- The Washington Times - Monday, October 3, 2016

Vice President Joseph R. Biden slammed Donald Trump Monday for not paying federal income taxes, seizing on a report that the Republican nominee may have taken advantage of a loophole to avoid tax payments for 18 years.

“He says, ‘I didn’t pay any federal taxes’ — possibly for more than 18 years. He said, ‘That makes me smart,’ ” Mr. Biden told supporters at a Hillary Clinton campaign rally in Orlando, Florida. “What does that make the rest of Americans, including very wealthy businessmen who pay their fair share?”

Mr. Biden was conflating two separate events — the Republican’s comment in a debate that limiting his tax liability “makes me smart,” and a subsequent New York Times report that business losses may have allowed Mr. Trump to avoid income tax payments for as long as 18 years. The Republican has not acknowledged the accuracy of the report or released his tax returns.

The vice president emphasized the theme that Mrs. Clinton’s tax proposals would be fair to the middle class, and asserted that Mr. Trump’s policies would create more tax breaks for wealthy people like himself.

“We need a tax code that’s fair,” Mr. Biden said. “Hillary has laid out the details for a fairer tax code where everyone pays their fair share. No one gets gouged. You can still be very wealthy in this country.”

He said Mr. Trump’s tax plans would either increase deficits by $9 trillion over a decade, or force Washington to cut Social Security, education and job training by 40 percent.

Mr. Biden also told the audience that his own net worth is paltry by Washington’s standards.

“Bernie Sanders’ net worth is more than mine,” he said of the Vermont senator. “I have less money than a Socialist. I don’t know what the hell happened to me. And I’ve been doing this for 44 years.”

The White House sidestepped the issue of Mr. Trump’s taxes. White House press secretary Josh Earnest said it’s “difficult for anybody to draw a firm conclusion” without examining all of Mr. Trump’s tax documents.

“What I will say is Mr. Trump’s tax strategies aside, the president believes that we can do some very helpful things for the economy by closing loopholes that only benefit the wealthy and well-connected and using the revenue from those closed loopholes to invest in things like infrastructure and invest[ing] in community college for every hardworking American student,” Mr. Earnest said.

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