- The Washington Times - Friday, April 12, 2024

President Biden will travel through Pennsylvania next week, hitting three major cities in the swing state to promote his plan to raise taxes on the wealthy and corporations as he looks to sell his economic agenda amid soaring inflation.

The trip kicks off Tuesday as Mr. Biden returns to his hometown of Scranton where he will deliver a speech focused on making the tax code work for the middle class, the campaign said.

Mr. Biden will then travel to Pittsburgh on Wednesday and hold a campaign event in Philadelphia on Thursday, the campaign said. During those appearances, the president will contrast his economic vision with that of former President Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee.

The campaign also plans to hold later events in other battleground states as part of the barrage pitching Mr. Biden‘s economic program.

His Pennsylvania tour begins the day after Tax Day and less than two weeks after Mr. Trump told wealthy donors he wants to extend his 2017 tax cuts if he’s elected to a second term.
 
The Biden campaign hopes that by focusing on taxes, he will find an economic issue to hammer as voters express skepticism over his handling of the economy, one of his biggest weaknesses.

Mr. Trump‘s tax cuts are set to expire at the end of the year.
 
Mr. Biden has called for a 25% minimum tax on all income not currently taxed, including unrealized gains on assets for Americans with a net worth of $100 million. He has also urged Congress to raise the corporate tax rate to 28% from the 21% established by the 2017 tax cuts.

Next week’s trip will be Mr. Biden‘s fifth to Pennsylvania this year, underscoring how critical his campaign believes the Keystone State is. Since taking office, he has made 36 trips there, the most of any state outside of returning to his home in Delaware.
 
A recent Wall Street Journal poll found that Mr. Trump (47%) has a slight lead over Mr. Biden (44%), but still within the margin of error. The same poll found that registered voters across seven battleground states believe Mr. Trump would handle the economy better than Mr. Biden, at 54% to 34%.
 
Mr. Biden received a double whammy of bad economic news this week with two Labor Department reports showing America’s prolonged battle with inflation is still ongoing and undercutting his reelection message.

On Thursday, the Producer Price Index, which measures inflation at the wholesale level, rose 2.1% in March compared with a year earlier, the biggest gain since April 2023 and a sign that economic pressures could keep inflation elevated. While the increase was below expectations, it was up from a 1.6% rise in February.

A day earlier, the Consumer Price Index revealed that consumer prices for gas, mortgages and household goods vaulted 3.5% for the 12 months ended in March, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s up from February’s 3.2% rate and marks the highest annual gain in prices in the past six months.

• Jeff Mordock can be reached at jmordock@washingtontimes.com.

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