What Trump promised, Biden seeks to fulfill in his own way

WASHINGTON (AP) — donald trump vowed to fix America infrastructure as president. He promised to take Porcelain and bulge american manufacturing. He said he would reduce the budget deficit and make the rich pay their fair share of taxes.

However, after two years as president, it is Joe Biden you are acting on those promises. He jokes that he has created an “infrastructure decade” after Trump just pulled off a near parody of “infrastructure weeks.” His legislative victories are not winning him votes from Trump loyalists or increasing his overall approval ratings. But they do reflect a major shift in the way government interacts with the economy at a time when many Americans fear a recession and broader national downturn.

Gone are the general tax cuts. No more unrestricted faith in free trade with non-democratic countries. The Biden White House has committed more than $1.7 trillion to the belief that a combination of government aid, focused policies and bureaucratic expertise can deliver long-term growth that lifts the spirits of the middle class. This reverses the previous administration’s view that cutting regulations and taxes boosted business investment flowing to workers.

With the new laws in place, Biden is betting that the federal bureaucracy can successfully implement and deliver on his promises, even after he leaves office.

That’s a tricky point, as Trump himself has learned that global crises like a pandemic can quickly wreck the foundations of an economic agenda, causing businesses and voters to shift their priorities. There are few guarantees that the economy will behave for 10 years as expected by the government, while Biden’s policies will likely be challenged by the new Republican majority in the House.

Biden and his team say Americans are already seeing the bright side with announcements of new computer chip plants and some 6,000 infrastructure projects underway.

“There is an industry strategy that actually uses public investment to drive more private capital and more innovation in the storied tradition of everyone from Alexander Hamilton to Abraham Lincoln to John F. Kennedy,” said Brian Deese, director of the National Economic Council for the White House. “The results speak for themselves”.

Trump supporters see little overlap with Biden, even though funding for infrastructure, computer chip production and scientific research passed along bipartisan lines.

“The Biden administration’s agenda is 180 degrees different,” said James Carter, policy director at the America First Policy Institute. “More regulation, higher taxes, no border control and a war on fossil fuels. They are two different administrations with two different approaches. One is the free market, the other is big government.”

The current and former president seem almost united in the public arena. On the August eve of Biden’s signing of the law $280 billion for semiconductors and researchfbi agents broke into trump’s house to retrieve classified documents, overshadowing the White House event. Similarly, Biden called Trump as a threat to democracy ahead of the November midterm elections, while Republicans campaigned criticizing the president over worrisome levels of inflation.

Biden aides are quick to say that the president is following through on his own campaign promises, rather than honoring promises made by Trump. But one of Biden’s first moves as president in 2021 was to provide $1,400 in direct payments to Americans as part of his coronavirus relief package. Along with $600 in payments in a pre-Biden relief package, the sum matched the $2,000 Trump asked for in the twilight of his presidency, though he failed to win congressional approval.

“I would like to avoid the premise that somehow what Joe Biden has done is take Donald Trump’s ideas and turn them into law,” Deese said. “What President Biden has done is he has taken the campaign agenda that he campaigned on and really delivered on it.”

For all that, Americans give Biden low marks on the economy. Inflation is down from a 40-year peak this summer, but consumer prices are still 7.1% higher than a year ago. The Federal Reserve is raise your benchmark interest rate to lower inflation, something that according to their own projections will cause an increase in unemployment in the coming year.

Three in four Americans describe the economy as poor, and almost the same percentage say the US is on the wrong track, according to a new survey by The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

Biden asks for patience.

“I know it’s been a tough few years for hard-working Americans and for small businesses as well,” Biden said in remarks on inflation Tuesday. “But there are bright spots across the United States where we’re starting to see the impact of our economic strategy, and we’re just getting started.”

Trump supporters blame Biden split $1.9 trillion in coronavirus relief for causing inflation, even though it contained roughly $400 billion in direct payments that the former president said Americans should receive. They argue that the US economy would be stronger if Biden took steps such as allowing all companies to fully spend their investments on new equipment, rather than providing targeted support to the technology and clean energy sectors.

But even excluding the pandemic-induced recession, Trump’s economic record was far from great, as promised growth never materialized. Manufacturers began cutting jobs in 2019 before the coronavirus spread, instead of the steady resurgence promised by Trump. Annual budget deficits worsened under Trump but improved under Biden as pandemic aid has been cut.

Biden tells Americans that his policies will strengthen the American economy for the next decade. The $52 billion from him for the production of computer chips has led to a series of factory openings in Arizona, Idaho, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Texas that will take years to complete. The idea is that government aid will reduce risk and make it easier for these companies to invest in areas where global demand exceeds available supplies.

Chris Miller, a Tufts University professor and author of the book “Chip War,” said the incentives are only a fraction of the cost of building the plants. Miller said the benefits of the investments will extend to companies that sell raw materials to chipmakers, as well as possibly to auto, electronics and home appliance makers that are increasingly reliant on chips.

“The chip funding makes it clear that there will be significantly more factory construction and chip production in the US,” he said, “so chip industry suppliers are clearer that demand for their products will be greater than it would otherwise be. they have been, encouraging them to invest as well”.

Despite all the economic concerns, manufacturing has improved under Biden, as factory employment climbs to 12.9 million jobs, the most since December 2008. Just as Biden has boosted national investment, so it also expanded the Trump administration’s efforts to compete with China and maintained its predecessor’s tariffs.

The Biden administration has restricted the export of advanced computer chips and semiconductor equipment, arguing on national security grounds that China is using this technology for surveillance and hypersonic missiles. It also formed deeper partnerships with Australia, Japan, South Korea, and several European countries to counter China’s growing influence.

Kurt Campbell, Biden’s “Asian Czar” on the White House National Security Council, said that many of the initiatives pushed by Trump’s State Department on China have been “followed” during the Biden presidency, saying in an April panel that “in many ways, that’s the biggest tribute” to the previous administration.

But Steve Yates, a senior fellow at the America First Policy Institute and former president of Radio Free Asia, said Biden has not shown that he has placed the same emphasis on China as Trump.

Yates cited as evidence that Biden’s national security strategy identifies the US with a shared interest with China in addressing climate change. He said China will exploit that priority to his advantage, as Biden’s willingness to cooperate on climate change will prevent him from taking on Beijing as Trump did.

“We just have a weak hand,” Yates said.

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