Biden says he wants a 28% corporate tax rate because he's 'sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced'

Joe Biden
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  • Biden forcefully defended his proposed 28% corporate tax rate while saying he's open to compromise.

  • He said he's "sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced" as large firms pay little income tax.

  • Biden cited a report indicating that 55 large US companies paid no federal income tax last year.

  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

President Joe Biden made a forceful pitch for his massive infrastructure package on Wednesday, arguing that his proposed 28% corporate tax would level the playing field for large companies and average Americans. He also assailed the benefits showered on the highest-earning Americans under the Trump administration's 2017 tax law.

"I didn't hear any of our friends who are criticizing this plan say that the corporate tax cut, which added $2 trillion to the debt ... wasn't paid for, the vast majority of which went to the top 1% of the wage earners," Biden said.

He went on: "I'm not trying to punish anybody, but damn it, maybe it's because I come from a middle-class neighborhood, I'm sick and tired of ordinary people being fleeced," Biden said in an afternoon speech.

The president blasted companies paying little or no federal taxes, without naming them. He cited a recent report from the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy that found that 55 US multinational corporations paid $0 in income taxes last year. That roster included household names like FedEx, Nike, and HP.

"It's just not fair. It's not fair to the rest of the American taxpayers. We're going to try to put an end to this. Not fleece them - 28%," he said. "If you're a mom, a dad, a cop, firefighter, police officer, etc., you're paying close to that in your income tax."

While he signaled that he was open to negotiating a 28% corporate tax rate - an increase from 21% now - he stressed the need to pay for his massive $2 trillion jobs plan.

"I'm wide open, but we've got to pay for this," he said, adding, "I'm willing to negotiate that."

Biden last week unveiled a colossal jobs-and-public-works plan, the first of two parts aimed at upgrading the nation's infrastructure. The plan contains new funds to repair deteriorating roads and bridges, eliminate lead pipes from water systems, and widen the reach of broadband networks.

It also includes money to support in-home care of older Americans, modernize the nation's electric grid, and steadily phase out fossil fuels to combat climate change.

Biden's remarks are a sign he isn't shying away from a political fight in Congress to approve a major corporate tax hike, aimed at funding many parts of the sprawling jobs plan. Democrats wield thin majorities in the House and the Senate, affording them a narrow margin of error over the next few months.

Congressional Democrats may opt to bypass Republicans using the strict path of budget reconciliation, a tactic to pass certain bills with a simple majority of 51 votes in the Senate instead of 60. Democrats used reconciliation to approve the $1.9 trillion stimulus plan without any GOP votes.

Biden on Wednesday also took a swipe at Republicans who've argued that the plan goes far beyond the traditional understanding of infrastructure. He cast his package as one designed to meets the needs of Americans in a modern economy.

"To automatically say that the only thing that's infrastructure is a highway, a bridge, or whatever - that's just not rational," he said. "It really isn't."

Read the original article on Business Insider