked about, it would put funding to expand enforcement as the irs. let's hear from george on the independent line in ohio. go ahead. caller: it seems to me if you study history, kingdoms and wealthy kingdoms take care of their people. in solomon, the wealthiest kingdom on earth he had a volunteer tax. and a gold standard. we should go back to the gold standard and start collecting gold. and we should back our economy with gold. and we should have a volunteer tax be people give marvin they are free to give and are not
extorted by a 1914 established irs. it was established to dominate the people. what we need to do is go to a volunteer tax. all the offshore accounts would come home to our banks. trillions of dollars would fill our banks. no irs. so we could try a volunteer tax. they find people give more to the country if they are free to give. the poor would give a little, the rich would give more. just on a volunteer basis. host: thanks for calling. guest: in many ways we have a volunteer tax system. people with the highest incomes actually spend resources evading taxes. i want to emphasize i think the irs funding $80 billion over 10 years is it will level the playing field.
those who have already been complying and playing fair and playing by the rules, and those who have been instead devoting their resources to evading taxes. host: terry is up next and terry is from minnesota. republican line. caller: i am really using the word evading taxes. this isn't right. they are abiding by the rules. the foolishness of the argument that you are going after only rich people is insane. this is going to hit the middle class and it's going to hit small corporations and small businesses. that is where it is going to hit. 87,000 new irs agents are going to come and get more money from the middle-class and the working force. that is how it's going to play out. you know it, i knew it. the 15%, great idea. i am not foolish enough to
believe the corporations are going to pay is sent on cost increases. you have an inflation reduction bill that everybody it doesn't reduce inflation. what a clown. host: ok. guest: it is marketed competitive and as we know they are. the corporations will have to reduce profits, that is why they are fighting it. they are not concerned about raising prices. they are concerned about reducing profit. the tax cap designed by the nine -- nonpartisan is about taxes that are legally owed, and not being paid. it absolutely is a situation of companies and people in the top 1% who create shell companies and elaborate partnerships to evade taxes.
they are getting away with it. the irs will have the resources to focus on that instead of on folks with low and moderate incomes over low hanging fruit. host: or guest from the center of law and social policy for this conversation. you participated in a committee in the house hearing last month. what was the topic of the hearing? what was the discussion like and what did you bring to the table? guest: i was honored to participate at the hearing by the house select committee on economic disparity. we focused a lot on our social protection programs when people think about our safety net that i think of as programs to help basic living standards for people. we had a great discussion, a lot of the focus was how we can strengthen these programs. and also how the programs were handed with the labor market
with ensuring that people can have improved living standards there work and formal employment. we got to discuss the research on how programs like snap or programs like disability benefits or tax credits for working people and their families, but also the child tax credit which created temporary income for a lot of kids in this country. it actually was a wise investment and how they reflect a lot of research that has gone on in this country that has been neglected in many ways for decades. really, i think how they are worthwhile beyond the pandemic. the pandemic was the trigger for some improvement. but we also found in the pandemic that we were not ready for even a mild recession and we need these programs. host: some of the republicans on
the same committee that participated expressed concerns about security programs, the impact on the economy particularly on the labor market. i want to play you a little bit of the conversation on the hearing and get your perspective on it. [video clip] >> sometimes it can help families but at their worst some of these programs trapped families into government dependency. the last three years offered a unique perspective to look at these programs before, during, and after the pandemic. during the pandemic, certain programs were temporarily expanded and they severed the connection to work. the keyword here is temporarily expanded. for example the child tax credit was temporarily made fully refundable. now we are seeing some of the data that shows the long-term impact of severing the connection to work in that program. as the country is getting back on its feet in 2021 we saw this house past a $1.9 trillion
spending bill that impart at work or stay on the sidelines. june 2019 the labor participation rate was 62.9% and two years later it was 61.6 percent the lowest since 1970. the percentage may become small but that is roughly 6.5 million people who were not working contributing to the u.s. labor shortage that we see. host: mr. dutta-gupta ? guest: you will find -- you will be hard-pressed to find economies that recovered as quickly as the u.s. the spending that was highlighted by the representative, we had after the 2007 or 2009 recession financial crisis a incredibly long,
painful recovery. it took over seven years to deal with the shortfall from that recovery. in this instance within three years, we will have come back from a much deeper job shortfall. secondly, i think we have to think about evidence of researcher. what it shows is that by and large there is very little negative impact on formal employment and earnings from these programs, especially when they are in response to the pandemic and of course the right programs may not be exactly what you want. but we did not see, for example from ever enhance unemployment benefits the negative impact people feared. there were half a dozen studies from researchers, economists and
even in the private sector from banks and no one could document -- there were documented benefits. would just note that in general these programs to promote work. the vast majority already require work in some way or another. insofar as some don't, they are helping people with the very basic foundations they need to be able to pursue formal employment if they are able. there are people with disabilities who may not be able to work and it is important for society to support them. in particular, i want to talk a little bit about the child tax credit. for the first time in our country, there was a moment where we said we are not going to tell children they are too poor for our help and give more help to people with higher
incomes. we said, you know what, every child deserves the minimum income. we have seen virtually no evidence of harm and i actually think in the long run based on long-standing research we will see if we can extend this policy. the challenges of having almost no income, it undermines people's ability in many ways to pursue goals they have in life. education, and also it is important to keep in mind that people are caring for each other and no economy, no society works without caregiving. we have undervalued care, care was disproportionately provided by women. we have dramatically undervalued for a moment. pay family medical leave during
