Politics On The Money: US economy roars in first three months of 2021 | Jobless claims drop again | White House: No tax hikes for couples making less than $509K
White House facing Democratic pressure for $1 trillion-plus permanent expansion of child tax credit
A group of Democratic lawmakers is calling a permanent extension of the child tax credit a “priority” amid reports that the White House is only planning to seek to extend it for a few more years. © Provided by Washington Examiner President Joe Biden’s administration is working on finalizing a proposal for another massive spending package that will follow the White House’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure package.
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Biden’s 1970s-Era Taxes on Rich Collide With GOP and SALT Rebels
President Joe Biden is poised to unveil a plan that would raise taxes on the income, investments and estates of the wealthiest Americans to levels not seen in more than four decades, a move that will trigger intense debate in Congress about whether and how to address income inequality. Biden’s “American Families Plan,” itself featuring the biggest expansion of federal support for lower-income and middle-class Americans in decades, will be offset by a series of tax increases on the wealthy, administration officials say. The president will unveil his program in a Wednesday night speech to Congress.
THE BIG DEAL-US economy roars in first three months of 2021: The economy grew at an annualized rate of 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2021, according to Commerce Department data released Thursday.
- The figure is up from 4.3 percent in the previous quarter and an early indication that the economy could reach annual growth levels this year not seen since the 1980s.
- It was also the largest first-quarter increase since 1984.
How did it happen? The economy was boosted by an increase in vaccinations, declining COVID-19 cases and massive levels of support from the government. Both the $900 billion COVID-19 relief bill signed by former President Trump in the waning days of December and early effects of President Biden's $1.9 trillion relief bill pushed up the level of personal income and consumption in the first quarter.
President Biden's first 100 days: What he's gotten done
President Joe Biden has moved fast since his January 20 swearing-in, signing a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill into law less than two months into his term and issuing more executive orders so far than his three predecessors. © Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images A first-grader works on an English exercise on the first day of class in Los Angeles on April 13, 2021. Those efforts have paid off, with the administration reaching the milestones of 200 million coronavirus shots delivered and vaccine eligibility opened to everyone 16 and over before Biden's 100th day in office.
- Personal income, which had dropped $351.4 billion, or 6.9 percent in the previous quarter, increased a whopping $2.4 trillion, a surge of 59 percent.
- Personal consumption pushed up at an annual rate of 10.7 percent, with goods up 23.6 percent and durable goods up 41.4 percent.
The Hill's Niv Elis .
And that's not the only strong economic data we got today:
- New applications for unemployment insurance as the U.S. economy continues to recover from the coronavirus recession, the Labor Department reported Thursday.
- Major stock indexes Thursday morning following strong earnings for tech giants and economic data pointing to a rapid recovery.
- Americans' confidence in their finances after dropping in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new poll.
LEADING THE DAY
White House: Only couples making more than $509K would see tax hike: President Biden's proposed top income tax bracket of 39.6 percent would impact single filers with income above about $453,000 and married couples with income above roughly $509,000, a White House official said.
White House: Only couples making more than $509K would see tax hike
President Biden's proposed top income tax bracket of 39.6 percent would impact single filers with income above about $453,000 and married couples with income above roughly $509,000, a White House official said.Biden is proposing as part of his American Families Plan to raise the top rate to 39.6 percent from 37 percent, bringing the rate back to where it was prior to the enactment of former President Trump's tax law. The details about theBiden is proposing as part of his American Families Plan to raise the top rate to 39.6 percent from 37 percent, bringing the rate back to where it was prior to the enactment of former President Trump's tax law.
- Biden is proposing as part of his American Families Plan to raise the top rate to 39.6 percent from 37 percent, bringing the rate back to where it was prior to the enactment of former President Trump's tax law.
- The details about the income thresholds for the 39.6 percent bracket provide further clarity about how Biden's pledge to not raise taxes on taxpayers making under $400,000 would work.
"Consistent with the President's campaign proposal, we are proposing to reverse the tax cut for the top bracket by returning that top tax bracket to what it would've been under pre-2017 law," a White House official said in a statement. "That applies to less than 1 percent of Americans - the very top earners." The Hill's Naomi Jagoda
Video: Biden's capital gains tax hike plan could legally become retroactive (CNBC)
The background: Biden repeatedly spoke about a $400,000 threshold for tax increases when he was running for president and has continued to emphasize it since taking office.
