VP debate excerpts – Vice President Joe Biden on Mitt Romney’s tax plan

Edited by Jenny Jiang

Excerpts from Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks Mitt Romney’s tax plan at the vice presidential debate on Oct. 11, 2012:

First of all, I was there when Ronald Reagan tax breaks — he gave specifics of what he was going to cut, number one, in terms of tax expenditures. Number two, 97 percent of the small businesses in America pay less — make less than $250,000. Let me tell you who some of those other small businesses are: hedge funds that make $600 million, $800 million a year. That’s — that’s what they count as small businesses, because they’re pass- through.

Let’s look at how sincere they are. Ronald — I mean, excuse me, Governor Romney on “60 Minutes” — I guess it was about 10 days ago — was asked, “Governor, you pay 14 percent on $20 million. Someone making $50,000 pays more than that. Do you think that’s fair?” He said, “Oh, yes, that’s fair. That’s fair.”

This is — and they’re going to talk — you think these guys are going to go out there and cut those loopholes? The loophole — the biggest loophole they take advantage of is the carried interest loophole and — and capital gains loophole. They exempt that.

Now, there’s not enough — the reason why the AEI study, the American Enterprise Institute study, the Tax Policy Center study, the reason they all say it’s going — taxes go up on the middle class, the only way you can find $5 trillion in loopholes is cut the mortgage deduction for middle-class people, cut the health care deduction, middle-class people, take away their ability to get a tax break to send their kids to college. That’s why they arrive at it.

PAUL RYAN: You can — you can cut tax rates by 20 percent and still preserve these important preferences for middle-class taxpayers…

BIDEN: Not mathematically possible.

RYAN: It is mathematically possible. It’s been done before. It’s precisely what we’re proposing.

BIDEN: It has never been done before.

RYAN: It’s been done a couple of times, actually.

BIDEN: It has never been done before.

RYAN: Jack Kennedy lowered tax rates, increased growth. Ronald Reagan…

BIDEN: Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?


RYAN: Ronald Reagan — Republicans and Democrats…

BIDEN: This is amazing.

RYAN: Republican and Democrats have worked together on this.

BIDEN: That’s right.

RYAN: You know, I understand you guys aren’t used to doing bipartisan deals…

BIDEN: But we told each other what we’re going to do.

RYAN: Republicans and Democrats…

BIDEN: When we did it Reagan, we said, here — here are the things we’re going to cut.

MARTHA RADDATZ: Mr. Vice President, what would you suggest — what would you suggest beyond raising taxes on the wealthy, that would substantially reduce the long-term deficit?

BIDEN: Just let the taxes expire like they’re supposed to on those millionaires. We don’t — we can’t afford $800 billion going to people making a minimum of $1 million. They do not need it, Martha. Those 120,000 families make $8 million a year. Middle-class people need the help. Why does my friend cut out the tuition tax credit for them? Why does he go after the childcare…

RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off-limits?

BIDEN: Why do they do that?

RADDATZ: Can you declare anything off-limits?

RYAN: Yeah, we’re saying close loopholes…

RADDATZ: Home mortgage deduction?

RYAN: … on high-interest people.

RADDATZ: Home mortgage deduction?

RYAN: For higher-income people. Here…

BIDEN: Can you guarantee that no one making less than $100,000 will have a mortgage — their mortgage deduction impacted? Guarantee?

RYAN: This taxes a million small businesses. He keeps trying to make you think that it’s just some movie star or hedge fund guy or an actor…

BIDEN: Ninety-seven percent of the small businesses make less than $250,000 a year, would not be affected.

RYAN: Joe, you know it hits a million — this taxes a million people, a million small businesses.

BIDEN: Does it tax 97 percent of the American businesses?

RYAN: It taxes a million small businesses…

BIDEN: Small businesses?

RYAN: … who are our greatest job creators.

BIDEN: I wish I’d get — the “greatest job creators” are the hedge fund guys.


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