Joe Biden on Tax Reform
Former Vice President; previously Democratic Senator (DE)
We pay for investments in our future by finally making the wealthiest and the biggest corporations begin to pay their fair share. Under my plan, nobody earning less than $400,000 a year will pay an additional penny in taxes. Nobody. Not one penny.
Let's reward work, not just wealth. Pass my proposal for a billionaire minimum tax. Because no billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a school teacher or a firefighter.
BIDEN: You think these guys are going to go out there and cut those loopholes? The biggest loophole they take advantage of is the carried interest loophole and capital gains loophole. They exempt that. The only way you can find $5 trillion in loopholes is cut the mortgage deduction for middle-class people, cut the health care deduction for middle-class people, take away their ability to get a tax break to send their kids to college. That's why they [won't provide specifics].
Q: Is he wrong about that?
RYAN: He is wrong about that. You can cut tax rates by 20% and still preserve these important preferences for middle-class taxpayers.
BIDEN: Not mathematically possible.
RYAN: It is mathematically possible. It's been done before.
BIDEN: It has never been done before.
During the very first meeting, Biden made clear that Obama would only sign on to a deal that included revenue increases. Cantor did not object. Biden repeated publicly the stipulation that "revenues are gonna have to be in the deal," while Cantor publicly said the opposite: "Tax increases are not going to be something we're going to support in the House."
PALIN: When you talk about Barack's plan to tax increase affecting only those making $250,000 a year or more, you're forgetting millions of small businesses that are going to fit into that category. So they're going to be the ones paying higher taxes thus resulting in fewer jobs being created and less productivity. Patriotic is saying, government, you're not always the solution. In fact, too often you're the problem so, government, lessen the tax burden and get out of the way and let the private sector and our families grow.
FactCheck by Rocky Mengle in Kiplinger newsletter, Feb. 3, 2021: He wants to raise the highest personal income rate back up to 39.6% (it was lowered to 37% by the 2017 tax reform law), cap itemized deductions for wealthier Americans, limit "like-kind exchanges" by real estate investors, and phase-out the 20% deduction for qualified business income for upper-income taxpayers. He won't raise taxes for anyone making less than $400,000, though. As a candidate, Biden's tax policy proposals also included eliminating the step-up in basis for inherited capital assets, which means more taxes on wealth passed to heirs, and ending favorable tax rates on capital gains for anyone making over $1 million. Also look for the federal estate tax exemption to be increased back to pre-tax reform levels.
BIDEN: About $1.3 trillion of the $2 trillion in his cuts went to the top one-tenth of 1%. That's what I'm talking about eliminating, not all the tax cuts. You have 91 out of the Fortune 500 companies not paying a single solitary penny. If you raise the corporate tax back to 28%, which is a fair tax, you'd raise one trillion, three hundred billion dollars. If you made sure that people making over $400 grand paid what they did [under] Bush, 39.6%, you would raise another $92 billion.
TRUMP: Our corporate taxes were the highest in the world, and now they're among the lower taxes. They're not the lowest, but they're among the lowest. That means jobs. If we get in, we're going to do the middle income tax package. If [Biden] comes along and raises rates, all those companies that are coming in, they will leave the U.S. so fast your head will spin. We can't let that happen.
[OnTheIssues fact-check: Is that true? No]: Kiplinger.com analysis (9/18/20) of Biden's tax plan: He wants to raise the highest personal income rate back up to 39.6% (it was lowered to 37% by the 2017 tax reform law), cap itemized deductions for wealthier Americans, limit "like-kind exchanges" by real estate investors, and phase-out the 20% deduction for qualified business income for upper-income taxpayers. He won't raise taxes for anyone making less than $400,000, though.
FactCheck: "The Biden tax plan is highly progressive, increasing taxes for the top 1 percent of earners by 13 to 18 percent of after-tax income, while indirectly increasing taxes for most other groups by 0.2 to 0.6 percent," wrote the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, an independent bipartisan nonprofit, in a recent report.
BIDEN: It's smart to tax businesses that are in fact are making excessive amounts of money and paying no taxes.
Q: Will you raise taxes on small businesses?
