Joe Biden: "It's time for big business and the richest 1% in the country to pay what's fair"
He unveils $4 trillion investment plans to create jobs and help families
For the first time in the history of the United States, two women flanked the president of the country from the podium of the hemicycle. It was Joe Biden's first address to both houses of Congress. The speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the vice president of the country, Kamala Harris, presided over an atypical session, with half of the seats empty due to covid-19 restrictions, in which President Biden presented his plans to invest up to 4 trillion dollars, "a once-in-a-generation investment", to create new jobs, build infrastructure and help families.
Coinciding with his first 100 days as president of the United States, Biden has called for turning a "crisis" into an "opportunity" and rebuilding "the nation". "The worst pandemic in a century, the worst crisis since the Great Depression, the worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War", he said, referring to the assault on the Capitol on 6 January, while betting on "turning danger into possibility, crisis into opportunity and obstacles into strength".
After his stimulus package for covid-19 of 1.9 trillion, which was approved in Congress last month, the president is now negotiating in the House an infrastructure plan worth 2 trillion and now announces a new plan of direct aid to families for 1.8 trillion more.
In total, about 4 trillion dollars aimed at reshaping the economy and infrastructure to make them more sustainable while combating social inequalities. The largest government investment since World War II will be achieved, he said, by raising taxes on the wealthiest. "It's time for big business and the richest 1% of the country to pay what's fair", Biden proclaimed, noting that 55 of the country's largest corporations paid "zero federal taxes" last year despite their $40 billion in profits. That's why Biden proposes a tax reform to end loopholes and the use of tax havens, while raising rates to 39.6% for those who earn more than $400,000 a year, the same as they paid when George W. Bush became president.
"Wall Street did not build this country, the middle class built it", he said, and has again asked Congress to approve raising the minimum wage to $ 15 an hour. Biden spoke directly to Americans who feel "left behind in a rapidly changing economy" and pledged to help them.
His $1.8 trillion plan for families calls for benefits of $3,600 for parents with children under 6 and $3,000 for children over 6. "With two parents and two kids, that's up to $7,200 in your pocket to help you take care of your family", he said. The plan includes a goal of universalising at least "two years of high-quality preschool for all Americans aged 3 and 4". "We guarantee that low- and middle-income families will pay no more than 7% of their income for child care for children up to the age of 5", he has assured.
This will be in addition to his infrastructure plan, officially called the Jobs Plan, which aims to invest in building new bridges, roads, pipelines, connections and buildings, and transforming the energy sector to combat the climate crisis while generating "millions of new jobs".
He has also taken stock of the challenges achieved in his first 100 days in office, such as administering 220 million doses of covid-19 vaccines, more than double of what was promised, or creating 1.3 million new jobs, leading the U.S. economy towards a 6% growth this 2021 after last year's setback.
And in a clear reference to the past administration of Donald Trump, he assured: "Today the United States rises again, choosing hope instead of fear, truth instead of lies and light instead of darkness".