“Donald Trump inherited a strong economy from Barack and me. Things were beginning to really move. And just like everything else he’s inherited, he’s in the midst of squandering it,” Biden said in a speech in his hometown of Scranton, Pa.
Biden vowed to undo parts of the 2017 Republican tax reform law affecting corporations and the wealthy. He said he would increase the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent, which would still be below the pre-2017 rate of 35 percent.
“The wealthy didn’t need [the tax cuts] in the first place. The corporations have spent them on stock buybacks,” Biden said.
The remarks came just hours ahead of a planned speech by Trump in Pittsburgh.
Biden also argued that the economic gains under Trump have not extended to the middle and working classes.
“Go back to your old neighborhoods, ask them how they’re doing, how they’re feeling. They’re in trouble,” Biden said. He went on to accuse Trump of contradicting his 2016 campaign promises to elevate “forgotten” Americans.
“He said he’s working for the forgotten American. But he forgot about the forgotten American,” Biden said.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, shortly before Obama left office, the economy was expanding at a 1.9 percent annual rate. The unemployment rate was 4.7 percent in December 2016.
The economy grew at a 1.7 percent pace in the third quarter of 2019. Last month, the jobless rate was 3.5 percent.
Pennsylvania, a battleground state that went for former President Obama in 2008 and 2012 before Trump’s 2016 victory, is a key 2020 target for both parties.
A Morning Consult poll in September found Trump with a 45 percent approval rating in the state and 52 percent disapproval.
Updated at 3:53 p.m.