Politics

Joe Biden uses Tax Day to draw contrasts with GOP

President Biden used Monday’s tax-filing deadline to promote his social welfare agenda while lobbing attacks at Senate Republicans, saying his tax plan would look out for the little guy while Senate Republicans promote a plan that would impose income taxes on those who currently pay none.

Mr. Biden is making hay with an “11-point” plan released by Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, who leads the Senate campaign arm. The plan said all persons should pay some income tax to “have skin in the game” and that all legislation should sunset after five years, an idea that would ostensibly apply to Medicare and Social Security.

“The president is fighting for tax cuts for the middle class and to ensure that the super wealthy and large corporations pay their fair share, while congressional Republicans, led by Senator Scott, are proposing big tax increases on middle-class families,” the White House said in a fact sheet.

Mr. Biden wants to impose a 20% minimum tax on households worth more than $100 million. The tax would apply to unrealized investment income that currently is untaxed. He also wants to repeal part of the 2017 GOP tax overhaul by restoring the top tax rate for those earning over $400,000.

The White House said the richest Americans “often pay no tax whatsoever or very little tax on their income and too often escape paying income tax forever.”

Mr. Biden is cracking down on corporations and the wealthy while he tries to pay for a big-spending “Build Back Better” plan. It’s run into opposition from centrist Democrats in Congress, forcing him to try and pass sections of the plan and ensure that popular aspects of the tax code, including a child tax credit and super-sized Obamacare subsidies, are extended.

“Families are benefitting from these tax cuts right now as they file their taxes on this Tax Day. The president is proposing extending that tax relief because he believes that middle-class families already pay enough in taxes,” the White House said.

In the meantime, Democrats see Mr. Scott’s plan as a gift ahead the GOP ahead of a difficult midterm season. They argue the plan shows the GOP is out of touch with working Americans, reviving an old playbook after former President Donald Trump tried to chip away at that image of Republicans with populist moves.

The Scott plan created a wedge between Republicans in recent weeks.

“We will not have as part of our agenda a bill that raises taxes on half the American people, and sunsets Social Security and Medicare within five years,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters last month. “That will not be part of a Republican Senate majority agenda.”

Yet others, including the Heritage Foundation, have supported plans to broaden the base of taxpayers, and Mr. Scott defended the plan in a Wall Street Journal, saying he “struck a nerve” in Washington because lawmakers do not like to tell the truth about the financial sustainability of government programs.

“Part of the deception is achieved by disconnecting so many Americans from taxation,” he wrote. “It’s a genius political move. And it is bankrupting us.”

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