Jennifer Briney 00:00 The Inflation Reduction Act is the Democrats’ signature achievement: every one of them voted for it. Both the Congressional Budget Office and the independent analyses that I looked at, like the one I found from the Penn Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, all the estimates of the Inflation Reduction Act say that it will reduce the deficit by $250 to $300 billion. Put another way, the Inflation Reduction Act will save our government money. The Democrats balanced their budget on this one, and then some.
David Ippolito 00:33 [intro music] Tired of Being Lied to
Jennifer Briney 01:02 Hello, my friend, and thank you for listening to the 261st episode of Congressional Dish. I’m your host, Jennifer Briney. And this is the last episode before the midterm elections. This one is going to be about the inflation Reduction Act, which is the Democrats’ main accomplishment in the 117th Congress. This is the law that best exhibits what the Democrats do with control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency. I’ve been reading myself blind over the last few weeks to get this done before the election because this is a law that we can actually use to vote on, because the members of both parties made judging them on it super easy for us. In the House of Representatives, this law passed by 220 to 207, right down party lines. Democrats said yes; Republicans said no. In the Senate, same thing. It passed into law 51-50. Democrats yes, Republicans no. Vice President Kamala Harris had to break the tie, and she voted yes, because she’s a Democrat, and all Democrats voted yes. So if you like what you hear, the Democrats earned your vote on this law. And if you don’t, the Republicans are the vote for you. And this law, if I’m forced to describe it in one sentence, this is a climate law. This is an energy transition law. And it’s the first of its kind in the United States. I want to take a second right now to expose my bias because I don’t think it’s possible for any journalists to be unbiased. Everyone has a bias. The only question is whether or not they’re honest with you about it. Because I think that just reading you a list of tax credits would be one snoozer of a show, I am going to give you my opinions and analyze what I saw in this law for you. I want to be very clear that you are not required to agree with me. You’re not required to like the things I like, or hate the things I hate. Converting you is not my goal. I’m into discussions, not sermons. You can contact me @JenBriney, on Twitter, @congressionaldish on Instagram, and I’m happy to discuss these things. For most of the episode, what I think isn’t even going to matter, because my true goal with this episode is to provide you with literal value. There are tax credits in this law for peasants like you and I that can save us literally 1000s of dollars. And the corporate media has done a piss poor job of getting the word out, because I didn’t know about most of the exciting ones until I read the law myself. But there is a good chunk of this episode that’s going to be about the energy transition provisions, and that’s where disagreements are inevitable. You’re guaranteed to learn things whether you agree with me on stuff or not, which is what matters. But my analysis is going to be from the perspective of someone who cares deeply about our physical environment. Clean water, clean air, stable coastlines, reliable water supplies, these are all things that are threatened by our continued burning of fossil fuels for energy and transportation. I want to eliminate that threat. And when it comes to climate issues, I do know what I’m talking about. I’ve been a dork about climate and weather since I was a small child. I was born in Denver, Colorado, where the weather is psycho. I love it so much. And it instilled in me a fascination with the power of nature, weather, and climate cycles in particular, that has never gone away. In fact, when I was a teenager, my dream was not to be a moderately paid podcaster. I actually wanted to be a meteorologist. But some adult told me that I couldn’t because meteorologists use a lot of math, and I had the distinguished honor of having gone backwards in math during my high school years. By my senior year, while my friends were learning physics and AP Calculus, I was in math for Dummies, where the teacher was a very old man who wore a lab coat to cover all his tattoos. He gave us all a box of crayons and we all got As as long as we didn’t eat them. So the adults were right to stomp on my Weather Channel dreams, but my fascination with weather and climate never went away. The skills that I lack in mathematics, I more than make up for in my natural desire to learn and understand and to communicate with words. In my non-work time when I’m relaxing, not working on Congressional Dish, I tend to read books, well listen to books on tape, written by climate scientists, seismologists, and geologists. That’s what I do for fun. I obsess over every National Hurricane Center update as hurricanes are forming. And I’m constantly amazed by how the storms are consistently ending up stronger than the initial model projections, storm after storm. During smoke season — which is a thing along the west coast that didn’t even exist when I was a school-aged kid being raised in Southern California, but as sure as shit a thing now — I monitor AQI measurements, I monitor air quality measurements, even when I’m not suffering within the smoke myself. I do that just to see how toxic the air is and to observe how the readings change, along with wind patterns. I read International Panel on Climate Change reports, which are basically disaster porn at this point. I have been fascinated with climate and weather for my entire life and I have educated myself on the subject. I am convinced beyond any doubt at this point that our burning of fossil fuels, both oil and gas, are changing the Earth’s climate at a rate that is very concerning, and quite possibly faster than humans can easily adapt. I see climate change a lot like I see cancer, in that the sooner we act, the easier it will be to treat and adapt to it. The longer we wait, though, the harder and more dangerous the problem becomes. So as I’m reading laws, I want to see actions that will do two things. I want to see measures to help us adapt, like some of the measures that I actually saw in the infrastructure law, and I want to see measures that will reduce our need to burn fossil fuels for energy and transportation. I want to see that last one, a reduction in our fossil fuel burning, not just for climate reasons, but for pollution reasons as well, because I don’t want actual cancer. I resent that our air and water and land are all being poisoned by one of the most profitable industries in human history. I want the pollution to stop, and I want those that profited from it in the past and those that are poisoning and profiting from it right now to clean up the messes that they’ve made. That’s the bias behind my analysis. I’m not neutral on fossil fuels: burning them is bad. The fact that a lot of Americans make money from burning them, is just not a convincing argument to keep doing it for me. Quite frankly, I will not advocate to save fossil fuel extraction jobs, just like I won’t advocate for assassin positions: a paying job that harms is not one that should be preserved. But that said, I am more than happy to see my taxes go to those workers whose jobs would be eliminated to help them get whatever education they need to transition their own skills. I’m happy to subsidize the creation of cleaner energy projects and whole industries in those poisoned communities. I care about the people. I care about all workers in this country. But I don’t care about the actual fossil fuel jobs. And yes, speaking of jobs, I am married to my husband, Joe, who has been my partner for 18 years, since we were just drunk college kids, who is now a professional utility scale solar engineer, which is a career path that I helped him pave. I can tell you that from inside the renewable energy industry, we’ve seen amazing growth and progress towards not just making renewables competitive with fossil fuels, but beating them straight up in the market. And spoiler alert, I am legit thrilled that this new law, I am convinced, is going to help tremendously in expanding renewable energy and nonpoisonous transportation in the United States. I’ll tell you right now, I don’t see any need to hide the joy. I am thrilled that this bill became law. Yes, me, Jen Briney, the person most likely to cry on air because Congress did something horrible again. I love another bill that became law in this Congress. I’m as shocked as anyone. But the people who make money burning fossil fuels, while some of them are in Congress writing our laws like Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, who played an outsize and critical role in the writing of this law, he has personally collected millions of dollars through his family’s coal company and his campaign has collected well over $1.2 million from people in the oil and gas industry, that we know of. People who make money from burning fossil fuels had a lot of influence on this law. They had a say in the direction our energy transition is going to go. And there was a balance struck in this law between actually clean energy and the fossil fuel industry, in tandem with the Infrastructure law. Hydrogen is at the center of it. That and much more is what I will be telling you about today. Again, I want to really hammer this home, you do not have to agree with my analysis, the analysis is not the point. The point is to tell you all the ways that this law can put cash in your pocket and to inform you about our country’s energy transition, which is fully funded now and moving forward, whether we like it or not. And you don’t have to trust my word for any of it. Because in this episode show notes, you will find my highlighted pdf of the law, all the reports and articles that I used, and links to the hearings, so you can watch them yourself. Trust is earned. And I’m bringing receipts, which is a pain in my ass, by the way. That’s why others don’t bother to do it. And so if you value that effort, if you value that I take the time to read the actual law and give you my sources and summarize all of this in podcast form for you, please support this show financially in any amount you consider fair for the value you receive. We accept paper checks, PayPal, Venmo, cryptocurrencies, and gift cards. And we do have a Patreon, where you can pay per episode and get bonus content, like the interview with an actual rockstar that I just put up last week. And I’ll give you a little sneak preview of that episode at the end of this one. But I’ll tell you right now, the market is sending me some interesting signals. Because my other more punditry type podcast, which I recently started with a couple of friends, which I love, it’s called, We’re Not Wrong, that podcast is on pace to have more supporters on Patreon in its first year than Congressional Dish has collected in a decade. Obviously, I’m thrilled about my new show’s success, and I get it, that show is really fun. But this show is the valuable one, at least intrinsically, I know that in my heart. But the market is showing me signs saying that the wise career move would be to lean in on the show featuring me fucking around with my friends instead of this one. But you are the market. And if that is not the sign you want me to see and to follow, you can use your market power at congressionaldish.com and support this show. As always, thank you to everyone who already has, because I would have quit reading these long, boring ass laws a long time ago without you.
