Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a campaign event at the IBEW Local 490 on June 4, 2019 in Concord, New Hampshire.

Former Vice President and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden holds a campaign event at the IBEW Local 490 on June 4, 2019 in Concord, New Hampshire. (Photo: Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

Vowing Not to 'Demonize' the Rich, Biden Tells Billionaires 'Nothing Would Fundamentally Change' If He Was Elected

It "might be the most honest thing he's said since he defended segregated schools."

Eoin Higgins

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."

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."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Fulton County Subpoenas of Trump Allies Offer Hope 'That Justice Will Ultimately Be Served'

"The coordinated attempts by former President Donald Trump and his associates to discount and ignore the will of Georgian voters during the 2020 election cannot be swept under the rug," said one activist.

Jessica Corbett ·


Russian Official Makes Nuclear Threat Over US Support for Ukraine War Crimes Probe

Another official responded to Western sanctions by suggesting that Russia could reclaim Alaska.

Brett Wilkins ·


Biden Denounced for Imposing New Sanctions as Iran Nuclear Talks Falter

One Middle East expert accused the U.S. administration of "continuing and embracing Trump's max pressure policy, while expecting a different result."

Brett Wilkins ·


Under 'Draconian Abortion Ban,' Woman in El Salvador Sentenced to 50 Years for Pregnancy Loss

Laws like El Salvador's are "now being replicated in states across the U.S.," noted one observer.

Julia Conley ·


Warren, Sanders, and Others Blast Biden's 'Failure' on Federal Cannabis Policy

While commending Biden's pardons and commutations, six senators wrote that "much more has to be done to address the racist and harmful legacy of cannabis policies on Black and Brown communities."

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo