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President Joe Biden and the capitalist narrative | Ticker VIEWS

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US President Joe Biden is redefining American capitalism with sweeping new legislation. Opinion piece by Bruce Wolpe

The big news last week was the near-completion of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan. The response to Russia-based cyber attacks on American infrastructure and businesses also made headlines.

THE LATEST ON WHAT’S HAPPENING WITH THE U.S PRESIDENT

President Biden met with civil rights leaders to discuss advancing the prospects of legislation to protect the most fundamental right in a democracy: the right to vote.

But in an 18-minute event in the White House on Friday, with leaders from his Cabinet and top regulatory agencies present, President Biden laid out what are perhaps the most sweeping initiatives in a century.

The changes aimed redefine the rules of the road for America’s economy by promoting competition across American business, enterprise and services.

Lower prices, and increased wages

Biden signed an Executive order outlining 72 initiatives that would, in his words, “Lower prices, to increase wages, and to take another critical step toward an economy that works for everybody.”

Biden gave marching orders to all the affected agencies of government to examine the state of commerce and consumer protection in their jurisdiction. The orders will also promote competition and benefits for working people and consumers.

Biden invoked both Roosevelt Presidents, who both established the framework of the antitrust laws in the United State and reformed American capitalism to save the country during the Great Depression.

“Without healthy competition, big players can change and charge whatever they want and treat you however they want.  And for too many Americans, that means accepting a bad deal for things that you can’t go without,” said the president.

“Let me be very clear: Capitalism without competition isn’t capitalism; it’s exploitation.”

Us president joe biden

The Biden initiative addresses health care such as prescription drug prices and internet access 

It will also address pricing, interstate labor mobility, transport prices and fees, bank mergers and more opportunities for small farmers.

On Big Tech, Biden gave explicit direction to the Federal Trade Commission to address competition issues in the sector.

This program breaks with past practice. Under President Obama, far-reaching economic sand policy reform was central. Especially the passage of Obamacare, Wall Street reform, and trying to enact sweeping energy and climate legislation. 

This is broader and deeper: a mandate to all the arms of the government to act now – early in this presidency – to implement policy reforms that will drive more competitiveness. 

“Fair competition is was what made America the wealthiest, most innovative nation in history.  That’s why people come here to invent things and start new businesses.”

President joe Biden

“In the competition against China and other nations of the 21st century, let’s show that American democracy and the American people can truly out-compete anyone. Because I know that just given half a chance, the American people will never, ever, ever let their country down. Imagine if we give everyone a full and fair chance. That’s what this is all about.”

Biden’s presidency is already marked by success on the pandemic and economic recovery. His programs for infrastructure, education, health care, child support are all in the balance in Congress right now. 

But these reforms to American capitalism will also define Biden’s legacy as president.

Read more by Bruce Wolpe on Ticker NEWS here.

Author

  • Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

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Global Politics

Biden battles on – Trump Turmoil deepens

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As Washington prepares to take its summer break, President Biden continues to battle on the policy and program fronts he has led since Inauguration Day

On his agenda?

  • Ending the pandemic
  • Restoring the economy
  • Pursuing voting rights
  • Social equity
  • Racial justice
  • Gun control
  • Confronting climate change
  • And restoring America’s leadership in the world

In each area, there is progress – and challenges

With 70% of Americans now vaccinated, the Delta strain is hurting, with infections accelerating to significant levels – but the vaccines work. 

This is a pandemic of the unvaccinated

of the 164 million Americans who are inoculated, 99.9% have not tested positive for Covid

Fewer people still are hospitalized or dead.

The renewed push to get as many as possible protected is now being augmented by mandates from governments and businesses that their employees are to get the jabs as a condition of employment.  (This may prove ultimately to be the key for the last mile of protection here in Australia.)

What about the economy?

Employment is up, the economy is growing at over 6%, and wages are increasing, with $15 per hour the new norm in many businesses.

Child poverty is being cut in half, but employment is still not back at pre-Covid levels. Millions who are behind in their rent face possible eviction in the coming weeks.

While Biden has campaigned strongly on protecting voting rights, ending police violence, gun control, greater access to education and tackling global warming, no legislation on those fronts has yet been enacted. 