Jennifer Briney 12:36 First up, let’s get you some money, because there’s plenty of it for the taking, if you know where to look, and where you want to look is to the inflation Reduction Act tax credits. Tax credits are basically a way to keep cash in your pocket. At the end of every year, you most likely owe money to the federal government in taxes. Sometimes it doesn’t look like you do because the taxes came out of your paychecks automatically. You often don’t have to write a fat, painful check out of your bank account like entrepreneurs like I do. But there is a bill regardless of how you pay it. And tax credits reduce the amount of that bill. Let’s say you owe the government $1,000 in taxes, but you get $1,000 tax credit for something, that means that your bill would be reduced to zero. It’s money you get to keep, which means that in a lot of these cases, these tax credits are really only valuable to people who make money. If you’re retired or you don’t make enough to pay much of anything in federal taxes, then these tax credits won’t be all that exciting to you. You can’t reduce a bill that you don’t have. But now that I say that, there are a few that anyone can get regardless of your tax bill. So keep an eye out for those, this isn’t a completely useless episode for you. For the majority of us who do pay federal taxes, there are quite a few opportunities to lower your bills and to get new things with the money that you would have sent to the government. First up, there are some fairly massive tax credits for homeowners starting next year in 2023 and available for the next 10 years. You can get $1,200 in tax credits for installing ENERGY STAR certified equipment, which are energy efficient items in your homes. Every year, $1200 bucks a year. Basically, the tax credits will pay for 30% of your purchase and installation costs. It’s like a 10 year long 30% off sale on ENERGY STAR stuff. And there is one category of purchase that allows you to get more than the $1,200 per year. If you buy an ENERGY STAR certified water heater or biomass stove or boiler, then your tax credit maxes out at $2,000 that year instead of $1,200. On top of that, you can also get a tax credit worth $150 for a home energy audit, which is when you have a trained energy efficiency nerd, like my husband, come to your house and point out all of the inefficient stuff that you can replace to reduce your energy usage and your energy bills. And a side note that I found pretty cool in terms of job creation: the law also appropriates $200 million for state-run training programs to educate people who want to specialize in the installation of home energy efficiency equipment and do those upgrades. It’s exactly the type of thing that I said I am happy to support. This new tax credit structure, I have to say, is a big increase from the old rules, the rules that are in effect for this year, for 2022, which only provided a tax credit of 10% for ENERGY STAR upgrades, and the tax credits were capped at $500 total, ever. But you should know that there are going to be some limits next year when the good tax credits appear for some of the items. For example, if you want new windows, your yearly tax credit is limited to $600 per year, and the tax credit is limited to $500 per year for new doors. You will also have to submit paperwork proving that you bought items that qualified. To make this easy for you, I put information with the details about what you need to do and what you can buy in the show notes for you. The idea is that if you sit down now and create a multi-year upgrade plan for your home, you can get the government, over the next 10 years, to subsidize a substantial amount of your home’s appliances. On top of those tax credits are some fairly massive rebate opportunities for building owners who want a full energy efficiency makeover.The program is going to be called the Homes Rebate Program and it will give money back to homeowners for whole house energy saving retrofits completed by September 30, 2031. For single family homes, the rebate is going to cover half of the cost of your retrofit, capped at $2,000 or $4,000, depending on how much energy is saved. You have to achieve a 35% energy savings to be eligible for the $4,000. For multifamily homes, like if you own an apartment complex, you get the same deal per home. You’ll get half the cost of the retrofit, maxing out at $4,000 per home, but the total maxes out at $200,000 or $400,000 total, depending on the energy savings. Again, it has to achieve a 35% savings to be eligible for the full $400,000. All of those caps are increased for homes occupied by low income families. For homes occupied by people with low incomes, 80% of the cost can be covered by the rebate, not just half, and the maximum rebate amount is increased to $4,000 or $8,000, depending on the savings rate. Again, 35% gets you the big money. To define who is low or moderate income, I actually can’t give you that number, because it’s going to be based on the average income in your area, not nationally. What that means is that people who live in expensive areas like the San Francisco Bay area, or New York City, and other expensive areas, you’re not going to get left out of this one like you have been in other programs that are determined by dollar amounts and therefore were really only useful for people who live in places that are not that popular to live. It’s not just the definitions of low and middle income that is determined by where you live, that’s also going to determine whether you can get these rebates at all, because the homes rebate program is going to be administered by your state. The Federal money, the D.C. money, is going to go to your state, who will then give it to you. But that’s only if your state applies to be a part of the program. There are some, I’ll say it, Republicans who are in office in states in this country that do their districts dirty by turning down federal money for you because of their own dumbass ideologies about all government being bad. Whether your state representatives like the government or not, when they refuse federal tax money, like when the Republican states refused to take Medicaid money from the Affordable Care Act, and therefore refused free health care for the poor citizens and their states, well, if they choose to do that shit in regards to the Homes Rebate Program, their ideology is going to cause you to lose out on returns on your tax investments in your state. In this case, if your state doesn’t choose to apply to be a part of the Homes Rebate Program, it can cost you, a taxpayer, not some poor person but you, who has paid into the system, it can cost you $4,000 in cash, on top of all the extra money that you will pay for the energy because you didn’t do the energy efficiency retrofit. This isn’t the only rebate program structured this way. There’s another one worth even more money that will only be available to you if you live in a state that is governed by people who are not ideologically opposed to you getting returns on your tax investments. These other rebates are worth a total of $14,000 for things like water heaters, heat pumps for space heating or cooling, electric stoves and ovens, electric clothes dryers, so basically replacing home appliances that often use gas. There will also be rebates for electrical wiring upgrades, home insulation and air sealing for $13,000 worth. These rebates are structured differently, so instead of getting the money back, these rebates will be provided at the point of purchase at the store, like a discount. Unfortunately, these are means tested and so these are only going to be available to people who don’t make a ton of money. Again, I can’t give you an exact number because the rebates will cover either 50% or 100% of your costs, depending on your income, compared to the average income in your area. The people who qualify for these discounts are described in the law as low or moderate income, so not just desperately poor people. You should check to see if you qualify, because I checked and I would. Of course, I have the link for this in the show notes for you, but you go to census.gov Quick Facts page, and you look up your city. Scroll down a little bit and look for the median household income, and then multiply that by 1.5. If you make less than that number, then you qualify for the rebates worth half the cost of your new electric appliances and upgrades. If you multiply the median household income by point eight, and make less than that number, then those rebates can cover your entire costs of your electric upgrades. This is up to the caps per item. Again, those details are in the show notes for you. The caps are like $840 for a stove, $840 for a clothes dryer, $1,600 for insulation. So the caps are pretty generous — they can get you pretty far. Again, just like the other rebates, where you live matters, because not only will your eligibility for rebates be tied to the average income of your neighbors, but just like with the home retrofit rebates, your state has to apply to be a part of this program. The reason that I’m emphasizing this so much is that even though it seems and is very stupid for a state politician to refuse this money for their citizens, Republicans have done so in the past. People in the Republican controlled states have died from lack of health care because they refused federal money to pay for their citizens to get that health care. So if you are in a Republican controlled state and you want access to these rebates, which as a taxpayer, you have contributed to and deserve to benefit from, I’m advising you to contact your state representatives and make it clear that you want those applications turned in. Do not assume that they will be turned in just because you assume that no one would turn down free money. It’s also worth knowing that very few people call their state representatives, so even a few phone calls could be enough to make a difference. Let them know you are watching and that it could be political suicide for them if they refuse you the $18,000 that you are due. After two years, any money that hasn’t been distributed to the states that didn’t apply, those states’ shares will be redistributed to the states that did apply and did launch these programs. Once that money is gone, it’s gone. Hopefully most states will take the money because, well, it’s not just poor people that the Republicans would be fucking over by refusing the Homes Rebate Program money. Instead, it would be homeowners, people with money. It’s just a sad fact that people with money have more influence with politicians than people without it.
