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Hating Jeff Bezos Won’t Solve Climate Change

New White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre faced a barrage of criticism this week when she fumbled a question about inflation and then took a personal swipe at Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. Fox News contributor Raymond Arroyo called her performance “inarticulate” and “incoherent.”

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In a key exchange Fox News’ Peter Doocy asked: “But how does raising taxes on corporations lower the cost of gas, the cost of a used car, the cost of food for everyday Americans?”

Jean-Pierre responded:

So, look, I think we encourage those who have done very well — right? — especially those who care about climate change, to support a fairer tax — tax code that doesn’t change — that doesn’t charge manufacturers’ workers, cops, builders a higher percentage of their earnings; that the most fortunate people in our nation — and not let the — that stand in the way of reducing energy costs and fighting this existential problem, if you think about that as an example, and to support basic collective bargaining rights as well.  Right?  That’s also important.

But look, it is — you know, by not — if — without having a fairer tax code, which is what I’m talking about, then all — every — like manufacturing workers, cops — you know, it’s not fair for them to have to pay higher taxes than the folks that — who are — who are — who are not paying taxes at all or barely have.

In Jean-Pierre’s defense, any spokesperson will struggle to make an incoherent policy sound articulate. The problem, then, isn’t with the spokesperson but with the policy itself. 

For decades, Democrats have been weaponizing class to push for expanded government. According to their dogma, the key to solving all problems – from climate change to combatting inflation is to get the rich to pay their fair share. And rich people, of course, are morally inferior and uncaring because of their wealth. As Jean-Pierre said of Bezos, “Look, it’s not a huge mystery why one of the wealthiest individuals on Earth — right? — opposes an economic agenda that is for the middle class, that cuts some of the biggest costs families face, fights inflation for the long haul — right?”

This narrative just isn’t true. As the Tax Foundation notes, the top 20 percent of taxpayers pay almost 70 percent of taxes while the top 1 percent pay 25 percent. Meanwhile, the House GOP Ways and Means Committee points to a report from the Congressional Budget Office that shows that corporate tax revenue is set to hit a new record of $454 billion – 22 percent higher than last year’s record.

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Our nation faces many challenges, but under-taxation is not one of them. 

Instead of using tired and incoherent class warfare arguments, the Biden administration can do four things to both control inflation and combat climate change.  

  1. Reduce spending by creating a BRAC-style commission (Base Closure and Realignment Commission) to streamline our bloated administrative state. 
  2. Update the 50-year-old National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) that slows the deployment of clean energy projects by four years or more. 
  3. Reform the tax code and incentivize innovation by allowing for permanent, immediate research and development expensing.
  4. Reduce energy and gas prices, which affect the price of everything, by increasing supply and enacting other policies Nick Loris, VP of Policy for C3 Solutions, outlines here

Reducing spending, streamlining regulations, reforming the tax code and reducing energy prices will do far more to control inflation and combat climate change than demonizing Jeff Bezos. At the end of the day, Jeff Bezos knows how to spend Jeff Bezos’ money better than Joe Biden knows how to spend Jeff Bezos’ money. That’s true for bricklayers and billionaires.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

Copyright © 2020 Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions

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