the pandemic, we were valuing care. much more so than we have in the past. the research shows we were saving lives. we were stabilizing families. there is much more to do but care is essential to our economy and so is ensuring that everyone has a basic foundation to excess opportunity. host: this is from juliet in arizona. caller: i don't know why someone said i'm in arizona. i did leave -- live in arizona. i have been in chicago for over three years. the reason i am calling the "washington journal" is because of biden's policies. i wish they wouldn't have put arizona they should put chicago. i am calling because of's
policies. he and the democrats are doing a great job and people that think the helping hand or helping up is not what america is about, you know, people need to start realizing there are many low income people and there are many sick people, people that are on medicare and medicaid. i am grateful to the democratic party and to joe biden and his policies. host: ok. guest: juliet in chicago, thank you for the question. i haven't arizona phone number so i have been mistaken from being from arizona. i understand your frustration. i would say that we have seen some extraordinary progress. some even permanent. for example, the expansion of
current income tax credit. in puerto rico, that makes puerto ricans more equally then in the past. it helps working people and their families. but in puerto rico we said we were only going to give it to families with three or more kids. we corrected that in equity and injustice by offering it to families with one or two kids on a permanent basis. there is a lot to take stock of and there is a lot more to do going ahead especially as i mentioned with caregiving but also a focus on youth, employment, the climate. i think many ways but it did for communities with low incomes, from the effects of climate change policy makers have a lot of work cut out for them that there have been some extraordinary precedents in
progress that they can build upon. host: from texas, robert is next. caller: good morning. i would like to make a little comment. i am listening to your guest talk about tax policy and diverting incomes. making corporations pay the minimum share, i would like to suggest something to him that maybe it isn't policy change we need. but an overall strategy in this country to address the economic inequality by simply saying let's eliminate all the health insurance and have a universal health care plan. let's eliminate the idea of cost for tuition to colleges and base it on a merit system or if you
can pass the qualifications, you automatically get in and you get a free ride. i think so much is geared towards texting people to pay for these benefits such as health care. i mean health care is a complete mess. it should be just a universal right and he this country that everyone has access to the same health care. now, i'm not going to include anybody with an exceptional amount of income that's not what i'm getting at. i'm getting it everyone from birth to death should be covered. that is just part of being an american citizen. it ought to be written in. it is not a tax. it's not anything. it is simply here it is, the overall tax structure after that can be based on what it is. host: got your point, robert. inky. guest: i think there is a strong
case to be made for a health care system. we certainly agree that coverage it should be a right, health care should be a right for all people in this country. i think the conversation should the financing higher ed and making it affordable for people. i think we will always need texas --taxes and they are in many ways a great use of our resources. but you are absolutely right. we should revisit the part about ensuring universal health care and higher education. host: we're president biden offer relief for student on borrowers.
should that be adjusted? guest: i would say that the president could only do so much and we should keep in mind that he provided as much relief to low and moderate income. stepping back for a second, our country has a significant problem with the racial wealth gap. the median for a typical white household in this country is something like eight times that of a black household. it is due to slavery, and beyond. it's a policy that persists to this day. one of the ways to tackle the racial wealth gap because i don't know but increasingly auto loans and student debt. one of the ways to tackle it is through addressing student debt challenges. women hold maybe something like
two thirds of that. they face additional penalties because they are facing penalties based on race. women also face pay equity gap in the labor market. even though they are attending college at higher rates than men what i think the biden administration policy is about is essentially acknowledging that, yes, some people who go to college and have this debt might have middle-class income but they are released all struggling. not just because the burden of the debt itself but they are supporting a lot of borrowers. a third of student debt affected by this policy do not have a college degree. a lot of people went to college and were taken advantage of by for-profit entities and did not graduate.
the biden administration in many ways is saying we are acknowledging that you may have someone with higher income but you are often facing significant costs that a lot of other folks don't face. i say a lot of other folks previous generations did not have this sort of student debt. we made a choice to stop investing in higher education and that is really in many ways or a lot of this comes from. he is acknowledging that. he is acknowledging a lot of families of color do not come from families of wealth. they are caring for others in their family. a lot of families who got pell grant's were probably the first to attend college. it is combined with restarting the payments at the end of the year which offsets arguably any concerns about inflation. and with the income-based plan,
there is a lot more that has to happen here. be $125,000 per person, it may seem high to some but these are unquestionably disproportionate people of color and the relief that i think about as well. it could've made a difference in the lives of a lot of people. host: republican line, karen. caller: i am calling about the irs just click on the student debt i don't know why there are billions of dollars why they can't pay it off. they are the ones that gave the degrees to people that they can't make money on. also obama passed a law back when he was president that you have to pay the interest up front which is why the balance never goes down. once the government took over the student loans, that is when it all went to hell or just
quick and the irs, you act like the corporations don't pay their taxes which is completely not true. they pay payroll taxes, sales taxes, when people create a business, start a business they will create a corporation an llc -- host: i think there is a connection problem but i think she got her point across. guest: let's start with the corporations. these are my estimates, not partisan joint committee on taxation congress is estimated there is a significant tax cap in this country for corporations are at least not paying what they owe. that's the first one to the second point is overall, the tax rate paid by corporations is a
share of their income. that overall tax rate in the united states is actually quite low compared to other countries. there is good reason why the inflation protection act targeted them for additional revenue to help finance things like expanded access to health coverage and more. host: the center for law and social policy, because.org --clasp.org if you want to check out there organization. we will talk about another aspect of the inflation reduction act looking at the cost of prescription drugs. the foundation for research and equal opportunity. the guest will join us next up when john -- "washington journal" continues. ♪ >> hello everyone and welcome to
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