Pitching ways to reduce the debt amid massive spending plans, President Joe Biden vows to tax the rich to help close America's wealth gap.
"My fellow Americans, trickle down, trickle down economics has never worked," Biden said in his address to a joint session of Congress on his 99th day in office. "It's time to grow the economy from the bottom and the middle out."
Biden took a pointed shot at the Trump administration's tax reform of 2017.
"Look, the big tax cut of 2017, remember, it was supposed to pay for itself," Biden said. "That was how it was sold. And generate vast economic growth. Instead, it added $2 trillion to the deficit.
"It was a huge windfall for corporate America and those at the very top. Instead of using the tax saving to raise wages and invest in research and development, it poured billions of dollars into the pockets of CEOs. In fact, the pay gap between CEOs and their workers is now among the largest in history."
Biden did acknowledge the pandemic was a difficult hurdle for the economy, but said it did not damage those at the top income brackets.
"The pandemic has only made things worse: 20 million Americans lost their job in the pandemic, working and middle class Americans," Biden said. "At the same time, roughly 650 billionaires in America saw their net worth increase by more than $1 trillion. The same exact period."
Biden noted world leaders he has spoken with see America's world-leading revival from the pandemic a potentially temporary success story.
"There's a broad consensus of economists left, right, and center; they agree what I'm proposing will create millions of jobs and create historic economic growth," Biden said of his $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan. "These are among the highest value investments we can make as a nation.
"I've often said our greatest strength is the power of our example, not just the example of our power. My conversations with world leaders, and I've spoken to 38, 40 of them now, I've made it known that America is back. You know what they say?
"The comment I hear most of all from them, they say, 'we see America's back, but for how long?' But for how long? My fellow Americans, we have to show not just that we're back, but that we're back to stay, and that we aren't going to go alone."
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