“Uncle Sam rose to the challenge in AD 33 / For the farmer and the factory and all of you and me.”
Since even before President Joe Biden took office, Democrats have compared him to FDR: a president who has the ability to use an economic crisis to redefine government boundaries and transform the country. Nine months into his presidency, however, Biden’s most significant domestic policy achievements relate only to the first of four parts of the New Deal: direct relief, in the form of the additional unemployment benefits that have begun. under President Donald Trump, a second stimulus check for most Americans, a 30% increase in average monthly food stamp payments, and an expanded temporary tax credit for families with children.
The Democrats’ $ 3.5 trillion spending bill (which will likely be cut, given internal party opposition) and various White House initiatives target two of the other components of the New Deal: strengthening the net. social security and expanding the role of government in the economy. . The spending bill includes funds for child care, kindergarten, family leave, health care, affordable housing, long-term care for the elderly and the disabled, and a host of ‘other things, including clean energy and climate change.
These are meritorious initiatives. But what about FDR’s top priority, jobs for the unemployed?
The $ 550 billion in new infrastructure funding passed by the Senate will create construction jobs, provided they clear the House. But these jobs will largely be for career professionals (and union members), not the general unemployed population of America. And for the most part, the jobs won’t materialize until 2024 and 2025. Over those two years, the bill is expected to create around 2.5 million jobs, a far cry from New Deal numbers, when the nation’s population was two thirds smaller.