President insists no one earning under $400,000 will see a tax increase


President Joe Biden confirmed that he would only target the country’s wealthiest to pay for $2 trillion in infrastructure investments during a speech Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he debuted the plan.  

‘No one making under $400,000 will see their federal taxes go up, period,’ Biden said, reiterating a campaign promise and creating his own ‘read my lips’ moment. 

Biden is pitching investments in roads, bridges, broadband technology, along with water projects, housing, and job training efforts, which will be paid for by hiking taxes on big corporations and firms with off-shore profits. 

During his address, Biden repeatedly said he wasn’t punishing the rich.    

‘This is not penalizing people. I have nothing against millionaires and billionaires. I believe in American capitalism. I want everyone to do well,’ he said at one point.  

‘This is not to target those who’ve made it. Not to seek retribution,’ he said at another. 

‘This is about opening opportunities for everybody else,’ the president stated. ‘And here’s the truth. We all will do better when we all do well.’   

President Joe Biden debuted his $2 trillion infrastructure plan Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, explaining that Americans who make under $400,000 wouldn't pay more, but the wealthy should

President Joe Biden debuted his $2 trillion infrastructure plan Wednesday in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, explaining that Americans who make under $400,000 wouldn’t pay more, but the wealthy should 

Biden took on former President Donald Trump and Republicans in his speech, saying they didn't 'cry' when the 2017 tax bill benefited the 1 per cent, yet grumbled over COVID-19 relief spending and now his infrastructure plan

Biden took on former President Donald Trump and Republicans in his speech, saying they didn’t ‘cry’ when the 2017 tax bill benefited the 1 per cent, yet grumbled over COVID-19 relief spending and now his infrastructure plan  

Biden is photographed arriving at the Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to deliver his speech on infrastructure Wednesday, detailing the second big package he wants Congress to pass

Biden is photographed arriving at the Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to deliver his speech on infrastructure Wednesday, detailing the second big package he wants Congress to pass  

Biden speaks in Pittsburgh about the $2 trillion 'American Jobs Plan,' which will invest taxpayer dollars in roads, bridges, broadband technology, along with water projects, housing, and job training efforts

 Biden speaks in Pittsburgh about the $2 trillion ‘American Jobs Plan,’ which will invest taxpayer dollars in roads, bridges, broadband technology, along with water projects, housing, and job training efforts 

WHAT’S INCLUDED AND HOW IT’S PAID FOR IN BIDEN’S $2 TRILLION INFRASTRUCTURE PLAN 

TAX INCREASES

Biden’s plan would finance projects by:

– Raising the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, one of the measures that over 15 years would cover the cost of the infrastructure program and then help to reduce the budget deficit.

– Imposing a 21% global minimum tax, so that companies cannot avoid taxes by shifting income to low-tax countries.

– Making it harder for businesses to merge with foreign companies to avoid U.S. taxes, a process known as inversion.

– Eliminating tax breaks for companies that shift assets abroad, and denying deductions for offshoring jobs.

– Imposing a 15% minimum tax on the income that corporations report to shareholders.

– Eliminating tax preferences for the fossil fuels sector.

– Increasing IRS audits of large corporations. 

INFRASTRUCTURE INVESTMENTS 

– $115 billion to modernize the bridges, highways and roads that are in the worst shape. The White House outline estimated 20,000 miles (32,187 kilometers) of roadways would be repaired, while economically significant bridges and 10,000 smaller bridges would get fixed.

– $85 billion for public transit, doubling the federal government’s commitment in an effort to shorten the repair backlog and expand service.

– $80 billion to modernize Amtrak’s heavily trafficked Northeast Corridor line, address its repair backlog and improve freight rail. 

– $174 billion to build 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations, electrify 20% of school buses and electrify the federal fleet, including U.S. Postal Service vehicles.

– $25 billion to upgrade air travel and airports and $17 billion for waterways and coastal ports.

– $20 billion to redress communities whose neighborhoods – typically nonwhite – were divided by highway projects.

