Joe Biden calls for more taxes on the rich and casts Donald Trump as elitist

17 April 2024, 04:54

Election 2024 Biden
Election 2024 Biden. Picture: PA

Mr Biden is looking to gain ground in a key battleground state while Mr Trump spends much of the week in a New York City courtroom.

President Joe Biden begun three days of campaigning in Pennsylvania while returning to his childhood home in Scranton on Tuesday where he called for higher taxes on the rich and casting Donald Trump as an elitist.

Mr Biden is looking to gain ground in a key battleground state while Mr Trump spends much of the week in a New York City courtroom for his first criminal trial.

Mr Biden heads to Pittsburgh on Wednesday and Philadelphia on Thursday, but he started his travels in Scranton, which has long played a starring role in his political autobiography.

The president said he wanted to make the tax code fairer, keeping more money in Americans’ pockets, while criticising Mr Trump, a billionaire himself, as a tool of wealthy interests.

“When I look at the economy, I don’t look at it through the eyes of Mar-a-Lago. I look at it through the eyes of Scranton,” Mr Biden said, contrasting his hometown with the Florida estate where Mr Trump lives.

Mr Biden has proposed a 25% percent minimum tax rate for billionaires. He added that taxes are “how we invest in the country.”

“Scranton values or Mar-a-Lago values,” Mr Biden said. “These are the competing visions for our economy that raise questions of fundamental fairness at the heart of this campaign.”

The president said decades of Republicans policies that cut taxes for the wealthy with the idea of stimulating the economy “failed America, and Donald Trump embodies that failure.”

He scoffed that Mr Trump’s background taught him little more than “the best way to get rich is to inherit it,” and he jabbed at the sharp fall in market value of the former president’s social media platform, Truth Social.

Trump New York
Former president Donald Trump, talks to members of the media in New York. (Yuki Iwamura/AP)

“If Trump’s stock in Truth Social, his company, drops any lower, he might do better under my tax plan than his,” Mr Biden quipped.

Michael Whatley, chair of the Republican National Committee, blamed Mr Biden for inflation in a statement about his trip.

“It’s no wonder why Pennsylvanians will vote to make America affordable again and elect president Trump in November,” he said.

Near the end of Mr Biden’s speech, he sharply criticised Mr Trump for reportedly calling veterans who died in combat “suckers and losers.”

He said the comments, which Mr Trump has denied, were “disqualifying,” adding, “Thank God I wasn’t standing next to him.”

Election 2024 Biden
President Joe Biden walks out of his childhood home in Scranton (Alex Brandon/PA)

Later in the day, Mr Biden spoke at a training session for grassroots organisers at a union hall, telling attendees: “We have to win. It gets down to old-fashioned politics. It gets down to knocking on doors.”

When Mr Biden took the stage at the community centre, the crowd chanted “Four more years” before he started speaking. Mr Biden smiled and joked, “I think I should go home now.” Then he quickly added, “except I am already home.”

As president, Mr Trump signed into law in 2017 a series of tax breaks that disproportionately benefit the rich. Many of the cuts expire at the end of 2025, and Mr Biden wants to keep a majority of them to fulfil his promise that no one earning less than 400,000 million dollars (£320,000) will pay more taxes.

However, he also wants to raise 4.9 trillion dollars (£3.9 trillion) in revenue over 10 years with higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations. His platform includes a “billionaire’s tax,” which would set a minimum rate of 25% on the income of the richest Americans.

Mr Biden’s Pennsylvania swing overlaps with the start of Mr Trump’s first criminal trial, presenting an opportunity and a challenge for Democrats.

Mr Biden did not mention Mr Trump’s legal problems. Instead, he told the community centre crowd that he learned in Scranton that “money doesn’t determine your worth.”

By Press Association

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