From NBC's Lauren Appelbaum
In Iowa, Edwards laid out his plan to reform the American tax code, stating the only way to have a growing economy is to lift people out of poverty and into middle class. Saying Washington is the problem, Edwards once again called the system rigged for the lobbyists and stated he would be a president to bring about a change."You can't do this by being nice," he said. "You have to tell the truth, you have to be strong, and you have to be willing to fight. The time to talk to them is after you've beaten them."
In order to bring the economy back on track, Edwards proposed three items: "reform our tax system to reward work instead of just rewarding wealth," "negotiate and enforce smarter trade agreements," and "demand, require corporate responsibility and for corporations to treat their workers fairly."
As part of his plan, Edwards called for helping the middle class in three areas: savings, work, and family. For the first two areas, he called for "Get Ahead accounts" and work bonds for low-income workers.
"The idea is, you save a dollar, we match it with a dollar, up to 500 dollars a year," Edwards said. "What this does is allow families to accumulate some assets so they have something for later and something they can fall back on in the case of an emergency."
The work bond is a similar concept as the Get Ahead accounts, but instead of saving for later, it is for a regular savings account. In addition to these work bonds, Edwards also called for an expansion of the earned income tax credit and to get rid of the marriage penalty as ways to help the working class. Lastly, to help families, Edwards vowed he would expand the childcare credit.
In order to pay for these programs, Edwards said he would repeal President Bush's tax cuts. Specifically, Edwards said he would raise the capital gains tax rate to 28% for people who make more than $250,000 a year -- noting that this would include himself. For those who still make under a $250,000, they would be subject to the present rate of 15%. He also said he would "go to war on stopping these off-shore tax havens" to prohibit people from receiving special tax breaks.
On a lighter note, Edwards talked about his bike ride with Lance Armstrong yesterday, telling the audience his "bottom is sore." He recalled his son Jack asking him if Lance rode faster than he did; Edwards told his son "no" -- until Elizabeth chimed in. "That's because he chose not to, Jack."