Tax Update Blog

Biden-Sanders 'Unity Task Force' Plan Favors Higher Investment Taxes, Omits Wealth Tax

July 11, 2020 | Blog

The Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force has issued 110 pages of legislative and regulatory recommendations, including proposals for tax legislation should Biden be elected President.  The Unity Task Force was established by the Biden campaign in order to find some common ground between the Biden and Sanders and make Sanders supporters feel they would have some voice in a Biden administration.  It should NOT be assumed that these recommendations will automatically be advanced in the event of a Biden presidency.  However, what is and is not included may give some idea of a Biden administration’s starting point for negotiations with the Republicans. 

There are very few specific proposals in the recommendations and no discussion of how the general ideas would be implemented.  General tax recommendations include:

  • Reform the tax code to be more progressive and equitable and reduce barriers for families who qualify to benefit from targeted tax breaks.   A guiding principle across our tax agenda is that the wealthiest Americans can shoulder more of the tax burden.
    • make investors pay the same tax rates as workers
    • bring an end to expensive and unproductive tax loopholes
    • “supply-side” or “trickle down” tax cuts must be rejected
    • Estate taxes should be raised back to the historical norm.
  • Provide immediate, marked relief for working families
    • more generous, refundable tax credits to benefit low- and middle-income families
    • easier and more equitable access to tax provisions that help working families build wealth, such as equalizing tax benefits for retirement contributions
    • provide more accessible tax breaks for homeownership.
  • Provide tax incentives for clean energy infrastructure, efficiency upgrades, process changes, and facility retooling, conditioned on the provision of robust wage and labor requirements

 Perhaps of greater interest are the items that are NOT included in the recommendations.

  • No mention of single payer health care
  • No blanket repeal of the 2017 tax cuts
  • No wealth tax proposal

Observers believe that the Biden campaign used the task force to reach out to the Sanders (and to a lesser extent, the Warren) supporters and give them the sense that they were be listened to, while also laying down markers as to where Biden was not interested in going.  For that reason, the exclusion of the single payer health care, the blanket repeal of the TCJA and the wealth tax suggest that these items may be off the table, at least for the early part of a Biden presidency.  Whether this will satisfy the Sanders and Warren group and keep them from either staying home on November 3rd or jumping ship to a third-party candidate remains to be seen, and may be what determines the outcome of the election.

 


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