Jennifer Briney 23:50 Big picture, I loved these provisions. In fact, this was wild. I was on Twitter during one of the days that I was working on this law and after reading an endless stream of tweets about how gas prices are so high and seeing that President Biden was selling off another 15 million barrels of oil from our emergency reserves to try to bring the prices down before the midterm elections, selling off our emergency reserves, which his administration has been draining for months. Well I got pissed and I tweeted, “I’d love taxes to help with high energy prices by reducing energy needs. Home retrofits to keep heat in, home solar power generators and lighting, all kinds of micro level stuff. We can get creative, but make oil cheaper is the only option for DC brains, just feed the addiction.” I tweeted that. And then just a few hours later, I found exactly what I wanted in this recently signed legislation. That has never happened to me before in 10 years of producing Congressional Dish in 10 years, I have never said “Gosh, I wish Congress would do this thing” and then find out “Wow, they just did.” I love it, it’s great policy, because one way to break our addiction to fossil fuels for energy is to use less energy. And so incentivizing and helping people to pay for the upgrades to all of these individual buildings all over the country, that’s how you get it done. Each home that uses less energy adds up to a lot less energy that our country needs. And while I don’t think it was necessary to means test the rebates because it’s going to add more work at the stores, and result in fewer buildings getting retrofitted, because plenty of people will have to pay full price, and so we’ll have no incentive or any sense of urgency to do these upgrades. So I don’t like the means testing, but it’s still a giant step in the right direction. And overall, I love it. And by the way, just FYI, even though these bigger tax credits don’t start until the end of next year, for this year 2022, you can still max out that old $500. That’s no longer a lifetime cap. So go get it. It’s not going to hurt you to hit up Home Depot for a small project or two before the New Year. And you can check out the expiring credits for any upgrades that you may have already done. What you can do is get that $500 and then start on your bigger projects, that get you the $1200, the $4000, the $14,000 next year, and the year after that, the year after that. Again, check out this episode’s Show Notes. That’ll help you with the details. Another purchase that you may want to start thinking about, especially for the next three years, is the purchase of an electric vehicle, because those tax credits also got extended and will eventually be easier to claim. But I have to tell you, there is a nasty poison pill that was inserted, that if it’s not changed or repealed, could in practice kill the EV Tax Credit Program entirely in 2025, so purchasing sooner than later is advised. What the law does is extend tax credits for electric vehicles. And actually, it’s not just electric vehicles anymore. They changed the program so that it’s for “clean vehicles” so that hydrogen fueled vehicles will apply as well. The tax credits for clean vehicles are extended until the end of 2032 at $7,500 per car. This tax credit is also means tested, so you can only get it if you make under $150,000 as a single or $300,000 as a couple. There’s also new limits on the price of the car itself. In order to claim this tax credit, you’d have to buy a regular car priced at $55,000 or less, or you could get a pickup, van or SUV priced at $80,000 or less. I bought my plug-in hybrid in 2018 for under $40,000, so you should be fine with those limits, unless you’re trying to waste your money buying a fully loaded Tesla complete with Batmobile doors and fart machines. Our tax money will not be subsidizing those. But the affordable Teslas, those will qualify. And that’s new because the new law removes the incredibly short-sighted, stupid cap that was put on the number of each vehicle that could qualify for the old EV tax credits, which has made Teslas and my favorite electric vehicle, the Chevy Bolt, ineligible for the tax credits for years because they were too popular. It was a real handcuff on the expansion of electric cars, and those handcuffs have finally been removed. So that’s great, at least for now. Now we need to talk about the timing of your purchases, because that’s going to matter way more than it should. So, first of all, 2024 is the year to buy a clean vehicle, especially for lower income people. And the reason is that until 2024, the tax credits are going to work as they always have, you buy the car and then you use the tax credit to lower your bill to the government by $7,500. But if you don’t owe a bill to the government for at least $7,500, then you won’t get the full savings. But if you wait until 2024 to buy your car, there will be a major change to how the tax credits can be delivered. So in 2024, you’ll be able to, and I think most people will, transfer your tax credit to the car dealer, which means that you can get your tax credit, in effect, as a discount when you buy the car. Basically, you’re gonna pay $7,500 less for the car right when you buy it, and the dealer will pay $7,500 less in taxes at the end of the year. Because the dealer is the person claiming the tax credit, it won’t matter what your tax bill is. Your $7,500 will just stay in your pocket as you drive away in your new car. That’s really cool and it will make the financials of buying a clean car a lot more attractive. But there was some supply chain shit that was inserted into this bill that’s going to severely limit which cars you can buy using these tax credits beyond the limits that were placed on the cost of the cars. So first of all, they included an assembled-in-America requirement, which means that the parts of the car can still come from all over the world, but the manufacturer now has to bring them all together — doesn’t even have to install them all, but needs to bring all the parts together — in the United States, and deliver those to the dealer as a package. Now, that might not sound like a big deal, but I found a list of cars that currently qualify, and there are only 25 on the list. I know for a fact that some of those cars are priced above the price caps. I put that list in the show notes for you. But then in 2025, it gets even worse, and the whole tax credit thing could come to a full stop because of another poison pill inserted into the law. Starting in 2025, an electric car that has any part of its battery containing critical minerals produced or even recycled in a “foreign entity of concern” will be disqualified. Now to fully understand why this is a poison pill, you really should listen to the Minerals are the New Oil episode, because this is about our economic war with China and China’s dominance over the world’s rare earth minerals. But since we’re in the middle of this episode, here’s a good summary of the situation from a hearing that took place in March in the Senate. This is Abigail Wolff, she’s the vice president of Critical Minerals Strategy, and she’s the director of the Center for Critical Minerals Strategy at Securing America’s Future Energy.
Abigail Wolff 31:36 But as things stand, without some significant course corrections on America’s critical minerals enterprise, the leading automobile power won’t be the United States, it will be China, not because of superior design or technology, but because of their massive head start and established market power, if not utter dominance, in all aspects of the supply chain that powers these vehicles. But simply mining alone does not begin to address the fundamentals of America’s mineral supply chain challenge. Where we are most lacking and where China is most dominant is in that crucial but largely hidden processing phase and midstream component production. One simply can’t dig up a rock and stick it in a Tesla, you have to crush it, smelt it and refine it into precursor material that is then sold to somebody else to turn it into battery guts, namely cathodes, anodes and electrolytes. Today, the United States has less than 4% of all minerals processing capacity, and makes 0% of the world’s cathodes and anodes. By contrast, China is the world’s largest processor of copper, nickel, cobalt, lithium and rare earth elements. And they control 60% of anode production and 40% of global cathode production. Consider that in 2019, about 70% of the world’s cobalt supply was mined in the DRC, but more than 70% of that cobalt was refined in or controlled by China.
Jennifer Briney 33:01 Now, the DRC is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where 70% of the world’s cobalt is being mined. And that country is on the official foreign entities of concern list. What that means is if one fleck of their Cobalt is used in a car’s battery, then that car won’t be eligible for the tax credit. There are other concerning countries on that list that extract a lot of the needed minerals as well. I know who did this, I know who put this in the law, and he explained why. Here’s Senator Joe Manchin of coal country West Virginia.
Sen. Joe Manchin 33:35 When it comes to storage, there has rightly been a focus on the supply chain, particularly for lithium ion batteries, that power electric vehicles and phones in our pockets and many other modern technologies. While we have benefited from the use of this important battery chemistry, the fact that China is responsible for 75% of global lithium ion battery production, including 60% of the world’s cathode production and 80% of the world’s anode production should give everyone pause. That is why I was proud to champion Inflation Reduction Act which incentivize the onshoring of the entire battery supply chain from the production and processing of raw materials to the battery pack assembly and everything in between.
Jennifer Briney 34:16 This method that got put in the Inflation Reduction Act, this is not an incentive to onshore. This is a “do it by 2025 or we’ll destroy the EV tax incentives” method. This is a stick, not a carrot. And the consequences could be the elimination of the tax credit in practice, because according to the Alliance for automotive innovation, and their analysis of the EV tax credit program in the Inflation Reduction Act, they concluded that “there are 72 EV models currently available for purchase in the United States including battery, plug-in hybrid, and fuel cell electric vehicles. 70% of those electric vehicles would immediately become ineligible when the bill passes, and none would qualify for the full credit when additional sourcing requirements go into effect. Zero.” I think that Joe Manchin intended this as a poison pill for the EV tax credits because, well, I’ll let him tell you,
Sen. Joe Manchin 35:09 It makes no sense to remain beholden to bad actors when we have abundant resources and manufacturing know-how, here in the United States. Make no mistake, we are beholden, particularly when it comes to many of the minerals that go into clean energy technologies. That is why I’ve sounded the alarm about going down the path of EVs alone, and advocated for equal treatment for hydrogen,
Jennifer Briney 35:31 Hydrogen. For Episode 240, I read the Infrastructure Law and I dedicated a lot of that episode to the massive $9.5 billion investment that law made into hydrogen hubs, which are locations in the United States that will be transformed for hydrogen production. Even though hydrogen is one of the most common elements on Earth, and its waste is water, which is environmentally awesome, unlike the sun and the wind, we have to make hydrogen that can be used for energy and transportation, and making hydrogen is really expensive right now, by investing our tax money in hydrogen production, like we have for renewable energy. Joe Manchin and friends are trying to bring those costs down, which on its face doesn’t seem problematic, but there are some problems with their plan. First, refueling stations. We have about 115,000 gas stations in the United States. We also have a network of about 110,000 electric car charging stations in this country as of last year, so it’s almost certainly more than that [now], in addition to all of the electric plugs that exist in every garage in every home. But there are only about 400 hydrogen refueling stations in the United States at the moment. Although some tax money has already been set aside for building more, the current estimate is that there will only be about 1000 hydrogen refueling stations by 2030. That’s not enough to make me comfortable with buying a hydrogen powered car. And then there’s the production of hydrogen. While a hydrogen powered car is emissions-free itself — and as someone who loves to walk, I would much rather have hydrogen powered cars dripping water next to me as I’m walking instead of fossil fuel guzzlers spewing poisons in my face — and that is great, the production of the hydrogen that would go into those cars is not clean and it’s not going to be. While hydrogen can be produced with renewable power, it has the fitting nickname of green hydrogen, the vast majority of hydrogen is blue hydrogen. Here’s fossil fuel-devoted Senator from Oklahoma, James Lankford in a Senate hearing about hydrogen power that took place in February.
Sen. James Lankford 37:40 I’m concerned about the conversation around green versus blue hydrogen will pit technologies against each other rather than working together to establish a robust hydrogen marketplace. The simple truth right now is 95% of hydrogen produced in the United States is made from natural gas.
Jennifer Briney 37:57 Natural gas is methane gas. It’s a fossil fuel, a fossil fuel that changes the climate much faster than carbon dioxide does. That’s not clean. And it is crystal clear that forcing the hydrogen to be produced with truly clean energy is not the Biden administration’s plan. Here’s how I know: the following clip is from a Senate hearing about clean hydrogen from February. The senator asking the question is Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a woman who has proven herself to be totally corrupted by fossil fuel interests. Over the course of her career, she’s taken almost $2 million from people in the fossil fuel industry, that we know of, which is almost double that of Joe Manchin. In this clip, she is speaking to Dr. Sunita Satyapal, who is the director of the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies office at the US Department of Energy, otherwise known as a member of the Biden administration. Just so you know, they will mentioned CCS in this clip, and that stands for Carbon Capture and Storage.
Sen. Lisa Murkowski 38:55 Can you share what the administration’s policy is with regards to converting natural gas to hydrogen? We recognize that there are some within the administration, certainly some groups that that may have influence on the administration, who are very firm about not using fuel sources like natural gas. So the question is, is there a role for conversion to play and what might we anticipate with regards to support and funding that might come with it?
Dr. Sunita Satyapal 39:36 Thank you again for the question. As mentioned, with hydrogen shot we’re really looking at all of the pathways. It’s really about clean hydrogen. So whether it’s natural gas, carbon feedstocks, nuclear renewables, any pathway to get to the low carbon intensity. We’re really pivoting away from the colors, there’s a lot of complexity: green, blue, purple, turquoise. Pyrolysis is another approach. In fact, our loan program office just announced financing of 1 billion solid carbon, which is another value added product, no need for the CCS portion. So definitely an all of the above strategy is needed to meet all of our goals.
