By the sheer scale of its physical size, budget, and historical significance, US President Joe Biden’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan is monumental.
With the US economy locked in a COVID-induced recession, Mr Biden’s US$2.3 trillion “Build Back Better/American Jobs Plan” is being compared to Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program of the 1960s and Franklyn Roosevelt’s post-Great Depression ‘New Deal’ programme.
"While the American Rescue Plan is changing the course of the pandemic and delivering relief for working families, this is no time to build back to the way things were," A White House statement trumpets.
"This is the moment to reimagine and rebuild a new economy. The American Jobs Plan is an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China."
If it works (in the true sense of the word), both this massive infrastructural undertaking coupled with the US$1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus package will have earned Mr Biden a place in the American history books for an achievement that might, in the best sense of the phrase, ‘really make America great again’.
With the stimulus package already a done deal - it was recently passed without Republican backing - it's being hoped that the infrastructure plan would gain some degree of cross-party support, although that's now looking rather unlikely.
President Biden says his infrastructure plan is “a once-in-a-generation investment in America, unlike anything we’ve seen or done since we built the interstate highway system and the space race decades ago.”
There's no question that it's grand both in scale and ideal.
US$621 billion will go towards the US transport infrastructure including roads, bridges, public transport, railroads and airports.
Additionally, US$561 billion is targetted to make housing, schools and utilities more energy-efficient, plus another US$480 billion set aside for manufacturing and research and development.
A further US$174 billion will be spent on other green energy projects such as electric vehicles with tax credits for consumer purchases and to install charging stations across the country.
There’s also US$400 billion assigned to social care, US$200 billion to upgrade the country’s broadband and wireless systems.
But splashing the cash even for the best reasons, comes at a cost.
Next on the agenda for the Biden administration is the tax plan to pay for this monumental undertaking.
It’s already been pointed out that whereas the stimulus package passed with the Democrats' slim majority and the infrastructure plan might just scrape through, Team Biden might just find the tax plan...well, a bit more taxing.
Seeking to hike corporate taxes from 21 per cent to 28 per cent, post-pandemic recession recovery notwithstanding, is going to take some doing.
27 Jan, 2020
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15 Sep, 2021