Former Vice President Joe Biden has repeatedly promised to raise your taxes directly or indirectly. But now, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is trying to spin his record to suggest otherwise.
During a Friday morning interview on CNBC’s Squawk Box, host Andrew Ross Sorkin pressed Biden on his support for raising taxes. “Nobody making under 400,000 bucks will have their taxes raised,” the candidate quickly responded. “Period. Bingo.”
If it sounds too good to be true that a candidate is promising more than $6 trillion in new government spending (for everything from climate change to infrastructure to healthcare) without raising taxes, well, that’s because it is. Unless this new promise from Biden is the precursor to him walking back much of his previous stances and policy proposals, it’s simply a misleading misdirection.
For one thing, there’s a minimum $2.2 trillion gap between the tax hikes Biden has proposed and the $6 trillion-plus in spending he has promised. It is true that Biden’s official campaign plan nominally includes no tax hikes on individuals earning under $400,000. But assuming that a President Biden would make up the $2.2 trillion budgetary difference with deficit financing, then he is indeed going to be taxing ordinary people — just deferring it to future generations as a constraint on their financial livelihoods.
This was also before the coronavirus crisis hit, which has prompted Biden to court the far Left of the party more aggressively and to shift to promises of a sweeping FDR-style agenda, which would require trillions more in spending.
Biden has also repeatedly promised, including during the Squawk Box interview, to hike the corporate tax rate. While this doesn’t technically count as a tax increase on individuals earning less than $400,000, the actual burden of corporate taxes is often passed on to everyday consumers and workers.
According to the right-leaning Tax Foundation, “Labor bears between 50 percent and 100 percent of the burden of the corporate income tax, with 70 percent or higher the most likely outcome.” What this means is that corporations simply “pass on” the true cost of the tax increase in the form of reduced wages and hiring.
Additionally, Biden recently announced his support for a carbon tax to combat climate change. Whether you support the policy or not, it’s simply a fact that carbon taxes are overwhelmingly regressive, meaning the economic burden is disproportionately borne by low-income and working-class families in the form of higher energy costs and consumer prices.
While supporting a carbon tax doesn’t technically violate Biden’s pledge because the tax is imposed on business, not consumers, the reality of its known impact sure does trample all over the spirit of the candidate’s promise.
Biden has also repeatedly vowed to repeal the GOP’s 2018 tax reform.
“First thing I would do as president is eliminate the president’s tax cut,” Biden said in June 2019. “First thing I’d do is repeal those Trump tax cuts,” he promised a South Carolina crowd last year. All in all, Biden has promised to repeal the tax cuts too many times to count. Some of Biden’s official campaign plans would imply only a partial repeal, but his public remarks repeatedly suggest he wants to roll back the 2018 tax reform in its entirety.
According to Americans for Tax Reform, this would mean:
So, voters shouldn’t believe Biden when he promises not to raise their taxes.