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Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Joe Biden yesterday laid out the broad strokes of his economic policy platform, which seemingly is designed to not freak out centrists and not piss off progressives.

Why it matters: Biden has a better-than-even shot of becoming the next president, which means his tax plans could become everyone's tax bills.

Yes, but: Even if he wins in November, Biden wouldn't become president until six months from now. It's hard to see how economic prescriptions written in July 2020 — by any candidate — would be fully applicable in January 2021.

  • For context, imagine the irrelevance of most any policy specifics from six months ago, when we were all still at work and school.

What's new: Yesterday he proposed $400 billion in government procurement of U.S.-based goods and services over four years, plus another $300 billion in new spending on U.S.-based tech R&D (with a particular focus on geographies and founder demographics with less access to traditional venture capital).

  • Biden also talked a lot during his speech about how companies need to "end the era of shareholder capitalism," which seems to be a reiteration of last year's Business Roundtable pledge.

What's old: He reiterated several pre-pandemic ideas, such as repealing much of the 2018 tax cuts. This would include upping the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, and reverting to prior top marginal rates for individuals.

  • Biden didn't specifically discuss carried interest or capital gains yesterday, but previously has said he'd like to eliminate the carried interest loophole and the preferential treatment for capital gains for high earners.
  • But, but, but: Both Presidents Obama and Trump campaigned on closing the carried interest loophole, yet it's still there. That said, the capital gains move would be a backdoor to impacting carried interest.

What's not in there: There's no wealth tax, Green New Deal, M&A moratoriums, or Medicare for All. There also aren't explicit pay-fors for the $700 billion in new spending, but such things are becoming increasingly passé.

🎧 Go deeper: The Axios Re:Cap podcast spoke with Biden campaign adviser Penny Pritzker, the former U.S. Commerce Secretary who also leads PSP Investments.

Go deeper

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
Oct 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Where a potential Biden administration's stimulus money would go

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

The Biden administration's top priority, after virus control, will be "building a fiscal bridge to the other side of the crisis." That's what Jared Bernstein, a senior Biden economic adviser, told an IIF conference this week.

Why it matters: Biden has a very large and complex Building Back Better agenda, which includes some 800 different policy proposals and will cost some $3 trillion. But before even getting started on that, the Biden team plans to spend a lot of money — probably north of $1 trillion — on a short-term stimulus package.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
Updated Oct 15, 2020 - Economy & Business

McConnell says he will not put $1.8 trillion stimulus bill on Senate floor

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The stimulus negotiations are beginning to remind me of running on a treadmill — lots of effort, no forward motion.

Driving the news: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that he would not put a potential $1.8 trillion+ deal struck by Democrats and the Trump administration on the Senate floor. "My members think half a trillion dollars, highly targeted is the best way to go," he said.

Obama to campaign for Biden in Philadelphia on Wednesday

Obama and Biden walk through the Crypt of the Capitol. Photo: J. Scott APPLEWHITE/AFP via Getty Images

Former President Obama is expected to make his first in-person campaign stop for Joe Biden next Wednesday, Oct. 21, in Philadelphia.

The state of play: With 18 days until the election, the former president plans to visit a handful of critical battleground states. Obama is expected to make joint appearances with Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris in the final stretch of the race, the Atlantic reports, and will concentrate on states with early voting.

  • “He’s doing enough for our campaign,” Biden told reporters on Tuesday, leaking plans for the former president's campaign efforts. “He’ll be out on the trail.”