Jobs and the working classes, Biden’s economic priorities

“Jobs, jobs, jobs”, such will be the economic priority of US President Joe Biden. The events of January recalled this double urgency: political, with the invasion of the Capitol, which confirms the need to bring back to the democratic camp the white popular classes who feel downgraded; economic, with the bad unemployment figures for December 2020 (140,000 jobs destroyed), which confirm the need to act to restore work to the 10 million Americans who have lost theirs since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic .

The only good news at the start of the year, the election of the two Democratic senators from Georgia allows Joe Biden to gain control of the Senate thanks to the decisive voice of the vice-president, Kamala Harris, and offers him more political room for maneuver. Its economic team is made up of personalities who are undisputed specialists in work, oriented to the center-left, often women and personalities from minorities. It should be confirmed without great difficulty by the Senate, starting with Janet Yellen, former president of the American central bank (the Fed), appointed secretary of the Treasury, and whose hearings should begin on January 19, the day before the inauguration of Joe Biden.

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Mr. Biden will have to maneuver, between the need to compromise with moderate Republicans to reconcile America and pressure from the Democratic left wing, which however recorded poor electoral performance and has no representative in its government team. What to do ? Joe Biden wants a strong stimulus package to be adopted. The president-elect considers that if the rebound was too weak under Obama after the financial crisis of 2009, it is because of the insufficient budgetary stimulus, and he does not want to repeat this mistake. This thesis is opposed by the Wall Street Journal, who considers that the recovery was above all hampered by the over-regulation of the previous Democratic administration.

Tax rebate

However, this idea is dominant on the left. It comes in a context of ideological questioning: the obsession with deficits has disappeared in the United States. The mandate of Donald Trump shattered the last reluctance: tax cuts and low interest rates had made it possible to reach a level of unemployment at the lowest level in fifty years, without creating inflation. Why not continue down this path? The Biden administration will not meet with opposition from the chairman of the Fed, the moderate Republican Jerome Powell, who intends to leave interest rates at zero for the long term.

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