Build Back Better


Biden speaking in Wilmington, Del., discussing his relief plan to combat the COVID-19 pandemic and its devastating economic fallout. (Matt Slocum / Associated Press)

Bella Rock, Social Media Editor

Biden has set the goal to get America to full employment, so that everyone who wants a job has one. As reported in the New York Times, the economy spent an extended period of time between the 40’s and 60’s near full employment, with the unemployment rate less than four percent. It was additionally reached in the 90’s and before the economic downturn brought on by the pandemic.

In times of full employment, wages raised for all, not just the wealthy. Biden hopes to bring America back to this place. A part of this plan includes a $1.9 trillion relief bill to aid those impacted by the pandemic and help pull America out of its economic downturn. Bringing America back to a more prosperous state is the first step to lowering the unemployment rate. 

However, many economists who have previously been in support of intensive action by the government in moments of economic crisis – such as Olivier Blanchard, a former International Monetary Fund official, and Larry Summers, the former Treasury Secretary – have looked down on this bill. They claim that it is unneeded, expecting that the economy can reach full employment on its own once more are vaccinated. 

This debate of if the relief bill is truly needed has been an ongoing battle in Congress. Lawrence Leuzzi, former economic professor at the University of Michigan, highlighted the fact that, “It’s supported by the Democrats, the republicans have stated against something of this magnitude, even since Trump started to discuss this piece of the puzzle.” 

Along with the $1.9 trillion relief bill, Biden has another sector of his economic plan to help achieve full employment. Leuzzi noted that Biden’s other section of the plan “is to get us out of the recession that COVID has caused, and get the economy operating at a more robust level on firmer footing, get the unemployment rate down and get certain sectors that have been negatively affected to improve that program is a $3 trillion program.”

This $3 trillion would go towards infrastructure renewal to create new jobs as well as shifting America’s resources to a more clean, environmentally friendly focus, thus impacting the economy.  

Biden proposes this all in an attempt to not only get America back to where it was, but to get it in a more prosperous state than before.

Full employment comes with many benefits that may not otherwise be achieved. Benefits such as a rise in income, as well as reducing the poverty rate without requiring government spending. 

Biden making full employment his number one goal creates a shift from previous decades of American policymakers. The United States economy has struggled to grow at a healthy rate for the previous two decades, and many in legislative offices have done too little to remedy this. 

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen has stated her belief that Biden’s relief plan could bring America to full employment within the next year. Whilst many Republican legislators have argued that the relief bill is unnecessarily too expensive, the Biden administration makes the argument that it is needed for a fast, economic recovery. 

They have argued that a large economic passage is imperative to insure avoiding the mistakes the Obama administration made when dealing with the 2008 recession. In 2009, they faced a long, slow financial recovery due to being unable to gain increased support from Congress.

However, achieving the magnitude of Biden’s proposed bills comes with its fair share of road blocks. A large aspect of progressing with these plans would be a tax increase, and, as pointed out by Leuzzi, “tax increases are never popular amongst Democrats or Republicans. And, the magnitude of these tax increases are going to be significant enough that it’s going to cause a lot of discussion, a lot of disagreement.”

Despite the uphill battle Biden will likely face in trying to reach his economic goals, between not only getting the Republican party to comply but also trying to get his own party on the same page, he plans to push through and do as much as he can to attain personal success.