Biden SOTU 2024: Success stories and big policy ideas

SOTU 2024 Joe Biden Presidential address

Strong economic messages of the Keynesian buttressing of the middle class that is Bidenomics were everywhere in evidence at last night’s State of the Union address, Biden’s third since taking office in 2021. In SOTU 2024 he spoke about stabbing trickle-down economics in its gasping heart as a repeated failure to the American people. Instead of giving another $2 trillion tax cuts to billionaires, Biden wants to give back to the people who he says built America: the middle class.

The President delivered strong, sweeping language and vision reminiscent of LBJ’s Great Society and FDR‘s New Deal. He also delivered a heartwarming sense of unity and appeal to put down our bickering and get things done for the American people.

“We all come from somewhere — but we’re all Americans.”

This while lambasting the Republicans for scuttling the deal over the popular bipartisan immigration bill thanks to 11th hour interference from TFG (“my predecessor” as JRB called him). “This bill would save lives!” He is really effective at calling out the GOP‘s hypocrisy on border security with this delivery.

“We can fight about the border or we can fix the border. Send me a bill!”

He is taking full advantage of being the incumbent candidate here. He has the power and the track record to do all these things he is promising, and he’s telling the exact truth about the Republican obstructionism preventing the American people from having their government work for them.

SOTU 2024 Joe Biden fiery speech with Kamala Harris and Mike Johnson in the background behind him

I love that he calls out Trump in this speech, without naming names — almost a kind of Voldemort effect. He who must not be named — because giving him the dignity even of a name is more than he deserves.

He says that Trump and his cabal of anti-democratic political operatives have ancient ideas (hate, revenge, reactionary, etc.) — and that you can’t lead America with ancient ideas. In America, we look towards the future — relentlessly. Americans wants a president who will protect their rights — not take them away.

“I see a future… for all Americans!” he ends with, in a segment reminiscent of the great Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, with its clear vision of power and authority flowing from what is morally right and just, instead of what is corrupt and cronyish. It gave me hope for the future — that Americans will make the right choice, as we seem to have done under pressure, throughout our history. 🀞🏽

Presidential performance

A common criticism of Biden and democrats is that they don’t trumpet their own accomplishments enough — and this speech aimed to be a solid review of what the President has achieved since taking office. It’s a formidable list:

  • The economy’s roaring, despite doom and gloom predictions of recession around the corner on repeat for several years. Job growth has been strong (15 million in 3 years, including 800,000 new manufacturing jobs), unemployment is low, there’s an AI boom on, and the Stock Market is soaring.
  • Inflation is down; greedflation awareness is up.
  • Reduced the debt for 4 million low-income workers with student loans.
  • Cut child poverty in half.
  • Racial wealth gap is at its lowest in 20 years
  • Cut the federal deficit by $1T already, plus another $1T over the next ten years.
  • Prescription drug negotiations / $35 insulin cap / Beating Big Pharma.
  • Passed the most significant gun legislation in 35 years.
  • Created the ARPA-H health research agency with a mission of moonshot: to cure cancer.

Huge legislation wins

  • His first 2 years in office during the 117th Congress were the most effective Congress since LBJ’s 1st legislative session as President
  • American Rescue Plan (2021) — $1.9T stimulus to boost the economic and social recovery during and following the covid-19 pandemic
  • Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (2021) — $1.2T to fix our energy grid, roll out broadband to everyone, and much more
  • Inflation Reduction Act (2022) — a $900B investment in energy and climate: the largest in US history
  • CHIPs and Science Act (2022) — investments in domestic semiconductors, STEM workforce, manufacturing incentives, public sector science and technology research, and more
  • Has signed over 400 bills

More successful policies and positions

  • The ACA is working well — and general awareness of it working well is on the rise
  • First president in US history to walk a picket line with union members
  • Supports Ukraine
  • Supports NATO — which has overseen the new memberships of Finland and Sweden during the Russo-Ukrainian War
  • Supports democracy — and is sounding the alarm about the threats to freedom and democracy both abroad and at home. “You can’t love your country only when you win.”
  • Against political violence
  • Supports a woman’s right to an abortion and a family’s right to IVF treatment

Policy ideas: How can people not vote for this agenda?!

