Celebrate the wins and keep pushing!
Congress and the Administration are on track to enact two pieces of major legislation for infrastructure, climate change, and social programs, totaling $3 trillion. Big wins!
After months of wrangling and intense debate, the historic legislation is coming together. We have numbers. We have programs. It’s good. Very good.
This is real progress and there’s a lot to celebrate. I talked recently with Jon Stewart — omg I talked with Job Stewart!! — about what the long-standing problems in the economy is (Jamie Dimon, Elon Musk, and Larry Summers got shout outs from me.) Most importantly, we talked about solutions. The case for hope.
But the proof is in the pudding. So where are these trillions of dollars going?
Invest in our infrastructure
The infrastructure bill puts serious money toward our improving our physical structures. The additional $500 billion (the rest was already allocated) is for bridges and roads, broadband Internet, water and power infrastructure, ports and airports, as well as charging stations for electric vehicles. That’s a lot and it’s long overdue.
These are resources that will allow people and businesses to be more productive. Our physical capital—our tools—is a key to getting stuff done. After years of promising “Infrastructure Week,” it’s really going to happen.
Invest in our people
Even more important are investments in our people. The second package is nearly $2 trillion in new spending, including investments to fight climate change, child care and free preschool, an extension of the new Child Tax Credit, health care, housing, and other programs. It’s about making our future a more sustainable and more equitable.
It’s a win for all of us
Wow! So, Democrats are celebrating, right? Nope, not entirely. This morning’s headline in my Washington Post newsletter was a weaksauce, “There is reason for optimism yet on Biden's agenda.”
President Biden landed in Italy without the deal he begged lawmakers to help him clinch before leaving for his trip abroad.
But there was some reason for optimism he could return home with a victory on an agenda he predicted would determine the fate of his presidency and whether Democrats continue to control Congress.
Or this breathless pearl clutching,
Biden’s agenda — and in many ways his presidency — has teetered on the verge of catastrophe in recent weeks, before he and top Democrats slowly started to resolve intraparty conflicts that have been a stain on their tenure helming the federal government … Amid all of his challenges, his presidency at times has felt rudderless to some supporters.
Ahem. Biden and Congress already pushed through the $2 trillion American Rescue Plan, which was an absolute godsend in this recovery. It created a lifeline to get families, businesses, and communities the other side of the pandemic. It’s been a rough ride since then with the delta variant, supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages, and higher prices. The extra support is coming in handy.
Jason Furman @jasonfurmanEconomy after the financial crisis: Nominal wage growth terrible (due to slack labor markets), but inflation down even more so real wages up. Economy now: Nominal wage growth great (due to tight labor markets), but inflation up even more so real wages down. https://t.co/TkM1FBKysE
What Congress is doing now it a a big deal. Long-term economic spending programs outside of a crisis are basically nonexistent for decades now. More tax cuts are not going to fix what’s broken. Government needed to step up. It’s happening. Yes, I know there’s disappointment that programs like paid leave got cut. But think of all the good these two packages will do. Think about how bad it would be now if all the Administration had were executive orders to get anything done.
CELEBRATE THE WIN. IMPLEMENT THE POLICIES REALLY WELL. GET EVERY PENNY TO THE PEOPLE WHO IT’S PROMISED TO. THEN BUILD GOOD POLCY ON GOOD POLICY. LASTING CHANGE ISN’T ONE AND DONE.
More good news
We have even more to celebrate today. In addition, to #TGIF!
New data show that inflation—the rate at which price are increasing—continued to step down last month, moving us ever closer toward pre-Covid levels. Yes, the higher level of prices is a hardship for some. Yes, gas remains too high. We are headed in the right direction. We are going to get back to normal. A better normal!
And best of all, vaccines for younger children are coming. The path back to normal from day one was about getting the pandemic under control. People need to be safe and they need to feel safe. Vaccines are a crucial part of our recovery now.
Take the win. Celebrate.
I heard Pitbull’s “I Believe That We Will Win” at the gym on Thursday, as I was trying not to fall off the treadmill. (#macromom is clumsy and gettin’ old.) I have been playing it nonstop since then. Keep pushing. And have a good weekend.
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