President Biden has been in office more than 100 days now. It’s typical in America to take account of a new president’s administration at the 100-day mark.
Last week, the President addressed the two houses of Congress with a speech. It wasn’t a packed auditorium, though. Only 200 people attended, and those sat spaced apart from one another.
President Biden opened his speech by praising the nation’s progress against the COVID-19 pandemic and improvements in unemployment rates. But he spent most of his time explaining a massive spending package he is proposing. The package is called the American Families Plan. He says the $1.8 trillion proposal should go hand-in-hand with another $2.3 trillion infrastructure package. The President had unveiled that plan, the American Jobs Plan, last month. The two combined, he says, will address the nation’s needs for improving infrastructure (roads, bridges, communication systems, public transportation, utilities), creating jobs, supporting working families, and providing more educational options for young people.
In the speech, President Biden set up his argument for the spending as necessary for keeping the United States competitive in global markets. “We are in competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century,” he said. China, he suggested, is attempting to surpass Western nations in economy and world power. The President’s solution is a government-led push to create jobs. Part of that begins with making higher education and job training reachable for teens and young adults. The President’s proposal includes two years of free (or government-subsidized with taxpayer money) post-high school education at tech and community colleges. It also includes money to fund childcare for working parents.
Improving education and creating more job opportunities sounds good. But whose responsibility is that? Republican Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina responded to the speech. He spoke of the American Families Plan as an intrusion into personal freedoms and individual responsibility for one’s own life choices. Mr. Scott highlighted what he called the Democrats’ plan for “more taxing, even more spending, to put Washington even more in the middle of your life, from the cradle to college.”
How would such a plan be financed? The President intends to increase the income tax rate for Americans deemed “wealthy.” He would raise it from 37% to 39.6%. That puts it back where it was before former President Trump changed rates in 2017. President Biden also thinks that people who earn “capital gains,” or profits from investments and sale of real property such as homes and land, should pay a higher percentage of those profits to the government. The same would apply to inherited assets—the money and property your parents and grandparents worked to pass on to you one day.
Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky also opposed the plan. He says the tax hikes would hurt the economy, which is just now in a state of recovery from pandemic shutdowns. Mr. McConnell believes the higher taxes would lead to lower wages for American workers.
(President Joe Biden hands a copy of his speech to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California as he prepares to address a joint session of Congress on Wednesday, April 28, 2021 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Melina Mara/The Washington Post via AP)
Read 1 Samuel 8 for an example of how God predicted that human leaders often take the resources of their citizens to use for their own goals.