Despite Steep Tax Hikes, Biden’s Numbers Don’t Add Up

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Posted by Adam Sabes on Tuesday, December 10th, 2019, 10:52 AM PERMALINK

Biden rightfully attacks Warren on the issue, but his own numbers don’t add up. He’s $1.4 trillion short. 

Joe Biden regularly calls out Elizabeth Warren for not having numbers that add up. But Biden should look in the mirror: His own numbers don’t add up. Despite a raft of steep tax increases, he is still $1.4 trillion short:

May 28, 2019: Title I Spending Proposal -- $311.9 Billion: This Biden proposal calls for a tripling of Title I funding. This would cost around $311.9 billion over 10 years.

“He will pay for these investments in working Americans by making sure the super-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share. His first step will be reversing President Trump’s tax cuts for the super-wealthy and corporations. Joe will also eliminate special tax breaks that reward special interests and get rid of the capital gains loophole for multi-millionaires,” his website says.

June 4, 2019: “Climate” Spending Proposal -- $1.7 Trillion:  Biden’s website states his $1.7 trillion climate plan will be funded as follows:

“The Biden plan will be paid for by reversing the excesses of the Trump tax cuts for corporations, reducing incentives for tax havens, evasion, and outsourcing, ensuring corporations pay their fair share, closing other loopholes in our tax code that reward wealth not work, and ending subsidies for fossil fuels,” his website says.

 July 15, 2019: Healthcare Spending Proposal -- $750 Billion: According to the New York Times, his $750 billion healthcare plan will be paid for by “rolling back the $1.5 trillion tax cut Congress passed last year and doubling the tax rate on capital gains for the wealthiest Americans — those with annual incomes of more than $1 million.”

Oct. 8, 2019: Higher Education Spending Proposal -- $750 Billion: Biden’s higher education plan cites the following revenue source:

“The Biden plan for education beyond high school is a $750 billion investment over ten years targeted at growing a stronger, more inclusive middle class. It will be paid for by making sure that the super-wealthy pay their fair share. Specifically, this plan will be paid for by eliminating the stepped-up basis loophole and capping the itemized deductions the wealthiest Americans can take to 28%.”

Nov. 14, 2019: “Infrastructure” Spending Proposal -- $1.3 Trillion: To fund his $1.3 trillion “infrastructure” plan, Biden says that it would be paid for by “making sure the super-wealthy and corporations pay their fair share.” This is a copy and paste job from his climate plan.

Biden’s website says: “Specifically, this investment will be offset by revenue raised through reversing the excesses of the Trump tax cuts for corporations; reducing incentives for tax havens, evasion, and outsourcing; ensuring corporations pay their fair share; closing other loopholes in our tax code that reward wealth, not work; and ending subsidies for fossil fuels.”

According to Bloomberg News, Biden’s campaign provided them with the information for $3.42 trillion in tax increase proposals to pay for all of these new plans.

Bloomberg News says that Biden is only proposing $3.2 trillion in policy proposals, but the Bloomberg article failed to include his proposed Title I spending increase. 

The Bloomberg News piece also combined Biden’s climate and infrastructure plan, which are listed as two separate plans on Biden’s website, both with different costs. The climate plan was released on June 14, and the infrastructure plan was released on Nov. 14.

The total amount need for Biden’s infrastructure, climate, Title I, healthcare, and college plan: $4.811 trillion.

Here’s the breakdown of the math: (Via Joe Biden’s Campaign Website)

Infrastructure Plan: $1.3 Trillion 

 

Climate plan: $1.7 Trillion

 

Triple Title I Funding: $311.91 Billion 

 

Healthcare Plan: $750 Billion (Via New York Times)

 

Higher Education Plan: $750 Billion

 

Total: $4.811 Trillion 

However, Biden’s campaign only provided Bloomberg News with the information for $3.42 trillion in tax increases, leaving him $1.4 trillion short. Here’s the breakdown of his proposed tax increases: (Source: Bloomberg News and the Biden campaign website)

Tax capital gains as income: $800 Billion

 

Raise corporate tax rate to 28%: $730 Billion

 

End stepped-up basis: $440 Billion

 

15% corporate minimum tax: $400 Billion

 

21% minimum tax rate on foreign profits: $340 Billion

 

Impose 28% cap on deductions: $310 Billion

 

Sanctions for “tax avoidance”: $200 Billion

 

Raise top income tax rate to 39.6%: $90 Billion

 

Close real estate “loopholes”: $70 Billion

 

Energy tax hikes: $40 Billion

 

Total: $3.420 trillion raised

 

= Biden is $1.4 trillion short

Why didn’t Bloomberg News call Biden out for the discrepancy? Is this part of Michael Bloomberg’s go-easy-on-the-Democrats diktat?

Perhaps the $1.4 trillion in missing tax hikes will come from Biden’s carbon tax, which will impose harsh costs on American households. On Sept. 4, Biden endorsed a carbon tax during a CNN climate town hall.

As stated by Bloomberg News: “With the proposal, Biden’s campaign is seeking to show a full list of taxes and other revenue-raising proposals that would pay for all of his spending plans -- a test he has set for his Democratic rivals, especially Senator Elizabeth Warren and her Medicare for All plan.”

Biden’s own policy director even emphasizes the importance of transparency.

“The vice president does think it’s very important to be clear with the American people regarding how you’re going to pay for things in order to demonstrate they can actually get it done,” Biden’s policy director Stef Feldman told Bloomberg News.

Biden has some explaining to do, and Warren has an opening to hit him back. 

Photo Credit: Center for American Progress/Flickr

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