Biden talks economic and tax plans in Scranton

President Joe Biden speaking at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple in Scranton on April 16, 2024. (Photo: Sean Kitchen)

By Sean Kitchen

April 16, 2024

President Joe Biden traveled to Pennsylvania on Tuesday and framed the 2024 election as a choice between Scranton values and Mar-a-Lago values.

President Joe Biden returned to his hometown of Scranton on Tuesday, where he delivered a major economic address focused on tax fairness for working-class Americans.

Biden presented Americans with a stark choice: Do they want Scranton values or Mar-a-Lago values represented in the White House going forward?

“We know the best way to build an economy from the middle-out and the bottom-up not, the top-down because when you do that, the poor have a ladder up, the middle-class does well and the wealthy still do very well,” Biden said to the crowd of a couple hundred supporters at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple.

“It’s a stark contrast from my opponent. [Donald Trump] looks at the economy from Mar -a-Lago, where he and his rich friends embraced the failed trickle down policies that have failed working families for more than 40 years.”

“Scranton values or Mar-a-Lago values? These are competing visions for our economy and they raise the fundamental fairness to the heart of this campaign.”

Biden argued that Trump wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act in order to pay for more tax cuts for the country’s billionaire class, give corporations a massive handout by lowering the corporate tax rate, extend his 2017 tax cuts, and repeal $80 billion in funding the Inflation Reduction Act provided the Internal Revenue Services (IRS) to make it easier for the wealthy can cheat on their taxes.

After spending the day in Scranton, Biden will travel to Pittsburgh on Wednesday and end his tour of the commonwealth in Philadelphia on Thursday.

Tuesday marked Biden’s second visit to Pennsylvania since delivering the State of the Union address last month, and it was his 37th visit to the Keystone State since taking office in Jan. 2021. The Biden campaign and Pennsylvania Democrats have opened 14 campaign offices throughout Pennsylvania since Biden delivered the State of the Union.

Biden’s commitment to Pennsylvania isn’t lost on Scranton and Northeastern Pennsylvania residents.

“He never forgets who we are,” Joseph Shafer, a retired public school teacher for more than 30 years, said to The Keystone in an interview. “He doesn’t forget Scranton. He doesn’t forget Northeastern Pennsylvania. He doesn’t forget Pennsylvania as a whole and I think it means a lot to the people in the area that he does come back often.”

Biden also gave a shout out to US Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pennsylvania) during the address and endorsed Casey’s ongoing fight against corporate price gouging. Casey has released a series of reports on “greedflation” and “shrinkflation” since last fall, and his fight against big corporations has been an important part of his reelection campaign.

Pennsylvania has benefitted from Biden’s main legislative accomplishments during his first term in office. The commonwealth has received over $14 billion from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and $7 billion from the American Rescue Plan.

Roughly $1.2 billion in funds from the infrastructure law will help connect rural Pennsylvania to high-speed internet and potentially reconnect Northeastern Pennsylvania to New York City via commuter rail.

Trump and Republicans nationally, meanwhile, have been pushing a message that Americans were better off four years ago during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic than they are now, and Shafer wanted to push back on that.

“I think they’re trying to make people forget what was going on in 2020. Covid was going on, they were using refrigerated tractor trailers as morgues. You couldn’t go anywhere,” Shafer said.

“How anyone thinks it was better in 2020 than now is beyond me.”


  • Sean Kitchen

    Sean Kitchen is the Keystone’s political correspondent, based in Harrisburg. Sean is originally from Philadelphia and spent five years working as a writer and researcher for Pennsylvania Spotlight.



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