Jennifer Briney 40:16 All of the above, which is code for fossil fuels included. In the Infrastructure Episode, I suspected that the investments in hydrogen production infrastructure were a way to keep the fossil fuel industry alive, and in my research for this episode, I now know that I was absolutely right. With the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act, we are officially headed towards a hybrid energy future, with some truly clean energy powering our homes and cars and some hydrogen. What’s wild to me is that hydrogen just doesn’t seem to be in the conversation in the United States public when we’re talking about energy. But it’s the center of the conversations in Congress. This is a mash up of senators and witnesses in that February hearing.
**Michael Graff ** 40:54 By 2030, the US hydrogen economy could generate $140 billion per year in revenue,
Sen. James Lankford 41:01 hydrogen economy
Brian Hlavinka 41:02 clean hydrogen economy
Brian Hlavinka 41:04 clean hydrogen economy
Sen. Joe Manchin 41:05 the hydrogen economy
Brian Hlavinka 41:06 clean hydrogen economy
Brian Hlavinka 41:08 the hydrogen economy
Dr. Glen Murrell 41:09 the blue hydrogen economy
Jennifer Briney 41:12 They speak about this future hydrogen economy as if it is a well-known done deal. And it was the centerpiece of the Inflation Reduction Act, so maybe it is. Since we’re already halfway down this energy rabbit hole, let’s finish the hydrogen segment, shall we? Because specifically, the new law increases tax credits for hydrogen produced starting next year, increasing them by five times in some cases. These tax credits are only for hydrogen produced in the United States in facilities that are publicly owned. So there’s actually no tax money for private companies here. The new facilities have to be constructed in the next 10 years. But here’s the thing about the Inflation Reduction Act that is keeping me from losing my shit when it comes to this whole hydrogen situation. The way these tax credits are structured, there are market incentives that were put in here that might drive the industry to invest in the kind of hydrogen produced by actual clean energy instead of methane gas. Right now, a kilogram of hydrogen made with methane costs of between $1 and $2, including the cost of some carbon capture. But hydrogen made with wind and solar ranges between $3 and $7 per kilogram. That’s where the new tax credit comes in, because the tax credits increase as the greenhouse gas emissions decrease. If hydrogen is produced without releasing any carbon emissions at all, the tax credit is maxed out at $3 per kilogram of hydrogen produced, making clean options financially competitive. Not advantaged, but close to equal with the kind produced with fossil fuels, because the dirtier production methods will get substantially less in tax money. For the first time, companies will be able to choose to produce hydrogen in a truly green way and not be financially penalized for doing so. I would prefer that these companies be incentivized, I would prefer that we pick winners and losers here and that the winners be green energy. But this is better than before, and I’ll take what we can get. If we zoom out and look at the big picture, if we pair this Inflation Reduction Act with the $9.5 billion for the hydrogen hubs funded by the Infrastructure Law, it’s possible to see what they’re trying to do here. They’re trying to pave a path towards long-haul trucking and air travel and cargo ships someday, maybe soonish, not being guaranteed pollution monsters. Yes, these investments in hydrogen can and likely will prolong the burning of methane gas, but these tax credits will at least level the financial playing field for truly clean hydrogen production. Long term, if this is where we head, to a future where the airplanes we fly in are spewing water and the semi trucks on the highways are dripping water, and if the cargo ships are leaking water, that’s clearly a cleaner, healthier world for all of us who need to breathe and need clean water. I was pleased to hear that in all of the hearings that I listened to for this episode, all of the Senators in both parties, well most of them anyway, were discussing how to transition our energy away from fossil fuels. There wasn’t a lot of discussion about if we should do that anymore. All of this is an improvement over what I was witnessing just a couple of years ago in Congress. And I’m definitely not as pessimistic about the hydrogen investments in the infrastructure law as I was before I saw these tax credits were paired with them in the inflation Reduction Act. All that said, getting back to the tax credits for our cars, Joe Manchin wants the hybrid transition to lean more toward the hydrogen economy, and the provisions that he was proud to have slipped in that require all minerals to be sourced from friendly lands, those could kill the EV tax credits entirely in 2025 in practice, even though they would still exist in law. What I’m saying is that it’s best to get your new car before 2025 so that you don’t have to deal with any of this. I should say, new or used car, because the inflation Reduction Act, for the first time, provides tax credits for used clean cars as well. Starting on January 1, if you haven’t gotten a tax credit for a clean vehicle in the previous three years, you’ll be able to get a tax credit of either 30% of the sale price or $4000, whichever is less, if you’re buying a used clean emissions car from a dealer. Just like with new cars, starting in 2024, you can get your tax credit from the dealer the day you buy the car. Unfortunately, though, they means tested this one too, and the limits are much lower. You’re disqualified if you make more than $75,000 as a single or $150,000 as a couple. I should also mention that if you need a commercial vehicle for whatever kind of work you do, there are also tax credits for clean commercial vehicles. You can get $7,500 for vehicles weighing less than 14,000 pounds, and you can get $40,000 for larger vehicles.
Jennifer Briney 46:14 Now, obviously, most of the clean vehicles that people are going to be buying are plug in electric vehicles. And you’re going to need some way to charge these things. I am happy to report that there are also tax credits for charging equipment. The new tax credits will pay for 30% of the cost of vehicle charging equipment installed during the year. If you’re installing equipment in your home, the credit is capped at $1,000. For businesses, they have the credit capped at $100,000, which can go pretty far towards loading up their parking lots. It also makes it clear that this credit can be used to install equipment that not only allows you to charge your car, but to also return electricity back to the grid, essentially allowing you to use your car battery as storage. In addition to electricity, this does include refueling infrastructure for so-called clean burning fuels such as hydrogen. I’m also happy to report that if you’re an anxiety ridden freak like me, who doesn’t like to be in cars or near cars, and basically thinks that cars are the mobile units of death that the statistics prove them to be, and you want to be able to get around safely using your own feet, I am happy to tell you that the inflation Reduction Act appropriates over $3 billion to the Federal Highway Administration for projects to improve walkability via trails and greenways, and to mitigate community effects of highways by putting up noise and pollution barriers, and for adding other kinds of safety improvements for us, not drivers. And I’m also happy to tell you this money is clearly not allowed to be used to add lanes to any roads for your goddamn cars. The federal government will pay up to 80% for the projects, except for in low-income communities, where it will pay up to 100%.
Jennifer Briney 48:02 While we’re still on this topic of transportation, I do want to follow up on the Congress Saves the Post Office episode. Actually, I forgot the Democrats did that, they saved to the post office too! So yay, loved that bill. But in that episode, I spent a significant portion playing clips for you from hearing about the replacement of the Postal Service’s vehicle fleet. I’m happy to report that the Inflation Reduction Act does something that I was hoping that Congress would do, which is appropriate almost $1.5 billion for the purchase of zero-emission Postal Service vehicles, and an additional $1.7 billion for the infrastructure needed to fuel them. Here’s the thing I want to note though, it says that all of this money is going to go to “support zero-emission delivery vehicles” at the Post Offices. While it makes the most sense to have Post Office vehicles be electric, considering that they just sit there and do nothing all night and can be charged that way, the way that this was written does open the door for electric vehicles or hydrogen vehicles to be chosen by the Postal Service’s Board of Governors. I hope they don’t choose hydrogen vehicles, because that would just be really expensive, because we have to buy the fuel. It’s cheaper to just buy the ones that you can plug in at night. So that’s the way I hope they go, but the Inflation Reduction Act gives Louis DeJoy and friends the permission to do whatever they choose. We’ll have to pay attention to the Postal Service Board of Governors to figure out what choice they make.