- The president has used varying language when talking about his pledge, not always being clear about whether the $400,000 threshold applied to single filers, married couples or both.
- In recent weeks, the White House has said that the $400,000 threshold applies both to single filers and married couples.
- That prompted some conservatives to argue that Biden has been misleading, since a couple whose combined income is above $400,000 could see tax increases even if each spouse's individual income is under that amount.
SEC enforcement chief resigns just days after taking job: The head of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement division resigned Wednesday following an order from a federal judge potentially raising questions about her previous legal representation of ExxonMobil.
Biden's corporate tax plan takes aim at income inequality
WASHINGTON (AP) — From John Kennedy to Ronald Reagan to Donald Trump, American presidents have taken aim at corporate America's tax-avoidance schemes before — and mostly missed. Now, President Joe Biden is training the government’s sights again on the loopholes, shelters and international havens that have long allowed multinational companies to dodge taxes in ways that ordinary households cannot. The idea is twofold: First, to help pay for Biden's trillions in proposed spending — for everything from roads and bridges and green energy to internet access, job training, preschool and sick leave.
Alex Oh stepped down as the SEC's enforcement chief, the agency announced Wednesday afternoon, just six days after she took the post under heavy criticism from progressives and other financial sector critics.
So, what happened? Oh had been a partner at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP before joining the SEC, co-chairing the law firm's practice focused on corruption cases.
- She had been one of several attorneys at the firm defending ExxonMobil against a lawsuit filed by Indonesians who claimed they were beaten and tortured by guards hired to protect a company facility.
- Her resignation came two days after the judge presiding over the ExxonMobil case in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered attorneys representing the oil company to back up claims it made about the legal team representing the victims.
The SEC impact:
- Oh will temporarily be replaced by Melissa Hodgman, who served as acting enforcement director before Oh was hired.
- But SEC Chairman Gary Gensler may have damaged his standing among progressives, who had been elated about his nomination.
Why? Democratic lawmakers and financial sector skeptics argue that the SEC has let off bad actors under the leadership of corporate attorneys who once represented such firms.
Fact check: Biden's speech had an estimated 26.9 million viewers
The president’s first address to Congress had 26.9 million viewers, not 11.6 million as claimed in a social media post.An April 29 Facebook post from James T. Harris, a conservative radio host and social media personality, lists television ratings for five past presidential addresses — four from former President Donald Trump and one from Biden. The post says Biden’s address to Congress had only 11.6 million viewers, compared to 37.2 million viewers for Trump’s 2020 State of the Union speech.
"The SEC has failed the American people by repeatedly selecting Wall Street defense lawyers as Directors of Enforcement. They come to the SEC with needless and unhelpful baggage, including crippling conflicts of interest regarding current and past clients as well as a mindset and milieu ill-suited to being an aggressive enforcer of the law against those past private sector clients," said Dennis Kelleher, president and CEO of Better Markets, a nonprofit group that supports strict financial regulation and oversight.
GOOD TO KNOW
- President Biden on Wednesday night to hike taxes on the wealthy and corporations, saying "trickle-down economics has never worked."
- was notably absent from President Biden's first address before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, overlooking mounting pressure from progressives for him to act on the issue.
- Labor Secretary Marty Walsh weighed in on the debate over classification of gig workers for the first time Thursday, saying that "in a lot of cases" they should be rather than independent contractors.
- Amazon announced Wednesday night that it will give over of its workers a raise but maintain its $15 per hour minimum wage.
ODDS AND ENDS
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Wednesday told cruise lines that they could with passengers as early as mid-summer.
- The original copy of a photo that went viral in 2005 and became known as the "Disaster Girl" meme has been sold as a for nearly $500,000.
Battle over tax hikes muddies the GOP's post-Trump push to be the party of the working class .
By forcing the GOP to choose between defending corporate tax cuts and creating more blue-collar jobs, Biden's move undermines Republicans' rebranding plan.Over the past decade, the share of Americans with only a high school education who identified as Republicans has risen by more than 10 points, from 34% to 45%, according to NBC News/Wall Street Journal polling.