Biden Pushes Billionaire Tax in SOTU Address, Quadrupling Stock Buyback Levy

President Joe Biden urged billionaires and corporations to “pay their fair share” during his State of the Union address on Tuesday night.

In his second SOTU speech, Biden repeated the administration’s concept of “reward work, not just wealth.”  

The president proposed instituting a minimum tax on billionaires and quadrupling the stock buyback tax.  

“Let’s finish the job,” he said.

“Reward work, not just wealth.

“Pass my proposal for a billionaire minimum tax.

“Because no billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a school teacher or a firefighter.”  

A September 2021 report from the Office of Management and Budget and the Council of Economic Advisers found that billionaires paid an average federal individual income tax rate of 8.2 percent between 2010 and 2018.

Official details surrounding the president’s billionaire minimum tax have not been revealed.

However, President Biden previously recommended this levy in his 2023 federal budget, suggesting a tax rate of at least 20 percent on households possessing a net worth of more than $100 million.  

The public policy proposal failed to make its way through Congress last year, and experts say that it is unlikely to happen with a Republican-controlled House.  

To help fund spending plans in October 2021, Senate Democrats championed a comparable billionaire tax – the Billionaires Income Tax.

However, there were disagreements within the party, including among progressive-leaning Democrats, over the bill’s mechanisms.  

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In late 2021, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen spearheaded an international initiative to establish a global minimum corporate tax of 15 percent.

More than 130 nations agreed to a general framework for the tax proposal, but there have been delays in implementation on crucial details.

The issues have resulted in a postponement of the full agreement until later this year.

“I’m a capitalist,” the president said in Tuesday’s address.

“But just pay your fair share.”

He also called it “outrageous” that oil and gas companies posted $200 billion in profits.  

“They invested too little of that profit to increase domestic production and keep gas prices down,” Biden said.

“Instead, they used those record profits to buy back their own stock, rewarding their CEOs and shareholders.”  

The president recommended quadrupling the tax on corporate stock buybacks “to encourage long-term investments instead” to 4 percent.  

“They will still make a considerable profit,” he added.

“Let’s finish the job and close the loopholes that allow the very wealthy to avoid paying their taxes.”  

As part of the Inflation Reduction Act, the federal government introduced a 1 percent excise tax on corporations that repurchased more than $1 million of stock over the course of a tax year.

Market experts contend that this levy did not dissuade corporations from engaging in this activity, as there was a buyback frenzy last year.  

Although the president called out energy companies for their profits and buybacks, Apple topped the list of stock buybacks in 2022 at $90 billion.   

Companies will buy back shares if they think the investors have discounted their stocks too immensely or bolster their financial ratios.

Businesses initiating buybacks might also think that there are too few investment opportunities.  

Like the billionaire wealth tax, experts do not think the president would have enough support in the GOP-controlled House. 

Overall, Biden asserted that “our present tax system is simply unfair” because large corporations are taking advantage of the tax code.

And, according to the president, these companies are also “taking advantage of you, the American consumer.”

READ MORE: Biden Heckled & Booed for Pushing False Claims during State of the Union: ‘Liar!’ 

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By Nick R. Hamilton

Nick has a broad background in journalism, business, and technology. He covers news on cryptocurrency, traditional assets, and economic markets.

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