Is Joe Biden the Walter Mondale of the 2020 presidential candidates?

Joe BidenJoe BidenGOP senators balk at lengthy impeachment trial 2020 Democrats make play for veterans' votes 2020 Dems put focus on stemming veteran suicides MORE opened his much hyped 2020 presidential campaign last month by proclaiming the “first thing” he would do if elected is to repeal the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. That means the middle class would see a tax increase. Does that sound eerily familiar? It is because Walter Mondale made a similar promise when he ran for president against Ronald Reagan.

“First thing I would do is repeal those Trump tax cuts,” Biden said during one of his first campaign rallies in South Carolina. “Reagan will raise taxes, and so will I,” Mondale said at the Democratic National Convention in California back in 1984. Can you hear the similarities? Biden did not just make his threat to repeal the tax law once, but he has said it on the trail at least five times since announcing his run. That is no slip of the tongue.

If Biden repealed the tax law, millions of low and middle income workers would again be burdened by the ObamaCare individual mandate tax. A family of four earning the median income of $74,000 would see a $2,000 tax increase, and utility bills would go up in all 50 states as a direct result of the increase in the corporate rate. The standard deduction would be slashed in half, forcing millions of households to itemize deductions and keep track of every expense. The child tax credit would also be lowered by half and taxes would rise for every income level in every single district.


This plan to undo the tax law would damage our national economic competitiveness and harm jobs and wages by raising the corporate tax from 21 percent back to 35 percent, the highest rate in the developed world. The small business deduction of 20 percent on any pass through income would disappear if Biden fulfills his promise, hurting millions of sole proprietorships, limited liability companies, and more.

If that is not enough, this would require more families and businesses to pay a death tax for anything inherited after a loved one dies. Biden claims to be a champion for the middle class, but he rails against very tax cuts that let workers see their biweekly paychecks up by an average of $50. The household tax burden is also down by an average of 25 percent.

Biden and other liberal groups want Americans to think that the middle class received a tax increase, as the New York Times noted, but that was hardly the case. In fact, over 80 percent of Americans making $50,000 to $70,000 received a tax cut. While the New York Times finally admitted that most Americans did receive a tax cut, most media outlets went along with the liberal campaign to sour public opinion of the tax cuts, painting them as tax cuts for the rich. Biden made a similar claim about the tax cuts, which was fact checked by the Washington Post. The paper rated his claim as clearly false, noting that “most Americans received a tax cut.”

Biden is certainly not the only Democratic candidate who is in favor of repealing the tax cuts either. Kamala Harris has said she would get rid of the “whole thing” if elected, while Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg have all called for the creation of many new taxes. Bernie Sanders openly says Americans will pay more in taxes. If a Democrat is elected president in 2020, Americans may be shocked when their taxes skyrocket thanks to liberal proposals such as free college tuition or universal health care.

Running on a repeal of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act may be convenient for Biden during a Democratic primary where he can gain a lot of support for the idea. But this is not a winning strategy in the general election and he could more than likely attempt to backtrack. Voters will see through it.

Adam Sabes is a tax policy associate with Americans for Tax Reform.