US President Joe Biden speaks on the US tax code during a campaign stop in Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA, 16 April 2024. EFE/EPA/JIM LO SCALZO

Washington.- US President Joe Biden returned on Tuesday to his hometown of Scranton, Pennsylvania,  to defend his pro-working class policies and contrast his blue-collar background with that of former President Donald Trump, whom he portrayed as a billionaire out of touch with reality.

Biden chose Scranton, a working-class city of 75,000, for a campaign rally in which he announced his plans to raise taxes on the wealthy and portrayed Trump, his rival in the November election, as a pawn of corporate America.

The president began by talking about how his father taught him that having a job was «a lot more than a paycheck,» that it was a testament to a person’s «dignity» and a sign of «respect.»

«People like Donald Trump learned very different lessons,” Biden said. “He learned the best way to get rich was to inherit it (….). He learned that paying taxes was something people who work for a living did, not him,» he added.

The president also contrasted the working-class reality of Scranton with that of Trump, saying: «He wakes up in the morning at Mar-a-Lago thinking about himself, thinking about how he can help his billionaire friends gain power and control and impose their extreme agenda on the rest of us.»

«He looks at the economy from Mar-a-Lago, where he and his rich friends embrace the trickle-down policies that have failed the working class for more than 40 years,» Biden added.

He then went on to compare «Scranton values» and «Mar-a-Lago values,» as he was interrupted several times by applause from the audience.

Tax the rich

During his speech, Biden also touted his plan to raise taxes by 25% on billionaires and 21% on corporations worth billions of dollars.

«No billionaire should pay less taxes than a schoolteacher,» Biden said.

During his campaign, the current president has proposed to raise taxes on wealthy individuals and corporations to raise more than 4.7 trillion dollars over the next decade to fund social programs to end child poverty and reduce health care costs.

The Democrat’s campaign seeks to reframe how voters think about the economy; Trump wants Americans to focus on inflation and high-interest rates, while has centered his speech around equality.

Pennsylvania, a key state

Pennsylvania is a key state for both challengers because it’s a swing state, meaning a few thousand votes can make the difference for a Republican or a Democrat victory.

Trump already held a rally in the eastern part of the state on Saturday, while Biden began a three-day tour on Tuesday that will take him to Pittsburgh on Wednesday for a speech to a steelworkers union and to Philadelphia on Thursday.

To be re-elected, Biden will have to conquer Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, the so-called «blue wall» states where the Democratic Party has traditionally triumphed thanks to the solid support of the working class.

In 2020, Biden beat Trump in Pennsylvania by a narrow margin of 80,000 votes, and all signs point to a close election this time around.

According to the RealClearPolitics average of polls, Biden would get 46.3% of the vote to Trump’s 46.2%.

Biden’s tour of Pennsylvania coincides with the start of a criminal trial against Trump in New York, the first to be faced by a US president, for falsifying documents during the 2016 campaign to cover up an affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels.


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