Biden's Budget Takes Aim At The Wealthy, Corporations | Crooked Media
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March 11, 2024
What A Day
Biden's Budget Takes Aim At The Wealthy, Corporations

In This Episode

  • President Biden on Monday unveiled his $7.3 trillion budget proposal for the next fiscal year. He calls for new spending to lower the cost of healthcare, housing and childcare, and wants to offset it by raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations. The proposal as it stands now has little chance of passing a divided Congress, but is the basis for negotiations and also serves as a campaign promise for his reelection.
  • A settlement over Florida’s so-called “Don’t Say Gay and Trans” bill means teachers and students can talk about gender identity and sexual orientations in classrooms again. Kind of. Both sides are calling it a win.
  • And in headlines: Trump asks to delay the Manhattan trial in his hush money case, Special Counsel Robert Hur testifies in front of Congress about his investigation into Biden’s handling of classified documents, and could next month’s total solar eclipse make some animals extra randy? Researchers want to know.


Show Notes:



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Josie Duffy Rice: It’s Tuesday, March 12th, I’m Josie Duffy Rice.


Tre’vell Anderson: And I’m Tre’vell Anderson. And this is What a Day, the pod that thinks we’re excited for a possible Beyonce cover of Jolene for her upcoming album. 


Josie Duffy Rice: We say we think because Dolly herself told a Tennessee news outlet last Friday that she thinks Beyonce recorded it. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Listen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: What’s that mean? 


Tre’vell Anderson: She not breaking that NDA. She knows what’s good for her. Okay? [laughter]


Josie Duffy Rice: Her lawyer called immediately and said don’t you dare. [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: On today’s show, Florida settled a lawsuit over the so-called Don’t Say Gay or trans bill, but it’s not a complete victory for LGBTQ folks. Plus, scientists have a request for you during next month’s eclipse, do you see animals getting it on? If you do, you might be able to contribute to science. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Leave me out of science. [laughter] But first, President Biden released his budget proposal on Monday for the next fiscal year. The $7.3 trillion proposal includes more spending on social programs, more help for families, and higher taxes on corporations. It’s a major proposal from the president, though as it stands now, it has almost no chance of being passed by Congress. But we’re going to talk about what stands out the most and what to watch for in the coming months as Biden and the Republicans negotiate on what will make it into the final draft. And approved budget or not, the next fiscal year starts this coming October 1st. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Let’s start with the spending. Where is this money going, and what is President Biden proposing the federal government spend more on? 


Josie Duffy Rice: Well, the Biden administration has really leaned into investing in social programs rather than focusing on cuts. And it’s clear that the budget is trying to make things easier for the people struggling due to increased costs in these past few years. The budget would create new tax credits for some homebuyers that would make homeownership more available to those who can’t currently afford it. It would make permanent tax credits for some health care coverage. It would increase the number of drugs subject to price negotiation and Medicare by more than double. Right now the number is 20, it would go to 50. And the administration has also proposed spending about $12 billion to reduce the cost of college. And the budget also provides a lot of help for families. It includes a national 12 week paid family and medical leave program. It would increase the child tax credit to where it was in 2021, which, as you may remember, helped reduce child poverty significantly. And it would also do the typical American budget things. It would increase military spending to a grand total of $895 billion. And the budget also calls once again for aid to Ukraine and Israel. Biden said that the proposal would not require raising taxes on any family making less than $400,000 a year. And in fact, he said that those families should get more tax relief under his plan. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Tax relief is always a good thing, but if he’s not raising taxes on most people, how is he planning on paying for this? 


Josie Duffy Rice: By raising taxes on those with much more money than that. He proposes raising taxes on large corporations by 7% from 21 to 28%. You may remember that those taxes were reduced under Trump in 2017. He also wants to raise the fuel taxes for corporate and private jets. He wants to quadruple the 1% surcharge on corporate stock buybacks. He pushed back on criticism that he was being too hard on the wealthy and corporations. In New Hampshire on Monday at a campaign event, he said this. 


[clip of President Joe Biden] I’m not anti-corporation, but I’m a capitalist man. Make all the money you want. Just begin to pay your fair share in taxes. [applause]


Tre’vell Anderson: I mean, if that’s what you want to claim in this environment. Okay. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. [laughter]