Jennifer Briney 49:38 In addition to all these energy related tax credits, rebates and investments — even though I do broadly label this as a climate energy law — there are some parts of this law that are going to save us some money in health care. So first of all, this is going to be good for everyone. This law extends the increased Affordable Care Act exchange subsidy so if you’re someone like me who doesn’t work for a corporation and therefore doesn’t get your health insurance through your boss, the Affordable Care Act exchanges are where you go to buy your health insurance. Depending on how much money you make, there are discounts that the government provides for you, and those discounts were increased during the pandemic. And those increases were extended until the end of 2025. So that saves people like me, entrepreneurs, people who don’t have a boss, people that are out of work for whatever reason, it’s going to save people like us money. For elderly people, there’s also some provisions in here that are going to save the elderly people money on their drugs. One of the most important provisions in this law is it allows Medicare to finally negotiate for some prescription drugs. Now, Medicare, in case you don’t know, is government administered health care for Americans over the age of 65. They are the only lucky ducks in this country that get health care without a private insurance middleman doing the billing and denying Healthcare Billing claims for profit. And until this new law, Medicare, despite being one of the largest customers for the pharmaceutical companies, was prohibited by law from negotiating on pharmaceutical prices, which is clearly a symptom of having people in Congress making laws that benefit companies to the detriment of regular people. The Inflation Reduction Act takes a step towards fixing this, but it doesn’t go all the way right away. A list of drugs to be negotiated is going to be selected by the Secretary of Health and Human Services and it’s going to be based on the total recent medicare expenditures for that drug. The first list is going to have 10 drugs on it, and then 10 to 20 drugs will be added every year to the list that is allowed to be negotiated on. The new prices, however, are not going to go into effect until 2026. So there’s still going to be plenty of price gouging allowed for the next few years. There are some really sharp teeth in here, there’s some good financial penalties, though, after those prices go into effect if the company charges more for the drug than was negotiated. If that happens, these drug companies are going to be subjected to a financial penalty worth 10 times the difference between what should have been charged and what actually was charged. For violating other terms of the agreements, the companies can be fined a million bucks per day and they can be charged $100 million for each item of false information that they provide to the government. If the company drags their feet in the negotiation process, they will also be penalized with an excise tax of between 65 and 95% on that drug, and they aren’t allowed to deduct those penalties from their tax payments. Those are some pretty stiff punishments. Now, I do have to note again, though, that this applies only to Medicare and Medicaid. So health care for poor people too. What that means is that private sector patients are still able to be price gouged at will by these companies. Now the hope is that prices will come down in general because of Medicare’s market power. But there’s nothing in here that guarantees that at all. And the negotiated prices have to be published by the Secretary of Health and Human Services. But the law doesn’t say where and it doesn’t require it to be on a public website. I do think for the price of drugs to go down in the overall market, including the private market, there is going to have to be somewhere where everyone can see what the negotiated prices are. Otherwise, how will the insurance companies and hospitals and doctors and US customers know if we’re getting price gouged? That’s the part of the law that I would have liked to have seen strengthened. This is another example of this law not being perfect, but definitely being better than what we had before. There’s also now going to be an out of pocket drug cap for Medicare patients. Medicare patients will have to pay at most $2,000 per year for covered drugs beginning in 2025. Although Medicare is a government run system, over the last 20 years or so the people in Congress that have been hell bent on privatizing everything have allowed Medicare Advantage to become a thing, which is Medicare that is administered by private insurance companies for a profit. Because private insurance companies have been allowed to weasel their way into the Medicare system, it has become necessary to limit the premium increases that they are charging to our seniors. That new limit, as of the Inflation Reduction Act being signed, is 6% per year, which still seems pretty damn high to me. But before the inflation Reduction Act, there was no limit. So this again, is better than what we had before. I am also happy to tell you that for diabetics who need insulin and are covered by Medicare and Medicaid, starting in July of 2023, a deductible will not apply for insulin, and your payments will be capped at $35 a month. But again, if you’re in the private sector, you pay as much as they want to charge. Also, again for the lucky few who have government provided health care, by October 1st 2023, everyone on Medicare and Medicaid will not have to pay deductibles, coinsurance or copays for any vaccines. In summary, poor Americans and older Americans will save some money in health care costs, but those of us in the private insurance web are still just as fucked today as we were before this law.
Jennifer Briney 55:19 Okay, so that’s about it for direct money savings for you. There’s a lot more in the law for corporate level energy efficiency measures that will definitely reduce our country’s thirst for energy. There’s 10s of billions in grants and loans and loan guarantees for corporate energy efficiency upgrades, and investments in green technologies, including vehicles. But since you can’t directly benefit from those, I’m gonna skip the details. Just know that there is a massive investment in reducing our nation’s energy needs on the corporate side as well. But I do want to get back to energy policy and the direction our energy transition is now destined to go. Because I already told you, I skipped ahead. I told you already about the dreams of a hydrogen economy that were funded in the Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act. It really is left up to the market to decide how green that hydrogen production is going to be. But I don’t want to leave you with the impression that this new law is a dirty law. It’s not. There are truly massive investments in actual clean energy funded, not just authorized, but money-out-the-door funded by the Inflation Reduction Act. The existing credits for solar, wind and geothermal energy, those were extended for 10 more years. And this is a great incentive because my solar engineer husband, when we discussed the possibility of those tax credits expiring, he actually wasn’t all that worried about them expiring because solar and wind power is already so competitive, in many, if not most cases, now beating fossil fuel energy even without the tax credits. So the extension of the tax credits make investments in truly clean energy that much more attractive. The law also increases tax credits for wind and solar products in low-income communities. They added new tax credits for producing electricity with clean energy and they created new tax credits for domestic production of solar panels and wind turbines and the equipment needed to connect those to the grid. These equipment production credits decrease starting in 2030, and phase out by 2032, but this law itself is proof that those can easily be extended when the time comes, if needed to keep building a domestic industry for renewable energy equipment. And for those of you who almost always avoid addressing the nuclear waste issue that I produced a whole episode about, an issue that has not been even close to solved, and who keep screaming that “nuclear power is the future, that’s how we need to solve the climate change issue, nuclear, nuclear,” well calm the fuck down. Because this new law provides tax credits starting in 2024 to existing nuclear power producers and increases those tax credits with inflation. So you win, the dinosaur nuclear power reactors are now incentivized to keep operating and we can all just cross our fingers and hope our communities don’t get Fukushima-ed before nuclear fusion energy, which is far safer and doesn’t produce nearly as much nuclear waste, can be figured out. But for now, you get your nuclear reactors, they’re not going anywhere. So please stop emailing me.
Jennifer Briney 58:21 So when it comes to energy infrastructure, massive, massive investments are going in energy infrastructure, and these numbers were so eye popping, that I had to check them five times just to make sure that I wasn’t suffering the effects of my terrible math skills, and counting too many zeros, because the new law appropriates $5 billion, and allows $250 billion, a quarter of a trillion, in loan guarantees for 30 year loans for projects that replace energy infrastructure that’s been shut down, or to reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions on existing energy infrastructure. What I also thought was cool is that electric utilities that get this money are required to pass any financial benefits that they get onto their consumers. How they plan to police that, I have no idea, but the intention is in there. Now, fossil fuel generation and transmission projects are eligible, but they get the money if they install controls or technologies to avoid, reduce, utilize, or sequester air pollutants or greenhouse gas emissions. I don’t love that there isn’t a standard required, like they’re not required to reduce the pollution or the gas emissions down to zero or any other percentage, but down is down. It’s an improvement on the now. And so again, I will take what we can get. But when they say that fossil fuel producers would have to install controls and technologies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, they’re almost certainly referring to carbon capture and storage technologies. And I really hope they can get these technologies to work. Joe and I listened to four hearings about carbon capture and storage technologies while on a 22 hour road trip last weekend, and there appear to be two main categories of carbon capture and storage technologies. First, there’s the kind they install on the production facilities that capture the carbon emissions before they even get out into the atmosphere. This is the kind that the experts talk about as a sure thing technology and the only real problem with it is that it’s wicked expensive to install at the moment. The other kind though, supposedly sucks carbon out of the atmosphere. And that definitely sounds like it’s a work in progress. If I sound kind of wishy washy about all this, it’s because I am. We listened to those hearings, hoping to understand how this all works and we still don’t get it. Now, me not really getting it, that’s not all that surprising. But the fact that Joe, my engineer husband, was struggling to figure it out, doesn’t really get how this tech works, it makes me feel like less of a dumbass. But I’m not even gonna try to explain it to you, because I don’t know how. But that is clearly the goal, to prevent emissions and then to suck the existing emissions of carbon out of the air. But I want to be clear that this technology, even if they can get it to work and get it to be cost effective, is aimed at reducing CARBON emissions, not all of the pollution that makes humans sick when fossil fuels are burned for power. So I looked this up and sulfur dioxide emissions from power plants are predicted to fall when carbon dioxide is captured, but particulate matter, which is a lot of the poisonous shit, and nitrogen oxide emissions, those are actually expected to increase in line with the amount of additional fossil fuels burned if carbon capture technology is installed and we continue to use fossil fuel burning as a form of energy. And so even if we install this equipment on every fossil fuel generation plant in the world, that kind of power generation is still going to poison us. And there’s no known way to make burning fossil fuels truly clean. On top of that, many of the operational carbon capture and storage systems pump the captured carbon dioxide into the ground, and they use it to force more oil out of oil wells. Now, this setup allows companies to actually make money from capturing carbon rather than it being a financial burden. But if the incentive is to use this technology to help them pull up more oil to burn, it really does call into question just how positive this technology is overall for the climate. But regardless, carbon dioxide is a main driver of accelerated climate change. And we’ve already emitted way too much into the atmosphere. So we should all be hoping that they can get this technology, especially the magic kind that sucks the carbon out of the atmosphere, to work and quickly. Because this is how much of this technology Congress is being told we need to install to make our emissions reduction targets, assuming that the strategy of keeping the dead dinosaurs in the fucking ground is not one that Congress intends to pursue, which it clearly is not. Here’s Shannon Angielski, she is the executive director of the Carbon Utilization Research Council and here she is testifying to Congress in July of 2020.
Shannon Angielski 1:03:20 In addition, the International Energy Agency modelled the contributions of different technologies to meet that mid-century two degree scenario and it shows that CCUS accounts for approximately 100 gigatons of needed global co2 emissions reductions by 2060. To put this into perspective, this would be achieved by the operation of 1,100 carbon capture systems on the equivalent of 500 megawatt coal fired units, or 3,200 natural gas combined cycle units, which would need to be operating for the next 30 years.
