While Democratic presidential candidates on the second night of debates battled over their differences, one issue seemed to unite some of them right out of the gate.
The first three 2020 contenders to address American voters in Thursday’s debate revealed their intentions to raise taxes in order to fund their expensive policy proposals.
(Video: YouTube/NBC New York)
Sen. Bernie Sanders, the first of the 10 candidates to speak from the Miami, Florida debate platform, tried to circle around the question at first, but finally had to admit taxes would be going up on the middle class if he is elected president and moves forward with his proposed government plans like “Medicare for All” and eliminating student loan debt.
“In a recent interview, you said you suspected that Americans would be, quote, ‘delighted’ to pay more taxes for things like that. Will taxes go up for the middle class under a Sanders administration, and if so how do you sell that to voters?” debate moderator Savannah Guthrie asked the Vermont senator.
Sanders dodged directly answering the question, spending his allotted time painting a picture of a “new vision for America” in which he sees healthcare as “a human right” and making public colleges tuition-free.
“And we do that by placing a tax on Wall Street,” he said.
“Sen. Sanders, I’ll give you 10 seconds just to answer the very direct question,” Guthrie pressed. “Will you raise taxes for the middle class in the Sanders administration?”
“People who have healthcare under Medicare For All will have no premiums, no deductibles, no co-payments, no out-of-pocket expenses,” Sanders replied before finally answering the question. “Yes, they will pay more in taxes, but less in healthcare for what they get.”
Former Vice President Joe Biden followed Sanders by revealing how he would eliminate the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed under the Trump administration as he argued it only benefited the wealthy.
Repealing the 2017 tax cuts and increasing taxes by another $500 billion in Biden administration would create the largest middle-class tax hike in history. Middle-class tax brackets would rise, the child tax credit would be slashed in half and would affect the standard deduction that was doubled under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, according to the Washington Examiner.
“Donald Trump thinks Wall Street built America,” Biden said Thursday. “Ordinary middle class Americans built America.”
“Look, Donald Trump has put us in a horrible situation,” he added. “We do have enormous income inequality. And the one thing I agree on is we can make massive cuts in the $1.6 trillion in tax loopholes out there, and I would be going about eliminating Donald Trump’s tax cut for the wealthy.”
Sen. Kamala Harris took aim at Trump’s tax cuts as well, while proposing a $500 per month tax credit for households making less than $100,000 a year. She avoided directly answering the question when she was asked Thursday about how Democrats’ expensive government proposals would be paid for.
“Do you think Democrats have a responsibility to explain how they will pay for every proposal they make?” Guthrie asked the California Democrat.
“I hear that question, but where was that question when the Republicans and Donald Trump passed a tax bill that benefits the top 1 percent and the biggest corporations in this country?” she asked. “Contributing at least $1 trillion to the debt of America, which middle-class families will pay for one way or another.”
She declared that she would be repealing the Trump tax cuts “on day one” of her presidency.
According to the Daily Caller, under Trump’s 2017 bill “nearly 70% of households earning between $30,000 and $50,000 got a tax cut, and more than 80% of households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 got a tax cut.”