Tre’vell Anderson: Well, but I know this proposal right, is not going over well at all with Republicans, I’m sure. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah. It’s not as you may imagine. In a statement, the House Republican leadership called it a, quote, “misguided budget proposal.” But, you know, really, this is a starting point for negotiations. Honestly it’s a campaign document, right? It’s a way of garnering votes, of signaling his values. No one believes that this is going to really get anywhere with Republicans as it’s currently written. But this process is going to take months, so we will keep you up to date, since Biden is going to be campaigning at the same time. And speaking of that, more states go to the polls today. It is expected that if they win their respective contests, both Biden and Trump will walk away with enough delegates to secure their party’s nominations. So people in Georgia, Hawaii, Mississippi, Washington and abroad got to go vote. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Absolutely. Thanks for that, Josie. Now on to Florida, where apparently they can now say gay and or trans in the classroom, sort of. In an update to the Parental Rights in Education Act, aka the so-called don’t say gay or trans bill. State education officials and civil rights attorneys reached a settlement on Monday that, quote unquote, “clarifies” some of the parameters around the law, which passed back in 2022. Equality Florida, one of the plaintiffs in the suit against the state, said the settlement, quote, “dismantles the most harmful impacts of the law.” But I’ll talk more about how much of a victory it actually is. 


Josie Duffy Rice: When Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed it into law, it restricted the instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through the third grade. Then last year, the ban was extended to all grades. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah, and we’ve seen other states like Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, North Carolina, among others, model Florida’s don’t say gay law for their own anti-LGBTQ legislation. But this whole time there has been a lot of confusion about what this ban actually means in practice. Right? Can a teacher who is queer or trans identify as such in the classroom? Can teachers put up rainbow stickers? Does this prevent schools from having gay straight alliances? One of the major points that LGBTQ advocates have cited throughout this whole saga has been that the law was too vague, and so this settlement sort of clears up what is and is not allowed. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Several groups sued the state over the original law, and they settled yesterday. So can you tell us exactly what this settlement entails?


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. So here are some of the highlights or maybe they’re lowlights. Y’all decide. First off, the Florida Board of Education has to send explicit instructions to every school district saying that the law is not an all out ban on the discussion of LGBTQ+ people in schools. Gender identity and sexual orientation cannot be part of the formal instruction. But if it comes up outside of instruction, it’s fair game. If a book makes a passing reference to somebody’s sexuality or the fact that they, you know, have two parents, it’s fine because it’s not–


Josie Duffy Rice: Right. 


Tre’vell Anderson: –instruction on sexuality or gender identity. But if they were specifically teaching on that, it would be a problem. The settlement also clarifies that the law does not ban anti-bullying rules on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It does not restrict gay straight alliances, and it also does not apply to LGBTQ characters in literature and media, or to library books that are not being used for classroom instruction. The whole thing is set up around what is considered instruction and what is not considered instruction. And there’s one more interesting clarification. The settlement says that the law is quote unquote “neutral,” meaning that in the classroom, instruction on all types of gender identities and sexual orientation is prohibited, including the affliction of heterosexuality. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Yeah, a true affliction it is. [laughter] But overall, this clarification sounds like a better thing for the LGBTQ community, especially in Florida. So how was the response been to this news? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. Local advocates, as well as the more than a dozen parents, students and teachers who filed the initial lawsuit, they’re calling this settlement a win. The LGBTQ rights organization Equality Florida was one of the plaintiffs, like I mentioned earlier. Its executive director, Nadine Smith, said in a statement, quote, “this settlement not only reaffirms the rights of LGBTQ+ students and educators who live and speak openly, but also marks a significant step towards rectifying the damage inflicted by the don’t say gay or trans law. It’s a testament to what we can achieve when we stand united against discrimination and for the dignity of all LGBTQ+ people in Florida. Interestingly enough though, Florida’s Republican led government is also calling the settlement a win. Ryan Newman, one of the state’s attorneys said in a statement, quote, “we are victorious, and Florida’s classrooms will remain a safe place under the Parental Rights in Education Act.” Now, I do believe compromise is a thing and that everybody sometimes can indeed be a winner. I’m just not sure if this is an issue where that can be true, Josie. But you know, the settlement definitely is a good thing. It will absolutely provide so much relief, I’m sure, for folks locally who’ve been, you know, navigating this hellscape over the last couple years. But like you kind of mentioned earlier, I’m interested to see what the in practice application of–




Tre’vell Anderson: –this clarification, you know, looks like. 


Josie Duffy Rice: It’s great that this is better than it could be in terms of clarification. I think it’s also just a reminder, like advocates in Florida have had to spend years. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Yeah. 


Josie Duffy Rice: On this ridiculous, bigoted, stupid bill that even if everything turns out okay, it’s just so unjust that people have to spend their time doing this. 


Tre’vell Anderson: It absolutely is. But that is the latest for now. We’ll be back after some advertisements. [music break]




Josie Duffy Rice: Let’s get to some headlines. 


