One Year Into Joe Biden’s Presidency, The American People Deserve Better Than This

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Joe Biden has been president for exactly one year.

Can anyone look at this presidency and say this guy is doing a good job?

The cost of living is up. Paychecks aren’t worth as much as they were a year ago. The coronavirus pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon; people got vaccinated and it got worse. The Taliban controls Afghanistan once again — and even if ending the forever war was the right call, it’s hard to see how it could have been done worse. The U.S.-Mexico border is in a state of crisis. And he has not done nearly enough to help the working people of this country.

Biden is not a uniter. He can’t even get his party behind his agenda — and doesn’t appear to want to find other ways to get things done.

Remember when Biden ran for president on supporting a public option for health insurance, a $15 minimum wage, and tuition-free college? Those things aren’t happening. There was never any shot of them happening, either. He promised things he couldn’t deliver on, and (predictably) hasn’t been able to deliver on them — or anything achieving the same sorts of goals.

When only 42 U.S. senators backed raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour in February 2021, that was essentially the last we heard about a minimum wage increase from this administration. The federal rate has been stuck at $7.25 an hour since 2009. Instead, the minimum wage has effectively gone down under Biden; it’s constantly losing value thanks to inflation. Even a handful of Senate Republicans support an increase. Yet a compromise in a 50-50 majority-Democrat Senate has been nowhere to be found.

And Biden hasn’t even pulled a Barack Obama on the public option on health insurance. When Obama got in office, he downplayed the importance of the United States achieving universal health care with a public option, calling it a “sliver” of health care reform; Obama had more important things to do, like fine people for the pleasure of not having health insurance.

For Biden, the public option he ran on isn’t even a sliver of his agenda. It’s non-existent. When was the last time Biden even spoke about his support for a public option? November 3, 2020? For the record, the last Biden tweet about a public option came on November 1, 2020.

And the free public community college portion of the Build Back Better bill was dropped. Meanwhile, a handout to the wealthy that was far more expensive was added:  a massive state and local tax deduction

Surely, some of the people who voted for Biden voted for him because they thought he’d improve their lives by boosting their wages, making health care more affordable, and lowering the cost of higher education. Those are noble goals, whether you agree with Biden’s approach on them or not. However, that’s Biden’s problem:  his administration isn’t pushing for anything that will pass both chambers of Congress on these matters.

We’re not going to see a $10-an-hour minimum wage bill or a bill that indexes the minimum wage to inflation anytime soon — the kinds of minimum wage increases that would result in negligible job loss.

We’re not going to see the richest country in the world achieve universal health care — like the rest of the developed world. There aren’t enough votes for the public option that he wants, so that means we get nothing.

Plenty of countries provide a version of universal health care, and they’re not all as bad as Great Britain’s. He offers not one word about other approaches, including universal catastrophic coverage — supported by many right-of-center wonks — that could be an improvement over what we have now. 

We won’t see a tax loophole cut to pay for free community college. We won’t see a push for three-year college degree programs or cuts to bloated university bureaucracies and overpaid public-college sports coaches’ salaries. We also probably won’t see the bill that would allow people to discharge private student loan debt in bankruptcy — which would encourage more responsible lending. Biden has made a career out of usury, After all; he supported the bankruptcy reform bill that made that change in the 2000s, for the record. As a U.S. senator, he was a shill for the credit card companies, many of which are headquartered in Delaware, which he allegedly represented.

And on social issues, the guy who wants to unite the country dropped his support for the Hyde Amendment, a provision that prevents federal funding for paying for elective abortions. It prevents about 60,000 abortions per year. Biden supported the Hyde Amendment from its inception in 1976 until June 2019; he flipped on it during his presidential run. How convenient. 

It’s even a stark contrast from Obama, who as president never challenged the Hyde Amendment and said of abortion, “I think it’s always a tragic situation. We should try to reduce these circumstances.”

It’s nice that Biden supports an expanded child tax credit. That could have a small impact on abortion reduction. But when you also support a policy that will undoubtedly increase the number of abortions that take place, that’s not a good thing. (Thankfully, the votes don’t exist to pass a budget without the Hyde Amendment.)

The American people don’t like Biden. He had a 53 percent approval rating when he entered office. It’s now at 41.9 percent. He’s not as unpopular as his predecessor was around this time, but he’s historically unpopular nonetheless.

The American people deserve better than this. 


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