"We need to confront racial and income-based disparities in our justice system and eliminate overly harsh sentencing for non-violent crimes. As president, Biden will... Eliminate the death penalty. Over 160 individuals who’ve been sentenced to death in this country since 1973 have later been exonerated. Because we cannot ensure we get death penalty cases right every time, Biden will work to pass legislation to eliminate the death penalty at the federal level, and incentivize states to follow the federal government’s example. These individuals should instead serve life sentences without probation or parole."
Source: Joe Biden, "Justice," joebiden.com (accessed Aug. 26, 2019)
[Editor's Note: Biden previously expressed a PRO opinion on this question. Read Biden's former position on whether the death penalty should be legal.]
Pro Should Universal Background Checks for Gun Purchases Be Made Law?
"In the months ahead, Biden will also detail his plan to tackle the public health epidemic of gun violence in America, starting with universal background checks and bans on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. Biden’s plan to reduce gun violence will address not only mass shootings but also daily acts of gun violence that don’t make national headlines."
Source: Joe Biden, "Justice," joebiden.com (accessed Aug. 27, 2019)
"The American middle class built this country. Yet today, CEOs and Wall Street are putting profits over workers, plain and simple. It’s wrong. There used to be a basic bargain in this country that when you work hard, you were able to share in the prosperity your work helped create. It’s time to restore the dignity of work and give workers back the power to earn what they’re worth.
It’s well past time that we increase the federal minimum wage to $15."
Source: Joe Biden, "Joe's Vision for America: Restoring the Basic Bargain for American Workers," joebiden.com (accessed July 24, 2019)
"The Biden Plan will make health care a right by getting rid of capital gains tax loopholes for the super wealthy. Today, the very wealthy pay a tax rate of just 20% on long-term capital gains. According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the capital gains and dividends exclusion is the second largest tax expenditure in the entire tax code: $127 billion in fiscal year 2019 alone. As President, Biden will roll back the Trump rate cut for the very wealthy and restore the 39.6% top rate he helped restore when he negotiated an end to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy in 2012. Biden’s capital gains reform will close the loopholes that allow the super wealthy to avoid taxes on capital gains altogether. The Biden plan will assure those making over $1 million will pay the top rate on capital gains, doubling the capital gains tax rate on the super wealthy."
Source: Joe Biden, "Health Care," joebiden.com (Aug. 29, 2019)
"We can pay for this with the [Trump administration] tax cut that we're going to reverse as well as eliminating some of these loopholes that make no sense. Let me give you one example. I don't want to be generic about it. I want to give you an example. For example, you could send everyone in this state [New Hampshire] to a community college for free. And the entire United States for free, if they're qualified. Cutting in half the cost of... a four-year degree, because in every state you're able to transfer these community college credits to the state university, cutting in half the cost of education, a four-year education if that's what you desire. But, here's the deal, it costs six billion dollars a year. There goes that big-spending Democrat Biden, man, look at him. I can eliminate one of the 1.6 trillion dollars in loopholes. It's called stepped-up basis... If you just eliminate that one out of one trillion six hundred plus billion dollars, every single solitary kid could go to qualify to go to community college for free, cutting in half the cost of their four-year education, increasing productivity by 2/10 of one percent by most studies, as well as having eleven billion dollars to put toward the deficit."
Source: C-SPAN, "Joe Biden in Hampton, New Hampshire," c-span.org, May 13, 2019
Not Clearly Pro or Con Should Student Loan Debt Be Forgiven?
"Student debt is something that you should not have to pay back unless, when you graduate, you're making more than 25 to 30 thousand dollars. When that debt gets paid back it should not be at a 10% rate, it should be at 5%. And if you go into public service, the debt could be forgiven."
Source: C-Span, "Joe Biden in Keene, New Hampshire," c-span.org, Aug. 24, 2019
[Editor's Note: As a senator, Joe Biden supported the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA), which exempted student loan debts from discharge in bankruptcy.
Alan Collinge, "Joe Biden Has No Plan for Student Loans," goodmenproject.com, Aug. 28, 2019
Julia Kagan, "Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA)," investopedia.com, Apr. 7, 2019]
"As president, Biden will be a champion for improving access to health care and the health of all by:
Expanding access to contraception and protect the constitutional right to an abortion...
Reverse the Trump Administration and states’ all-out assault on women’s right to choose. As president, Biden will work to codify Roe v. Wade, and his Justice Department will do everything in its power to stop the rash of state laws that so blatantly violate the constitutional right to an abortion, such as so-called TRAP laws [Targeted Restrictions on Abortion Providers], parental notification requirements, mandatory waiting periods, and ultrasound requirements."
Source: Joe Biden, "Healthcare," joebiden.com (accessed Aug. 7, 2019)
Con Should the US Switch to a Medicare-for-All Healthcare System?
“I believe we have to protect and build on Obamacare. That's why I proposed adding a public option to Obamacare as the best way to lower costs and cover everyone. I understand the appeal of Medicare for All. But folks supporting it should be clear that it means getting rid of Obamacare, and I’m not for that...
I know how hard it is to get that [healthcare legislation] passed. I watched it. Starting over makes no sense to me at all. I knew the Republicans would do everything in their power to repeal Obamacare, they still are. But I'm surprised that so many Democrats are running on getting rid of it."
Source: Joe Biden, "Healthcare," joebiden.com (accessed Aug. 7, 2019)
Pro Should the US Adopt a Climate Change Plan such as the Green New Deal?
"Vice President Biden knows there is no greater challenge facing our country and our world. Today, he is outlining a bold plan – a Clean Energy Revolution – to address this grave threat and lead the world in addressing the climate emergency.
Biden believes the Green New Deal is a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face. It powerfully captures two basic truths, which are at the core of his plan: (1) the United States urgently needs to embrace greater ambition on an epic scale to meet the scope of this challenge, and (2) our environment and our economy are completely and totally connected."
Source: Joe Biden, "Climate: Joe's Plan for a Clean Energy Revolution and Environmental Justice," joebiden.com (accessed Aug. 29, 2019)