The event offered far more substance than the shout-fest between the candidates at the top of the ticket last week. The debate also featured a number of claims about the two sides’ respective economic records that stretched the truth or outright snapped it. Here’s a look at where Pence and Harris collided on taxes, the economic recovery and manufacturing jobs.
Harris pledged Joe Biden would repeal Trump’s tax cuts immediately; Pence said all Americans would see a tax hike.
Harris was repeating a claim the Democratic nominee himself has made to explain how he would pay, in part, for some $7.3 trillion in proposed spending on new stimulus, infrastructure projects and social safety net programs.
“On Day One, Joe Biden will repeal that tax bill,” Harris said of Trump’s signature tax cut that heavily benefitted corporations and the wealthy. “He’ll get rid of it, and what he’ll do with the money is invest it in the American people.”
Biden can’t unilaterally cancel a law. He will need to earn congressional approval for that.
But the candidates didn’t focus on procedure. Instead, Pence countered Harris by arguing such a proposal would increase taxes on middle-income earners.
“Mr. Pence is correct that many middle-income families received significant tax cuts from the 2017 tax law, which lowered rates, nearly doubled the standard deduction and increased the child tax credit,” the Wall Street Journal’s Richard Rubin notes. He points to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center that found the middle quintile of households “received a tax cut worth 1.6% of after-tax income, less than the average for all income groups. Higher-income households did fare better.”
Yet Pence’s jab forced a clarification from Harris, backed up by the campaign’s stated plans: A President Biden would preserve benefits from the 2017 tax