Yet after two years as president, it is Joe Biden who is delivering on those promises. He jokes that he has created an “infrastructure decade” after Trump managed a near parody of “infrastructure week”. His legislative victories are not winning him votes from Trump loyalists or boosting his overall approval rating. But they reflect a major pivot in how the government interacts with the economy at a time when many Americans fear a recession and a broader national decline.
The blanket tax cut has happened. Unflinching faith in free trade with non-democratic countries. The Biden White House has committed more than $1.7 trillion to the belief that a mix of government assistance, focused policies and bureaucratic expertise can deliver long-term growth that lifts up the middle class. It reverses the previous administration’s view that cutting regulations and taxes should encourage investment by businesses that flow downstream to workers.
With the new laws, Biden is gambling that the federal bureaucracy can successfully implement and deliver on his promises, including after he leaves office.
It’s a tricky spot, as Trump himself has learned that a global crisis like a pandemic can quickly destroy the foundation of an economic agenda, causing businesses and voters to shift priorities. There is little guarantee that the economy behaves as the government forecasts in 10 years, while Biden’s policies will be challenged by the new Republican majority in the House.
Biden and his team say Americans are already seeing upside with announcements for new computer chip plants and some 6,000 infrastructure projects.
Brian Dees, director of the White House National Economic Council, said, “There’s an industrial strategy that actually uses public investment to drive more private capital and a historical tradition of everyone from Alexander Hamilton to Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy.” brings more innovation.” “The results speak for themselves.”
Trump’s supporters see little overlap with Biden, even though funding for infrastructure, computer chip production and scientific research has been passed along bipartisan lines.
“The Biden administration’s agenda is 180 degrees different,” said James Carter, policy director at the America First Policy Institute. “More regulation, higher taxes, no border controls and a war on fossil fuels. These are two different administrations with two different approaches. One is free market, the other is big government.”
In the public sphere, current and former presidents seem almost tied together. On the eve of Biden signing into law $280 billion for semiconductors and research in August, FBI agents raided Trump’s home to retrieve classified documents in view of the White House incident. Similarly, Biden blasted Trump as a threat to democracy ahead of the November midterm elections, while Republicans campaigned by attacking the president for troubling levels of inflation.
Biden’s allies have been quick to say that the president is flouting his own campaign promises rather than honoring those made by Trump. But one of Biden’s first steps as president in 2021 was to provide $1,400 in direct payments to Americans as part of his coronavirus relief package. With the $600 payment in the pre-Biden relief package, the amount matches the $2,000 that Trump sought at the end of his presidency, though he could not get it through Congress.
“I want to avoid the premise that somehow Joe Biden took Donald Trump’s ideas and implemented them into law,” Dees said. “What President Biden has done is take a campaign agenda that he preached on and actually execute on it.”
For all of that, Americans are giving Biden low marks on the economy. Inflation has come down from a 40-year peak this summer, but consumer prices are still 7.1% higher than a year ago. The Federal Reserve is raising its benchmark interest rate to tame inflation, something that its own projections suggest will increase unemployment next year.
According to a new poll by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, three out of four Americans describe the economy as bad, with nearly the same percentage saying America is on the wrong track.
Biden is asking for patience.
Biden commented on inflation on Tuesday, saying, “I know it’s been a tough few years for hardworking Americans and small businesses as well.” “But there are bright spots across America where we are starting to see the impact of our economic strategy, and we are just getting started.”
Trump supporters blamed Biden’s separate $1.9 trillion in coronavirus relief for sparking inflation, although it included nearly $400 billion in direct payments that the former president said Americans should receive. They argue that the US economy would be stronger if Biden took steps such as allowing all businesses to fully spend their investments in new equipment instead of providing targeted support to the technology and clean energy sectors.
But even excluding the pandemic-induced recession, Trump’s economic record was far from sterling as promised growth never materialized. Instead of the steady resurgence promised by Trump, manufacturers began shedding jobs in 2019 before the coronavirus outbreak. Annual budget deficits worsened under Trump, but they have improved under Biden as pandemic aid has been reduced.
Biden is telling Americans that his policies will strengthen the American economy over the next decade. His $52 billion foray into computer chip production has led to a series of factory groundbreakings in Arizona, Idaho, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas that will take years to complete. The idea is that government support reduces risk and makes it easier for these companies to invest in areas where global demand exceeds available supply.
Chris Miller, a Tufts University professor and author of the book “Chip Wars,” said the incentive is only a fraction of the cost of building the plants. Miller said the investment would benefit companies that sell raw materials to chip makers as well as makers of auto, electronics and home appliances that are increasingly dependent on chips.
“The Chips funding makes it clear that there will be meaningfully more fab manufacturing and chip production in the US,” he said, “so for suppliers to the chip industry, they have more clarity that demand for their products will be greater than they otherwise would be allowing them to invest.” Also encouraging to do.
For all the economic worries, manufacturing has improved under Biden as factory employment totaled 12.9 million jobs, the most since December 2008. Just as Biden has promoted domestic investment, he has also expanded the Trump administration’s efforts to compete with China and kept his predecessor’s tariffs in place.
The Biden administration has restricted exports of advanced computer chips and semiconductor equipment on national security grounds, arguing that China is using the technology for surveillance and hypersonic missiles. It has also forged deeper partnerships with Australia, Japan, South Korea and several European countries to counter China’s growing influence.
Biden’s “Asian czar” on the White House National Security Council, Kurt Campbell, said many of Trump’s State Department initiatives on China have been “followed” during Biden’s presidency, an April panel said. that “in many respects,” it is the supreme tribute to the previous administration.
But Steve Yates, senior fellow at the America First Policy Institute and former president of Radio Free Asia, said Biden has not shown that he has placed as much emphasis on China as Trump.
Yates cited as evidence that Biden’s national security strategy recognizes the US as having a shared interest with China in addressing climate change. He said China would use that priority to its advantage because Biden’s willingness to cooperate on climate change would prevent him from confronting Beijing as Trump did.
Yates said, “Our hand is weak right now.”
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