With millions infected with the coronavirus and millions more unemployed, there was no question the magnitude of the problem required the government to step in boldly, and it did. Now, President Joe Biden is leveraging the crisis to correct problems that existed before the pandemic but became more visible during the disaster.
Beyond the defense request, Biden’s budget shows a President eager to undo not just the wounds from the pandemic but also the damage of the Trump years at home and abroad.
These are plans meant to have a potent impact at home, but also keeping a sharp focus on America’s global position, aiming to fortify its diplomatic muscle without weakening its military one. In that combination, there’s something for the left and for the right to dislike.
Biden is trying to reclaim and redefine his centrist credentials. He wants the United States to remain a global power, a global leader. But his principal focus is a domestic transformation that will cost an eye-popping amount of money.
A full budget will come later. But we now have a clear look at what Biden wants to do.
The discretionary request includes money to fight climate change, improve energy efficiency, combat homelessness, poverty and inequality. In keeping with what we have since Biden came to office, it shows an extraordinarily ambitious presidency, with a whole new philosophy of governing. It’s not just because there’s a new man in the Oval Office. It’s because that man was elected during a time when the country discovered that, while there’s much that free markets can achieve on their own, some problems are so big that only the government can solve them.