For all the recent criticism President Joe Biden is taking, you’d think he was the “Grinch who stole Christmas,” but in fact, he and Democrats have been more like Santa Claus ever since they passed the American Rescue Plan in March without a single Republican vote.
Biden deserves some criticism. It seems a 40-plus-year Senate career would make bringing only Democrats together for the Build Back Better plan not that difficult. The Afghanistan pullout plan was flawed and dangerous, but at least it finally happened. And Biden, on his recent trip to Europe, admitted our subbing in our own submarines in a deal to Australians while pulling the rug out from the French was “clumsy.”
Unlike some previous presidents, Biden owns his mistakes.
But let’s not lose sight of the tremendous success of the American Rescue plan, which poured $1.9 trillion into the economy, with everything from direct checks to help families in poverty pay for groceries to things like the $10 million the city of Mankato has been awarded.
Mankato will use its federal funds to modernize the Tourtellotte Park bath house with a $1.2 million upgrade to make it cleaner and safer for COVID-like events in the future. Some $900,000 will go toward affordable housing, something that is still in short supply. Another $550,000 will go for disinfecting public facilities, $345,000 for shoring up the civic center lost revenue and $369,000 to shore up depleted depreciation funds on municipal facilities.
The Caledonia Curling Club will get $45,000 for a new air conditioning and a ventilation system and the long broken civic center electronic message board will get a $50,000 fix.
Every county and city across the country will receive similar recovery aid.
Nationwide, research by the University of Michigan based on Census surveys showed by June the ARP had reduced children with food insufficiency by 5.2 million. Households with children saw a decline in food shortages of 42 percent, financial instability fell by 43 percent and anxiety and depression fell by 20 percent.
The stimulus checks that came with the ARP, adding up to $2,000 per individual, stoked a buying spree for some as people stayed home and ordered from Amazon. As a result, sales taxes to Minnesota government rose, and the state is now carrying an estimated $2 billion surplus instead of the predicted $5 billion deficit.
U.S. gross domestic product grew by 10% and 13% in the first and second quarters of 2021, the highest in recent history. While it is now on a 2 percent growth pace for the coming year, the numbers are still headed in a positive direction compared to the previous year.
Many of the provisions of the ARP are proposed to be extended in the Build Back Better plan. If history is any indicator, the economy will be boosted even further, more people will be out of poverty and businesses will continue in prosperity.
The American Rescue Plan showed economic stimulus works when it’s given to consumers and middle class working people who spend money to keep their families safe, educated and healthy.
There seems little downside to repeating that success in the Build Back Better plan.