For Once, I Actually Agree with Joe Biden.
Biden’s recent comments about setting aside concerns for the deficit are correct.
It should go without saying that Joe Biden was far from my first choice to be the Democratic nominee for President, let alone the man who will ultimately be responsible for getting the nation out of a health and economic crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen in modern history. Even setting aside his past rhetoric, Biden’s decades long career in politics has been enough of an indication about how he will govern. Whether it be the fact that he was the architect of the predatory 1994 crime bill or that his bankruptcy bill helped to create the current student debt crisis, there’s no denying we have legitimate reasons to be concerned about what to expect under his presidency. However, even I have to admit I wholeheartedly agree with his recent comments concerning the nation’s deficit.
Sahil Kapur with NBC writes:
“President-elect Joe Biden said Friday that he favors setting aside concerns about the federal deficit in order to spend more money to boost the ailing American economy.
“Every major economist thinks we should be investing in deficit spending in order to generate economic growth,” Biden told reporters Friday, citing low interest rates and limited Federal Reserve powers to fix the Covid-19 crisis…
…Biden said he’ll lay out an economic relief package this year that will cost “in the trillions of dollars.” He said it will include emergency relief for those harmed by the pandemic as well as investments in infrastructure, health care and “a whole range of things that are going to generate good-paying jobs.”
“If we don’t act now things will get much worse and harder to get out of the hole later. So we have to invest now,” Biden said. “There’s a dire, dire need to act now.”
For decades as the country’s lawmakers have shifted further and further to the right, in response to issues such as tuition free college, infrastructure investment, solving the climate crisis, or virtually anything that would benefit the people, calls for necessary change are = more often than not — met with the all too familiar chorus of: “how are we going to pay for that?”.
Throughout the Democratic primary, arguably nothing was more frustrating than hearing candidates supposedly vying to represent the left use that phrase as means by which to tell the American people that on the richest nation on earth, we can’t afford to guarantee healthcare. Even now, with millions of Americans unable to afford to put food on the table let alone pay rent while the richest in the nation double their wealth due to the same circumstances that have cost the masses their jobs, lawmakers like Senator Ron Johnson respond with concerns for the national debt and deficit.
Meanwhile, the nation spends more than the next ten country’s combined on the military.
Of course, none other than Bernie Sanders weighed in on Biden’s comments, with Kapur continuing:
“The president-elect is exactly right that this is not the time for austerity politics,” Sanders told NBC News. “We cannot maintain the austerity economics that have allowed the very rich to do phenomenally in this country while working people suffer.”
Sanders is poised to oversee the budget reconciliation process, which is not subject to a filibuster. Democrats, who will seize control in the 50–50 Senate with the tie-breaking vote of Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, will be able to approve policies of taxing and spending with a bare majority of votes.”
Considering Biden’s record, it should go without saying that we should take his words with a grain of salt. Of course, even if he did mean it, there’s also the added issue of Democratic Senators like Joe Manchin, who have already taken it upon themselves to be an active barrier to progress just days after Democrats secured the majority in the Senate. But if nothing else, Biden’s remarks do serve as further indication that he is genuinely concerned with his legacy as President, and wants to be viewed as someone who did what was necessary to meet this moment, and help people get through it. While his words certainly are not enough for me to feel optimistic, I’m at least encouraged by the idea that others like Bernie Sanders will be able to use that concern for legacy to their advantage.