Jul 31, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Biden's success story

Photo: Demetrius Freeman/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Biden has slowly but substantially re-engineered significant parts of the American economy — achievements obscured by COVID, inflation and broad disenchantment. 

Why it matters: Love it or hate it, piece by piece, Biden has pumped billions into infrastructure projects, helped revive the domestic semiconductor industry, and accelerated U.S. viral research and vaccine production capabilities. He might be on the cusp of the biggest domestic clean-energy plan in U.S. history. 

Between the lines: Interestingly, it all has an America First twist — drilling more oil here ... fixing infrastructure here ... moving chip-making here ... increasing manufacturing jobs here ... creating vaccines here.

What's happening: Biden hasn't done a dazzling job explaining this to the public. And it’s possible no amount of explaining can excite people when prices are soaring and viruses are spreading.

  • It's also clear his early spending binge helped exacerbate inflation — the overshadowing topic of the day. 

At the same time, the re-engineering of specific sectors is highly consequential — and expensive. Soak up the specifics: 

  • The $280 billion CHIPS and Science Act — which Biden will sign soon, after the House and Senate passed it last week — provides grants, tax credits and other incentives to manufacture computer chips in the U.S. The White House says it'll eventually lower the price of cars, dishwashers and computers.
  • Biden could get another huge win with the climate plan secretly negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Joe Manchin. The package would provide new tax credits for buying EVs — plus rebates for buying efficient appliances and weatherizing homes, and tax credits for heat pumps and rooftop solar panels.
  • Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill to rebuild roads, bridges and rail is one of the biggest packages signed by a president ever.
  • The Biden administration said it'll pour $3 billion into the vaccine supply chain, creating thousands of U.S. jobs, and helping prepare for future threats.
  • Electric-vehicle manufacturing is growing in the U.S., with GM and Ford announcing plans for massive vehicle and battery plants across the Midwest and Appalachia. Fun fact: GM's Mary Barra, who also chairs the Business Roundtable, is the CEO this White House has hosted most often.

Thought bubble: These developments required bipartisanship — something Biden promised but gets little credit for, since these thin bands of Republican support look nothing like traditional bipartisanship.

The bottom line: Not only did Biden land these economic measures and a gun-c0ntrol bill, but same-sex marriage protection is getting close — baby steps, but in a once unthinkable direction.

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