Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
With his “Build Back Better” legislation already shrinking, in addition to having been long stalled in Congress, President Joe Biden and his aides are now faced with finding a way to fund the programs his legislation would create.
Biden’s initial plan of passing on the cost of a many-trillion-dollar spending bill to corporations via a 28% tax rate – up from the current rate of 21% – has run into intense opposition and will almost certainly fail to garner the support necessary to pass through the Senate.
According to a report in the Washington Post, the Biden team is now mulling a tax on billionaires’ assets, a minimum tax on corporations, and a tax on companies issuing stock buybacks. These plans are not final, and even if they become final will not necessarily provide an easy passage of the bill.
The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D–Ariz.) has pledged to vote no on any bill that includes additional tax burdens on the rich or businesses and will also oppose additional capital gains taxes.
The Biden administration has been priming for an enhanced run against billionaires since late September, when the White House released a study that indicated billionaires pay an annual average tax rate of 8.2%.
“For far too long, our economy has rewarded wealth instead of work—catering to the richest Americans and biggest corporations at the expense of ordinary people,” the release reads. “At the center of that system is a tax code that allows the wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. And while we have long known that billionaires don’t pay enough in taxes, the lack of transparency in our tax system means that much less is known about the income tax rate that they do pay.”
In public, Biden has focused on pushing the necessity and value of his plan. On Thursday, the president visited his hometown of Scranton, Penn., and offered a lengthy stump speech in support of the “Build Back Better” agenda. He had informed Democrats in closed-door meetings on Tuesday that they must slash the bill in order to reach a $2 trillion price tag in an attempt to get centrists on board.
In the speech, the president indicated he still felt the cost could be defrayed to the wealthy.
“[The] cost of the Build Back Better bill, in terms of adding to the deficit, is zero … because we’re going to pay for it all,” Biden said. “In addition to that, half of it is a tax cut. It’s not spending money; it’s a tax cut for working-class people.”
He added, “I come from the corporate state of the world. Not a joke. More corporations are … registered in my state than every other state in the United States combined … I’m not anti-business, but I’m about, ‘Just begin to pay your fair share.’”
Biden has also been faced with determining how to adjust his spending now that the bill has shrunk by $1.5 trillion.
As reported by NPR, the first sacrifice was free community college, a loss that caused much consternation in progressive circles. Reuters also reported that while much of what will be cut is still being debated, that Biden has proposed cutting the Child Tax Credit from four years to one year. USA Today reported Tuesday that progressives are urging the president to shorten the length of other programs, rather than remove them outright from the spending bill.