Tuesday, October 19

Joe Biden: Show Democracy Works | Ideas


US President Joe Biden addresses the June jobs report at the White House in Washington on July 2, 2021.
US President Joe Biden addresses the June jobs report at the White House in Washington on July 2, 2021.KEVIN LAMARQUE / Reuters

We have to show that democracy works ”. With this principle, Joe Biden came to the White House, traumatized by two exceptional events: the invasion of the Capitol by a horde of white supremacists, very close to his predecessor, and a murderous viral pandemic. His first measures, in addition to mass vaccination, led to talk of a shift in the dominant paradigm: from the conservative revolution to a roosevelt moment. Six months later the sales arrive.

Biden has placed two central issues on the agenda. First, that the “trickle-down theory” (if the economy grows for the richest, such growth will come in the form of well-being to others – even as crumbs -) does not work. So it is time to grow the economy from the bottom up and from the center out. Second, that it is not true that there is a shortage of workers, as some businessmen complain, but that the shortage is of well-paid workers; At a recent press conference, the American president launched his great slogan: “Pay them more!” (Pay them more!) And told employers: “You are going to have to compete and start paying workers a decent wage.”

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In the joint committee of the House of Representatives and the Senate last April, the two stimulus plans that, reluctantly or not, had been approved in the Trump legislature, worth 2.6 trillion dollars, were in effect. Biden announced two more plans: the Plan for American Employment (mainly investment in infrastructure), worth 2.3 billion, and the American Family Plan (to increase social protection), with an amount of 1.8 billion. There was therefore talk of spending close to 7 trillion to transform and recover the American economy (plus the monetary aid launched by the Federal Reserve).

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The infrastructures have already reached the Senate, where, to be approved, they required the support of some Republicans (60 votes are needed, and the Democrats have only 50 and the casting vote of their president, Vice President Kamala Harris). Public investment in infrastructure has plummeted in the United States since the 1960s, with the country with the world’s largest economy falling to 13th on any quality rating. The Biden Employment Plan became a bipartisan agreement (in principle) and has been decimated just in half: 579,000 million in new investments as soon as it is approved, which amounts to almost a trillion in five years and ends at 1.2 trillion in eight years. With that money, roads and bridges will have to be repaired, conventional school buses replaced by electric ones, the polluting lead pipe system will be replaced, there will be improvements in the electrical network and any citizen will be provided with internet broadband; Likewise, the security of the most important infrastructures will be reinforced in the face of the possibility of cyberattacks or natural disasters, such as those that have occurred in recent times.

However, the commission of five Democrats and five Republicans that negotiated the physical infrastructure plan in the Senate did not reach an agreement (or did not address) on what Biden calls “human infrastructure,” a $ 400 billion investment in primary healthcare. , child care, etc. It is also unknown how the 1.2 trillion will be financed, although the parties put two red lines: the Democrats, not to raise taxes on the middle classes, and the Republicans, that the benefits granted to the richest (following the “trickle-down theory”) by Trump’s 2017 tax reform, do not wane.

Too many contradictions about the differences between what is planned and what is achieved. Here is an example of the limits of politics and the permanent confrontation between reality and desire. The framework agreement on infrastructure is not final and it is difficult to foresee its end now. Even though Biden is the most powerful man in the world.

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