The Biden Economic Recovery Plan: A “Once-in-a-Generation” Investment
Editor’s note: The following statement was released Friday, April 2 by Deborah Weinstein, Executive Director, Coalition on Human Needs:
“President Biden is right to call for a “once-in-a-generation investment” to assure that we can build a lasting economic recovery. Our nation has been buffeted by multiple emergencies in the past year, including the pandemic, natural disasters, and electrical grid failure. They have all shown how unprepared we are to protect our people, our businesses, and our environment. We cannot prevent every emergency, but we can and must protect against loss of life and economic catastrophe for millions of people. We can and must make ourselves more resilient.
“Members of the Coalition on Human Needs understand that there are three intertwined components of sustained recovery: (1) ensuring that all our people are secure in their housing, health, and other basic needs in order to thrive and contribute in the modern economy; (2) meeting our current and future needs for the foundations of our economy, from physical infrastructure to education to care work; and (3) raising revenues from corporations and the rich who have taken much but given little towards shared prosperity.
“President Biden’s American Jobs Plan makes essential contributions to these linked components. It increases our capacity to do vital work in making our water safe, housing more available and affordable, schools, hospitals and child care centers modernized, home care expanded for people with disabilities or aging, and our energy sources safe and renewable. It focuses help on low-income communities, territories, tribes and communities of color, and invests in training so members of these communities can take the jobs created. It will enforce worker rights to unionize. It will invest in 100 percent access to high speed internet, opening up rural areas and low-income urban areas to economic development, education, and improved health and safety. Taken as a whole, the provisions in the American Jobs Act will generate economic growth by investing in people and communities all too often left out: communities of color, territories, tribes, and rural areas.
“Of critical importance, the Jobs Plan raises the corporate income tax and ensures that corporations trying to avoid U.S. taxes by shifting profits overseas will pay at least some minimum amount here. Some of the damage of lost revenues following the 2017 tax cut legislation will be reversed, and that is most welcome. This plan does not increase revenues from wealthy individuals; we look forward to fighting hard for those increases. Billionaires, who have gained well over $1 trillion during the pandemic, must give back so children and youth can escape poverty and people can gain jobs and economic security.
“We cannot truly sustain the economic rebuilding we need without doing more to build the economic security of individuals and families. The expanded Child Tax Credit enacted in the American Rescue Plan, estimated to cut child poverty nearly in half for a year, simply cannot be allowed to expire, plunging children back into poverty. The expanded Earned Income Tax Credit for poor workers without dependent children must also be made permanent. While the American Jobs Plan will increase the supply of affordable housing and improve child care and hospital facilities, more people will need housing and child care subsidies and nutrition assistance; more Americans will need affordable health coverage and paid leave. We must do more to ensure that immigrants, who bring so much talent and energy to our country, can receive essential services. We do not hesitate to support these measures because they are morally right. But they are also essential to economic growth, because people are the true engines of our economic growth.
“President Biden was also unassailably correct in saying “we have to move now.” Millions of Americans have suffered terribly in the pandemic. By making the full range of needed investments now, we can prevent their economic losses from becoming permanent and give them the tools to contribute to a prosperous future.”