With great wealth comes political power, and the intricacies of the tax code are the place where that power is wielded most efficiently.
The president and many liberal Democrats spy an opportunity. About three in five Americans have expressed support for higher taxes on corporations and the wealthy to pay for infrastructure projects and climate action, according to a range of recent polls. That includes a solid majority of independents.
This helps explain why raising taxes on the rich was such a prominent issue on the campaign trail, particularly during the Democratic primary, when progressives like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders pushed for an extensive tax overhaul. As president, Mr. Biden has embraced many of their goals. Still, like so many items on his agenda, those proposals are staunchly opposed by most Republican lawmakers. So it doesn’t help Mr. Biden that the most conservative Democratic senator, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia, is dead set on finding bipartisan compromise. Or that Mr. Manchin himself is a fairly reliable ally of big business, and has already expressed opposition to some of Mr. Biden’s tax ideas.