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[WATCH] Obama: ‘Tax the Rich, Including Me’ to Fund New Biden Bill

[WATCH] Obama: ‘Tax the Rich, Including Me’ to Fund New Biden Bill

Former President Barack Obama says wealthy Americans – including himself – can afford tax increases to help fund his former VP’s ambitious $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” spending plan, which must pass via reconciliation, negating the 60-vote filibuster in the evenly split Senate.

“I think they can afford it,” Obama said during an appearance on ABC’s Good Morning America. “We can afford it. I put myself in this category now.”

Donald Trump lacks empathy and doesn't take responsibility
WASHINGTON, DC – NOVEMBER 09: U.S. President Barack Obama and Vice President Joseph Biden share a moment during a statement about the election in the Rose Garden at the White House on November 9, 2016 in Washington, DC. [Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images]
Republicans and business groups oppose corporate and personal tax increases in President Biden’s spending package, which aims to improve healthcare, childcare, the fight against climate change, and other Democratic priorities. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has indicated the price tag of the spending plan will come down, via talks between moderates and progressives also aimed at passing a bipartisan infrastructure bill. Most observers say failure to pass the Build Back Better Act would be disastrous for Democrats before the midterm elections next year.


Obama essentially sent a message to fellow Democrats via ABC to signal his support for the Biden plan by “asking the wealthiest of Americans, who have benefited incredibly over the last several decades – and even in the midst of a pandemic, saw their wealth and assets rise enormously – to pay a few percentage points more in taxes in order to make sure that we have an economy that’s fair for everybody,” the former President said.


President Obama is estimated to have a personal fortune of around $70m. Since leaving the White House in 2017 he has released a bestselling memoir as part of a $65m book deal and with his wife, Michelle Obama, signed a Netflix deal thought to be worth more than $100m. He spoke to ABC to mark the start of construction at his presidential library, in Chicago.

Democrats have pointed to their votes to raise the ceiling under Donald Trump, and to Republicans’ contribution to the national debt via 2017 tax cuts which disproportionately benefited the wealthy. On Monday House Democrats wrote to Mitch McConnell, the Senate minority leader, urging him to “avert a manufactured crisis”. Later, the Senate voted on a measure to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. Republicans blocked it.

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“I think anybody who pretends that it’s a hardship for billionaires to pay a little bit more in taxes so that a single mom gets childcare support or so that we can make sure that our communities aren’t inundated by wildfires and floods and that we’re doing something about climate change for the next generation – you know, that’s an argument that is unsustainable,” President Obama said.

Watch President Obama’s full interview, below.

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