From the outset of his presidential campaign, there’s been some concerned debate over Joe Biden’s ability to galvanize young voters.
Recent polling has shown his support slipping among young people, with disillusionment over the loss of voting rights and abortion rights as a prime culprit. But that’s just one reason why the seemingly imminent signing of Democrats’ climate, health care and tax bill, known as the Inflation Reduction Act, is so valuable. It’s full of many things young folks support.
In May, for example, Teen Vogue and Change Research polled nearly 1,200 registered voters under the age of 35 and found 78% supported raising taxes on corporations and wealthy Americans. The Inflation Reduction Act would establish a 15% minimum tax rate for corporations that bring in at least $1 billion annually.
The Teen Vogue poll also found an overwhelming majority of those surveyed (80%) support “reducing carbon emissions and addressing the impact of climate change.”
Some analysts have predicted the Inflation Reduction Act’s provisions could cut emissions by 40% come 2030.
Although the bill falls far short of the $555 billion in climate spending House Democrats approved when they passed their version of Biden’s Build Back Better Act last year, the more than $369 billion authorized in the Inflation Reduction Act is the most ever for climate funding in a single bill. And the way that money will be spent should appeal to young people as well. The bill includes $60 billion in investments to make local transportation and agriculture infrastructure more energy efficient.
I see the potential for young people to get involved in creating climate-resilient products as one of the best outcomes of this legislation. There’s a world of well-paying, stimulating, deeply meaningful and revolutionary work in the climate arena. The Inflation Reduction Act makes it possible for more people to influence and operate in that world. Here’s a cool primer, produced by Vice, on what’s to come.
The area of the bill where young people will likely benefit the least in the immediate term is in its changes to Medicare. For example, many young people won’t see the direct benefits of a provision allowing Medicare to negotiate prices of some drugs (the program is typically available to people 65 and up and younger people with disabilities), but expanding the government’s power to subsidize health care coverage is sure to appeal to many young people.
The Teen Vogue poll found 73% of people surveyed support Medicare for All, a single-payer, government-subsidized health care program that would cover all Americans.
There’s plenty in the Inflation Reduction Act for young people to like. And in an election year with razor-thin margins in Congress — particularly one where youth enthusiasm has been wavering — that means there’s plenty in the bill for Democrats to love.