U.S. Vice President Joe Biden Tuesday charged Republican tax plans would burden the middle class by slashing the programs from which they benefit.
At a campaign rally in Charlotte, N.C., attended by more than 1,000 supporters, Biden said extending tax cuts for the wealthy would result in the gutting of education and healthcare programs.
"How they can justify -- how they can justify raising taxes on the middle-class that's been buried the last four years? How in Lord's name can they justify raising their taxes and these tax cuts?" Biden asked.
"Look folks, we've seen this movie before. Massive tax cuts for the wealthy, eliminating restrictions on Wall Street, let the banks write their own rules. We know where it ends. It ends in the catastrophe of the middle class and the Great Recession of 2008.
"Folks, we cannot go back to that. The president and I have a different way forward. First, we create a million new manufacturing jobs, and help businesses double their exports and create more jobs."
Taxes -- specifically the looming expiration at the end of the year of tax cuts passed during the administration of former President George W. Bush, as well as other breaks -- have been a major issue this election season, as well a sore point between President Barack Obama and Congress. Obama wants tax cuts extended for those earning less than $250,000, but congressional Republicans want the cuts extended for all taxpayers.
In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Republican former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu -- a top adviser to the campaign of Republican nominee Mitt Romney -- capitalized on Biden's remark that the middle class had been "buried the last four years," and asserted that middle class Americans have "been devastated under President Obama."
"The vice president finally got something right when he made the admission that the middle class has been buried for the last four years," Sununu said.
"We have an economy in crisis," he said. "We have a president in denial."
Sununu said Obama's policies have resulted in higher taxes, less take-home pay and a dying economy, and promised Romney would deliver "pro-growth policies that stimulate investment, reform the tax code, more jobs and more take-home pay."
Romney has pledged to cut everyone's taxes in a revenue-neutral plan that would remove tax credits and deductions while slashing federal spending.
Biden's appearance got off to a bumpy start. On approach to Charlotte, his plane was forced to pull up and circle for more than a half hour because of thunderstorms. He finally landed at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport at 11:40 a.m.
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