Biden strikes populist tone in blistering rebuke of Trump, Wall Street
Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden unveiled his $700 billion jobs plan on Thursday from Pennsylvania, where he offered a blistering rebuke of President Trump’s economic agenda and vowed to crack down on Wall Street and the corporations he said have benefited at the expense of average workers.
Speaking from a manufacturing plant in Dunmore, Penn., which is near his hometown of Scranton, Biden struck a populist tone, saying he’d put an end to the era of “shareholder capitalism” and raise taxes on large corporations if he is elected president.
Biden also said he would strengthen unions and empower small businesses and entrepreneurs, while cracking down on big business.
“It’s time that corporate American pays their fair share of taxes,” Biden said.
“The days of Amazon paying nothing in federal income tax are over. Let’s make sure workers have power and a voice. It’s way past time to put an end to the era of shareholder capitalism – the idea that the only responsibility a corporation has is to its shareholders. That’s simply not true and it’s an absolute farce. They have a responsibility to their workers, to their country. That isn’t a new or radical notion.”
Biden hit at Trump, accusing the president of enriching his “cronies and pals” while promoting policies that he said have led to the offshoring of American jobs and lower taxes for the ultra-wealthy.
The former vice president said Trump has “waved the white flag” in the battle against the coronavirus, which he said had come with a “terrible human cost and deep economic toll.”
“Time and again working families are paying the price for this administration’s incompetence,” Biden said.
“During this crisis, Donald Trump has been almost singularly focused on the stock market, the Dow and the Nasdaq. Not you. Not your families,” Biden said. “If I am fortunate enough to be elected president, I’ll be laser focused on middle class families, the working class families like where I came from in Scranton.”
The Trump campaign fired back, accusing Biden of supporting decades of bad trade deals that have led to economic devastation across the Midwest and Rust Belt.
The Trump campaign also accused Biden of being weak on China, and said he oversaw one of the slowest economic recoveries on record during his eight years in the Obama administration.
“We don’t need to guess what a Biden economy would look like since Americans have been forced to live through it once already,” said Trump campaign national press secretary Hogan Gidley.
“Biden’s policies caused the slowest economic recovery since the Great Depression, anemic job growth, and depressed wages for the workers left,” he added. “Biden’s NAFTA destroyed 850,000 American jobs and his inexplicable support for China killed millions more and forced 60,000 American factories to close.
“Now, Biden proudly brags he has borrowed his economic plans from Bernie Sanders, saying he’ll raise taxes on all Americans – including the middle class – and impose crippling Green New Deal regulations on job-creators that already forced so many American companies to leave our shores for other countries,” Gidley also said.
Earlier in the day, Biden released the first leg of his $700 billion jobs plan, which he said would create 5 million new American jobs, in addition to recapturing the jobs that were lost during the coronavirus-induced slowdown.
The plan includes a $400 billion investment in federal purchases of American products, such as steel, cement, concrete and other materials that will be used to rebuild U.S. infrastructure.
The plan also calls for a $300 billion investment in research and development for emerging technologies, including electric vehicles, 5G, artificial intelligence and lightweight materials.
Outside of the direct spending, Biden proposed new credit facilities and tax breaks for small manufacturers, particularly those run by women and people of color. The former vice president will propose penalties on companies that receive federal money and take their investments overseas.
The presumptive Democratic nominee also said he will take a hawkish posture toward China that includes “aggressive trade enforcement actions” and confronts “foreign efforts to steal American intellectual property.”
The economic speech in Pennsylvania comes as polls show Biden opening a wide lead over Trump nationally. Biden holds a smaller lead in most of the key battleground states that will determine who wins the White House, including Pennsylvania, where he has a 6.5 point advantage over Trump in the RealClearPolitics average.
The former vice president has visited Pennsylvania more than any other state since the coronavirus lockdown began.
Trump carried Pennsylvania by about 45,000 votes in 2016, becoming the first GOP presidential candidate to win there since 1988.
However, the polls routinely find that Trump is more trusted than Biden on the economy, even after a months-long economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Biden campaign is seeking to cut into that with a coordinated a national rollout of the economic plan that will feature events over the weekend with Democratic lawmakers in battleground states, including Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) in Arizona, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in Michigan, Pete Buttigieg in New Hampshire and Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) in Wisconsin.
“We have a health crisis, an economic crisis and a racial justice crisis and a climate crisis, we need to come together to solve these crises as Americans,” Biden said. “This is our moment to reimagine and to build a new American economy for our families and our communities, an economy where every American has a chance to get a fair return for the work they put in, an equal chance to get ahead.”