Biden sets stage for 2024 run: ‘Working people have been breaking their necks’


US President Joe Biden took to the perennial battleground state of Pennsylvania on Thursday to lay out his vision for the nation as he presented Americans with his proposal to fund the government for the upcoming fiscal year.


Biden has yet to officially announce a run for a second term in office, but his address in Philadelphia, the state’s largest city, played out more like a campaign pitch than a dry financial walkthrough.


The president challenged congressional Republicans to lay out their proposal after his administration put forth his $6.9 trillion plan which seeks to raise taxes on the very wealthy and on large corporations as it attempts to reduce the deficit in the long term.


“For too long, working people have been breaking their necks. The economy has left them behind, working people like you, while those at the top get away with everything and get everything,” Biden said at the Finishing Trades Institute union hall.


“MAGA Republicans, you know, they don’t want things that particularly are going to help working families, like healthcare, education, public safety,” he said. “MAGA Republicans also refused to raise a single penny in new taxes on the wealthiest people.”


The president’s budget would establish a 25% minimum tax on the country’s wealthiest individuals in what is likely to be a non-starter for congressional Republicans.


It would do so by closing “giant loopholes” in the existing US tax code that billionaires use to ensure that they are taxed at lower rates than average Americans, if they are taxed at all, the White House said in a statement.


But the efforts to combat the deficit would not see it dip until the 2026 fiscal year, when it would be projected to fall to 6.1% of GDP from its current level of 6.6%.


The president’s budget for the 2024 fiscal year would see it rise to 6.8% that year, then moderate slightly to 6.7% in 2025. The White House estimates that over the next decade, the president’s plan would cut the deficit by nearly $3 trillion.


The total price tag of the 2024 budget represents a significant increase of over $1 trillion from the levels he requested for 2023 amid persistently high inflation and the Federal Reserve’s ongoing efforts to combat the financial phenomena by raising interest rates. An expected half-point hike is set to send the federal funds rate to 5.25% when the Fed convenes March 21-22.


Part of the plan sees the trust fund that bankrolls Medicare, the government health insurance plan generally reserved for the elderly, having its solvency increased for 25 years. No cuts are included for either Medicare or Social Security.


“My budget will not cut benefits. And it definitely won’t sunset programs like some of my MAGA Republican friends want to do. It will secure Medicare through 2050 and beyond, ensuring that the vital program keeps going strong for generations without cutting a single penny in benefits,” he said.


The president’s budget is merely a request, and it will not mirror the final item approved by Congress, which has the constitutional authority to set the budget. The president’s proposal merely lays the groundwork for what is certain to be bitter negotiations with lawmakers, particularly Republicans.


Source: Anadolu Agency