Biden’s $7.3 Trillion Budget Is Campaign Pitch For Spending, Tax Goals

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U.S. President Joe Biden sketched his policy vision for a potential second four-year term on Monday, unveiling a $7.3 trillion election-year budget aimed at convincing skeptical Americans that he can run the economy better than Donald Trump.

Biden wants to raise taxes by trillions on corporations and high earners, his budget wish-list showed, to help cut the deficit and pay for new programs assisting those who make less cope with high housing and childcare costs. Congress is unlikely to adopt the measures as proposed.

Biden’s budget for the 2025 fiscal year, which starts this October, includes raising the corporate income tax rate to 28% from 21%, forcing those with wealth of $100 million to pay at least 25% of their income in taxes, and letting the government negotiate to bring more drug costs down.

Meanwhile, the government would bring back a child tax credit for low- and middle-income earners, fund childcare programs, funnel $258 billion to building homes, provide 12 weeks of paid family leave for workers, and spend billions on law enforcement.

“Do you really think the wealthy and big corporations need another $2 trillion tax breaks, because that’s what he (Trump) wants to do,” Biden said of Trump at an event in the competitive election state of New Hampshire. “I’m going to keep fighting like hell to make it fair.”

Republican House of Representatives Speaker Mike Johnson quickly rejected the proposal, saying it reflected an “insatiable appetite for reckless spending” and a “disregard for fiscal responsibility.”

The budget was released days after the Democratic president’s fiery State of the Union address, where he assailed the values of Trump, his expected Republican opponent in November’s election.

Biden’s campaign has struggled to shake voters’ concerns about high prices and the U.S. economy’s direction. Forty percent of Americans think Trump would handle the economy best, compared with 31% who picked Biden and 28% who either didn’t know or refused to answer, according to a January Reuters/Ipsos poll.

Trump, whose signature legislative accomplishment as president was a major 2017 tax cut, wants to sharply increase tariffs on imported foreign goods and cut regulations on energy producers.

Democrats faulted the Trump tax cuts as widening the deficit and tilted to the wealthy but did not repeal them when they controlled Congress in 2021-2023. Key provisions expire next year, setting up a major showdown over tax policy.

Biden’s proposed budget would raise tax receipts by $4.951 trillion over 10 years, including more than $2.7 trillion in tax hikes on businesses and nearly $2 trillion on wealthy individuals and estates, the U.S. Treasury said on Monday.

A proposal to bring down deficit spending by $3 trillion over 10 years would slow but not halt the growth of the $34.5 trillion national debt. Deficits would total $1.8 trillion in the 2025 fiscal year, 6.1% of GDP, before falling to under 4% over a decade, the White House forecast.

The Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a deficit-reduction advocacy group, called the proposal a “welcome start” but said it “doesn’t go nearly far enough.”

The White House forecast 1.7% real GDP growth in 2024, and 1.8% in 2025, rising to 2.2% by 2030. Consumer price inflation for 2024 was forecast at 2.9% and 2.3% in 2025, with 4% unemployment, a figure that falls to 3.8% later in the decade.

The forecasts were set in November, and officials said the figures would be more optimistic if they were fixed today.

DEMOCRATIC MANIFESTO

White House budgets are always something of a presidential wish list, but that is even more so in the current political climate.

U.S. agencies are operating without a full-year 2024 budget, after hardline Republicans rejected an agreed-upon spending level. The U.S. government spends more than it takes in each year, and the majority goes to so-called mandatory programs and military programs, which lawmakers are unlikely to cut.

A House Republican plan unveiled last week, which the White House immediately rejected, was aimed at balancing the federal budget within a decade by sharply cutting the scope of federal government and relying on optimistic, out-of-consensus growth forecasts.

Last year’s standoff between Biden and hardline Republicans resulted in a two-year agreement to cap spending, the ouster of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and the credit rating agency Fitch stripping the country of its AAA rating.

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