Administration

Biden goes after top 1 percent in defending tax hikes

President Biden on Thursday went after big corporations and wealthy Americans while promoting his economic agenda that congressional Democrats are working to get across the finish line.

"Let me ask you this, where is it written in that all the tax breaks in the American tax code go to corporations and the very top? I think it's enough, I'm tired of it," he said in remarks at the White House on the economy. 

The president reiterated his calls for big corporations and the wealthy to pay their fair share in taxes, saying it's "long overdue." 

"I'm not out to punish anyone, I'm a capitalist. If you can make a million or a billion dollars, that's great. God bless you. All I'm asking is you pay your fair share, pay your fair share, just like middle class folks do," he said. 

Biden promotion of his Build Back Better agenda comes as Democrats are focused on passing the $3.5 trillion spending package without Republicans through budget reconciliation, along with the Senate-passed bipartisan infrastructure bill.

"How's it possible that the wealthiest billionaires in the country can entirely escape paying income taxes on what they make?" Biden said. "For a long time, this economy has worked great for those at the very top. Ordinary, hardworking Americans, the people who built this country, have been basically cut out of the deal." 

He said his spending package gives the Internal Revenue Service the resources to get wealthy Americans to pay their taxes. Currently, the top one percent evades about $160 billion in taxes owed each year, he said.

"They play by a different set of rules. They're often not employees themselves so the IRS can't see what they make and can't tell what they're cheating. That's how many of the top one percent pay virtually nothing," he said. 

"It's not an even playing field, my plan would help solve that," he added. 

Moderate Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) met with the president on Wednesday as both have demanded that the $3.5 trillion package be scaled back. In the House, committees have drafted and approved portions of the package but questions remain if Democrats have the votes to pass the package with their small majority. 

The president said in his remarks on Thursday that his Republican friends in Congress are "attacking" the plan and called President Trump's 2017 tax plan a giveaway to corporations and the top one percent.

Biden said that his agenda would be paid for by the largest corporations and wealthiest Americans paying their taxes. He also touted that it would lower the cost of child care and elder care for families and confront the crisis of climate change. 

"This is our moment to deal working people back into the economy. This is our moment to prove to the American people that their government works for them and not just big corporations and those at the very top," he said.

Earlier this week, Biden traveled to Colorado to promote his economic agenda and climate provisions within it.

The president in his remarks reiterated that his vaccine mandates and testing mandates for companies with at least 100 employees are critical while the economy is recovering. He mentioned the pushback he's getting from Republican governors, some of which have threatened to take him to court over the requirement. 

"We still have a long way to go to get the economy where it needs to be," he said.

"These policies are what the science tells us we need to do, they're going to save lives, they'll protect our economic recovery as well and allow the economy to continue to grow," he added.

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