President Joe Biden. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images In a speech, Biden tore into surging wealth among billionaires during the pandemic.
He said "it’s simply not fair" how wealthy Americans manage to evade taxes.
Fears about inequality in the US mounted during the pandemic as millions of Americans were jobless while stocks soared.
President Joe Biden slammed the surging amount of wealth held by American billionaires on Thursday as he made a renewed case to Congress to pass a $3.5 trillion social spending package containing the bulk of his economic priorities.
Biden delivered a 20-minute speech in which he condemned the widening inequality between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else.
"Billionaires have seen their wealth go up by $1.8 trillion," he said, referring to a recent report from Americans for Tax Fairness and the Institute for Policy Studies. "It’s simply not fair."
He pressed lawmakers to include priorities like the expanded child tax credit , affordable childcare , and tuition-free community college in the bill Democrats are drafting to cut costs for families. He touted the provisions as a way to tilt the economic scales towards middle-class Americans after four decades of safety net cuts and tax cuts centered on wealthier Americans.
He also cited his proposal to beef up IRS enforcement, and his own Treasury Department’s estimate that the wealthiest 1% of Americans dodge over $160 billion in taxes that they legally owe every year.
"I believe we’re at an inflection point in this country – one of those moments where the decisions we’re about to make can literally change the trajectory of our nation for years and possibly decades to come," Biden said.
Biden’s speech comes a day after he met with Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, a pair of moderates demanding cuts to the planned spending. The remarks suggest curbing inequality remains a focus for Biden as Congressional Democrats labor to approve the legislation later this month with a party-line majority vote using the reconciliation process, affording them a path to circumvent Republicans.