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Brief #104

Biden’s Plan for an Ailing Country

Rosalind Gottfried        

January 17, 2021

Policy

President elect Joe Biden’s 1.9 trillion dollar stimulus plan provides a comprehensive assault on what ails America and reinstates some of the controversial elements rejected by Republicans in the $900 billion December plan.  Most notable is a reinstatement of 350 billion dollars to bolster state and local budgets suffering shortfalls largely attributable to the pandemic crisis.  It also includes 400 billion dollars of pandemic aid to vaccinate Americans and open schools.  Biden set a goal to vaccinate 100 million Americans in his first 100 days in office.

To address the needs of individuals and families, Biden is providing $1400 dollars in direct payments to individuals; up to $8000 in childcare tax credits; federal subsidies of $400 weekly for unemployment benefits through September; sustained pandemic relief payments to freelance and other workers not normally eligible for unemployment benefits; emergency paid leave; and rental aid.  Grants to small businesses will also aid in sustaining the well-being of families.

Other provisions include raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour; increased funding for Community Health Centers and funding to mitigate the spread of the pandemic in prisons and jails.  Additional programs to address the exponentially increasing crisis of hunger, particularly among children, are also addressed.  Biden plans a broader set of programs to be proposed in February starting with raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

Analysis

Of course, all this hinges upon passage of the bills in Congress where the Democrats have a narrow lead in the House and are tied with Republicans in the Senate.   Biden’s plan is 50% greater than the program passed in 2009 by the Obama administration in response to the great recession.  That plan was narrowly passed among sharp dissension.  Biden’s plan enjoys some support absent in the Obama era, such as from entities like the Chamber of Commerce.  The pathway to success is tenuous at best.  The Democratic leadership expects major Congressional resistance and is unlikely to get the 60 Senate votes needed to avoid a filibuster.  The Democrats are hoping to invoke the budget reconciliation process to bypass the filibuster, a strategy Trump utilized to pass his 2017 tax cuts. In the February program Biden hopes to address job creation; infrastructure projects; clean energy programs, and more.

The stimulus will be funded by borrowing and the Biden administration suggests that this is not alarming because inflation and the interest rates are low.  He is likely to argue that the top 1% richest Americans gained 1.5 trillion dollars in assets since the pandemic.  Financial institutions are flush; JP Morgan posted profits of 12.1 billion dollars in the last quarter and BlackRock showed increases of 19%.   The administration will refer to these trends to reassure policy makers and representatives that the country can cover an increased debt.  The Democrats are planning major overhauls to the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage programs which would build capital reserves and may ultimately lead to privatization of these government supported entities. Additionally there is pent up demand for goods and services and from personal savings that have accrued to some parts of the population during the pandemic shutdown which should bolster the budgets in the recovery.

In the coming weeks President elect Biden is expected to propose additional  programs to address multiple crises in the country frequently cited in the news.  These include economic recovery; virus containment; racial injustice; inequality; a financially and politically disaffected working and middle class; climate change; and myriad other issues reflected in new levels of partisan bickering. USRESIST NEWS will provide our readers with information and analysis of Biden administration policies as they are rolled out.

 

Learn More

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/14/business/economy/biden-stimulus-plan.html?action=click&module=RelatedLinks&pgtype=Article

https://www.npr.org/2021/01/14/956940196/-1-400-checks-and-help-for-the-jobless-whats-in-bidens-plan-to-rescue-the-econom

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/15/business/dealbook/biden-economy-deficit.html

Engagement Resources

https://joebiden.com/the-biden-emergency-action-plan-to-save-the-economy/

Biden’s program website

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