In Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare's fictional character asked; "What's in a name?" A name represents a person, an object or an event. For example, if I say I have seen an elephant you know that I've viewed a huge, gray-colored animal with large floppy ears, and a long trunk. That seems obvious, but in politics the use of names can often be baffling and misleading. Here are some examples.
After Justice Steven Breyers announced his retirement to be effective later this year, the President nominated Justice Jackson to fill his position on the Supreme Court. During the confirmation process Senator Marsha Blackburn asked the nominee Ketanji Brown Jackson about a name.
Sen. Blackburn: "Can you provide a definition for the word 'woman?'"
Jackson: "Can I provide a definition?"
Jackson: "I can't."
Blackburn: "You can't?"
Jackson went on to say several things including that she was not a biologist and thus was not competent to give an answer.
Blackburn replied: "The fact that you can't give me a straight answer about something as fundamental as what is a woman underscores the dangers of the kind of progressive education that we are hearing about."
Blackburn said that the correct naming of a woman was relevant because of the then current debate of a transgender male unfairly competing against female swimmers, and also the progressive teaching of gender identity in school to children as young as 5 and 6 years old. She could have added the debate of whether a transgender male could enter a woman's changing or rest room.
The next confusing use of a name came with the Infrastructure Bill. Everyone is in favor of infrastructure. Here in Jackson--the pothole capital of the world-- we need infrastructure as much as anyone. Yet only 10% of the $1.1 trillion expenditures in the bill was on roads and bridges. Some other items had a more remote connection, but others were simply the pet projects of the Far Left. For example, electric vehicles and electric buses were included. Also, public transit, passenger and freight rail, ports and waterways were financed. Some of these were virtuous endeavors, but many could not in all honesty be named infrastructure.
More recently a deceptive use of a name was employed in the Inflation Reduction Act. Inflation is a huge problem for the nation. It is perhaps the number one issue with voters. The cost of gasoline, groceries, and just about everything else has risen substantially over the last 18 months. At 8.5%, inflation is at a 40 year high. So, who could object to an Inflation Reduction Act? If the bill actually lived up to its name, it should have garnered wide support from both sides of the aisle.
First let's state the nature of inflation. It is the increase of pricing for goods and services over a period of time. It is caused by "too much money chasing too few goods." The supply/demand ratio is put out of balance, and extravagant spending exacerbates the resultant inflation. The purchasing power of a person's dollar is decreased. With that background let's examine what's in the Inflation Reduction Act.
The bill has tax credits for companies that employ technologies of solar, wind, and geothermal energy. Tax credits are also given to individuals who install these items in addition to heat pumps. Purchasers of electric cars are granted a tax credit of up to $7,500. There are bonuses to companies based on how they pay workers. $80 billion is given to the IRS for the employment of 87,000 new employees. It is hard to name any of these expenditures that significantly reduce inflation. Many are, once again, the pet projects of the proponents of the Green New Deal, or the efforts to grow big government. The Congressional Budget Office says that the Act will have negligible effect on inflation this year, and in 2023 its effect will be plus or minus 0.1%. In other words, again it will be negligible.
What's in a name? Here the naming of the Inflation Reduction Act is deceptive. If the Far Left was sincerely interested in curbing inflation, they would not be spending an additional $300 billion or perhaps much more of taxpayer money on controversial debt forgiveness for students.
Peter Gilderson, Madison.