Biden’s Desperate Wealth Tax Flip-Flop
In December 2019, when Joe Biden, still campaigning for the Democratic presidential nomination, released his tax plan, much of the coverage focused on the contrast between his comparatively plan and the plans issued by his more progressive rivals. A CNBC report on his plan was labeled “wealth tax wars.” A Washington Post headline noted that Biden’s $3.2 trillion tax plan highlighted “divisions” with Sens. Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.). Among the starkest of those divisions was that the former vice president had rejected calls by Warren and Sanders to back a wealth tax on the richest Americans.
On the campaign trail, Biden himself played up that contrast. Among the criticisms lobbed at the Sanders and Warren wealth tax proposals was that they were fundamentally punitive, because they taxed wealth of a small, specific group of individuals. He told a wealthy crowd of supporters in Los Angeles that while they shouldn’t expect a tax cut from him, there would be “no punishment either.”
Around the same time, a CNBC reporter asked Biden about arguments—some of which came from experts friendly to Democrats—that the wealth taxes proposed by his rivals would be unworkable and punitive. In response, Biden allowed that “parts of the plan, those objections apply.” He complained about divisive tax policy, and rejected the idea of a “a single tax, on a single group of people.” Earlier in the interview, Biden, without prompting, went out of his way to insist that “tax policy is not about punishment.”
Biden was running as the moderate in the race. His goal was to separate himself from the progressives. So he rejected the idea of a tax policy that he saw as divisive, punitive, and potentially unworkable.
Yet now, as president, Biden has
Article from Reason.com