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If Joe Biden is America's Robin Hood, this is his merry band

EconomyApr 25, 2021 09:15AM ET
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© Reuters. President Biden participates in a virtual climate summit at the White House

By Trevor Hunnicutt

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Bolstered by popular support, U.S. President Joe Biden plans to take from the rich to give to the poor, aided by advisers keen to address economic disparities and stop companies from avoiding paying taxes.

Biden on the campaign trail in 2019 first signaled that he hoped to hike taxes on investment gains paid by the wealthy as a way to fund social programs, in that case healthcare.

The then-candidate relied on research from economists with roots in academia and at think tanks. As president, he brought these advocates of progressive taxation, or a system where tax rates increase as income goes up, into the White House.

Now, their ideas are moving financial markets. Stocks briefly fell when word emerged that Biden planned to raise capital gains taxes to fund $1 trillion in childcare, early childhood education and paid worker leave. The president is expected to release details next week. (Full Story)

Despite alarm on Wall Street, there is strong public support for Biden's proposal. Sixty-two percent of Americans believe upper-income people pay less than their fair share in taxes, according to Gallup. That figure is 69% for corporations.

While Biden studiously distanced himself from some of the most progressive policies put forth by fellow Democrats on the campaign trail, an agenda of redressing inequity underpins his proposals on taxes and infrastructure.

If Biden is playing Robin Hood, who is in his merry band of policy architects crafting the capital gains tax initiative?

THINK TANKS

The Biden campaign's first taxation push was based in part on work done by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP), a 40-year-old think tank that tracks which companies pay no federal taxes. It argued that taxing income from invested wealth at a lower rate than taxing income from work contributes to inequality. Biden's team also drew on similar research by the group Americans for Tax Fairness.

The campaign used ITEP's research to calculate its own estimate of how much taxing capital gains as income for people making more than $1 million would raise. It was significant - about $800 billion over a decade.

At the time, Biden's Democratic presidential opponents were proposing even bolder steps, such as outright taxes on wealth held by individuals.

Mark Mazur, whom Biden named the Treasury Department's deputy assistant secretary for tax policy in January, also has played a key role in drafting the administration's proposals.

Mazur was the director of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, a think tank founded by tax specialists in the Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.

PROFESSORS AND ECONOMISTS

One influence on Biden's tax plans was David Kamin, now serving as deputy director of the White House National Economic Council.

Kamin and another former aide under President Barack Obama, Lily Batchelder, authored a 2019 paper as professors at the New York University School of Law that said a wealth tax merited serious consideration to address inequality.

"The U.S. economy exhibits high inequality and low economic mobility across generations relative to other high-income countries,” they wrote in “Taxing the Rich: Issues and Options."

The United States "will need to raise more revenues in order to reduce these disparities, finance much-needed new services and investments, and address the nation’s long-term fiscal needs."

Other progressive economists also hold key roles in the administration, including Heather Boushey, a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers who co-founded the Washington Center for Equitable Growth, and Ben Harris, a top aide to Biden who helped draft the 2019 campaign positions and is now assistant secretary for economic policy at Treasury.

If Joe Biden is America's Robin Hood, this is his merry band
 

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Comments (15)
melissa raking
melissa raking Apr 25, 2021 10:48PM ET
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Remind me to China 20+ years back. Get from the rich give to the poor. That time China was poor due to most businessmen feels like their hardwork been robbed. Tried to make everyone equal end up created mediocrities. After they realized it didn't help their economy they change their policy now China is second to US. If this continue for long US will be second to China. Just a matter of time. I guess Trump just watching from the sidelines let Americans get what they deserves from Joe. Not sure what is the impact on the companies that help democrats to ban Trump from appear in any social media though. With them democracy is already dead. Good luck America.
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Apr 25, 2021 7:03PM ET
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“Bolstered by popular support” from socialist Canadian Reuters.. lol - America’s wealthy will take their ball and go home until capitalists are back in power. They always do.. and they will pass 100% of the Biden pain onto the poor through higher prices and lost jobs. Generational inequality is cultural. Just look at the richest men in America. They didn’t come from wealth - they came from risk taking families.
George Jetson
George Jetson Apr 25, 2021 4:44PM ET
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robing the hood.
Anthony Badalamenti
Anthony Badalamenti Apr 25, 2021 1:44PM ET
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More like a robin hoodlum
Steve Lora
Steve Lora Apr 25, 2021 1:19PM ET
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Joe Biden is no longrt making decisions.
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Apr 25, 2021 11:19AM ET
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Trevor(Reuters), are you high?
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 25, 2021 11:19AM ET
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paid by the DNC
danny Levine
danny Levine Apr 25, 2021 10:43AM ET
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do people not see how media give Biden such an easy pass compared to Trump? people need to wake up. the dems control the media. your perception of the presidency is shaped by their "Journalism"
Connecticut Yankee
A_Jaundiced_Eye Apr 25, 2021 10:43AM ET
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The "Evil America" gang. The only thing more disgraceful than their anti-Americanism is their hubris. And you can draw a straight line from the Ivory Tower professors at the elite NIMBY universities to the editors at these media giants.
Steve Lora
Steve Lora Apr 25, 2021 10:43AM ET
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media is part of the Democrat socialist party. You think that nice old anchor on your local affiliate is a conservative? They have an agenda ..Right now its a push 4 lgbt and police bad, black man good. They are also there to instigate riots 4 ratings.
Elvis Bajraktarevic
Elvis Bajraktarevic Apr 25, 2021 10:30AM ET
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Competency is key. When the wealthiest agree to pay their fair share, it is proof within itself, that the gap of inequality is huge!! Unfortunately, fairness is not what many practice or support.
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Apr 25, 2021 10:29AM ET
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The arrogance to think you can steal from whoever you want.
Anthony Bui
Anthony Bui Apr 25, 2021 10:29AM ET
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You only have to worry if you are the wealthy rich. Most of us dont even get affected
Connecticut Yankee
A_Jaundiced_Eye Apr 25, 2021 10:29AM ET
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Anthony Bui  Keep drinkin' that Kool-Aid Anthony, keep drinkin' that Kool-Aid !
Silence Dogood
Silence Dogood Apr 25, 2021 10:29AM ET
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Cody Heck
Cody Heck Apr 25, 2021 10:26AM ET
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Bernie Sanders was the closest thing to a Robin Hood America could get. But the DNC made sure he didn't win . . . twice.
Forex Harbingers
Forex Harbingers Apr 25, 2021 10:20AM ET
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Hahahahahahaha
Chris Kellerman
Chris Kellerman Apr 25, 2021 10:17AM ET
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Joe Biden’s only doing what he’s told to do
Connecticut Yankee
A_Jaundiced_Eye Apr 25, 2021 10:17AM ET
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Exactly !! At his age, Joe's only goal left is to be loved by everybody. He's surrounded by liberals, who only allow access to other liberals who're whispering in Joe's ear.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 25, 2021 9:51AM ET
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More like the The Sheriff of Nottingham.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Apr 25, 2021 9:51AM ET
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The wolf from Little Red Riding Hood is the best comparison.
Zeb Fullmer
Zeb Fullmer Apr 25, 2021 9:40AM ET
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oh such a hero biden is.....
Jörg Holl
Jörg Holl Apr 25, 2021 9:30AM ET
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Poor people believe that politicians take from the rich to give them. That shows how stupid many poors are and that's why they are poor.
 
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