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Joe Biden addresses a joint session of congress. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

During his joint address to Congress on Wednesday, President Biden spoke of the need to tax the ultra-wealthy to fix economic inequality in the U.S.

Why it matters: Biden wants to use tax hikes on the rich to pay for his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan. This philosophy has been a sticking point for many Republicans.

The big picture: Biden noted that tax cuts during the Trump administration were a boon to corporations and wealthy Americans and the pandemic has only increased economic inequality in the U.S.

  • Biden's plans, he argued, would invest in the "human infrastructure" that allows for the growth of the middle class and raising people out of poverty.

What he's saying: "I will not add to the tax burden of the middle class of this country. They’re already paying enough."

  • "What I’ve proposed is fair. It’s fiscally responsible."
  • "My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never worked," Biden said.
  • "It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and middle-out."
"A broad consensus of economists – left, right, center – agree that what I’m proposing will help create millions of jobs and generate historic economic growth."

Go deeper

U.S. unemployment rate hits new pandemic-era low

Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The U.S. economy added 943,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate fell from 5.9% to a new pandemic-era low of 5.4%.

Why it matters: It’s the biggest hiring spree in almost a year as the labor market makes strides to a full recovery.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Texas governor: "All hostages are out alive and safe"

SWAT team members deploy near the Congregation Beth Israel Synagogue in Colleyville, Texas. Photo: Andy Jacobsohn/AFP via Getty Images

All four hostages have been safely released after a day-long standoff at Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott (R) said on Saturday night.

The latest: "Around 9 p.m., the HRT — hostage rescue team — breached the synagogue, they rescued the three [remaining] hostages, the suspect is deceased," said police chief Michael Miller of Colleyville, located roughly 15 miles northeast of Fort Worth. The other hostage had been released earlier Saturday.

The new normal: Google searches reveal America's COVID shopping habits

Data: The New Normal; Google Trends; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

As the pandemic enters its third year, some of America's COVID-era shopping habits — including strong demand for tequila and sweatpants — are here to stay.

Driving the news: Axios worked with Google Trends and the Schema Design firm to create The New Normal, which analyzes the products Americans have Googled since 2020. Items with a lasting increase in search interest help fill in the details of what our "new normal" looks like.