Biden: ‘I’m a capitalist, but here’s the deal’

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President Biden Thursday felt the need to remind Americans that he is a "capitalist," but one who believes that executive wages have soared far too high above those of the working class.

"You all remember, it used to be the case in this country, when you were part of generating success of a company, you got to share in the benefits," the president said during remarks in Cleveland, Ohio. 

"By the way. I'm a capitalist. But here's the deal," Biden said. He then claimed that from after World War II in 1948 until 1979, both productivity and wages grew 100%. From then on, Biden said, productivity had grown "four times faster" than pay had grown.

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Biden is under sharp criticism from Republicans for what they view as a proposed massive expansion of the social safety net and nearly unprecedented leaps in spending.  

Biden is expected to detail a $6 trillion budget Friday, which would bring the U.S. to its highest sustained spending levels since World War II, as first reported by the New York Times. 

Biden sought to distance himself last week from the progressive faction of his party, saying those on the far left don’t like him because he doesn’t embrace socialism. 

"The progressives don’t like me because I’m not prepared to take on what I would say and they would say is a socialist agenda," Biden said. 

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Progressives have turned up the heat on Biden to embrace their agenda, just this week doing so after news that the president will likely leave out student loan forgiveness in the budget. 

"We need to push him," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said Tuesday during a virtual town hall. "I believe in full student loan debt cancellation, but we have to push him to at the bare minimum a floor of $50,000 that Sen. Warren and Sen. Schumer have also advanced."

Biden Thursday also touted his "infrastructure" spending plan, which weighs in at $1.7 trillion but could be cut down amid negotiations with Republicans, and called for Congress to pass a $15 minimum wage. 

"This country's broken," he said, asserting the U.S. had started seeing the stock market as the sole measure of economic success. 

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"The simple fact is, though, corporate profits are the highest they've been in decades and workers pay is at the lowest it's been in 70 years," Biden continued. 

The president has proposed raising the corporate tax rate from 21 to 28% to pay for his spending plan and claimed there is a "wide margin" to do so without the cost falling on the consumer. 

"CEOs used to get paid 35, 36 times the average employee. Now it's over 370 times more than the average employee. As my mother would say, who died and left them boss?" Biden said.

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