President Joe Biden has this week unveiled plans for what he calls a ‘once-in-a-generation’ investment in infrastructure across America, promising it would lead the country out of the struggles of the pandemic to create the “strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world”.
Speaking at the site of the launch of his presidential campaign two years ago, a carpenters’ training center outside Pittsburgh, Biden revealed details of his plan that would elaborate on his campaign pledge to “rebuild the backbone of America”.
The comprehensive proposal, which Biden has dubbed the American Jobs Plan, intends to rebuild 20,000 miles of road and highways and repair the 10 most economically significant bridges across the country, as well as a long list of other projects that Biden claims will help tackle the climate crisis, bridge wealth inequality and strengthen US competitiveness on the global market.
“It’s time to build our economy from the bottom up and from the middle out. Not the top down, it hadn’t worked very well. For the economy overall it hadn’t worked, because Wall Street didn’t build this country. You, the great middle class, built this country. And unions built the middle class. And it’s time. And this time, when we rebuild the middle class, we’re going to bring everybody along,” President Biden said at the announcement in Pittsburgh.
“Regardless of your background, your color, your religion, everybody gets to come along. So today I’m proposing a plan for the nation that rewards work, not just rewards wealth. It builds a fair economy that gives everybody a chance to succeed. And it’s going to create the strongest, most resilient, innovative economy in the world.”
Biden’s proposal includes hundreds of billions of dollars of funding to expand access to high-speed broadband; replace lead water pipes, ensuring access to clean drinking water; and upgrade the electric grid, making it more reliable while shifting to new, cleaner energy sources.
It also aims to improve community care facilities for seniors and those with disabilities, as well as modernize schools and retrofit homes and office buildings. Labor unions would also come out well if the proposal is put through, with dedicated funding to training millions of workers and supporting initiatives that strengthen unions.
“It’s not a plan that tinkers around the edges, it’s 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. In fact, it’s largest American jobs investment since World War II,” Biden continued.
“It’ll create millions of jobs, good paying jobs. It’ll grow the economy, make us more competitive around the world, promote our national security interest and put us in a position to win the global competition with China in the upcoming years.”
Spending for the plan would take place over eight years and generate millions of new jobs, according to Biden. The President proposed to pay for the package by way of introducing a substantial increase on corporate taxes that would offset the spending over the course of 15 years.
Among the corporate changes, Biden called for the corporate tax rate to increase from 21% to 28% and for measures to be introduced that would force multinational corporations to pay more taxes in the US on profits earned abroad.
The plan for funding would begin to undo major pieces of Donald Trump’s tax-cut laws, which included lowering the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21%.
Biden carefully chose the venue for the unveiling of this huge plan. He spoke at the site he initially announced his campaign in Pittsburgh – a city he won, in a swing state that helped deliver him the presidency – that was once a symbol of American industrial decline but has steadily rebuilt its economy with green medical facilities, research universities and tech companies.
“It’s big, yes. It’s bold, yes. And we can get it done. It has two parts. The American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan, both are essential to our economic future. In a few weeks, I’ll talk about the American’s Family Plan. But today I want to talk about the Americans Jobs Plan,” Biden said.
“It modernizes transportation infrastructure, our roads, our bridges, our airports.
“It’s about infrastructure. The American Jobs Plan, we’re modernizing 20,000 miles of highways, roads, and main streets that are in difficult, difficult shape right now. It’ll fix the nation’s ten most economically significant bridges in America that require replacement. Remember that bridge that went down? We got ten of the most economically significant across the country and we’ll rebuild them.
“We’ll also repair 10,000 bridges, desperately needed upgrades to unclog traffic, keep people safe and connect our cities, towns, and tribes across the country. The American Jobs Plan will build new rail corridors and transit lines, easing congestion, cutting pollution, slashing commute time, and opening up investment in communities that be connected to the cities and cities to the outskirts where a lot of jobs are these days.”