President Joe Biden faced substantial criticism for a series of tweets during the weekend, which some critics found inappropriate amidst the ongoing war in Israel following Hamas’ surprise attack. One tweet, for example, discussed Biden’s policy of providing student debt relief to certain borrowers.
While this policy itself is controversial, the untimely nature of the tweet gave rise to numerous critiques. Kristopher J. Anderson from Turning Point Action accused Democrats of funding attacks on Israel, while another user expressed strong disapproval, calling Biden the most disgraceful president the country has ever had.
Additionally, someone questioned the allocation of funds, reminding the President of the tragic events of 9/11. Amidst Israel being under attack, many people found it corrupt that the focus seemed to be shifting to burden taxpayers with education debt rather than prioritizing the crisis at hand.
We’ve never walked away from that sense of possibility that drives this country.
Delivering student debt relief to borrowers that need it is about extending the power of possibilities to every American.
Not just those at the top. pic.twitter.com/3aJ7sDuw0K
— President Biden (@POTUS) October 8, 2023
Soon after the controversial tweet, Biden’s account posted another seemingly inappropriate message given the seriousness of the situation in Israel—a declaration of war. Biden dubbed himself a capitalist and emphasized that billionaires should pay a 25% minimum tax, encouraging them to contribute more through taxes.
However, this tweet too was met with criticism. Republican activist Scott Pressler questioned the amount paid by Iran when the US provided them with $6 billion. Another user urged Biden’s son, Hunter, to pay his taxes.
John Hawkins, the founder of Right Wing News, criticized the government for misusing tax dollars instead of addressing the root issue. Retired U.S. Army Colonel James Hutton also joined the conversation, asserting that millionaires and billionaires already pay significant amounts of tax, despite it being an unpopular fact.
Biden’s initiative to ‘tax the rich’ might face obstacles from the U.S. Supreme Court, particularly due to the court’s ruling earlier this year deeming his blanket $430 billion-plus student loan forgiveness unconstitutional.
One significant case that might influence Biden is Moore v. United States. The case revolves around the President’s inclination towards a wealth tax and whether it can be legally implemented. The central question at hand, according to SCOTUS Blog, is whether the 16th Amendment authorizes Congress to tax unrealized sums without apportionment among the states.
This constitutional amendment introduced income taxation for the first time in American history. Biden has later proposed a 25% annual tax on wealth gains exceeding $100 million per year, inclusive of capital gains not currently subject to taxation.
The White House clarified that this tax would only affect the top 0.01% of high earners. However, with the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, the proposal faces an uphill battle and could be permanently dismissed if the Supreme Court deems it unconstitutional.
Multiple groups, such as the libertarian CATO Institute, have submitted amicus briefs in the case. The CATO Institute argues that Biden’s proposal would violate the Constitution. According to their March filing, the Supreme Court, since the ratification of the Sixteenth Amendment, has consistently interpreted ‘income’ as referring to actual amounts realized by taxpayers within a specific accounting period.
Therefore, contemporaneous realization of income has been regarded as a constitutional prerequisite for a tax that circumvents the apportionment requirement outlined in Article I. This filing suggests that Biden’s tax plan would be impermissible under the Constitution, in line with the CATO Institute’s stance.
The ongoing discussions and criticism surrounding Biden’s tweets and tax proposals continue to shape public discourse. As the situation in Israel remains precarious, the President’s choice of words and policy agenda will undoubtedly bear weight on his administration’s ability to effectively address pressing domestic and international issues.