82 unions and liberal groups call on Biden to create wealth tax

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Scores of unions and liberal advocacy groups pressed President Biden to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans to help pay for his sprawling infrastructure plan, which he is set to roll out later Wednesday.

Eighty-two national organizations, including the AFL-CIO, MoveOn and the Center for American Progress, sent a letter Wednesday to Biden and Vice President Harris urging them to pay for the multitrillion-dollar proposal by reversing several aspects of the 2017 tax rollbacks implemented under the Trump administration. 

Among the changes the groups say should be made are a return of the top marginal tax rate on the highest incomes to 39.6 percent from 37 percent and raising the corporate tax rate on domestic profits to 28 percent from the current 21 percent. The groups said Biden should also end “the current almost 50% tax discount on investment income from long-term capital gains and dividends” on Americans making more than $1 million per year. 

All of those proposals were included in Biden’s tax plan during the 2020 campaign.

“Your tax and investment plans were the boldest of any major party presidential nominee in modern American history. They received widespread media coverage and, perhaps more significant, your boldly progressive tax plan was heavily attacked by your political opponents, who spent untold millions of dollars and claimed falsely that the middle-class would pay more,” the groups wrote.

“Yet, you won the most votes ever of any U.S presidential candidate, with a central promise of your campaign to make the rich and corporations pay their fair share of taxes,” they added. “You have a clear mandate to pursue your agenda.”

Beyond the tax proposals Biden announced during his campaign, the groups said he should also implement a 10-percentage point “millionaires’ surtax on all income above $2 million.”

The letter cites polls that have shown that tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and corporations are popular with the public. The groups reference a New York Times survey from November in which roughly two-thirds of respondents — including 45 percent of Republican voters — supported tax increases on people making more than $400,000.

“Now is the time to seize the initiative, rally your wide support among the American people, stare down the defenders of the supply-side, trickle-down status quo, and push through the bold Build Back Better investment and tax reform program that you sought the nation’s highest office to deliver,” the groups wrote.

The letter comes as Biden prepares to roll out his $2.25 trillion package to invest in domestic infrastructure and boost job creation at a speech in Pittsburgh on Wednesday. The money will be spent over an eight-year period and would be paid for in full by raising the corporate tax rate to 28 percent. The administration is not planning on implementing a wealth tax or raising the capital gains tax on certain Americans.

Progressives have clamored for Biden to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) leading the charge during the 2020 campaign and under the new administration.

A wealth tax “is critical for raising revenue, and that revenue is critical for raising opportunity. We build a future for all of our kids by investing in opportunity. This is one way we can make this government work for everyone – not just the rich and powerful,” she tweeted earlier this month.

However, Republicans have indicated they will oppose the legislation if it includes any tax hikes. 

“This is not going to be apparently an infrastructure package. It’s like a Trojan horse. So it’s called infrastructure but inside the Trojan horse is going to be more borrowed money and massive tax increases,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said this month.

Tags Biden infrastructure Elizabeth Warren infrastructure plan infrastructure proposal Joe Biden Mitch McConnell tax hikes Tax reform Wealth tax

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