Don't worry, billionaires: your standard of living won't change under a Joe Biden administration.
That's the message the Democratic frontrunner delivered to donors Tuesday as he continued a fundraising trip in New York that saw him on Monday tell a room of wealthy Wall Streeters "you guys are great" and ask a Trump-loving supermarket magnate for support.
In Biden's comments Tuesday, the former vice president told a room of 100 of the New York financial elite, including bankers Robert Rubin and Roger Altman, both of whom worked in the Treasury Department under Democratic administrations, that he wasn't their enemy. According to Bloomberg reporter Jennifer Epstein, Biden took pains to separate himself from the rest of the field in his comments.
"Remember, I got in trouble with some of the people on my team, on the Democratic side, because I said, you know, what I've found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people," said Biden. "Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who's made money."
But, said Biden, their taxes might have to be raised a little to achieve some of his legislative goals—though he assured the members of the 1 percent in attendance at the Upper East Side Carlyle Hotel that under his plan, the increase wouldn't even be noticeable.
"The truth of the matter is, you all, you all know, you all know in your gut what has to be done," said Biden. "We can disagree in the margins but the truth of the matter is it's all within our wheelhouse and nobody has to be punished."
"No one's standard of living will change," said Biden. "Nothing would fundamentally change."
Biden tells wealthy donors "we may not want to to demonize anyone who's made money" and suggests that his tax plans wouldn't be too onerous on them because "nobody has to be punished. No one's standard of living would change." https://t.co/uy7n6pjfik— Jennifer Epstein (@jeneps) June 19, 2019
A number of observers on Twitter seized on that message as emblematic of Biden's campaign strategy in general.
"Biden 2020: 'Nothing would fundamentally change,'" said financial reform advocate Alexis Goldstein.
Biden's phrasing "might be the most honest thing he's said since he defended segregated schools," writer Nathan Bernhardt tweeted.
Lawyer Matthew Cortland agreed.
"When someone tells you who they are," said Cortland, "believe them."