Biden Unveils Aggressive Approach to Economic Recovery
"We have to act and we have to act now."
In a primetime address Thursday night, the President-elect unveiled a plan to spend nearly $2 (T) trillion to roll back the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic. It includes increased stimulus checks, more spending on Coronavirus vaccine, and a hike in minimum wage.
Joe Biden says it’s urgent – his proposal is a $1.9 billion (T) package for a struggling nation. “You won’t see this pain if your scorecard is how things are going on Wall Street… The growing divide between those few people at the very top who are doing very well in this economy, and the rest of America.”
Biden says it’s not just about those who have found themselves out of work. “Millions have kept their jobs but have seen their hours and paychecks reduced, barely hanging on as well. That’s happening today in the United States of America.”
He says 400,000 small businesses have permanently closed their doors. “It’s not hard to see we’re in the middle of a once-in-several-generations economic crisis, with a once-in-several-generations public health crisis.”
With that, Biden discussed his recovery plan. “I’d like to talk to you about our way forward. A two-step plan of rescue and recovery. A two-step plan to build a bridge to the other side of the crisis we face.” He’ll unveil specifics to a joint session of Congress. It calls for spending in “infrastructure, manufacturing, innovation. Research and development. Clean energy. Investments in a caregiving economy and skills and training needed by our workers to compete and win.”
And he’s calling for 100 million COVID vaccines by May – at the end of his first 100 days. “This will be one of the most challenging operational efforts we’ve ever taken as a nation. We’ll have to move heaven and earth to get more people vaccinated. To create more places for them to get vaccinated.”
In the meantime, the President-elect says “we need to make sure workers who have COVID-19 symptoms are quarantined. And those who need to take care of their family members with COVID-19 symptoms should be able to stay home from work and still get paid.”
Stimulus Checks and a New Minimum Wage
Biden is also calling for $1,400 stimulus checks and a higher tax credit, plus $440 (B) billion to help small businesses and boost the minimum wage. “There should be a national minimum wage of $15/hour. No one working 40 hours a week should live below the poverty line. That’s what it means, if you work for less than $15/hour and work 40 hours a week you’re living in poverty.”
And he admits it will be a challenge, but says “the very health of the nation is at stake.” He added, “As we work to keep people from going hungry, we’ll also work to keep a roof over their heads. And stem the growing housing crisis and evictions that are looming. Approximately 14 million Americans have fallen behind on rent.”
Biden promised to be mindful of government spending. “We will be responsible with taxpayers’ dollars, ensuring accountability that reduces waste and fraud and abuse.” He acknowledged the steps to get his plan through Congress and says it will be challenge, but it’s important to “lift 12 million Americans out of poverty.”
“There will be stumbles…. the more people we vaccinate, the faster we do it, the sooner we can save lives and put this pandemic behind us, and get back to our lives and our loved ones.”