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Biden: Trump Tax Cuts ‘a Disaster for the Middle Class’

Michael Rainey

Joe Biden has been criticized by his fellow Democrats for insisting that as president he would be able to work with the Republican Party – the same party that rejected much of the Democratic economic agenda when Biden was vice president and has become even less cooperative under President Donald Trump.

Speaking to CNBC’s John Harwood in an interview released Friday, Biden said he thinks that although Trump is “ripping the soul out of this country,” voters and lawmakers will once again be interested in dealing with “things that they know we should be talking about” when he is gone – inspired in part by the negative impact Trump’s economic policies have had on large swaths of the electorate.

“[W]hat people have now seen is that his tax policy has been a disaster for the middle class, disaster for them, and that there is plenty of room to be able to do things that make a lot of sense,” Biden said. He added that “there’s overwhelming evidence now that the idea that the capital gains tax is promoting growth is just not the case,” and said he would raise the capital gains tax to roughly the same level as the income tax. “And you have a significant number of Republicans who aren’t multimillionaires thinking that makes a lot of sense,” he said.

Later in the interview, Biden said he had faith that voters will change their minds once they realize that Trump’s economic agenda isn’t providing the benefits it promised. “Once the carny show comes through — with the guy with the pea in the shell, three shells and there’s no pea under any shell — the second time it comes around, they figure it out,” he said.

Some of Biden's other comments on fiscal issues:

  • “I think we should have a financial transaction tax. But [in my tax plan] I focused on what I think I could get done, get done quickly and pay for everything I’m talking about. Because look, the president has increased with his profligate tax cut to the very wealthy the deficit by $1 trillion, $900 billion. It can’t be sustained. It can’t be sustained.”
  • On deficit spending: “It depends on the circumstance we find ourselves when we get elected. Look what we had to do [in 2009]. We, in order to be able to get out of the financial recession, which was the greatest recession, sort of a depression in American history, the president asked me to chair the recovery act, which had $900 billion in it, and we did it. Most even conservative economists acknowledged it probably saved us from a depression. But what we did at the same time was we were able to invest it in things that in fact grew the economy at the same time.”
  • Asked whether he still supported the balanced budget amendment he voted for in 1995, Biden said: “No, because we’re in a different place now. I hope it’s not true, but we’re likely to inherit a recession, at least a significant economic slowdown.”

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