Biden’s budget bill would improve the lives of millions of Americans

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A casual reader of the Washington news in recent weeks has every reason to believe that our president has transformed from a harmless Uncle Joe, determined to prudently reinvest in America’s physical and social infrastructure. and winning righteous Republicans while doing it, into a fire-breathing socialist who has lost control of his agenda. How else do you read hyperventilating headlines in the political press, such as “Biden throws in with the left, leaving his agenda in doubt” Where “The left takes control of Biden’s agenda”?

It’s the same old story: What bleeds the tracks, or in Washington lingo, never highlight a story about politics when you can present it as a human drama of victory or failure.

Problem is, the real drama of this story isn’t the Democrats’ internal bickering over the size of Biden’s $ 3.5 trillion spending plan, nor the major tax hikes he proposed. to pay, or even the fate of the $ 1,000 billion bipartisan infrastructure bill that has already passed the Senate, but which progressives hold on to leverage the bill bigger. The human story behind this bill concerns its impact on the lives of hundreds of millions of Americans once it passes Congress.

In its current form, the budget bill represents a long overdue investment in human capital that would improve the lives of children, parents, the working class and the elderly. It would expand education, housing, health care, work opportunities for women and lift millions of children out of poverty. Critically, the bill is also probably the country’s best chance, possibly our last chance, to make a major down payment on tackling climate change, the existential crisis of our time.

These are not just laudable goals, they are key requirements for America to be successful. It is also extraordinarily expensive. But Biden’s plan pays off in large part, thanks to the revenues he and Congressional Democrats anticipate from new and higher taxes on large corporations and high net worth individuals. That doesn’t mean it’s free of course, but it does mean that unlike its three most recent predecessors, Biden is pairing his ambitious spending targets with tax hikes that will significantly cushion the impact of the bill on the national debt.

Republicans and even some Democrats balked at the high price tag and the tax increases. It’s a fair debate, and it’s no wonder massive legislation is caught in the horns of competing political and political agendas. This is not proof that Biden’s agenda and therefore his entire presidency is on the rocks, however. It’s an ordinary scramble among elected officials trying to find the rarest DC product: a compromise.

We support the big bill, as well as many of the tax increases. But we also see the value of taking a big apple bite now and coming back to fight for the second and third courses later. For this to happen, the liberal and conservative wings of the Democratic Party must find common ground. Republicans, too, might find new vocabulary in this debate other than ‘no’.

Biden has previously reported that he is happy to agree to a package that will cost something north of $ 2 trillion, which is more than the $ 1.5 trillion that Sen. Joe Manchin, DW.Va., has declared that he would argue. Biden knows that three-quarters of a ham sandwich tastes like a treat when the alternative leaves hungry.

Getting a yes will take time, and yes, it will take the leadership of Biden and his allies on Capitol Hill. But when Biden finally signs the bill, even a heavily compromised version, it will be one of the biggest investments in America’s social and physical infrastructure in more than half a century.

So what’s in it anyway? It will greatly improve people’s lives.

A $ 200 billion investment in universal preschool education for all 3 and 4 year olds through a national partnership with states, benefiting up to 5 million children and saving the average family $ 13,000 when fully implemented.

The country’s first federal paid and medical leave benefit. The plan would create a new federal program at a cost of $ 225 billion over 10 years. He would guarantee 12 weeks of publicly funded paid vacation, at a minimum of two-thirds of his previous salary up to $ 4,000 per month.

A landmark investment of $ 2 billion in housing vouchers, aimed at very low-income families on the verge of homelessness, closing the gap between household incomes and the rapidly rising cost of housing. The voucher program would ensure that eligible households pay no more than 30 percent of their income for rent.

A permanent extension of Medicaid eligibility for people who live in states like Texas that have not extended the program under the Affordable Care Act. It would allow up to 1.4 million Texans and 4 million uninsured people nationwide to gain access to coverage.

New polluter fees, consumer rebates for the electrification and weatherization of homes, tax incentives and subsidies for clean energy, manufacturing and transportation that would go a long way towards meeting Biden’s goal of reducing carbon emissions by 50% and enable the electricity grid to obtain 80% of its electricity from emission-free sources by 2030.

These are just a sample of the bill essentials that can really improve life. Overall, the bill is about making Biden keep his word, or rather help America keep his word, that life here will be fairer for the next generation than it has been in the past. .

Much of this pressure for fairness lies in the way the President and House Democrats have proposed to pay for these expenses through tax hikes. The top marginal rate would drop from 37% to 39.6%. People earning more than $ 5 million would pay a 3 percent surtax on income above that level. The corporate tax rate would drop from 21% to 26.5%, almost 10% less than before Donald Trump’s tax cuts.

Progressives and Biden are right: the rich should pay more taxes, and businesses shouldn’t be able to pay so little so easily. And yet we consider it a victory for everyone that the compromise bill comes at a lower cost. This means some of Democrats’ most controversial tax hike proposals, such as raising the capital gains rate to 48%, which would be the second highest rate in the world.

The bill would also increase America’s competitiveness on the world stage. United States ranks 24th on the World Economic Forum’s energy transition readiness index, which measures how prepared countries are to transition to green energy systems. We rank even lower – 35th out of 37 countries – in public dollars spent on the education and care of young children, in relation to the gross domestic product, and dead last compared to 40 other developed countries by offering paid family leave. These are not rankings at the height of a global superpower.

The budget bill would start to change that rhetoric. There will surely be more twists and turns before the proposal reaches Biden’s office. There will be days when the machinations of a few progressive or moderate lawmakers send political journalists into a frenzy, and days when the very thin margins Democrats hold in the Senate and House seem overwhelming.

History tells us that most bills that could have seismic societal impacts are taking a roundabout route. But in this case, it is the right way. Biden and the Democrats should stay on it.


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