Joe Biden seems to have changed the way he talks to donors about raising his taxes. It has become more forceful, let alone apologize.
During the primary election, when he was still vying for the Democratic nomination against left-wing opponents like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, the former veep initially introduced himself as the calming moderate who wouldn’t shake up anyone’s super yacht too much. At a June 2019 fundraiser at the Carlyle Hotel in New York, Biden told the crowd that, unlike his opponents, he did not want to “demonize” the wealthy. “You are not the other,” he said. “I need you so much”. Biden also seemed to reassure the crowd that while he planned to raise taxes, “you all know inside what needs to be done,” he wasn’t exactly looking to soak anyone up. “No one has to be punished,” he said. “Nobody’s standard of living would change. Nothing would fundamentally change. ”
At a time when Warren was campaigning for an unprecedented wealth tax and Sanders was teasing the billionaire class on a daily basis, Biden’s pleading statements read like a parody of a Democratic establishment politician prostrated before his traffickers. This made the actual fiscal plan he launched in the winter a bit shocking. Although it was less far-reaching than some of its opponents’ proposals, it was still extremely ambitious: raising about $ 4 trillion in a decade and cutting after-tax income by the top 0.1 percent by 23 percent in its first year, according to the Tax Policy Center. (Hillary Clinton’s plan for 2016, by comparison, only raised $ 1.4 trillion.) The plan undid much of Trump’s tax cuts for the wealthy, and raised the corporate rate to 28 percent from its current 21 percent. She aimed directly at the investor class by taxing capital gains as normal income for those who earn the most and ending up with an intensified base upon death, allowing wealthy heirs to avoid paying taxes on the assets they inherit. She even imposed Social Security taxes on wages of more than $ 400,000. As Paul Waldman wrote for the Washington Post: “In fact, he is so liberal, in very good ways, that when he was vice president, he would have been considered radical, certainly too much for Barack Obama to have become law, or in some cases even suggested. ” The ideological center of the Democratic Party had moved, and Biden was changing with it.
And it also seems to have its language with donors. During a digital fundraiser on Monday that raised $ 2 million, Biden avoided his old gift and flatly said that, without malarkey, he planned to raise taxes on his sponsors. “I’m going to get rid of most of Trump’s $ 2 trillion tax cut,” Biden said, “and many of you won’t like that, but I’m going to close gaps like capital gains and the heightened base. ”
This feels a bit like a piece with Biden’s broader “left turn” after elementary school, which my colleague Ben Mathis-Lilley wrote about in May. As is the case with his tax plan, Biden’s platform has always been more progressive than his detractors gave him credit for. But since he got the nomination, the candidate has been embarking on the electoral equivalent of a reverse journey: where most politicians try to win over supporters during the primaries and moderate to subdue voters before November, he won a ideologically charged primary school presenting itself rhetorically. like a retroactive centrist, but he has spent much of the general trying to win over young progressive skeptics. Meanwhile, the entire economy has collapsed amid a plague, and as a result, Biden allegedly feels that the crisis has opened the opportunity for a presidency the size of FDR. The fact that he’s catching up with donors, rather than genuflecting with them, suggests that he may be really ready to make the most of it.
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