Jennifer Briney 1:03:51 1,100 installed carbon capture and storage systems. That’s what we need, and we needed it like yesterday. How many do we have installed? As of 2021, there were only 27 operational carbon capture and storage facilities operating in the entire world. That’s only about 2.5% of what we humans need. The Inflation Reduction Act makes investments in this technology as well. It increases the tax credits for carbon capture technology installed starting next year, increasing them by five times in some cases. And the reason this is necessary is because the Inflation Reduction Act not only encourages more investments in fossil fuels, but actually requires them. So first of all, the new law authorizes the Secretary of the Interior to grant leases and right of way in areas that President Trump had stopped until summer of 2032. Now those leases can be granted for wind, but also for fossil fuels. In fact, they force some fossil fuel lease sales. Due to the insistence of Senator Joe Manchin, the law included provisions that REQUIRES the Interior Department to conduct offshore oil and gas leases that it had previously cancelled. Not allows, REQUIRES, those offshore oil and gas leases. Worse than that, and this is the part of the new law that I truly hate, Joe Manchin is also reportedly responsible for the provision that prohibits onshore and offshore wind or solar right of ways to be granted, unless an oil and gas lease for millions of acres has been recently held. So no renewables without oil and gas. Haaaaaate that provision. But that said, there are also some really strong provisions that make the financials of fossil fuel extraction far less attractive. The new law increases the minimum amount that oil and gas companies will have to pay for the federal land that they bid to use, it auctions and increases the minimum bid from $2 per acre to $10 per acre, which looks like a huge increase, but it’s apparently not uncommon for real bids to be for like $100 per acre. So this will likely have little effect. But what will affect their choices are the increases in rental fees while they use the actual land. So the old fee was $1.50 per acre, and that is immediately going to double to $3 per acre. And then it’s going to increase the longer the leases go on, maxing out at $15 per acre per year after eight years of the lease. There’s also now a new non-refundable fee of $5 per acre just to start the process for even expressing interest in leasing our federal lands. On top of that, the Inflation Reduction Act also raises the royalty rate, which is the tax on the oil that the companies have to pay to our government for the privilege of taking the public’s natural resources and privately profiting from them. For onshore, so on the land oil and gas, the percentage they will pay for the oil will increase from 12.5% to 16.75%. And for offshore oil and gas it increases from 12.5% to at least 16.75% and a maximum of 18.75%, which is the rate that the Biden administration set the royalties at in April. This is the first increase in the royalty rate for fossil fuels since the 1920s, when they were first imposed, and we had no idea the extreme negative effects the fossil fuel industry would have on the world. More importantly, this makes the extraction of fossil fuels that much less profitable, increasing the odds that the companies may decide to keep the oil in the ground instead of drilling it. And in yet another financial cost of fossil fuel extractors that is long overdue, the Inflation Reduction Act requires gas companies to pay royalties on all the gas they pulled out of the ground, including the gas that is lost by venting, flaring, and their fuck ups, not just the gas that they collect and sell for profit. Now there are a few loopholes included, like this doesn’t apply to gas vented in emergency situations, or gas that the company says is unavoidably lost. I feel like that one’s going to be abused. But this will still likely stop the flaring that is done just because it is easier and cheaper to flare it than to collect the excess gas. From now on that polluting behavior is not going to be cheaper. I also saw yesterday that NASA has some pretty cool satellites that are able to detect these invisible methane emissions. And I don’t see how this doesn’t reduce the amount of methane and pollution that is just recklessly farted into the atmosphere. Especially because on top of the general royalties that are going to be charged for all of the methane extracted, there will be additional fees for methane that is just straight wasted. These are real financial punishments. And to make this work, the government is going to be giving fossil fuel companies over $1.5 billion to pay for everything that they’re going to need to submit greenhouse gas reports, to install equipment that reduces methane waste, and to permanently plug leaking wells that are on non-federal land. I do want to emphasize that all of these new rules that I’m excited about, these are only for federal land. I want to be clear that while an improvement, these rules and royalties don’t apply to state and private land. And 75% of US oil production comes from state and private land. But again, this is better than what we had before, in my opinion. And you know how much I hate offshore drilling in particular. But even with that provision that ties renewable developments to oil and gas leases, I think this is a lot better than what we had before. And none of this was going to get passed into law without bending to the fossil fuel profiteer Joe Manchin. We have to be realistic. And I think they struck a decent balance here.
Jennifer Briney 1:09:45 Another area where I just want to note this bill struck a surprising balance was between corporate welfare and labor. Because obviously I’ve already told you about the buttload of billions that will be given to companies to pay for upgrades to their facilities. We’re giving billions to the fossil fuel companies, I mean companies are getting money all over the place. But you should also know that all over this law, in fact, so often that I eventually just stopped making note of it, the law requires that workers who are hired to do the upgrades and to install the equipment and to manage all these projects, all over this law, these workers are required to be paid prevailing wages. They’re required to be paid amounts that are similar to those paid generally for the same job in that region of the country. And I don’t see worker friendly requirements like this often in bills or laws. Usually, the lawmakers leave it up to the market to decide how much to pay with the choice of as little as possible being just fine. And this is why I said on a podcast, a pretty big one that I’m pretty excited about will be released the week before the election. I recently went on Walk-Ins Welcome with Bridget Phetasy, who was like the coolest chick ever, but this is why I told her that where worker protections exist right now in Congress, they’re in the Democratic Party. Because I’ve never seen wage protection provisions like this in a Republican authored bill. They constantly write laws that favor the bosses. And so this was a really refreshing pro-worker site to see. And also refreshing were the pay fors, because unlike the tax cuts that were passed into law when the Republicans had full control of the Congress and the White House tax cuts that were not paid for and caused the deficit to skyrocket, the Democrats did pay for all this, or more accurately, the Democrats raised taxes on big corporations to pay for all this. One of the things that they did is they slapped a 15% minimum tax on some corporations. It’s going to a total of fewer than 150 of them and all of them are companies that make over a billion dollars per year. They also put a 1% tax on stock buybacks of over a million dollars per year. Stock buyback is when a company listed on a stock exchange buys its own stock, which reduces the amount of shares available to the public and therefore makes each share more valuable. The effect of this is that all the existing shareholders get wealthier. And a lot of times executives of corporations are given shares as compensation and so doing this increases their own wealth. Share buybacks were illegal until 1982, probably because of the obvious scamminess of the whole thing. But instead of making it illegal again, the Democrats instead decided to tax this often greedy behavior exhibited most often by some of the most dominant corporations in the world. Apple, Google, Meta (which is Facebook), Microsoft, Lowe’s, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway, Wells Fargo, these are companies that are not going to go bankrupt because of a 1% tax on their previously illegal enrichment of their shareholders. Now the fine print on this is that it doesn’t go into effect until January 1 2023. So I do expect quite a few end of year stock buybacks. And that’s it. I already told you about the other one.
Jennifer Briney 1:12:58 And then finally, finally, the trend that I have been witnessing in law for a decade of Republican rule in Congress has finally been reversed: the trend of gutting the IRS, cutting its funding so that it is incapable of enforcing tax laws, especially enforcing the laws in regards to wealthy tax cheats, who can afford a gang of expensive accountants to make the IRS run around in circles. Specifically, the IRS funding is increased by $3 billion for taxpayer services. So like, you know, when you call and you need help, they’re actually going to have more people answering the phones. They’re also going to get $4.7 billion for IT upgrades, they’re going to get $25 billion for operations, and they’re going to get $45.6 billion for enforcement. There’s also going to be a report funded with $15 million, it’s going to be due around next summer, that’s going to study the cost to create and operate a direct tax return service so that we don’t have to keep paying for TurboTax to submit our taxes. Although I do want to note that Intuit, which is the company that makes billions of dollars off of our complicated system through its TurboTax software, that company is a lobbying big time spender. They spent over $3.2 million trying to influence laws in 2021 and they’ve already spent $1.7 million in the first half of this year. And their lobbying reports referenced this law in particular on 28 of their lobbying disclosure reports. On the one hand, it’s kind of amazing that that study got funded despite their lobbying. But on the other hand, I do have to wonder if that system was going to be created by the Inflation Reduction Act, and their lobbying efforts turned that action into a study. I don’t really know which way that went. But either way, these IRS provisions have generated a total freakout by people who are terrified that new IRS agents are going to be coming after peasants and leaving the billionaires alone. But there’s two issues that make that freak out not justified. First, the IRS is not incentivized in any way to spend money auditing peasants. There’s not enough money to get back from regular people like you and I to justify the expense of the audits. And then two, all of the analyses of the Inflation Reduction Act, from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office to independent analyses show that the increases in funding for the IRS are expected to pay for themselves and then on top of that bring in between $124 and $147 billion in money that they’re not currently collecting in taxes. None of the expert analyses are projecting that the IRS funding is going to cost us money, as it surely would if the expectation was that the IRS is going to harass regular people for a few 1000 bucks here and there. If you pay your damn taxes, you have nothing to worry about. So pay your damn taxes and join me in celebrating that the billionaires might have to pay their taxes now too, because the IRS will have the resources that it needs to chase down the money that they hide in the fucking Cayman Islands. It’s kind of fascinating to me that most of the freak out about the IRS funding came from Republicans in Congress, because that’s the party that’s supposed to be fiscally conservative, you would think that they would want taxes to be collected. But they are the ones that preach balanced budgets and paying for what you spend. And in my experience of reading the laws that the Republicans have written for the last 10 years, congressional Republican actions have not matched their words on their fiscal conservatism. For example, as I kind of just mentioned, the 2017 tax cuts, which is again, the big thing the Republicans accomplished with their full power in 2017, those tax cuts increased the deficit by 1.5 trillion — trillion, with a T. They missed their balanced budget and put us $1.5 trillion dollars further into debt with their reckless budgeting. And so now with the Democrats in full control of Congress and with the presidency, for the first time in the decade that I’ve been reading laws for Congressional Dish, I get to compare the job performance of the parties when it comes to balancing budgets, when they have the power to do whatever they want. The Inflation Reduction Act is the Democrats’ signature achievement, every one of them voted for it. And both the Congressional Budget Office and the independent analyses that I looked at like the one I found from the Penn Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, all the estimates of the Inflation Reduction Act say that it will reduce the deficit by $250 to $300 billion. Put another way, the Inflation Reduction Act will save our government money. The Democrats balanced their budget on this one, and then some. And that is what fiscally conservative budgeting looks like. And it was the Democrats that did it, not the Republicans. Based on their actions, not their words, the idea that the Republicans are the fiscally conservative ones is a wildly inaccurate myth. And I can prove it now.
