Joe Biden is reaching for the stars. A $4 trillion infrastructure plan is supposed to get the U.S. back on its feet. Here is a president acting in the only way he knows how.
Joe Biden is already an extraordinary president in that he has achieved in 100 days what others before him didn’t manage to do over 100 months — if they were even allowed to stay in office for that long. Biden’s predecessor, fortunately, was not able to, which is also why an assessment of the sitting president sounds so revolutionary. Much of Biden’s work falls under the category of “undoing Donald Trump.” And because the Biden administration is so emphatically swinging the pendulum toward a caring, active state, the contrast with the past four years is even more remarkable.
The most important characteristic of the days of Biden is the consistency with which the president and his team govern. It is now becoming apparent how much preparation and strategizing went into this plan of so many expenditures and reforms. Trump’s presidency left no other choice: either Biden had to rapidly and radically catapult the U.S. into another era, or he would end up as a transitional president — a human holding basin.
America Can No Longer Bear the Growing Income and Education Gap
This role was understandably too small for Biden, so he is reaching for the stars. He has proposed $4 trillion for an array of infrastructure and aid programs. Families, children, the sick, streets, plumbing, broadband cables, climate change and especially education: the lower and middle classes of the U.S. are getting Christmas and Easter all at once.
Of course, the intention of the party politics underlying this spending program is transparent. The voting population is being attended to, who, in their anger about the self-serving upper classes, fell into step behind the demagogue Trump. But besides any calculated appeal for votes, there is also a political logic behind it that is urgent for the U.S. and explains the aid envisioned for the underprivileged: America’s democracy can no longer bear the growing income and education gap. Thus, Biden must fight for the middle.
Will the Infrastructure Plan Overheat the Economy?
In addition to his decisiveness, Biden’s tempo in the first 100 days is impressive. A president who does not have the gift of time is taking action. The majority ratios for the first two years are set, which allows him to make some progress. What is not decided by fall 2022 falls into the campaign shredder. The world is also exerting pressure: Biden’s reprimand of China does not belong among the footnotes of foreign affairs. The decline of the U.S. as a global economic power and political frontrunner is fundamentally correlated with the country’s internal integrity. It is hard to stand on wobbly legs.
There are justifiable economic doubts about whether Biden’s cornucopia may cause the economy to overheat. There are doubts about whether Biden’s social policies, which by U.S. standards are considered very leftist, will strengthen aversion toward an overreaching state. And above all, there are doubts about whether this tsunami of legislation can be managed by a Congress that remains as dysfunctional as ever. But these are problems that one would wish for in the U.S. after the nightmare of Trump.