- At a CNN town hall, Biden said he was tired of trickle-down economics leaving out the middle class.
- Trickle-down economics is the idea that benefits for the wealthy “trickle down” to everyone else.
- Biden said creating an equitable economy meant ensuring the wealthy pay their fair share in taxes.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
Economic recovery is largely driving President Joe Biden’s agenda, and to him, a primary part is boosting the middle class. To do that, he said, the wealthy need to start paying their fair share in taxes.
“I’m tired of trickle down,” Biden said during a CNN town hall on Wednesday. “I come from the corporate state of America.”
Trickle-down economics is the idea that tax breaks and benefits for the wealthy will “trickle down” to the rest of society, but some economists and the president have discounted this theory. During the town hall in Cincinnati, Biden touted his infrastructure bill as a way to create “good-paying union jobs,” but he added that the middle class had never done better than the wealthy, stressing a need to reform the economic system.
“I’ve never seen a time when we have the middle class growing that the wealthy didn’t do very, very, very well. So that’s what we have to do, build it out and up, not just down,” he said, referring to the economy.
While Biden did not mention a wealth tax or a corporate tax hike during the town hall, he has previously expressed support for hiking taxes for the rich.
In April, Biden defended his proposal to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% to level the playing field for businesses and average Americans. “I’m not trying to punish anybody,” he said at the time, “but damn it, maybe it’s because I come from a middle-class neighborhood, I’m sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced.”
As Insider reported, Biden has not supported the idea of a wealth tax, or an outright tax on someone’s net worth, but he has supported a capital-gains tax, which applies to existing assets. The idea of a wealth tax is popular among Democrats – Sen. Elizabeth Warren has been a leader, proposing an ultramillionaire tax that would tax the top 0.05% of American households.
Republican lawmakers have strictly opposed raising taxes on the wealthy, but many Democrats – and Biden – believe it is the solution to creating a fairer economy.
“And by the way, I think you should be able to go out and make a billion dollars or $US100 ($AU135) million, to do it, if you have the capacity to do it,” Biden said at the town hall. “But I ask just one thing: Pay your fair share. Just pay your fair share.”