Just a day after U.S. President Joe Biden officially unveiled a plan to boost taxes on wealthy Americans, Sen. Joe Manchin on Tuesday signaled that he intends to block progress on yet another White House priority.
“Billionaires purposefully don’t take incomes—they borrow against their wealth to fund their lifestyles (buy, borrow, and die.)”
Former Democratic Michigan gubernatorial candidate Dr. Abdul El-Sayed tweeted that the West Virginia Democrat “would rather tax people who *work for their money* [than] people whose money makes money for them.”
Despite his previous support for hiking taxes on rich individuals and companies, Manchin—who’s spent much of the past year obstructing his party’s Build Back Better package and other legislation—made clear to reporters that he’s not onboard with the tax plan in Biden’s $5.8 trillion budget proposal for the next fiscal year.
“The Billionaire Minimum Income Tax will ensure that the very wealthiest Americans pay a tax rate of at least 20% on their full income, including unrealized appreciation,” the White House explained. “This minimum tax would make sure that the wealthiest Americans no longer pay a tax rate lower than teachers and firefighters.”
The tax only targets the top 0.01% of American households, or those worth over $100 million, and could generate about $360 billion over the next decade—with $215 billion coming from the top 10 billionaires. However, Manchin took issue with Biden’s plan to go after unrealized capital gains.
Bloomberg reports that Manchin called Biden’s idea a “tough one” and suggested that you can’t be taxed “on things you don’t have.”
“You might have it on paper,” he noted, while insisting that “there are other ways for people to pay their fair share, and I think everyone should pay.”
“You can’t tax something that’s not earned—earned income is what we’re based on,” he also said, according to The Hill‘s Alexander Bolton. “Everybody has to pay their fair share, that’s for sure. But unrealized gains is not the way to do it, as far as I’m concerned.”
Critics of the senator’s comments pushed back, highlighting how the measure would go after those who use their wealth to avoid paying taxes.
A few points: Taxes on these gains are in the code already.
Billionaires purposefully don’t take incomes—they borrow against their wealth to fund their lifestyles (buy, borrow, and die.) If you don’t address that, the wealthiest folks are never going to pay their fair share. https://t.co/Moq4ekMZp6
— Ashley Schapitl (@AshleySchapitl) March 29, 2022
As writer and activist David Atkins put it: “Manchin is apparently eager to tax the obscenely rich in every way except the ones by which they actually make their obscene money.”
Wyden told Business Insider on Tuesday that “there is no question that in any way this topic comes up, the billionaires have something of immense value.”
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