On Wednesday, March 31, Biden began to release the details of his American Jobs Plan (AJP), his latest stimulus bill designed to lift the economy from the COVID-19 recession. Much like the already passed 1.9 trillion-dollar American Rescue Plan, the AJP has received a lot of praise from journalists and politicians. Some are saying that it’s going to remake American capitalism. But what’s really behind this AJP?
In some ways, the AJP is even smaller than the American Rescue Plan. While Biden is claiming it’s 2.3 trillion dollars in spending, that spending is going to be spread out over 8 years – with most of it only being spent at the end of that time. The tax plan that Biden proposed to cover the cost of the program is spread out over an even longer period – 15 years. And despite the posturing of Biden and the Democratic Party that this represents a plan to “tax the rich,” it’s mostly a partial repeal of Trump’s tax cuts. For example, Biden’s tax plan will raise the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%. But Trump originally cut the corporate tax rate down from 35%!
A complete overhaul of our infrastructure is certainly desperately needed. In the past few years, we’ve seen massive wildfires in California caused in part by above ground electricity lines falling over and lighting dry forests on fire. And in Texas in February, aging and dilapidated power lines led to power outages across huge portions of the state. In fact, the Society of
American Engineers gave American infrastructure an overall grade of C-. And the road and hazardous waste facilities received D grades! Clearly, massive funding is needed to repair the infrastructure. But as much money as Biden wants to spend on infrastructure, it doesn’t address the root of the problem: the reason our infrastructure isn’t funded or repaired is that it’s much more profitable for corporations to have their taxes cut than to spend on infrastructure repairs. For decades, politicians from both parties have prioritized those corporate profits instead of actually spending money to maintain our infrastructure.
The AJP is also supposed to make American capitalism “green” through tax credits for renewable energy and funding for charging stations for electric vehicles. But the climate crisis doesn’t care about any capitalist timescale for investment. It’s happening now. We don’t need more corporate tax credits for renewable energy, spread out over 8 years. We need to start building renewable energy and shutting down fossil fuel extraction now. Biden’s plan to fix massive environmental destruction is an attempt to use the same system of endless expansion and profit-making that caused that destruction. The height of the insanity of this fantasy of green capitalism is that over the 8 years that Biden proposes to spend 2.3 trillion on infrastructure, he will spend 7.6 trillion on the military! The U.S. military is itself one of the largest polluters in the world, with a carbon footprint greater than 140 countries! As Brett Hartl, the government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity, said “President Biden’s industry-friendly infrastructure plan squanders one of our last, best chances.”
Ultimately, this plan doesn’t represent a restructured, humane capitalism. It’s an attempt by this system to maintain itself – just like the American Rescue Plan. Biden wants the government to underwrite the profits of big corporations with a cash injection, while looking like he is fighting climate change. Is it any wonder then that the confidence of American CEOs has soared since Biden took office?
We do need better infrastructure and to stop the climate catastrophe. But the only real, long-term solution to fix our crumbling infrastructure and to end the climate crisis is to overthrow the system of capitalism which is at the root of these problems. If working people controlled the economy, instead of a handful of insanely wealthy capitalists, we could decide ourselves what we wanted produce. We could use all the profits that our labor now generates for the capitalist class to build renewable energy and to shut down fossil fuel extraction. We could maintain our infrastructure without having to subsidize the profits of the One Percent first.
Working class power is the only solution to the crises that we’re facing. The only way to win a world where we control our own economy and our own lives is through struggle. No president or other politician, no matter how “progressive” they try to make themselves appear, will give that to us.