Jennifer Briney 1:17:54 That said, though, while we are talking about financials, I do have to address the name of this law, the Inflation Reduction Act, because that same independent analysis concluded that this new law won’t do a damn thing to fight inflation. And that makes sense to me, because the name was a political trick. This bill became law in the middle of the summer of this year. And at the time, the Republicans were all bleeding, the same talking point at every opportunity, even when it made no sense in the context of the conversations being had. It was inflation, inflation, inflation, inflation, inflation, inflation, just listen to episode 256, Poisonous Pet Collars is what that episode is called, to hear exactly what I’m talking about. The hearing was about Seresto flea and tick collars and their tendency to kill our pets and our government’s refusal to do a damn thing about that. And yet the Republicans at that hearing wouldn’t shut up about inflation.
Republicans 1:18:49 Out of all the economic concerns keeping the American people up at night, namely 40 year high inflation, inflation, and more inflation. I’m afraid flea and tick collars just don’t quite make the cut. The latest Consumer Price Index report revealed that inflation hit 8.6 In May compared to a year prior. Consumers are burdened with the inescapable reality of skyrocketing inflation. Inflation is at a 40 year high. Inflation, inflation, inflation, inflation, inflation, inflation, inflation and inflation, inflation, inflation, inflation, inflation, inflation.
Jennifer Briney 1:19:27 It was some of the worst behavior I’ve ever seen in Congress, and I’ve seen a lot in 10 years. And that was the time period when the Inflation Reduction Act became law. By counting on the American people to know nothing about what the bill actually does, because our media doesn’t bother to tell us, the Democrats named the bill the Inflation Reduction Act and dared the Republicans to vote against it, which all of them did. Now, as far as politics go, I actually find it all pretty funny. All longterm Congressional Dish listeners know that the names of the bills are more often than not totally disconnected from the contents of the bills. The Democrats were just more obvious about it this time. But this is not an inflation fighting bill. It doesn’t crack down on corporate price gouging. It doesn’t limit the number of homes that investors can gobble up and rent to us at high prices. It doesn’t tax corporate landlords for vacancy. So there’s a consequence for landlords that leave units vacant to limit supply. It doesn’t legally tie gas prices to the price of oil so that when oil prices go down, the gas prices go down with them. And it certainly didn’t bring back the oil export ban so that the fossil fuels that are drilled here have to stay here. There’s plenty that Congress and the Democrats could do to combat inflation. And this bill didn’t do anything. And so any of the accusations that you may hear about the inflation Reduction Act being a con in regards to inflation, all of those, I must say, are true.
Jennifer Briney 1:20:48 But overall, the experience of reading the Inflation Reduction Act reminded me very much of the feelings I had when I read the Affordable Care Act. That law was passed in 2010, which is the last time that the Democrats controlled all of Congress and the White House. It was two years before I had started a Congressional Dish, but when I started Congressional Dish, and for five years after that, the Republican Party was constantly trying to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Bill after bill after bill landed on my desk, intending to take a wrecking ball to that law. So to understand all the changes that the Republicans were trying to make, I tortured myself and read the entire Affordable Care Act and detailed it in my 48th episode. My conclusion at the end of that exercise was that the system created by the Democrats and the Democrats alone was not an ideal system. They chose to leave the private insurance bloodsuckers at the center of our health care system. They chose to leave decisions about our health care up to our bosses when they chose to give insurance companies the power to choose our doctors and decide what care we get. It’s a dumpster fire of a system and I hate it. But it’s better than what we had before. Because while they left the fundamental flaws at the center of our health care system, they at least put in place some rules. They required that health insurance companies pay for basic things like ambulances, hospital stays, preventative care checkups, the most basic things that health insurance companies were using all kinds of tricks to get out of paying for prior to the Affordable Care Act becoming law. And so the Affordable Care Act was an improvement. It was progress, even though it left a lot of work to do. And the Inflation Reduction Act feels the same way. There are things in this law that are hate-able: tying renewable energy expansion to fossil fuel expansion, the hydrogen economy being designed in a way to keep us hooked on burning natural gas. This law will keep the fossil fuel industry operational. This isn’t the “keep the damn carbon in the ground and end the pollution” law that I wish it were. But the improvements made are substantial. The tax credits for us peasants and the corporations to help our country be more energy efficient, to reduce our need for energy in general, they’re fantastic. The investments in actual clean energy and the investments that clean up the dirty energy, they’re fantastic. And the fact that they paid for it in a way that won’t cost us peasants money out of pocket, they will tax the companies that use the most energy and resources and will tax their financial games that are used to enrich the richest among us, that’s fantastic. There were no evil dingleberries, the law is exactly what they said it would be. And so overall, I’m thrilled that this is law. And I don’t think I’ve ever said that before this Congress on this show. So since this is the last episode before the election, I will give you my opinion about what I hope is going to happen next week. And that is, I hope the Democrats keep control of both the House and the Senate. Because I have now seen three significant bills become law that I am thrilled about because of the policies enacted within them. I loved the post office law, I loved the PACT Act. And I pretty much love the Inflation Reduction Act. I also do like that they made major investments in infrastructure, even though that law was way too fossil fuel tainted and vehicle infrastructure heavy for my tastes. But I have witnessed real progress in the 117th Congress for the first time in a decade. And I don’t want that to come to a grinding halt, which it will if we empower the Republicans. I have eight years worth of recordings available to you for free on the internet if you want to know what Republicans do with power, but it’s not progress, not for working people anyway. They write bills that empower our bosses and enrich the investor class. Honestly I’m trying, but I can’t think of a single bill that the Republicans in Congress have fought for that I was excited about. But I can think of quite a few that I was desperate to see stopped. I mean, do you remember their Repeal Bill? Do you remember that one? I’ll put the episode in the show notes for you but it was truly horrible. When it comes to healthcare, it would have repealed out-of-pocket limits for low income people. It would have charged high fees to people who couldn’t afford and therefore didn’t buy health insurance for more than 63 days, and who then wanted to get health insurance again. And the worst part, it would have repealed the 10 essential health benefits that insurance companies are required to cover. If Republicans had their way, insurance companies could take your premium money and refuse to pay for your ambulances, hospital stays, emergency room visits, prescription drugs, lab tests, preventative care, all of it. There would have been no more rules for insurance companies saying you have to pay for these things. And that would have gone into effect on January 1, 2020, just in time for the COVID-19 pandemic. If it weren’t for a dying, John McCain, who was at the time of the vote dying of brain cancer, who was personally dealing with an existential healthcare crisis at the time, if it weren’t for his thumbs down on that horrible Repeal and Replace bill, can you imagine how many Americans would have gone bankrupt during the pandemic? The comparison of what Republicans did with their power, or tried to do with their power, and what the Democrats have done? It’s Stark, and quite frankly, I want more of what the Democrats have done. It’s not perfect, but it is drastically better, at least for working people. So after reading the Inflation Reduction Act, and the PAC tax, I’d like to see them empowered to keep this going for two more years.
