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Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders Spar on Middle Class Taxes

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Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders provided two starkly different visions for taxation on the middle class during the Democratic debate Saturday night.

Former Secretary of State Clinton promised that she would not raise any taxes on the middle class. “That is a pledge that I’m making,” she said. “Because I don’t think we should be imposing new big programs that are going to raise middle class families’ taxes. We just heard that most families haven’t had a wage increase since 2001, since the end of the last Clinton administration.”

Read More: Democrats Clash in Final Debate of 2015

“I don’t think a middle class tax should be part of anybody’s plan right now,” she continued.

Vermont Sen. Sanders countered, by arguing that a minor tax increase on the middle class would be worth it in service of progressive programs. “When Secretary Clinton says ‘I’m not going to raise taxes on the middle class,’ let me tell you what she is saying,” Sanders said. “She is disagreeing with FDR [President Franklin Delano Roosevelt] on social security, LBJ [President Lyndon Baines Johnson] on Medicare, and with the vast majority of progressive Democrats in the House and the Senate who today are fighting to end the disgrace of the United States being the only major country on earth that doesn’t provide paid family and medical leave.”

Sanders seemed excited to get to the questions on taxes, saying as they began debating the issue: “Now this is getting to be fun.”

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Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.Rogers@time.com