The money would go toward $30 billion in tax cuts for lower-income taxpayers. The remaining $50 billion would be used to help finance Edwards' domestic-policy initiatives.
The middle-class cuts include incentives for saving, such as a government match for savings of as much as $500 a year for families earning as much as $75,000. Edwards also would exempt the first $250 of income from interest, capital gains and dividends for low-income families.
Edwards also proposes expanding the earned income tax credit, which helps the working poor; reducing the "marriage penalty" for lower-income families; and expanding the tax credit for child-care expenses.
According to his campaign's estimates, those tax breaks would be paid for by the proposed increase in capital gains taxes from 15% to 28%. That would raise the rate even higher than the 20% tax rate that applied before Bush persuaded Congress to cut the rate in 2003.
Clinton and Obama voted against a 2006 law to extend the 15% rate, but neither has endorsed a rate higher than 20%.