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Debate night: What the candidates are saying about taxation

the democrats on stage
Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Taxation has become a foremost issue in the 2020 Democratic primaries on the heels of an administration widely accused of favoring corporations and the rich.

Why it matters: Taxation has become a defining issue among Democrats. Wealth-tax plans like Sen. Elizabeth Warren's have drawn considerable attention and boosted her platform. Sen. Bernie Sanders similarly favors a tax overhaul and emphasizes his belief that corporations aren't paying their fair share. But after President Trump's 2017 tax cuts, a Democratic administration would have a lot to do to reverse conservative policy on the issue.

What they're saying: On the second night of the first Democratic debates, candidates took aim at tax cuts for the highest economic class.

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders: When asked if taxes will go up for the middle class to fund medicare for all, he stated, "Yes, they will pay more in taxes and less in health care for what they get."
  • Former Vice President Joe Biden: "The one thing I agree on is we can make massive cuts in the $1.6 trillion in tax loopholes out there, and I would be going about eliminating Donald Trump's tax cut for the wealthy."
  • Sen. Kamala Harris: "For too long, the rules have been written in the favor of the people who have the most and not in favor of the people who work the most... On Day One, I will repeal that tax bill that benefits the top 1% and the biggest corporations of America."
  • Andrew Yang: "We need to put the American people in position to benefit from all these innovations and other parts of the economy. If we had a value-added tax at even half the European level, it would generate over $800 million in new revenue... It would be the trickle up economy."

Go deeper: Filthy rich, owing no taxes