The Biden budget's focus on deficit reduction, taxing billionaires is reportedly an overture to Joe Manchin
President Biden on Monday unveiled his budget blueprint for next fiscal year, and he promoted it on social media as "cutting in half the deficit from the last year of the previous administration and delivering the largest one-year reduction in the deficit in U.S. history."
The $5.8 trillion budget would cut the deficit by $1.3 trillion, the White House says. It raises defense spending by 4 percent and non-defense spending by 5 percent, but cuts pandemic emergency spending and raises about $2.5 trillion in new tax revenue, much of it from a new "Billionaire Minimum Income Tax" that would ensure a 20 percent tax on all income, including unrealized capital gains, for Americans with more than $100 million in assets.
"We can restore fiscal responsibility and safeguard our security at home and abroad while meeting the third value I call 'building a better America,'" Biden told reporters Monday. "I'm a capitalist," he said. "If you can make a billion bucks, great," but "firefighters and teachers" shouldn't "pay more than double" the rate America's wealthiest pay.
"Taxing the rich is widely popular among voters," The Washington Post reports, but it is also popular with one particular voter, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), the moderate who publicly thwarted Biden's Build Back Better proposal last year. The focus on deficit reduction especially "comes as Biden seeks to revive talks with Senate Democratic moderates such as West Virginia's Manchin on central elements of his now-defunct social spending bill," Politico adds.
Biden's "ambitious" budget blueprint is a "good peace offering" to restive centrists, but it's also "a return to Joe Biden 2020 — a centrist who won the Democratic nomination handily and then captured the middle to beat Donald Trump," Jim Kessler of the moderate think tank Third Way tells Politico.
White House Office of Management and Budget director Shalanda Young agreed that this is "a classic Joe Biden budget," but she declined to detail any conversations with lawmakers, saying an "easy way to not get anything done is to negotiate in public."
A president's budget frameworks are typically "overhauled by Congress before anything is enacted into law," the Post notes.
As for Manchin, he "remains seriously concerned about the financial status of our country and believes fighting inflation by restoring fairness to our tax system and paying down our national debt must be our first priority," said spokeswoman Samantha Runyon.