President Biden revived his call to raise taxes on billionaires and corporations during his State of the Union address Tuesday night.
He called for a “billionaire minimum tax” but did not provide details.
Mr. Biden had previously proposed a 20% levy on households with a net worth of more than $100 million. He had originally called for a 20% tax on billionaire’s “total income,” including regular earnings and investment growth, but that plan failed to gain traction in Congress.
With Republicans controlling the House, it is unlikely that either of Mr. Biden’s proposals will gain any steam.
Still, he argued that not taxing the bulk of billionaires’ incomes from unrealized investments, which are not taxed until a share is sold, puts working-class Americans at a disadvantage.
“Reward work, not just wealth. Pass my proposal for a billionaire minimum tax,” Mr. Biden said. “Because no billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a school teacher or firefighter.”
Mr. Biden also proposed quadrupling the tax on corporate stock buybacks. The move is done when a corporation buys shares of its own stock as a way of returning money to shareholders.
The president says a company evades taxes when it disperses money to shareholders through dividends. The stock buybacks are taxed as capital gains.
“Corporations ought to do the right thing,” Mr. Biden said, adding that “they will still make a considerable profit.”
• Jeff Mordock can be reached at email@example.com.
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