Robert Reich: “The biggest potential disaster? Right to vote’
Six months later, it looks like Joe Biden has a good chance of bringing America back to where it was before the pandemic. The Covid-19 is on the decline. So far, almost half of the adult population has been fully immunized. The economy is roaring – still 7 million jobs below what it was in January 2020 but on track to return to the starting gate by the end of the year. Biden’s “American Rescue Plan” is a major success.
But it’s not clear Biden will bring America back to where it was before Trump. His initial round of executive orders erased most of Trump’s executive orders, but he has yet to demolish all of Trump’s cruel immigration policies. Trump’s xenophobic rhetoric has vanished, but Biden has not restored relations with China. Many of Trump’s tariffs are still in place. And even with a simple Democratic majority in the US Senate, Congress is unlikely to repeal all of Trump’s tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy.
What about Biden’s grand plans to remake America? Depending on your point of view, they are either on hold or blocked. He will likely get bipartisan support for more than half a trillion dollars in new spending on “hard” infrastructure. It’s not nothing. Beyond that, anyone can guess what Senate Democrats will agree to on legislation covering child care, the environment, health care and education that can bypass the obstruction. republican.
Bhaskar Sunkara: “Biden is thinking big – but has yet to deliver”
The good news is that six months after the start of Joe Biden’s administration, he delivered one of his main campaign arguments and restored a sense of “normalcy” to the country. After four years of Donald Trump’s uncontrollable rule, the White House has become a more predictable place.
This is also the bad news. Since the old “normal” didn’t work for millions of working class Americans.
Biden has shown a willingness to think big, but he hasn’t implemented structural reforms like a $ 15 minimum wage and pro legislation meant to help restore union density. He is institutionally coerced by hostile forces within his own party and has been forced to settle for a slim majority in Congress, but unless he finds a way to use his political power to overcome some of these barriers, he will find himself in an even more difficult position after the midterm elections of 2022.
Kate Aronoff: “Biden must act on the climate now”
Joe Biden is not in an enviable position. Besides a republican party at all costs to prevent good things from happening, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema – both right-wing Democrats – can decide what goes through a 50-50 Senate. Biden’s U.S. employment plan is radically out of step with what the climate crisis demands, but even that faces major headwinds within our pre-war political system, anything but built to keep it. public opinion – that supports a Green New Deal and stricter regulations – to be translated into law.
Whatever happens in Congress, however, Biden still has a range of unexplored tools available to start reducing emissions tomorrow. The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Federal Reserve – which jointly regulate the banking industry – could increase capital requirements for institutions that invest in fossil fuels, helping stem the flow of money from Wall Street to coal, oil and gas. By declaring a climate emergency, Biden could reinstate the ban on crude oil exports, which have exploded by 750% since the rules limiting them were quietly removed in 2015. Ending drilling on federal lands – well within the remit of the Home Office – could eliminate A quarter American broadcasts.