Will Joe Biden Raise Taxes on People Making Less Than $400,000? Trump, GOP Criticize Proposal

Nonpartisan tax groups and critics of President Donald Trump alike have rebuked a repeated claim by Ronna McDaniel, chair of the Republican National Committee, that Joe Biden intends to raise taxes on “82 percent of Americans.”

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Vice President Joseph Biden, (R), shakes hands with Vice President-elect Mike Pence, at the Naval Observatory, on November 16, 2016 in Washington, DC. Vice President Biden and his Wife, Dr. Jill Biden, hosted a luncheon for Vice President-elect Pence and his wife Karen.

McDaniel’s false claim Sunday prompted Biden staff and supporters to highlight that Biden’s proposed tax plan promises never to raise taxes on any American who makes less than $400,000 per year. McDaniel shared on Twitter a Sunday interview in which Biden campaign co-chairman Rep. Cedric Richmond reiterated that middle-class Americans will not be hit with new taxes. McDaniel dismissed Richmond’s statement and instead pointed toward a $260 increase that may occur as a result of employers passing a repealed tax break onto its employees.


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“Joe Biden would raise taxes on 82% of Americans, and we cannot afford it!” McDaniel tweeted Sunday, sharing video of the ABC News interview with Richmond.

Four nonpartisan tax groups agreed with Richmond that Biden’s plan will not directly increase taxes for anyone making under $400,000. Only a tiny percentage of the country’s wealthiest people make more than $400,000 each year, prompting critics to mock McDaniel’s claim that Biden would tax “82 percent of Americans.”

The separate analyses conducted by nonpartisan groups including the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, the Tax Foundation and the Tax Policy Center have all indicated Biden’s tax plan will not lead to an increase in direct taxes for people making less than $400,000 annually. But indirectly, Biden’s proposed corporate tax hikes could cause workers to have to pay a few hundred dollars more should those businesses pass along the costs.

During the vice presidential debate last week, Mike Pence and Kamala Harris debated the effects of Biden vowing to repeal Trump’s 2017 Tax Cuts and Job Act, which was passed by a GOP majority in Congress. Either way, Biden would not be able to repeal the 2017 Trump tax cut act by himself should he take the White House—it would require Congress to pass a second piece of legislation and write it out of tax code law.

McDaniel’s point was echoed by President Donald Trump on the Fox Business Network Sunday morning, where he complained that Biden’s vow to “terminate my tax cuts” means millions of lower-income families would be penalized instead. According to reports from the three independent tax policy groups listed above, Biden’s proposals would repeal certain provisions which give tax breaks to Americans with some of the highest income levels.

McDaniel has been repeating the “82 percent of Americans” line for weeks, including in several tweets since the first presidential debate in Cleveland, despite fact-checking organizations also reiterating analyses which show that number to be incorrect.

“Joe Biden and Kamala Harris have promised to repeal the Trump tax cuts on Day 1, which would raise taxes on 82% of Americans. That’s a fact,” she tweeted on October 7, prompting rebukes from several tax policy centers and Biden supporters.

A separate Tax Policy Center report found Trump was among the top .04 percent of the country’s wealthiest Americans, and he reportedly paid as little as $750 in federal income tax in 2016 and 2017. About 90 percent of American households paid more than what Trump did in each of the past four years.

Biden tweeted Saturday night that Trump doesn’t care about one-in-five small businesses across the U.S. closing, more than 25 million Americans remaining on unemployment and millions being at risk of losing their homes. “President Trump doesn’t seem to care. He only cares about how he and his wealthy friends are doing,” the Democratic nominee wrote.

Newsweek reached out to both the Biden and Trump campaigns for additional remarks Sunday afternoon.

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