President Joe Biden used the backdrop of his childhood hometown of Scranton, Pa., to draw a sharp contrast between himself and his likely 2024 rival, former President Donald Trump, on tax policy. 

What You Need To Know

  • President Joe Biden this week is set to pitch voters on his economic agenda over a three-day swing through Pennsylvania 
  • Pennsylvania is one of Biden's favorite campaign trail stops, his birth state tand a major 2024 battleground
  • On Tuesday, Biden kicked off the week’s events with remarks on tax policy in Scranton, where he drew a sharp line between himself and his predecessor and likely 2024 rival former President Donald Trump

Appearing to revive one of his 2020 campaign themes of “Scranton vs. Park Ave.,” this time, Biden used Trump’s Palm Beach, Florida, resort to frame the dichotomy. 

“When I look at the economy, I don't see it through the eyes of Mar-a-Lago,” Biden said. “I see it through the eyes of Scranton.” 

“He learned the best way to get rich is inherited,” Biden said of his predecessor. “ I guess that's how you look at the world when you're at Park Avenue or Mar-a-Lago. Because when you grew up in a place like Scranton, nobody handed you anything.”

Biden’s stop in Scranton kicked off three days of campaigning in his home state of Pennsylvania, a major 2024 battleground state. The president's stops in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia this week are also slated to be centered on his economic message. Tuesday’s remarks were billed by his campaign as honing in on tax policy specifically. 

“The tax Code is how we invest in the things that make this country strong: healthcare, education, defense and so much more,” Biden said 

The Democratic president hit on his usual criticism of the “trickle-down” approach to the economy, knocking Trump specifically for wanting to extend the tax cuts passed by congressional Republicans and signed by him in 2017. 

“This failure starts with his $2 trillion tax cut that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthiest and biggest corporations and exploded the federal debt when he was president,” Biden said. 

Multiple outlets reported Trump told donors at a fundraising dinner earlier this month that extending the 2017 tax cuts would be a key issue should he win the White House this year. 

Including interest costs, extending all the tax breaks could add another $3.8 trillion to the national debt through 2033, according to an analysis last year by the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

For his part, Biden has pledged that no one earning less than $400,000 will see tax increases. His budget for the next fiscal year released in March includes tax increases on the wealthy and corporations that would raise $4.9 trillion in revenues and trim forecasted deficits by $3.2 trillion over 10 years.

Among Biden’s proposals is a “billionaire minimum income tax” that would apply a minimum rate of 25% on households with a net worth of at least $100 million. 

“Biden wants to give the IRS even more cash by proposing the largest tax hike on the American people in history when they are already being robbed by his record-high inflation crisis,” Karoline Leavitt, press secretary for the Trump campaign, told the Associated Press. 

Biden also honed in on Trump’s comments on the Affordable Care Act as Trump toys with a renewed push to repeal it. 

“The Affordable Care Act is paid for by a surtax on the very wealthy investment income,” Biden said. “Trump wants to get rid of that.”

Republicans’ crusade against the sweeping Obama-era health care overhaul, colloquially known as Obamacare, largely quieted in the years after three GOP senators voted against repealing it during the Trump administration in 2017. But the former president reawakened the fight last year when he warned the legislation could be on the chopping block again should he win back the White House in 2024. 

The Biden camp is arguing such a move would give 1,500 of America’s wealthiest households making over $80 million a year a $3.5 million windfall. 

Biden’s Pennsylvania swing also comes as Trump is spending much of the week in New York City for his first criminal trial. Ahead of his second day in court on Tuesday, the former president remarked that he should be able to use this time to be on the campaign trail.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.