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Left praises Biden’s economic plan

Politics | The former vice president’s “Build Back Better” proposal attempts to unify his fractured party
by Harvest Prude
Posted 7/14/20, 11:51 am

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden took another veer leftward last week with his new economic policy proposal. But he appears to have accomplished a vital objective: avoid stoking an intra-party fight.

While the “Build Back Better” plan won sparse praise on the left, it also drew little progressive fire—which may be more important in a divided Democratic Party.

The proposal “represents Biden going big,” Adam Green, co-founder of The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told Newsweek. “It says he means it when he’s embracing a massive infusion of money for millions of new jobs.”

He praised Biden for incorporating some policies from a former contender for the Democratic nomination, Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

Biden’s plan does not include progressive hallmarks such as the Green New Deal or “Medicare for All.” But it would raise taxes for U.S. corporations to 28 percent from the 21 percent that Republicans enacted as part of their 2017 tax overhaul. Biden also renewed his call for a $15 minimum wage.

“Build Back Better” pushes the federal government to invest $400 billion on materials and products made in the United States and designates $300 billion for U.S.-based research and development into electric cars, 5G cellular networks, artificial intelligence, and other emerging technologies.

Biden said his proposal would restore jobs ravaged by the coronavirus and create 5 million new ones. In a nod to progressives, he emphasized uplifting workers and middle-class Americans rather than “bankers and CEOs.” Biden made a clear play for working-class voters, calling for the federal government to use taxpayer money to “buy American products and support American jobs.” At times, he used populist language that mirrored President Donald Trump’s rhetoric.

“I do not buy for a second that the vitality of American manufacturing is a thing of the past,” Biden said at a metalworks plant in Dunmore, Pa. “It’s time to help small businesses, middle-class folks, manage their way through the pandemic.”

Meanwhile, Trump and his allies accused the former vice president of lifting the core message of “Build Back Better” from the White House.

“He plagiarized from me, but he could never pull it off,” Trump told reporters on Friday. “It’s a plan that is very radical left. But he said the right things because he’s copying what I’ve done. But the difference is he can’t do it.”

Former Trump strategist Stephen Bannon blasted Biden: “They are essentially trying to steal the Trump program of 2016 and steal that playbook.”

Harvest Prude

Harvest is a reporter for WORLD based in Washington, D.C.

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