– $50 billion to improve infrastructure resilience in the aftermath of natural disasters.

– $111 billion to replace lead water pipes and upgrade sewer systems.

– $100 billion to build high-speed broadband that provides 100% coverage for the country.

– $100 billion to upgrade the resilience of the power grid and move to clean electricity, among other power projects.

– $213 billion to produce, preserve and retrofit more than 2 million affordable houses and buildings.

– $100 billion to upgrade and build new schools.

– $18 billion to modernize Veterans Affairs hospitals and clinics, and $10 billion for federal buildings.

– $400 billion to expand long-term care services under Medicaid.

– $180 billion invested in research and development projects.

– $300 billion for manufacturing, including funds for the computer chip sector, improved access to capital and investment in clean energy through federal procurement.

– $100 billion for workforce development.

Biden used the speech to go after former President Donald Trump and Congressional Republicans for the 2017 tax bill that slashed the corporate tax rate and helped other Americans at the top. 

As evidence, the president noted how the wealthiest Americans made an additional $4 trillion during the coronavirus pandemic.  

‘It didn’t meet any of the predictions it would for growing the economy,’ Biden said of the 2017 tax law, calling it ‘wrong for our future.’  

‘I know paranthetically that I got criticized for giving tax breaks to middle class and poor folks this last time,’ Biden said, alluding to stimulus checks and other funds fund in the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill that he signed earlier this month. ‘You didn’t cry … when Trump’s tax bill passed, 83 per cent of the money went to the top 1 per cent,’ he said in a message to Republicans. 

On Wednesday Trump and GOP lawmakers were already attacking Biden in the hours before and after he officially rolled out the plan.   

Former President Donald Trump

Former President Donald Trump (left) slammed President Joe Biden’s (right) $2 trillion infrastructure package, which Biden will debut in Pittsburgh Wednesday

The former president released a statement prior to Biden's speech in Pittsburgh Wednesday where he'll debut the plan. Trump, again and again, suggests the infrastructure package will benefit China and not the United States

The former president released a statement prior to Biden’s speech in Pittsburgh Wednesday where he’ll debut the plan. Trump, again and again, suggests the infrastructure package will benefit China and not the United States 

‘Biden’s policy would break the back of the American Worker with among the highest business tax rates in the developed world,’ Trump said.

The plan will include a 7 per cent corporate tax hike from the current rate of 21 percent. 

‘Joe Biden’s radical plan to implement the largest tax hike in American history is a massive giveaway to China, and many other countries, that will send thousands of factories, millions of jobs and trillions of dollars to these competitives Nations,’ Trump charged.     

Biden argued that the U.S.’s infrastructure, which ranks 13th in the world, is hindering its ability to have a competitive edge against China. 

He said it would ‘put us in the position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years. It’s big, yes. It’s bold, yes. And we can get it done.’ 

 He emphasized clean energy competition with China in particular. 

And he brought up a conversation after his inauguration with Chinese President Xi Jinping. He said Republicans in Congress know that ‘China is eating our lunch’ and that the nation must improve its infrastructure. 

Trump argued the opposite, saying the tax hikes and then dollars thrown back into the U.S. economy would damage it further, as it reels from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Trump predicted the tax hikes would compel companies to take American jobs overseas, something that the White House says a rewrite of the tax code would prevent. 

‘This legislation would be among the largest self-inflicted wounds in history,’ Trump said. ‘If this monstrosity is allowed to pass, the result will be more Americans out of work, more families shattered, more factories abandoned, more industries wrecked, and more Main Streets boarded up and closed down – just like it was before I took over the presidency 4 years ago.’ 

Trump continued by calling the tax hike a ‘globalist betrayal by Joe Biden and his friends: the lobbyists will win, the special interests will win, China will win and Washington politicians and government bureaucrats will win – but hardworking American families will lose.’ 

