Viewpoint: Reviewing Biden’s record results for 2021: Roaring economy, mitigating COVID

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Viewpoint: Reviewing Biden’s record results for 2021: Roaring economy, mitigating COVID

In less than one year in office, President Joe Biden has driven the fastest recovery in the economy, the fastest decrease in unemployment in US history, fully vaccinated over 200 million Americans (actually, anyone who wanted a vaccination), delivered $1.9 trillion in COVID relief that reopened schools and workplaces (without a single Republican vote), signed a once-in-a-generation $1.2 trillion investment in infrastructure to modernize ports, airports, railways, bridges and roadways, make largest investment in public transit in history; ensure everyone has access to reliable high-speed internet, replace lead pipes, rebuild water systems and electric grid, and create millions of good-paying jobs.

Biden implemented a historic COVID-19 vaccination program – funded by the American Rescue Plan – which has saved 1 million lives, 10 million hospitalizations and 35 million infections.

His efforts to stem a new wave from variants like Omicron – mandating vaccinations and masks – have been defied and challenged by Republicans. But he is acting swiftly to dramatically expand access to free testing, sending PPE, equipment and personnel to bolster hospitals and health services in the states.

He has expanded health coverage to more than 4.6 million Americans through the Affordable Care Act. From November 1st to December 15th alone, more than 13.6 million Americans signed up for coverage — an all-time high – including 1.8 million new enrollees.

His policies have produced historic economic gains and jobs creation: 6.1 million new jobs in 2021, the most of any first-year president; unemployment dropped to 4.2% (a rate that was not forecast to be reached before 2024); U.S. jobless claims at the lowest levels since 1969 (dropped from 18 million when Biden entered office to 2 million). Gross Domestic Product is on pace for 5-6% growth, the best since 1984 (before Biden took office, Moody’s estimated 2021 GDP growth at 2.9%).

The economy is recovering at the fastest pace in history: lower-income families and workers are better off and household wealth has soared past pre-pandemic levels; poverty is at the lowest level on record, and child poverty cut nearly in half thanks to the Democrats’ child tax credit.

Wages are increasing for those historically left behind during past recoveries: younger workers (16-24 years old) saw a 9.7 percent wage increase and the bottom 25 percent of earners saw a 5.1 percent raise.

Because of the American Rescue Plan and other investments, the bottom 50 percent of households now have more than $3 trillion in wealth, up nearly 20 percent from early 2021, and up 63 percent from pre-pandemic levels. Families are now more economically secure.

Inflation? Gas, grocery prices up? Supply chain bottlenecks?

This has been a global problem of supply and demand, but the Biden Administration reacted swiftly: releasing oil from strategic reserves and prosecuting price gouging and profiteering.

As a result, gas prices are down 15 percent from October’s peak (pump prices in 20 states lower than the 20-year average) and natural gas prices are down 25% from November. Biden’s Supply Chain Disruptions Task Force got ports to operate 24/7 and truck drivers hired, so not only were shelves well-stocked for Christmas and delivered on time, but holiday sales increased a massive 10.7% over the pre-pandemic 2019 holiday season and 8.5 percent over last year, growing at the fastest pace in 17 years.

Biden is also addressing price hikes by promoting competition and breaking the monopolistic stranglehold on industries like meatpacking, hearing aids and broadband. Passing Biden’s signature, transformative Build Back Better agenda would further alleviate the pressure of higher prices and national debt by reducing everyday costs for families, including child care, health care, utility bills, prescription drugs and education and reduce deficits by $2 trillion in the second decade.

Wall Street is hitting new records. Bloomberg.com exclaims “Biden’s Economic Performance Has Proved Unbeatable”: “No first-year president going back to Carter comes close to matching the current White House occupant’s No. 1 or No. 2 ranking in each of 10 key measures…US financial markets are outperforming the world by the biggest margin in the 21st century, and with good reason: America’s economy improved more in Joe Biden’s first 12 months than any president during the past 50 years notwithstanding the contrary media narrative contributing to dour public opinion.”

Biden has brought a whole-of-government approach to climate action, catalyzing America’s clean energy industries and jobs through the government’s purchasing power to create market thresholds supporting clean energy industries and manufacturing and create clean, healthy, and resilient communities.

Biden also has returned the U.S. to the Paris Climate Accord and reinvigorated a global commitment to climate action and a Build Back Better World agenda; he also organized the first-ever global Democracy Summit and is harnessing action to end the terror of cyberattacks, ransomware, transnational organized crime, drug and human trafficking.

Biden ended the 20-year war in Afghanistan, rescuing 130,000 in the one of the largest airlifts in history (a miracle there was only one terrorist incident in that time, which tragically took the lives of 13 Americans and 170 Afghans) and resettling 50,000 Afghans in the US.

And in foreign affairs, he is standing up to Russia’s and China’s aggression while revitalizing international alliances and the United Nations.

Biden set a record for the most circuit and district court nominations (71) in a president’s first year in office, exceeding the previous record of 68 set by Trump. Over the course of 2021, the US Senate confirmed 40 nominees – the most since Reagan. The judges represent the diversity of the American public: 78% of the confirmed judges are women, 53% are persons of color.

To make the federal government work for people and restore confidence in government, Biden signed an Executive Order directing 17 federal agencies to take more than 30 actions that make it easier and simpler to access government services and benefits.

Biden’s record also includes competently managing a long list of massive climate disasters and other tragedies – hurricanes, floods, wildfires, tornadoes – expediting FEMA services and aid.

Biden restored decency, compassion, competence, service to the American people, ethics, pride and leadership to the Presidency and is doing his damnedest to restore confidence and faith in government, largely by appointing competent, dedicated people.

And all of this against the active opposition by every single Republican, who tie their success to Biden’s failure, plus intransigent Blue Dog Democrat Joe Manchin and incessant trolling by TFG, Trump’s coup-conspirators and media minions.

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