Some of Biden’s plans for a second term bring a tear to my eye — a progressive Democrat’s dream agenda for a President to enact: perhaps while being handed the House to do it with?! It’s certainly an ambitious pitch to say without saying it, “We can have all these amazing things. And to do it, you should give me a Democratic House.”

  • $400 a month for 2 years towards the cost of a mortgage for first-time home buyers while we wait for inflation to go down
  • Cap maximum prescription drug cost to $2000/year for everyone
  • Restore the Child Tax Credit
  • Cut the federal deficit $3T more by raising taxes on corporations and the super-wealthy
  • $12B in women’s health care research
  • Build 2 million affordable homes and bring rents down
  • Restore the abortion protections of Roe v. Wade
  • Education improvements:
    • Public Preschool for 3- and 4-year olds — makes it 50% more likely they will graduate from high school
    • Achieve all kids reading by 3rd grade
    • Local business partnerships for hands-on learning opportunities
    • Increase Pell grants, increase funding for HBCUs
    • Give public school teachers a raise
  • Fair tax code
    • Nobody earing under $400k pays a penny more
    • Restore the child tax credit
    • Set corporate tax minimum at 21%
    • Set minimum tax for billionaires at 25% (they pay an average of 8.2% now) — this will raise $500B over 10 years
  • More economic goodies:
    • Stop shrinkflation and junk fees
    • Cut credit card late fees to $8 from $32
    • Travel transparency: Making travel booking sites display your total cost up front
  • More policy ideas:
    • Pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Act — to honor his memory. “We miss him.” Even Mike Johnson stands at this.
    • Pass the Equality Act
    • Renew the Violence Against Women Act
    • Protect trans rights
    • Raise the living wage
    • Climate Corps — employing young people to the tune of 20 million today and as many as 60 million in a decade
    • Give struggling communities more money
    • Police reform
    • Gun reform — banning automatic weapons and high-capacity magazines

Trump is weak

Meanwhile, TFG is looking particularly weak.

Donald Trump without makeup, looking particularly old and haggard

There’s reason to hope that the 2024 contest goes to the rightful incumbent victor — perhaps decisively so. Trump isn’t as strong as he used to be: politically, mentally, physically… and he’s making mistakes, like trying to sell $400 shoes to random wokesters at SneakerCon and getting booed out of town.

Here’s why I think Trump is weak going in to the 2024 general election:

  • He will be scrutinized much more this time around than the more naive 2016 contest.
  • He is opposed rigorously by some powerful folks in his own party.
  • He owes over $1 billion and counting in judgments.
  • He’s attacking NATO!
  • He sank a popular bipartisan immigration bill that gave his side everything it wanted, to try and score political points for his re-election campaign.
  • People don’t like the vision that folks like Project 2025 have for a second Trump term.
  • He’s just as old and, if anything, way more slippy dippy than Joe Biden who seems pretty darn sharp.

It’s true that pretty much no one, including myself, wanted another rematch of these 2 figures. But now the Republicans have made their choice and will need to lie down in the bed — or the ditch — with their chosen candidate. The wind is at the back of Joe Biden, and blowing fiercely at Donald Trump from multiple sides. Right-wing reactionary movements historically cannot pull greater than 33% of the vote without bullying, fraud, dirty tricks, luck, and/or other extenuating circumstance.

Let’s keep Trump a one-term President, put the lid on the 1930s America First resurgence of fascist sympathizers and Christian nationalists, and re-elect the man who has done well to steer the ship of state for 4 years in just about the harshest of conditions history has ever thrown our way. We can do it.

Yes we can!

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