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Weeping Willow

Two Faces of Biden's Policy

​​​Over the weekend the Biden administration had multiple occasions to show the American people where their goals and priorities lie, and depending on what one paid attention to gives a different perspective. On the one hand, Biden released his budget proposal, which admittedly has some quite positive aspects reflecting policies that the American people have been clamoring for, for years if not decades in some cases things. The Whitehouse’s budget proposal includes priorities like reintroducing the $300 monthly childhood tax credit, which had helped to reduce childhood poverty by 50% in just one year until “baby killer” Joe Manchin blocked the legislation renewal. The proposed increase in the corporate tax rate up to 28% from the previous 21% is welcome, but a far cry from the 35% tax rate that prevailed until Trump. The budget also proposed further investments in cities and towns and a minimum 25% tax on billionaires. It's not all positive, with of course the seemingly inevitable increase to the bloated Pentagon and military industrial complex leviathan, yet overall these proposed policies in the budget are popular. We can’t forget, however, that Biden’s budget is fundamentally a piece of political marketing and as such we should be under no illusion that any of the above-mentioned parts of this bill will necessarily, or even likely, become law in a divided Congress with such acrimony between the political parties. In the most charitable interpretation, this is about setting political aspirations for the Democratic party, not about passing material legislation for the people. It’s marketing, and in that sense, it is not necessarily all that bad, since it sets out a distilled Democratic vision that is more in line with the wants and needs of the American people then it has been for quite some time. But before we get too congratulatory, or read too much into the meaning of this budget we should note this budget might be much bolder in part because the Biden administration knows there is no chance of passing such legislation, and making empty promises is easy. We might suspect that this is true because there's a second way that Biden showed us his politics and his vision for the future over the weekend. The Biden Administration has approved the Willow Project in Alaska at the behest of ConocoPhillips who has been lobbying for quite some time to get the oil development approved. This is the exact sort of oil leasing and development that Biden promised on the campaign trail he would not allow! It was both good politics and policy to make such a promise on the campaign trail, as this type of development is incompatible with a survivable climate future, and so doubly disappointing to see this reversal. What’s notable here is when Biden can act unilaterally without input from Congress his decisions reflect a conservatism that belie the aspirations of his budget. Of course as we know at #DSOT, Biden, like nearly every politician in Washington serves his donors. It is money, not morality that rules the day in our capitol. If we want to make the Democratic Party of the future actually advocate for the American people's desires, we need to organize not just politically, but economically. This budget makes it clear that the Biden Administration understand the popularity of these policies in the United States, and yet his actions with the Willow project also show that despite his political theater and protestations, Biden still leans towards the wrong green. So join us each Tuesday in growing solidarity as we build an economic cudgel to ensure that the government’s actions are as in-line with the needs of the American people when they can take real action as when it's for political marketing. #DSOT #UPM

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