Joe Manchin Swings at Biden’s Billionaire Tax, Potentially Dooming It

  • Manchin swung against Biden’s new billionaire tax proposal on Monday.
  • The wealthiest Americans should not be taxed on “things you do not have,” he said, per Bloomberg.
  • It may spell the end of the road for the latest White House plan.

Late. Joe Manchin poured cold water on President Joe Biden’s new billionaire tax plan on Monday evening, dealing a potentially fatal blow to its prospects in Congress.

The wealthiest Americans should not be taxed on “things you do not have,” he said, per Bloomberg. “You might have it on paper. There are other ways for people to pay their fair share, and I think everyone should pay.”

The Conservative Democrat’s reluctance could be the end of the road for the White House proposal. Democrats are closer to reviving swaths of their climate and healthcare agenda, but it can only reach Biden’s desk if all 50 Senate Democrats back it.

The plan would establish a 20% minimum tax rate on households worth $ 100 million or more, and would expand the definition of taxable income to include the accruing value of unsold investments like stocks or bonds, otherwise known as unrealized


capital gains

. Currently, gains on investments are only taxed when they’re sold for cash.

It’s the first time that the Biden administration drew up a plan to hit the growing fortunes of billionaires, and it’s meant to change how the American tax code treats income.

Approached by Insider on Tuesday about his opposition to Biden’s proposed tax on billionaires, Manchin threw up his hands and said, “You’ll have to check with them.”

Most Americans get their income through a paycheck, but the richest families tend to see their wealth grow through the increasing value of their financial investments. Those are often taxed at a much lower rate than income – and only after they’re sold for a profit.

One senior Democrat pushed back. “There is no question that in any way this topic comes up, the billionaires have something of immense value,” Senate Finance chair Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon told Insider, adding he’s strongly in favor of ensuring that the richest people pay an equal share of their income in taxes compared to teachers and firefighters.

Some billionaires like Tesla CEO Elon Musk would pay a lot more in taxes to the federal government under the Biden plan. Musk’s tax bill would amount to an extra $ 50 billion over ten years, according to calculations from economist Gabriel Zucman.

Manchin had also expressed resistance to a similar tax proposal designed to hit billionaires last fall from Wyden. That plan was aimed at 700 billionaires and was intended to finance much of Biden’s social and climate plans.

“I’m supporting basically that everyone should pay their fair share,” Manchin said in late October. “And I’ve just tried to think of it – I do not like the connotation that we’re targeting different people.”

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