Prioritizing Priorities: Rolling the Economy Back to Normal, A Biden’s Thrust

by Elpidio Estioko

President Joe Biden’s administration is faced with many priority items to be able to bring back America to its normal position and to propel it back to its old status as a leader of the world!

To be able to do that, the president’s move would be to prioritize priorities in order to keep the ball accurately rolling. That’s exactly what he did… is doing!

It started with addressing first the pandemic with him signing into law the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 Relief Bill! This is the bill that became a law (American Rescue Plan Act) to combat the virus while at the same time helping small and medium-scale businesses affected by the pandemic.

Now comes Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan to provide the structures needed in normalizing the country’s economy after a year of suffering from the pandemic economic paralysis.

Biden detailed his infrastructure plan to reshape the economy. According to a New York Times article by Jim Tankersley:

“The president began selling his proposal on Wednesday, saying it would fix 20,000 miles of roads and 10,000 bridges, while also addressing climate change and racial inequities and raising corporate taxes.”

He introduced a $2 trillion plan to overhaul and upgrade the nation’s infrastructure, calling it a transformational effort that could create the “most resilient, innovative economy in the world.”

Biden said in a speech outside Pittsburgh: “It is not a plan that tinkers around the edges. It is a once-in-a-generation investment in America. The proposal is a combination of spending and tax credits that would translate into 20,000 miles of rebuilt roads, repairs to the 10 most economically important bridges in the country, the elimination of lead pipes from the nation’s water supplies and a long list of other projects intended to create millions of jobs in the short run and strengthen American competitiveness in the long run.”

The costs, according to the plan, would be offset by increased corporate tax revenues raised over 15 years, particularly from multinationals that earn and siphon profits overseas.

Biden appealed for support from both parties in Congress, saying the program would be “unlike anything we have seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago” and calling it “the largest American jobs investment since World War II.”

Let us remember that the proposal is the first half of what will be a two-step release of the president’s ambitious agenda to overhaul American economy which could cost as much as $4 trillion over a decade. President Biden’s administration has named it the “American Jobs Plan.” This is a sequel to the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill that President Biden signed into law this month, the “American Rescue Plan.”

On Wednesday, President Biden said the next phase, which he will seek to pay for in part through tax increases on wealthy individuals, would come in a matter of weeks and be known as the “American Family Plan.”

The plan seeks to repair 10,000 smaller bridges across the country, along with the 10 most economically significant ones in need of a fix. It would electrify 20 percent of the nation’s fleet of yellow school buses and spend $300 billion to promote advanced manufacturing, including a four-year plan to restock the country’s Strategic National Stockpile of pharmaceuticals, including vaccines, in preparation for future pandemics.

The president’s pledge to tackle climate change is also embedded throughout the plan. Roads, bridges and airports would be made more resilient to the effects of more extreme storms, floods and fires due to global warming. The climate change is centered on modernizing and transforming the United States’ two largest sources of planet-warming greenhouse gas pollution: cars and electric power plants.

The plan proposes spending $174 billion to encourage the manufacture and purchase of electric vehicles by granting tax credits and other incentives to companies that make electric vehicle batteries in the United States instead of China. The goal is to reduce vehicle price tags.

To cover expenses, most of the taxes will be on big corporations. He would raise the corporate tax rate to 28 percent from 21 percent, partly reversing a cut signed into law by then-President Donald Trump. Biden would also take a variety of steps to raise taxes on multinational corporations, many of them working within an overhaul of the taxation of profits earned overseas that was included in President Trump’s tax law in 2017.

Biden said that his proposed tax changes on global income alone would raise $1 trillion over 15 years. “These are investments we have to make,” he said.

While the American Recovery Plan is geared principally towards helping those individuals, groups, associations, and businesses affected by the pandemic, the Infrastructure Plan (The American Jobs Plan) is an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to rival or out-compete China.

To raise the quality of infrastructure, the president’s plan will modernize 20,000 miles of highways, roads, and main-streets. It will fix the ten most economically significant bridges in the country in need of reconstruction. It also will repair the worst 10,000 smaller bridges, providing critical linkages to communities and it will replace thousands of buses and rail cars, repair hundreds of stations, renew airports, and expand transit and rail into new communities.

Biden’s plan will deliver infrastructure Americans can trust, because it will be resilient to floods, fires, storms, and other threats, and not fragile in the face of these increasing risks. Biden is calling on Congress to transform our crumbling transportation infrastructure through legislation.

Our roads and bridges need major repairs! According to latest statistics, one in five miles, or 173,000 total miles, of our highways and major roads are in poor condition, as well as 45,000 bridges. Delays caused by traffic congestion alone cost over $160 billion per year, and motorists are forced to pay over $1,000 every year in wasted time and fuel. The president is proposing a total increase of $115 billion to modernize the bridges, highways, roads, and main streets that are in most critical need of repair.

Also, households that take public transportation to work have twice the commute time, and households of color are twice as likely to take public transportation. Our current transit infrastructure is inadequate – the Department of Transportation estimates a repair backlog of over $105 billion, representing more than 24,000 buses, 5,000 rail cars, 200 stations, and thousands of miles of track, signals, and power systems in need of replacement.

Biden is calling on congress to invest $85 billion to modernize existing transit and help agencies expand their systems to meet rider demand… and will ultimately reduce traffic congestion for everyone.

Also, under the plan, it will modernize our nation’s schools and early learning facilities. Too many students attend schools and childcare centers that are run-down, unsafe, and pose health risks. These conditions are dangerous for our kids and exist disproportionately in schools with a high percentage of low-income students and students of color.

“We need to modernize our public schools,” President Biden said.

“Since we can’t close the opportunity gap if low-income kids go to schools in buildings that undermine health and safety, while wealthier students get access to safe buildings with labs and technology that prepare them for the jobs, the president pointed out. Under the plan, $100 billion will be invested to upgrade and build new public schools, through $50 billion in direct grants and an additional $50 billion leveraged through bonds.”

These interconnected priority plans of the president will lead to one thing: economic progress!

Let us all work for it and support our president!


ELPIDIO R. ESTIOKO was a veteran journalist in the Philippines and a multi-awarded journalist here in the US. For feedbacks, comments… please email the author at estiokoelpidio@gmail.com.


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