Biden’s first 100 days is all about jobs and families — and he’s willing to spend big in a break with the Reagan legacy

Joe Biden Congress Senate

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When he first stepped into the national spotlight, Joe Biden made a big gamble seeking to sweep aside the legacy of a Republican president who came to power pledging to diminish the reach of the federal government.

President Ronald Reagan was nearly done putting his imprint on national politics in the fall of 1987. He had declared government to be “terrifying,” and resisted social safety net expansions. There was little appetite among voters for a major tax increase once Reagan slashed them for individuals and companies across the board. 

So the 45-year-old Delaware senator built a centrist presidential campaign emphasizing community. During a New Hampshire rally, Biden advocated to keep government mostly on the sidelines, saying it would “only solve part of the problem.”

“I’m saying the government must be the catalyst to get America moving again, a fundamental difference,” he said at the time.

More than three decades later and 100 days into his presidency, Biden sits in the White House with an entirely different prescription for how to get the nation on the move again. Embracing FDR-level ambition, he’s pitching a $4 trillion spending program to overhaul the economy, attack longstanding racial and economic inequalities head-on and create jobs — all by marshaling the federal government’s resources and casting it in a more muscular role. 

Former congressman Barney Frank (D-MA), a 16-term House lawmaker who shaped the Congressional response to the last recession, told Insider that Biden’s plans represent “a previously unimaginable level of spending.”

“Covid has now created a stormwave of support for government,” Frank said. “We have the opportunity now thanks to Covid to show we can do things through government that will make people’s lives better. If it works, and I do believe it will, that’s a sea change.”

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The twin economic and health crises stemming from the pandemic has lasted over a year. There are fresh signs the economic situation is improving: Unemployment is falling and household incomes are rising, due to massive stimulus programs started under former President Donald Trump and continued under Biden in a $1.9 trillion package approved in March.

Yet millions of Americans, particularly women and Black people, are still out of work and risk getting left behind in the recovery. The president is proposing to ramp up spending on education, childcare, and healthcare, paid for with tax hikes on the richest Americans and multinational corporations.

President Biden: “My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never worked.”

— The Recount (@therecount) April 29, 2021

It’s geared to produce distinct improvements in people’s daily lives, such as affordable childcare, access to paid family and medical leave, tuition-free community college, and faster internet speeds. The federal expansion the president seeks is on par with the “Great Society” programs put in place under Lyndon Johnson.

The extraordinary circumstances is giving Biden a shot at reversing a decades-long trend of the federal government turning over major tasks to states and the private sector dating back to Reagan — …read more

Source:: Businessinsider – Politics


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