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Sen. Joe Manchin

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced on Wednesday they had struck a deal on portions of President Joe Biden’s economic agenda. Their proposal would fight inflation by reducing the federal budget deficit through tax increases on big corporations and lowered health care costs, while making a historic investment in clean energy. The Senate reportedly plans to vote on the bill, dubbed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, next week.

Fox News hates this bill. The network’s propagandists and their GOP guests were clearly reeling from the surprise announcement that Manchin had reached an agreement after repeatedly putting negotiations on ice. But even on short notice, they came up with a slew of reasons — at times contradictory — to oppose the nascent legislation.

The Inflation Reduction Act has fewer focuses than past Democratic proposals, making it relatively easy to explain.

But Fox, as usual, isn’t really interested in explaining the bill; it’s interested in ensuring that the network's viewers oppose it.

Fox: Tax Provisions Are Bad, Spending Is Bad, Deficit Reduction Goes Unmentioned

The Inflation Reduction Act would reduce inflation by cutting the federal budget deficit by more than $300 billion over 10 years. Fox’s right-wing personalities have spent months harping on how Americans are paying more for everything due to increased inflation, and they traditionally complain about federal debt and deficits. But of course, this is a bill proposed by Democrats, so for Fox, they must be fighting inflation and reducing deficits the wrong way — in this case, by raising taxes on the wealthy and big corporations rather than cutting unnamed spending.

The bill would raise revenue by setting a 15% tax floor for corporations with profits exceeding $1 billion a year, boosting IRS tax enforcement, and narrowing the “carried interest” loophole that lets hedge fund and private equity employees pay lower tax rates. A Senate fact sheet notes that it includes “no new taxes on families making $400,000 or less and no new taxes on small businesses.”

On Fox, hosts and guests are standing up for big corporations that prefer not to pay taxes, tax cheats, and money managers.

On Wednesday night, Sean Hannity claimed that “Democrats are once again lying to you, trying to claim their socialist spending bonanza will reduce inflation. Let me be clear: It will do the opposite. It is one big Democratic tax hike.” He focused in particular on the IRS enforcement funding, which he said means “you'll all get the Hannity treatment,” and repeatedly said that corporate tax hikes would simply be passed on to “we, the people, the consumer.”

Later, Laura Ingraham likewise panned the bill as a “spendorama,” while her guest, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), criticized it for spending “hundreds of billions of dollars more to sic the IRS on hardworking American families. It's only going to drive up inflation more and cost people their jobs.” Ingraham concluded, “This is an inflation explosion act, not reduction act."

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), meanwhile, responding to the deal on Jesse Watters Primetime, said the problem with the bill wasn’t that it would cause inflation but that it would be “pushing us over the edge into a major recession,” calling it “very risky and very dangerous to raise taxes.”

None of those programs’ hosts mentioned that the bill would reduce the deficit by $300 billion.

Fox: Climate Provisions Are Bad

Global reliance on fossil fuels has increased carbon emissions, resulting in shattered temperature records and deadly extreme weather events. To try to reduce these dangerous consequences, the bill makes unprecedented investments in clean energy, with $369 billion in spending over the next decade that Senate Democrats say will reduce emissions by 40% by 2030. The bill offers consumers tax credits for making homes more energy-efficient and buying clean-energy vehicles, increases energy security by supporting domestic solar and wind power, and provides money for states and utilities to transition to cleaner energy sources, among other provisions.

To Hannity, this is all summarized as “nearly $400 billion for what they're calling energy security and climate change which is code for climate change cult alarmism,” while Ingraham just sneered that the legislation is “a climate change bill.”

Fox: Joe Manchin Is Bad

Fox and its allies were counting on Manchin to scuttle Biden’s economic agenda, and they are extremely unhappy that the senator instead made a deal.

Hannity claimed Manchin “just gave in to the radical climate alarmist cult, new green deal cult,” and said “his deal is going to hurt the people specifically in his state of West Virginia and hurt them dramatically.”

He later frothed, “breaking tonight in Washington, Sen. Joe Manchin, he has made a sudden reversal. He went to build back broke, says he will now support the Biden-backed green new deal socialist bill on climate.”

Ingraham panned the “Manchin betrayal of the voters of West Virginia,” while Cotton alleged that the senator had signed “probably the longest suicide note in the history of West Virginia.”

“Joe Manchin, we are disappointed in you as my parents said to me often as a child,” Jesse Watters quipped.

They stayed mad on Thursday morning.


Reprinted with permission from Media Matters.

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