Biden 2020: Income inequality is a 'moral issue'

The advisers have said that Biden is “2,000% committed” to raising taxes on the rich

Joe Biden’s advisers are telling their Wall Street supporters that barring an “October Surprise” the former Vice President will handily beat President Trump in the 2020 election and  -- once elected -- immediately propose significant tax increases on the wealthy as well as major corporations because he believes income inequality is a "moral issue," FOX Business has learned.

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The comments were made by Biden advisers in recent days to various financial executives who have raised money for the campaign. They come as internal and external polls show Biden’s lead widening in the 2020 presidential election over Trump, particularly after the raucous presidential debate last Monday and following Trump's recent COVID-19 diagnosis.

Fox News Poll: Biden gains ground over Trump

Polls show that many Americans believe the president's sometimes erratic behavior underscored his mishandling the pandemic by downplaying the risk of COVID-19 that he eventually contracted.

These Wall Street executives, who spoke to Fox Business on the condition of anonymity, said Biden's advisers in these meetings provided donors with significant insight into the former vice president's agenda if he's elected. The advisers have said that Biden is “2,000% committed” to raising taxes on the rich, namely people that make more than $400,000 a year and corporations that received tax cuts under Trump because Biden believes a more equitable tax code is a “moral issue.”

The advisers also disclosed some of the names being floated for cabinet positions in a Biden administration, including former Hewlett Packard chief executive Meg Whitman, who unsuccessfully ran for California governor as a Republican in 2010, hedge fund manager Tom Steyer, who mounted an unsuccessful bid for the Democratic nomination on an environmental platform, and former National Security Advisor under the Obama administration, Susan Rice. 

Trump’s tax plan, passed in 2017, led to massive reductions in corporate taxes—from 35 percent to 21 percent -- as well as lower taxes for most individuals but also those at the top end of the tax bracket, while maintaining tax breaks such as the "carried interest deduction" that benefits real estate investors, like president Trump, and those in private equity.

While some economists believe the Trump tax cut led to a significant economic boom, and for the first time in years, rising wages for lower income people, most Democrats and other economists continue to push the notion that the tax cuts added to income inequality. Biden is said to be keenly interested in ending the carried interest deduction and other tax breaks that benefit real estate moguls, and Wall Street executives such as capital gains taxes.

Many top investors earn most of their money on their investment gains, which are taxed at the lower capital gains rate compared to straight salaries paid by the majority of Americans.

"Biden is serious about higher business and capital gains taxes," said one Wall Street supporter who is in contact with the Biden campaign. "And ending real estate tax breaks, like 1031 exchanges. That is huge"

A 1031 exchange is a tax benefit that allows real estate investors the deferment of capital gains taxes.

A Biden spokesperson did not respond to request for comment.

“The Biden campaign is in much better shape than Hillary Clinton was in 2016 . . . you have to give Biden the edge,” Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf tells FOX Business. “But the problem in American politics is always the October surprise.”

Biden advisers are also said to be increasingly confident that the presidential contest could be decided by election night November 3rd and not take days or weeks to count so-called mailed-in or absentee ballots before a winner is decided. In meetings with Wall Street donors, these sources have pointed to Biden’s lead in critical battleground states including Pennsylvania and Wisconsin as well as a strong showing in states that have trended Republican in the past such as Arizona and Georgia.

And while many Democrats were equally as confident Hillary Clinton would win in 2016, Biden advisers note that the former VP's lead over Trump is substantially higher than Hillary’s lead was at the same point in 2016. They also point to Biden’s high favorability rating compared with Hillary’s low favorability rating. The issue of the coronavirus they believe will sway independents and swing voters to side with Biden as well as many Republicans.

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In fact, advisers are telling Wall Street supporters the campaign is so optimistic they’re even narrowing the best picks for cabinet posts. Notably, Biden has implemented the “Rooney Rule,” a National Football League policy that states women and minorities must be interviewed for certain positions.

Some names being floated include Meg Whitman, the current CEO of Quibi, a short video streaming platform, for Commerce Secretary, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard for Treasury Secretary, billionaire and former presidential candidate Tom Steyer as a possible Energy Secretary, and former United Nations ambassador Susan Rice as Secretary of State.

Wall Street executives say other cabinet candidates include Diana Taylor, the former New York State superintendent of banks, is in the running to head the Small Business Administration (Taylor is the partner of billionaire businessman Mike Bloomberg, the former New York City Mayor, who ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination and has now pledged to spend some of his $55 billion fortune to help Biden get elected). Bloomberg is said to be under consideration to possibly be appointed president of the World Bank.

During the meetings with Wall Street executives other names floated include a political adviser who helped vet Biden’s VP pick, Cynthia Hogan as chief counselor to Biden; former Obama assistant secretary of state Evan Ryan is under consideration to head Office of Public Engagement, and former Obama deputy secretary of state Antony Blinken is being considered for National Security Adviser.