BIDEN: No. You have 90% of the businesses--mom and pop businesses--that employ less than 50 people. There will be no raising taxes on them. We have to provide them with the ability to reopen. We have to provide more help for them, not less help.
Q: Will you raise income taxes?
BIDEN: I will raise taxes for anybody making over $400,000. It's about time they start paying a fair share of the economic responsibility we have. The very wealthy should pay fair share, corporations should pay a fair share. The fact is, there are corporations making close to a trillion dollars that pay no tax at all. I'm not punishing anybody. This is about everybody paying their fair share.
Q: No new taxes $400,000 and down?
BIDEN: No new taxes, there would be no need.
BIDEN: The middle class will pay less, and people making a million dollars or more will begin to contribute slightly more. Let me give you one concrete example: the continuation of the Bush tax cuts. We're arguing that the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy should be allowed to expire. $800 billion of that goes to people making a minimum of a million dollars. They're patriotic Americans; they're not asking for this continued tax cut; they're not suggesting it; but [the Republicans] are insisting on it. 120,000 families, by continuing that tax cut, will get an additional $500 billion in tax relief in the next 10 years, and their income is an average of $8 million. We want to extend permanently the middle-class tax cut. These guys won't allow us to. They're holding hostage the middle-class tax cut to the super wealthy.
RYAN: Our entire premise of these tax reform plans is to grow the economy and create jobs.
Actually, the most affluent 1% of taxpayers will get about a $67 billion tax break this year, compared with what they would have paid without the Bush tax cuts. But the total is getting bigger each year as incomes grow. The estimated breaks for the top 1% will reach $76 billion in 2008 and $95 billion in 2010.
Imagine if we eliminate the tax cut just for those people in the top 1%. The average income in that group is $1,485,000 a year. You've got to make $435,000 minimum to get into that bracket. You know what their tax cuts are gonna cost over the next 10 years? $600 billion.
Imagine you put that tax cut into homeland security and healthcare. For $26 billion, we could provide healthcare for every one of the 9 million uninsured children in the US. For $14 billion we could fund No-Child-Left-Behind. For $10 billion we could implement every one of the 9/11 Commission recommendations.
Biden was correct only to the extent that the resolution Obama supported would not by itself have increased taxes; it was a vote on a budget resolution that set revenue and spending targets. But he's wrong to say McCain voted the same way. The Obama campaign attempted to justify Biden's remark by pointing to a different vote, on a Senate amendment, that took place March 13. That vote would have preserved some of Bush's tax cuts for lower-income people. The vote on the budget resolution in question, however, came in the wee hours of March 14 and was a mostly party-line tally, 51-44, with Obama in favor and McCain not voting.
Every year National Taxpayers Union (NTU) rates U.S. Representatives and Senators on their actual votes—every vote that significantly affects taxes, spending, debt, and regulatory burdens on consumers and taxpayers. NTU assigned weights to the votes, reflecting the importance of each vote’s effect. NTU has no partisan axe to grind. All Members of Congress are treated the same regardless of political affiliation. Our only constituency is the overburdened American taxpayer. Grades are given impartially, based on the Taxpayer Score. The Taxpayer Score measures the strength of support for reducing spending and regulation and opposing higher taxes. In general, a higher score is better because it means a Member of Congress voted to lessen or limit the burden on taxpayers. The Taxpayer Score can range between zero and 100. We do not expect anyone to score a 100, nor has any legislator ever scored a perfect 100 in the multi-year history of the comprehensive NTU scoring system. A high score does not mean that the Member of Congress was opposed to all spending or all programs. High-scoring Members have indicated that they would vote for many programs if the amount of spending were lower. A Member who wants to increase spending on some programs can achieve a high score if he or she votes for offsetting cuts in other programs. A zero score would indicate that the Member of Congress approved every spending proposal and opposed every pro-taxpayer reform.
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2005-2006 CTJ scores as follows:
Citizens for Tax Justice, founded in 1979, is not-for-profit public interest research and advocacy organization focusing on federal, state and local tax policies and their impact upon our nation. CTJ`s mission is to give ordinary people a greater voice in the development of tax laws. Against the armies of special interest lobbyists for corporations and the wealthy, CTJ fights for:
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