Maybe I didn’t give Biden enough credit

Krystal Ball, writing for The Lever, said the Democrats were stronger than expected in the Rustbelt states because the Biden Administration actually did things that benefitted working people.  Half a loaf, or even crumbs, are better than no bread.

President Joe Biden’s economic policy has been a genuine break from the market fundamentalism of the Clinton and Obama White Houses.  Instead of pushing terrible new trade deals that ship jobs overseas, the Biden administration has challenged China with an export ban on semiconductors and signed executive orders to encourage American manufacturing.

In fact, companies are on track to reshore 350,000 jobs this year alone.  This is a huge reversal of what happened under the Trump administration when offshoring actually increased to the tune of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

What’s more, instead of tax cuts for the rich à la Bill Clinton, or bailouts for Wall Street like Obama, Biden hiked taxes on corporations with a 15 percent minimum tax rate passed through the Inflation Reduction Act.  This is, of course, a giant break from the tax-cuts-for-the-rich giveaway, which was the main accomplishment of Trump.

Biden’s union policy also deserves credit.  Rather than abandon unions or actively union bust like plenty of Clinton-era Democrats and every Republican, Biden appointed a genuinely pro-worker National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) and a fantastic General Counsel who has set about trying to reinterpret the horrible labor law that has let so many workers down over decades.

The recent organizing wave at Starbucks, REI, Amazon, Apple and more could have been stopped dead in its tracks without this pro-worker NLRB.

Biden’s infrastructure package and his Inflation Reduction Act both contain significant investments in the region and are especially vital for automakers trying to compete in the new electric car era.

Like the entire nation, the Industrial Midwest will also benefit from the new antitrust direction of the Biden Administration led by Federal Trade Commission Chair Lina Khan.

I don’t want to oversell Biden’s populist wins. He’s still no FDR and his policies fall far short of what’s actually required to revitalize the Industrial Midwest and deliver for the working class.

The CHIPS Act, which was heralded as the beginning of a new era of industrial policy, may just end up being a corporate giveaway, because it contained no labor standards or job-creation requirements.

Having a strong NLRB is great, but workers are still severely hampered by labor laws rigged to benefit corporations.

The Inflation Reduction Act was better than nothing, but came nowhere close to the transformational change of Democrats’ original Build Back Better proposal.

In fact, what’s astonishing is the size of the political response to the Biden administration accomplishing the bare minimum.

[Added Later]  Even giving the Biden Administration the benefit of the doubt, none of this offsets his dangerous and self-destructive war policy.

LINK

The Real Reason For Dems’ Rust Belt Revival by Krystal Ball for The Lever.  [Hat tip to Steve from Texas]

Why Biden Is Not a Transformational President by Thomas Neuberger for God’s Spies.  From 2021.  The other side of the coin.

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