Corporations have been using their power to block progressive change for decades. The increasing concentration of wealth and monopoly power in recent years has only added fuel to the flame. In this unprecedented moment with President Biden’s Build Back Better proposal, corporations are once again showing their hand with egregious tactics to subvert the will of the people.
We find that corporations are working hard to preserve an unequal status quo[.]
In our new report, Demos and People’s Action zero in on the corporate actors who are spending big to stop the Biden plan in key sectors: taxes, drug pricing, healthcare, housing, the environment, and immigration. We find that corporations are working hard to preserve an unequal status quo, using their money to steer government—rather than allowing a real democracy to bring about what the people overwhelmingly want.
President Biden’s Build Back Better plan is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild our economy and begin to redefine who benefits from it.
President Biden’s Build Back Better plan is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rebuild our economy and begin to redefine who benefits from it. Biden’s $3.5 trillion proposal includes long-overdue investments in roads, bridges, public and affordable housing, and clean water and energy, as well as critical funding for social infrastructure, such as the Child Tax Credit, healthcare, home-based care, and paid leave. Research shows that these measures dramatically reduce poverty and support those whose work is most essential to our economy.
The plan also rolls back many of the provisions in the Trump administration’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 (TCJA) and closes loopholes that have allowed the ultrarich and corporations to avoid paying their fair share in taxes; at the same time, it prohibits new taxes on small businesses, family farms, and families making less than $400,000 per year. The plan would make it possible for Medicare to negotiate drug prices, expand Medicare to cover vision, dental, and hearing, and lower the age of eligibility, among other key reforms. It includes the largest federal investment in housing in a generation. It establishes a national clean energy standard and a number of other measures to decarbonize our energy supply and get closer to hitting international targets for carbon emissions to hold off the worst impacts of climate change. The plan also includes billions in funding for immigrant communities—including immigrant youth, people with temporary protected status (TPS), farmworkers, and essential workers—to get a pathway to citizenship.
These provisions are broadly popular among majorities of people in the U.S.[.]
These provisions are broadly popular among majorities of people in the U.S.: Three out of 4 voters and 90 percent of Democrats support the infrastructure bill and budget plan created by Congress and the Biden administration. Over two-thirds of voters support raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations. Almost 90 percent of adults support allowing the government to negotiate lower drug prices. Majorities want enough nonprofit or publicly owned homes built to make sure everyone has a place to live, and most voters want the U.S. to get to a 100-percent clean energy electricity grid by 2035 to address climate change and pollution. Sixty-nine percent of voters support a pathway to citizenship, compared to just 25 percent who oppose.
However, corporations are fighting hard to prevent these popular provisions from becoming reality. Right now, corporations and the ultrarich are using their leverage by spending millions in lobbying, campaigns, and political advertising to derail President Biden’s Build Back Better plan.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest lobbying group, has publicly vowed to do everything they can “to prevent this tax raising, job killing reconciliation bill from becoming law,” despite the fact that the vast majority of voters support raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations. The American Petroleum Institute, which represents oil companies including Shell, ExxonMobil, BP, and Chevron, has pledged to resist the Biden administration’s environmental proposals. Soon after Biden released his climate plan, collective ad spending by these companies and their lobbying groups rose more than 1,000 percent. Pharmaceutical Research & Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)—the third largest lobbying group in the country—began to run ads in July 2021 which misleadingly suggest that the type of legislation in the budget resolution is designed to make it harder for Medicare patients to get drugs—despite evidence that the opposite is true. Big Pharma’s push has resulted in legislative momentum aimed at removing drug pricing negotiations from the legislation entirely.
As our new report shows, the examples above only scratch the surface of corporate America’s attempt to sabotage our democracy to protect their profits. We released the report in conjunction with actions across the country led by People’s Action’s member groups to help maintain momentum for the proposal’s passage and demonstrate what people overwhelmingly want and deserve—and that we won't let corporations and those who represent them stop us from getting it.