‘Joe Biden’s cruel and heartless attack on the American dream must never be allowed to become Federal Law,’ Trump said. ‘Just like our southern border went from bad to worst, and is now in shambles, our economy will be destroyed!’       

Biden also cast the proposal as an arena in the competition between democracies and autocracies. ‘Can democracies still deliver for their people. Can they get a majority?’ he said. 

The president also said he had spoken to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – who Biden accidentally called the ‘majority’ leader – a title that was stripped from the Kentucky Republican when Democrats took over the Senate in January. 

‘I guess he’s no longer the majority leader,’ Biden said, quickly fixing his mistake. 

The takeaway of the conversatio Biden suggested was, ‘Everybody’s for doing something on infrastructure.’

‘Why haven’t we done it? No one wants to pay for it,’ Biden said. 

McConnell sent out a statement directly after Biden’s speech saying that Republicans would get on board a ‘targeted’ infrastructure plan – code for less expensive. 

The Kentucky Republican said the bloated price tag was because the bill was really a ‘liberal wishlist.’ 

‘It contains sweeping far-left priorities like attacking blue-collar Americans’ Right to Work protections, a huge favor to Big Labor bosses,’ McConnell said. ‘Every time that far-left dogma clashes with the interests of American families, today’s Democrats pick the dogma.’

In his speech Biden argued that the size was correct because investment is so badly needed.   

‘We can afford to make them,’ he said. ‘Put another way, we can’t afford not to.’ 

And he boasted about the size of the package.   

‘It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It’s a once in a generation investment in America. Unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the Interstate Highway System or the space race decades ago,’ he said. 

‘It’s big, yes. It’s bold, yes. And we can get it done,’ he added.   

For a split second, President Joe Biden seemed poised to miss a step, but he remained upright carrying both a briefcase and an umbrella as he boarded Air Force One en route to Pittsburgh Wednesday

For a split second, President Joe Biden seemed poised to miss a step, but he remained upright carrying both a briefcase and an umbrella as he boarded Air Force One en route to Pittsburgh Wednesday 

President Joe Biden walked up Air Force One's stairs very gingerly on Wednesday after his fall earlier this month. He held onto both an umbrella and a briefcase during his ascent. He's in Pittsburgh to debut his infrastructure plan

President Joe Biden walked up Air Force One’s stairs very gingerly on Wednesday after his fall earlier this month. He held onto both an umbrella and a briefcase during his ascent. He’s in Pittsburgh to debut his infrastructure plan 

President Joe Biden gives a salute as he successfully navigates the stairs of Air Force One after his memorable tumble en route to Atlanta, Georgia earlier this month

President Joe Biden gives a salute as he successfully navigates the stairs of Air Force One after his memorable tumble en route to Atlanta, Georgia earlier this month 

Biden’s trip to Pittsburgh Wednesday started with him gingerly walking up the stairs of Air Force One in the rain – holding onto both a briefcase and an umbrella – and avoiding another tumble like the one two weeks ago en route to Georgia. 

Biden picked Pittsburgh to roll out his plan because it carries both economic and policial resonance.  

He not only won Pittsburgh and its surrounding county to help secure Pennsylvania, and in turn the presidency, but he launched his campaign there in 2019. 

Upon his arrival, Biden briefly met with a group of Pennsylvania Democrats including Gov. Tom Wolf, Democratic Sen. Bob Casey and Reps. Conor Lamb and Mike Doyle.

He also participated in a photo line with Lt. Gov. John Fetterman, who is mounting a bid to take the seat of retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, as well as a number of state lawmakers and local officials. 

Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto was on hand at his speech.  

Pittsburgh is a series of steep hills and three intersecting rivers. 

Its steel mills once covered the sky in enough soot that men needed to take spare white shirts to work because their button downs would turn to gray by lunch.

But it’s considered a ‘Rust Belt’ success story as the once ‘steel city’ attracted emerging industries, like healthcare and tech – but is still hindered by deteriorating infrastructure. 

