Joe Biden has pitched his proposals for what he calls a “once in a generation investment in America.” In his first speech to Congress as US president, he outlined sweeping plans to increase wages and invest in infrastructure to create more jobs. He also stressed the need for the US to reassert its place in the world – saying it must show its adversaries that “democracy still works.”
Biden of course came into the presidency with lofty ambitions. He pledged to bring the country out of the pandemic, to fight racial injustice, and to make a ‘once in a generation’ investment – creating what he calls the strongest, most resilient and innovative economy in the world.
100 days in to his presidency, he’s poised to rack up quite a bill: 6 trillion dollars. That’s the total cost of Biden’s spending proposals so far this year.
The first $1.9 trillion has already begun flowing into the economy, including $1,400 stimulus checks for many Americans.
He’s also proposed a $2.3 trillion infrastructure bill. It aims to update America’s ailing roads and bridges, while also improving internet and electric vehicle networks.
And then that $1.8 trillion bill aiming to improve child care and access to education.
Biden plans to pay for this by raising taxes. He wants to increase the corporate tax rate to 28% and the top tax rate for America’s wealthiest to 39.6%.
Biden spent decades in the US Congress as a senator. Now, he was back with an ambitious program that could see him becoming a transformational US president.
He began by drawing attention to the historic fact that for the first time ever, the two people behind him, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice-President Kamala Harris, were women. Then, a grim summary of his first hundred days, combined with a note of optimism.
Offering a wide-ranging vision of jobs, prosperity, and a new era of big government, with big spending plans, Biden said he would pay for it all with higher taxes on corporations and the super-rich.
On international policy, Biden focused on adversaries Russia and China, linking the United States’ ability to counter them to the success of his domestic policy agenda.
The circumstances of Biden’s speech were unlike any previous presidential address. Members of Congress wore masks and were seated apart because of pandemic restrictions.
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