Joe Biden’s America
In a time that calls for national leadership and policies that reflect the scope of the current crisis we are entrenched in President-elect Joseph R. Biden, Jr. is attempting to craft an FDR — sized administration. Biden is proposing a wide range of progressive policies that will rise to the level of his lofty ambitions.
Biden is to take office amid a public health crisis that has claimed more lives than 9/11, World War I, the Korean War, and Vietnam Wars combined. COVID-19 has produced the highest unemployment rates since the Great Depression of 1929 and has disproportionately affected communities of color. Biden’s plan to tackle COVID-19 includes nationwide testing, extending COVID crisis unemployment insurance, providing federal aid to local, state, and tribal governments, a 100,000 person public health job corps, and a massive stockpile of vaccines ready for usage.
The core plank of Biden’s agenda is an economic agenda dubbed the “Build Back Better” plan, which will address reviving the economy, building sustainable infrastructure, and a clean energy future also mobilizing American talent and creating a stronger educational workforce and finally building racial equity.
Biden’s clean energy plan will create 1 million new jobs in the American auto industry, domestic auto supply chains, and auto infrastructure, from parts to materials to electric vehicle charging stations, positioning American auto workers and manufacturers to win the 21st century; and invest in U.S. auto workers to ensure their jobs are good jobs with a choice to join a union.
Though not fully endorsing the Green New Deal, Biden’s plan calls for providing every American city with 100,000 or more residents with high-quality, zero-emissions public transportation options through flexible federal investments with strong labor protections that create good, union jobs and meet the needs of these cities — ranging from light rail networks to improving existing transit and bus lines to installing infrastructure for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The second-largest plank is Biden’s 10-year, $775 billion plan for caregiving. The program includes pledges of universal pre-K for all 3- and 4-year-olds, a tax credit paying up to half of child care costs up to a maximum of $8,000 per child for families making under $125,000 a year, and subsidies ensuring that “no family earning below 1.5 times the median income in their state will have to pay more than 7% of their income for quality care,” with the typical family “paying no more than $45 per week.” He’s also proposing a large tax credit for employers that build on-site child care centers, and other programs meant to increase the supply of child care services, not just subsidies for it.
Plank 3: “Made in All of America”
Next up is the investment of $700 billion over a decade that Biden has promised in “made in America” goods. The plan, called “Made in All of America” in recognition of its goal of reaching distressed rural, Rust Belt, Southern, and other neglected regions of the country, harks back to Biden’s focus on the manufacturing economy during his time as vice president.
The rhetoric on “reshoring” offshored jobs recalls the 2004 campaign when John Kerry assailed “Benedict Arnold corporations,” and the 2006 midterms, where Democrats made a major issue over a Dubai corporation’s efforts to assume operations of six American ports.
The plan also promises $400 billion in direct US government purchases of goods manufactured in the US in addition to the purchases the government will make in the clean energy plan, plus $300 billion in R&D investments “from electric vehicle technology to lightweight materials to 5G and artificial intelligence.”
Plank 4: Addressing the racial wealth gap
The fourth and final pillar of Build Back Better is Biden’s plan to address the racial wealth gap.
Biden has no single headline policy for this, like reparations or baby bonds. Rather, he has attempted to weave investments in Black- and brown-owned businesses and communities throughout his other plans. Some $30 billion of the $300 billion in R&D spending as part of his Made in All of America plan, for instance, will go to the Small Business Opportunity Fund, with the goal of reaching Black- and brown-owned small businesses. His college affordability plan will make all public universities free for families with incomes under $125,000, but will also apply to private historically Black colleges and universities. He pledges that 40 percent of his $2 trillion in clean energy investments will go to “disadvantage communities.”
“It may feel like a list, but I think it’s an indication of his priorities, which are clean energy, the care agenda, infrastructure, reshoring, and the racial wealth gap,” Harris said. “Anyone who characterizes this as anything less than bold is just not paying attention.
President-elect Biden has moved further to the left than any modern Democratic nominee in recent history in terms of economic, climate, and social policies while maintaining his center-left moderate roots If the Democrats win back the Senate which is crucial for President-elect Biden´s ambitious Democratic agenda to come into consummation, he is on course to have the most transformative presidency since FDR’s New Deal and LBJ’s Great Society.