Only last year the city, amid the coronavirus pandemic, met Environmental Protection Agency standards for air quality.

Biden’s remarks were delivered  at the Carpenters Pittsburgh Training Center, where he traveled in 2018 to stump Lamb, who successfully turned a red Congressional district blue during the Trump era.    

Biden salutes as he boards Air Force One on the way to Pittsburgh for the announcement that could include the most significant tax hike in 20 years

Biden salutes as he boards Air Force One on the way to Pittsburgh for the announcement that could include the most significant tax hike in 20 years 

'Biden's policy would break the back of the American Worker with among the highest business tax rates in the developed world,' Trump said.

‘Biden’s policy would break the back of the American Worker with among the highest business tax rates in the developed world,’ Trump said.

Despite the massive price tag and expected tax increase, progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday Biden's $2.2 trillion for infrastructure should be 'way bigger.'

Despite the massive price tag and expected tax increase, progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday Biden’s $2.2 trillion for infrastructure should be ‘way bigger.’

Despite the massive price tag and expected tax increase, progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Tuesday Biden’s $2.2 trillion for infrastructure should be ‘way bigger.’

‘This is not nearly enough,’ Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

She added: ‘The important context here is that it’s $2.25T spread out over 10 years. For context, the COVID package was $1.9T for this year *alone,* with some provisions lasting 2 years. Needs to be way bigger.’

Previewing the rollout during Tuesday’s press briefing, White House press secretary Jen Psaki referenced proposed changes to the tax code.   

‘[Biden] believes that there’s more that can be done to make the corporate tax code fair – to reward work, not wealth,’ Psaki said.  

Incidentally, Biden was senator for Delaware for 36 years – a tax haven state ranked the ‘world’s most opaque’ by the London-based ‘Tax Justice Network’ in 2010.

Delaware has no sales tax, it does not tax business transactions, and it does not have use, inventory or unitary tax. 

There is also no inheritance tax in the state and no capital shares or stock transfer taxes. 

This tax hike, if passed, would be the largest comprehensive tax increase since 1993. 

‘If Republicans have alternative ways to pay for it, we’re certainly open to hearing that. They don’t think they should pay for it? We’re open to hearing that, too,’ Psaki told MSNBC’s ‘Morning Joe’ on Wednesday. ‘What we’re focussed on is we have to invest in our infrastructure.’

What’s inside Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure package

Electric vehicles: $174 billion to boost the markets for electric vehicles. Rebates and tax incentives to buy American-made EVs. 

Included in the plan provided by the White House are grants for governments and private groups to build 500,000 electric vehicle chargers and replace 50,000 diesel transit vehicles. 

School buses: Replace 50,000 diesel transit vehicles and electrify at least 20 percent of yellow school bus fleet. The package touts an Energy Department program called Clean Buses for Kids. It would ‘set us on a path to 100 percent clean buses,’ according to the White House.

Public Transit: Biden calls on Congress to invest $165 billion in public transit. This includes modernizing existing transit and expanding those systems. It would double federal funding for an area that is a top part of state and local budgets. According to the White House it would ‘bring bus, bus rapid transit, and rail service to communities and neighborhoods across the country’ without specifying which ones, and claims it would ‘ultimately reduce traffic congestion for everyone.’ 

Lead pipes: After a campaign where the Flint drinking water fiasco became a top issue for Democrats, the proposal includes $45 billion for a plan to eliminate all lead pipes used in water distribution. The funds would be administered through EPA’s Drinking Water State Revolving Fund and in Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act grants to localities.

‘Made in America’: ‘Made in America’ provisions on manufacturing and shipping. According to the White House, it will ‘require that goods and materials are made in America and shipped on U.S.-flag, U.S.-crewed vessels.’ Similar ‘made in America’ provisions are common on legislation. The White says its plan ‘will ensure that Americans who have endured systemic discrimination and exclusion for generations finally have a fair shot at obtaining good paying jobs and being part of a union.’