On a foreign front – under Biden’s leadership, America is absolutely back with US alliances strong across Europe and Asia

U.S President Joe Biden, left, and Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, talk during their meeting at the ‘Villa la Grange’ in Geneva, Switzerland in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, June 16, 2021. (Mikhail Metzel/Pool Photo via AP)

However, there is turmoil in Afghanistan, prospects have dimmed for a renewed nuclear agreement with Iran, relations with Russia are testy, tensions with China are as intense as ever, and there is no dialogue with North Korea.

In Washington, the toughest tests of Biden’s legislative program are pending right now 

He is applying all the lessons learned from his and President Obama’s first term in working his Democrats and those Republicans who are willing to win his policies on infrastructure, education, climate, and health care. 

Biden knows that his presidency is in the balance.

As Biden battles on, the man he defeated, Donald Trump, continues to spread turmoil and division.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump waves as he arrives at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Florida, U.S., January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Carlos Barria/File Photo

Trump will not countenance any blame or responsibility for the insurrection at the Capitol on January 6 – an attack intended to stop the certification of Biden’s electoral victory. 

Trump’s hold over the Republican Party, and especially the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives, upended the formation of a bipartisan independent commission to examine the threat to democracy posed by Trump.  

Trump is determined to remain a potent force in the party, and the decider of its future. 

He has raised more money this year than anyone else – over $100 million – and supplicants journey to his homes to pay tribute and seek favour.  

Trump is hardly invincible. There are chinks in his cladding.  His preferred candidate for a House seat in Texas lost to another Republican Trump declined to endorse. 

Damning notes from the Justice Department show Trump’s intense pressure on the Acting Attorney General to declare the election corrupt; he refused.

The Biden Justice Department has ruled that Trump’s tax returns have to be turned over to Congress.  Trump attacked the Republicans supporting the bipartisan infrastructure deal with Biden – but the agreement is holding.

In this Washington summer, Biden is steady at the helm, but the waters are choppy.  And Trump keeps making waves whenever he plunges into the pool.

Author

  • Bruce Wolpe is a Ticker News US political contributor. He’s a Senior Fellow at the US Studies Centre and has worked with Democrats in Congress during President Barack Obama's first term, and on the staff of Prime Minister Julia Gillard. He has also served as the former PM's chief of staff.

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Global Politics

Love Actually in real life – Brits unite with U.S vaxxed travellers

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At 4 am local time, Britain officially opened its borders to fully vaccinated travellers from both the US and EU, allowing friends and family to reunite after months apart

LONDON’S HEATHROW AIRPORT

The border restrictions apply to all of the countries on the UK’s so-called “amber list” – except for France which is suffering from a recent uptick in Covid-19 infections.

Travellers wanting to arrive in Britain will be required to take a test prior to departure as well as another swab on the second day after touching down.

Since July 19, all people in who were vaccinated in the U-K have been able to travel freely to and from amber nations – but these new laws open the borders up to travellers who were vaccinated in other countries.

It follows major airline companies welcoming the changes to border restrictions, saying it will provide a much needed boost to the aviation and travel sector.

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Global Politics

Less than 1% of fully vaxxed Americans ending up in hospital

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A new US based study on Covid-19 has found that less than one percent of fully vaccinated Americans experience a breakthrough infection

UKRAINE – 2020/04/29: In this photo illustration the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases world map by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU) seen displayed in internet on a pc screen. The number of the COVID-19 coronavirus confirmed cases in the United States exceeded one million and exceeded three million in the world, according of COVID-19 Dashboard by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University (JHU). The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic on 11 March 2020. (Photo Illustration by Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

The federal government data from the Centre for Disease Control says vaccinated people have a 0.004 percent chance of ending up in hospital with Covid-19 and it’s an even lower figure when it comes to developing severe illness which results in death.

Out of 163 million vaccinated citizens, only around 6,000 have experienced a severe breakthrough Covid-19 infection

The statistics are a promising sign on the road to normalcy as many nations continue to open up and move into a post-pandemic world.

The analysis also found that more than 90 percent of current Covid-related hospitalisations and deaths are being recorded in unvaccinated people.

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