[sung] Headlines. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Former President Donald Trump is asking to delay yet another one of his criminal trials. On Monday, Trump’s lawyers asked a New York judge to postpone his trial in Manhattan. That case is over the alleged hush money payments he made to the adult film star Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election, so before he was president. Trump wants the judge to put the case on hold until after the Supreme Court weighs in on his claim of presidential immunity. He’s making that claim in another criminal case, a federal one focused on his role in the insurrection. The court’s decision is not expected until the summer. As of now, the New York hush money case seems to have the best chance of going to trial before the election in November. As a reminder, there is a third Trump case to watch for this week, the election interference case in Georgia that is currently on hold pending a decision on whether Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis should be disqualified over a relationship she had with a lawyer she hired to oversee the case. Then there’s case number four. Trump faces another federal criminal trial over mishandling classified documents. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Special Counsel Robert Hur is expected to testify in front of Congress today. Hur is the former U.S. attorney who slammed President Biden as a, quote, “sympathetic, well-meaning elderly man with a poor memory.” He said that in a memo last month explaining his decision not to recommend charges against the president for his handling of classified documents. Republicans called Hur to testify about the findings during the investigation into Biden. Hur, a Trump appointee, is likely to face testy questioning from both Republicans and Democrats during today’s House committee hearing. Democrats and the president slammed Hur’s comments on Biden’s acuity as unnecessary and overly partisan. While Republicans criticized Hur’s decision not to recommend charges against Biden. 


Josie Duffy Rice: The NAACP is urging Black student athletes not to attend public universities in Florida to boycott the state’s anti diversity policies. You may remember that Florida Governor Ron DeSantis approved a law last year that bans public schools from using state and federal funds on diversity, equity and inclusion, or DEI programs. The measure made Florida the first state to do so. And just days ago, the University of Florida cut all jobs related to DEI campus initiatives. According to an MSNBC exclusive report, NAACP President Derrick Johnson sent out a memo on Monday urging Black student athletes who are applying to Florida schools to think about how the state’s policies could impact their college experience. He told MSNBC, quote, “If these institutions are unable to completely invest in those athletes, it’s time they take their talents elsewhere.” Johnson is not the first to encourage families of color to look elsewhere for their children’s education. Randall Woodfin, the Democratic mayor of Birmingham, Alabama, put out a statement on social media last month encouraging student athletes of color to go out of Alabama for their education. He said that’s because Republican lawmakers are considering the elimination of DEI funding in public schools. He wrote, quote, “I have no problem organizing Black parents and athletes to attend other institutions where diversity and inclusion are prioritized.” 


Tre’vell Anderson: And finally, if you didn’t know there’s a total solar eclipse happening across swaths of North America on April 8th. And while us humans are excited to witness the once in a blue moon event, scientists are particularly interested to see how animals will react to it. The Associated Press reported recently that researchers across the country are eager to gather data on the subject after witnessing some interesting critter behavior during the last solar eclipse in 2017. For example, researchers in Oregon recorded that horses seemed anxious during the event and appeared to take cover when the sky went dark. Scientists in Tennessee noticed that honeybees would not go out to hunt for food because they rely on the sun to navigate. And in South Carolina, observers found that tortoises randomly started breeding despite their usual lazy lifestyles. Mm hmm. North Carolina State University researcher Adam Hartsone-Rose told the AP that they have no idea why, but Galapagos tortoises suddenly started getting it on at the peak of the eclipse. And you know what? Here’s to hoping that this year’s findings are just as titillating. 


Josie Duffy Rice: Mmm eclipses are already a little too weird for me. [laughter] Animals need to keep it together. However, I do appreciate that they like notice things we don’t because we’re too busy TikTok-ing or whatever. [laughter]


Tre’vell Anderson: And those are the headlines. 




Tre’vell Anderson: That is all for today. If you like the show, make sure you subscribe. Leave a review. When the moon is a blocking, don’t come a knocking and tell your friends to listen. 


Josie Duffy Rice: And if you’re into reading and not just saying gay again in Florida like me, What a Day is also a nightly newsletter, so check it out and subscribe at! I’m Josie Duffy Rice. 


Tre’vell Anderson: I’m Tre’vell Anderson.


[spoken together] And Dolly/Beyonce 2024. 


Tre’vell Anderson: An independent ticket that I can get behind. 


Josie Duffy Rice: How old’s Dolly? 


Tre’vell Anderson: Um. 


Josie Duffy Rice: 78! Spring chicken. 


Tre’vell Anderson: Spring chicken. [laughing]


Josie Duffy Rice: I’m in, I am in. [laughter and sigh] [music break]


Tre’vell Anderson: What a Day is a production of Crooked Media. It’s recorded and mixed by Bill Lancz. Our associate producers are Raven Yamamoto and Natalie Bettendorf. We had production help today from Michell Eloy, Greg Walters, and Julia Claire, and our showrunner is Leo Duran. Adriene Hill is our executive producer. Our theme music is by Colin Gilliard and Kashaka.