Bridge and highway modernization: $115 billion to modernize the bridges, highways, roads, and main streets in ‘critical need’. The White House cites statistics saying 173,000 total miles of highways are in poor condition, along with 45,000 bridges. The plan also calls for funds to repair 10,000 ‘smaller bridges’ that provide ‘critical connections to rural and tribal communities’.

Protect cyclists and pedestrians: Bikes, too, would get a share of the billions. The package includes $20 billion for safety – including funds to ‘reduce crashes and fatalities, especially for cyclists and pedestrians’.

Transit: Biden is calling for $85 billion to modernize existing transit. A Transportation Department figure cites a maintenance backlog of $105 billion, which includes  24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, plus track and other systems. The infusion, if enacted, would double the current federal funding. 

Amtrak: Biden, a lifetime rail enthusiast who used to commute by train between Wilmington and Washington, would shower $80 billion on Amtrak to modernize the system and improve the Northeast Corridor, which links D.C. to New York and points North. The money would go to fund repairs, boost safety and electrification, and connect new pairs of cities. Grants would ‘support passenger and freight rail safety, efficiency, and electrification.’

Airports: The plan calls for $25 billion for airports, with funds going to the existing Airport Improvement Program. It also calls for upgrades to Federal Aviation Administration assets that ‘ensure safe and efficient air travel,’ with a new program for terminal renovations and connections. 

Waterways: $17 billion for inland waterways, coastal ports, land ports of entry, and ferries.

Neighborhoods cut off by roads: $20 billion to reconnect neighborhoods cut off by highways and historic investments, plus research on ‘advanced pavements’.

Water restoration: Unspecified investment for ‘the protection and restoration of major land and water resources like Florida’s Everglades and the Great Lakes’.

Broadband: Push for ‘100 percent high-speed broadband coverage’ in the nation. Work with Congress to lower internet prices. The plan says Biden ‘recognizes that individual subsidies to cover internet costs may be needed in the short term,’ but thinks continually providing subsidies ‘is not the right long-term solution.’

Power grid: Build more resilient power system. Targeted investment tax credit to help build out 20 gigawatts of high-voltage capacity power lines.

Plug oil wells: Spend $16 billion to plug ‘orphan’ oil and gas wells.

Brownfields: $5 billion for brownfields and Superfund sites.

Industrial clean energy: 15 decarbonized hydrogen demonstration projects to get industry to use clean technology.

Civilian Climate Corps: $10 billion for new Civilian Climate Corps. It’s unclear what this new unit will entail.

Affordable housing: $213 billion to ‘produce, preserve, and retrofit more than two million affordable and sustainable places to live.’ Includes ‘project-based rental assistance.’ $40 billion for public housing infrastructure.

Home energy: $27 billion Clean Energy and Sustainability Accelerator for home energy upgrades.

Schools: $100 billion to upgrade and build new public schools, half through grants and half through bonds.

Community colleges: $12 billion to invest in community college infrastructure.

Child care: $25 billion to upgrade child care facilities.

Veterans: $18 billion for VA hospitals.

Home care: $400 billion toward ‘expanding access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities’.

R&D: $35 billion in R&D investments. Includes $5 billion for climate research

HBCUs: $10 billion for R&D investment at historically black colleges and universities

Pandemics: $30 billion in pandemic counter measures. Includes investments in medical stockpile, testing, and research.

Power sources: $46 billion for charging ports, advanced nuclear reactors and fuel, electric heat pumps for buildings.

Dislocated workers: $40 building for dislocated workers.

Workforce training: Workforce training amid ‘persistent economic inequalities’: $12 billion for workforce development in ‘underserved communities.’ $5 billion for community violence prevention.

Apprenticeships: $48 billion in ‘American workforce development’ including 2 million new apprenticeships.

Enforcement: $10 billion to ensure fair and equal pay, workplace safety, and job sites ‘free from racial, gender, and other forms of discrimination and harassment’.

 

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