Jennifer Briney 1:26:31 I am very excited to be almost done with this episode. This was a toughy going back and forth between the IRS code and a new law. That’s not fun. And so if you do appreciate and got some value from this episode, if you think it’s going to save you some money, if you’re now going to go and shop for some new windows and doors and insulation, and you now know where to find out how to get some of that paid for because me, I would appreciate if you share the wealth with Congressional Dish, because this is how I make a living. But I don’t want to say that this is the only thing I’ve done lately. I have been on a few other podcasts. So like I mentioned, right before the election Walk-Ins Welcome with Bridget Phetasy is going to come out. She is so cool. She’s one of these people that just doesn’t play the left versus right game. She won’t label herself politically, I felt like I found a true kindred spirit. I adore her. And so that episode should be out right before the election. I’ve been on a lot of podcasts and I know a lot of podcasters listen to the show, so please don’t be offended, but I do think that I had my most fun podcast guest appearance when I went on A Word with Tom Merritt. For about an hour, we discussed our mutual love of disaster movies. So like I said in this episode, I’m a dork for climate and for weather things. And along with that comes just like a sick fascination with disasters. So I had so much fun on that episode. And I’ll put that in the show notes for you. And I also had a lot of fun on the Living Numbers podcast with Tony Rambles. When I went to Podcast Movement over the summer, as many of you know, I do the orientation every year at Podcast Movement, and Tony Rambles is a relatively new podcaster, he was at the orientation. And he was such a good sport because we had called a bunch of people onto the stage. And earlier in the orientation, we asked people to share some stuff and he was one of them. And so as we’re calling people up to the stage, for some reason, he thought that he was called. So we intended to have five people on the stage. And we ended up with six. And one of them was Tony, even though he was not invited on the stage, so we kind of teased him a little mercilessly in front of a few 100 people, he was such a good sport about it. So Tony instantly became friends with all of us who were hosting that orientation and he invited me on his podcast, which is called the Living Numbers podcast where he asked questions of his guests that are tied to certain numbers. And so it was actually like, the questions had me going into some personal stuff. Yeah, I just had a really good time. So if you’re interested in getting to know me a little bit more as a person, as opposed to, you know, this freak that is obsessed with Congress, check out the Living Numbers podcast with Tony rambles. And also again, A Word with Tom Merritt, the disaster episode. Goddamn, that was fun. So yeah, that’s what I’ve been doing outside of Congressional Dish. So now, oh, my God, such a great thing happened that I want to tell you about. So as you should know, one of the things that we do here on Congressional Dish is we have Executive Producer credits. Because this is a value for value funded podcast, which means that people give the podcast the amount in financial contributions that they feel this podcast is worth, so there are people that have contributed enough to have actually paid for a substantial proportion of an episode’s production costs. Those people are Executive Producers. It costs $535 per episode. And once you hit that amount either all at once, or you can build up to it over the course of years, once you hit $535 and every time you hit $535, you’re eligible to put an Executive Producer credit on the episode of your choice, one that you are especially proud to have helped produced, and it also lends your vouch to that episode. Well, oh my god, the coolest thing happened, which is that Brandon K Lewis, who is someone who has apparently been listening to the show for many years, and person who has never sent me any messages that I know of hasn’t sent any payments, nothing out of nowhere, sends in a payment for five executive producer credits. Five, five of them, oh my god. So I was so excited, like jumping up and down level excited, and the episodes that he picked, I’m really excited about too. He picked some really good ones that I think deserve Executive Producer credit. So he picked episode number 58, that’s an old one, titled CD058: Space Travel, TSA, Wall Street, & Patents. He also picked episode number 98, which was the USA Freedom Act: Privatization of the Patriot Act episode, which is still relevant today, because that is what we are living under at the moment. He also picked CD147: Controlling Puerto Rico, which is our history of our relationship with our territory of Puerto Rico. He also picked episode 201: WTF is the Federal Reserve. And then finally, he picked episode 234: AWOL Recall, which is the story of the Rock and Play Sleeper, which was essentially a baby deathbed. And so along with that very generous contribution and all five of his Executive Producer credits, Brandon also sent in this message. He said, “I’ve been a quiet lurker for years, listening and freeloading every episode. But freeloading no more. A friend of mine turned me on to Congressional Dish. I listened to one episode and then went through and listened to every episode from the beginning, skipping an occasional Thank You episode. Jen’s work has expanded my awareness of Congress while simultaneously saddening me with its failures in poor governance. It has been an interesting aside hearing about her personal life, too. Didn’t she have a pet rat at one time? Or am I making that up in my brain?” No, you’re not making that up. When this podcast started, Joe, and I had two rats pickle and pepper. We got them when we thought we were going to be living in Boston. Then when Joe lost his job, we moved across the country with pickle and pepper. And so they lived with us in Oregon and they were pretty much our best friends. They were the coolest. And then they also moved with us to the Bay Area when Joe finally got the job with the company he’s working for now. And those rats were so damn spoiled that by the time we moved to the Bay Area, they didn’t really stay in their cage anymore. I’m surprised I have any friends that met me in that time period, because we just let these two little rats run around the apartment. They lived in a couch cushion that we replaced when they died. But they had burrowed holes into a couch cushion, so we just like, let them have it. And they didn’t really touch any of the other cushions. They were good little girls. But yeah, rats are the coolest animals. They have personalities like little tiny dogs. I love, love, love, love rats. The only reason I don’t still have rats as pets is that they pass away after only three years. And the sadness was just like too much for me to take. I’ve actually had eight or 10 Rats over the course of my life and it’s just too hard to lose them on a three year cycle. So now we have Abby, who’s our dog, who’s only slightly larger than a rat. She’s only eight pounds. But she’s our traveling companion now and she lives a lot longer than a rat. But yeah, I definitely had rats. And they’re the best if you have kids, especially, I highly recommend rats over hamsters, because hamsters are mean little motherfuckers. And they’re also destructive. Where rats are smart, you can train them to do things. And they have great little personalities. So go rats. But back to his note, he said “I want to say it was before her big migration West. Maybe. At any rate, please wish her well and let her know that she has another faithful admirer and devoted servant of her work and her team.” Well, thank you so much, Brandon, you made Lauren and I so happy when we saw your contribution. I’m just so happy to know you’re out there. And it also gave me such a good reminder that there are people that listen to the show and while they haven’t contributed yet, I never know when I’m going to have a day like I had when you sent in your back pay for all those episodes and became a five time executive producer. So yeah, I just never know who’s listening. It was an excellent reminder and thank you so much. And I also want to thank Jared Ebert, who is someone who has been contributing over time so unlike Brandon, who contributed all at once Jared has been contributing forever and has racked up an Executive Producer credit a few dollars at a time. He picked episode 186, The National Endowment for Democracy episode and his message is “Isolation is making us crazy. Talk to strangers, fire your Congressperson. And thank you for your show.” Well, thank you so much for supporting the show for so long, and for picking the National Endowment for Democracy episode. I love that episode, because that was something that I didn’t know existed in our government, I still think it is insane. It is basically a regime change arm of the State Department that is staffed with Democrats and Republicans who are currently in Congress. Like it’s very weird that members of Congress are able to funnel tax money to organizations that look independent, but they sit on the board of, it is so crazy. And it also funnels money to organizations that are directly connected to the Democratic and Republican parties. It’s bananas. So that episode is so important, I recommend that everybody listen to it. And with Jared’s Executive Producer credit, the National Endowment for Democracy episode is now officially the most valuable episode of Congressional Dish with its three executive producer credits. So thank you so much to our new Executive Producers, our old Executive Producers, and to everyone who is supporting the show at whatever level you can afford. You’re the reason why I keep doing this. So now, with no further ado, I’m going to give you a quick greenroom preview. The greenroom is the nickname of the feed that is available only to people on Patreon and to Executive Producers and producers who email us for our jerry-rigged feed after you provide us with some cash, but Patreon is the easiest way to get this. But I am friends with a famous musician who is just like the coolest dude, his name is Mike Herrera, and you probably know him as the bass guitarist and lead singer for MXPX, which is a punk band that’s been around for a very long time. And he has been a podcaster that I think we met because we were chatting on Twitter, like I actually don’t remember how we met, but he was one of the first people to invite me on his show. At the time, it was called the Mike Herrera hour and it’s since switched to the Mike Herrera Podcast. But I did the show quite a few times until my life went insane. I would go and visit him at the MXPX house, which by the way, it’s super cool. They have a full house as their studio and it’s on the corner of a commercial block so they can make all kinds of noise. They have the coolest art up in there and it’s fully insulated. I went in there and there’s like a rack of like 10 guitars right by the front door. When I went in Mike asked me if I wanted something to drink and I said, “Yeah, I’ll take a water” and he opened the fridge and it was just stocked fully with nothing but beer. But he found the water for me deep in some cabinet. It’s exactly what you would expect from a rockstar house. It’s awesome. But I haven’t talked to him in years and so I reached out to him when I was going to be in Seattle and said, Hey, do you want to come on my Patreon and I’d love to introduce you to, you know, my core audience. And so he came on the Patreon and we caught up and we talked some you know, inside baseball, about podcasting. And he told me some things I didn’t know about how Spotify works. And we talked about touring because eventually I want to tour with We’re Not Wrong. And so, you know, he gave me some really good information that’ll be helpful when we’re ready to do that. He’s just like the nicest guy. And he’s smart. And he’s, well, he was politically engaged, which is why we met and why I was a returning contributor to his podcast. But we also talked about why he’s not as engaged anymore. So yeah, it was a great episode. And so here’s a little preview of what I have for you if you are willing to pay per episode for the show on Patreon.
Mike Herrera 1:39:09 Have you heard of playlist farms? Have you heard of this? They probably have them in the US, definitely, but in Russia or in like certain European countries, probably every country in the world these days, they have people that have like all these computers lined up in a room and they’re just playing playlists or a song over and over. Labels and artists will pay — I don’t suggest anybody do this, by the way. We don’t do this, nobody I know does this, but people will pay to get their song played and that pumps up numbers but it also actually literally gets you money.
Jennifer Briney 1:39:53 Because I was gonna say don’t you get paid like a fraction of a cent or something by Spotify every time it’s playing?
Mike Herrera 1:39:57 Yeah, something like that. So you think of things like Bitcoin farms, but this is like streaming farms.
Jennifer Briney 1:40:08 But wouldn’t that. I mean, I guess if you’re trying to get the numbers up, that makes sense, but if you have to pay to get the money from them….
Mike Herrera 1:40:14 A lot of it is because you’re paying a fee that but you’re gonna make way more if you have a song that has like a million streams or more, chances are you’re gonna make a lot more money off that song aside from just those streams. So it’s about getting into the record of, hey, this is a hit song, or, this has a million views or a million streams, this must be good, let’s put it on this movie, or this song, or this playlist, and it just opens up the floodgates it opens up sort of, if you think of a dam just opening up. That’s what that does. So yeah, you pay to open up the dam. And you might make less money on that first transaction because you’re paying, but it’s making you so much more. It’s kind of like paying for lobbyists, like you always think why do these giant companies pay for political lobbyists? They’re paying millions of dollars to elect you know, all these politicians. Why? Why are they paying all that much because they get so much on the back end? It’s just a little investment for them, the return can be in the billions.
Jennifer Briney 1:41:23 So yeah, that’s Mike Herrera of the Mike Herrera Podcast and MXPX. And so if you want to listen to that, please contribute per episode on Patreon. And when I say per episode, I mean per main episode of Congressional Dish, so whatever you pledge, you’ll get charged when Congressional Dish comes out to the public, but stuff like that, Mike Herrera episode or episodes that I give you about my travels and episodes that I’m asking you for your help with decisions I’m trying to make about the podcast, all that stuff is free, but you’re paying for Congressional Dish, and I’m giving you some extra stuff. So all right, it’s time to vote kids. Yeah, next time you hear my voice, we will know what we’re in for in the 118th. Congress. And so, after the election, I will be back with an episode giving you an update on what happened, my analysis of what the next Congress will look like, and then we will prepare ourselves for the lame duck. Which is when all the crazy shenanigans tend to happen like government funding crises and the funding of our wars. So yeah, my busy season is just getting started. Thanks so much for supporting the show. Thanks for listening and I’ll talk to you soon happy voting bye
David Ippolito 1:42:43 [outro music] Tired of Being Lied To