Brainard advocates for Biden’s economic efforts in hard-hit areas

Brainard advocates for Biden's economic efforts in hard-hit areas

President Biden’s top economic adviser argued Monday that the administration is engineering the revival of economically disadvantaged communities across the country, citing new federal spending patterns and signs of economic progress in places like Eastern Pennsylvania and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Is.

Lael Brainard, who heads Mr Biden’s National Economic Council, delivered a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington to lay out a detailed outline of the administration’s efforts to bring jobs, investment and innovation to areas hit hard by the loss of jobs and industries. Used.

Those “place-based” policies are often directed at former industrial strongholds that were affected by automation and foreign competition. They are a cornerstone of Mr Biden’s economic agenda, which he signed, and a big part of his re-election pitch. Whether voters consider him successful could impact Mr. Biden’s chances in November, especially in industrial swing states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Mr Biden “came into office determined to invest across America, leaving no community behind. So far, we believe it is working,” Ms. Brainard said. “New jobs and new small businesses are creating hope. “Communities that were left behind are making a comeback.”

Many of the laws signed by Mr. Biden included place-based efforts, including infrastructure, climate change and clean-energy production and semiconductors and other advanced manufacturing, all of which Ms. Brainard highlighted on Monday afternoon. The Departments of Commerce and Transportation have launched pilot programs to support neighborhoods historically cut off from opportunity.

Ms. Brainard used case studies of two areas in particular: Allentown, Pa., and Milwaukee, both of which Mr. Biden Visited recently,

After his Allentown visit, Mr. Biden told reporters that he was “really confident that what we’ve done has had an impact not just in eastern Pennsylvania and — in — the Northeast, but across the country. And we’re going to do a lot more.”

Ms. Brainard quoted treasury department analysis Low-emissions energy investments spurred by Mr. Biden’s climate law have disproportionately boosted low-income areas and communities that have historically depended on fossil fuels, though he did not provide a new or comprehensive analysis of why. How has the administration’s spending helped particularly hard-hit areas?

Ms. Brainard said the Allentown area, for example, has experienced a “boom” in job creation and small business formation under Mr. Biden, listing investments the administration has focused on in the area’s roads, airports and other areas. Is focused. But they clearly didn’t connect that spending and those trends.

Administration officials acknowledge that many of Mr. Biden’s programs to help hard-hit communities are still in their early stages, and it may be difficult to assess their impacts. But Ms. Brainard said in an interview before the speech that it was fair for Mr. Biden to take credit for gains in areas like Allentown and Milwaukee.

“In many marginalized communities, unemployment rates have remained well above the national average for years,” he said. “And what you’re seeing now in those communities is that the unemployment rate has actually gone below 4 percent, which is, in some cases, a level they haven’t seen in a very long time.”

The unemployment rate in the Allentown area was 3.9 percent in November, according to the Labor Department. That’s down from about 9.5 percent after the 2008 financial crisis and down from 4.2 percent on the eve of the pandemic in February 2020, when Donald J. Trump was the president. In November, unemployment in the Milwaukee area was 3.1 percent, the same rate as in February 2020, and less than 10 percent since the 2008 recession.

Mr Trump has long promised to revive hard-hit American communities during the campaign and in the White House. He is making similar promises as he attempts to defeat Mr. Biden this fall, a backlash that looms over the president’s location-based effort.

In her speech, Ms. Brainard described Mr. Biden’s place-based policies as a continuation of the administration’s failed promises of “trickle-down economics,” including promises made by the previous administration. The term has long been associated with Republican tax policies. Conservative economists have long argued that by cutting rates on high earners and corporations, policymakers would foster faster economic growth that would raise the incomes of all workers.

The Biden administration has attempted to broaden that trickle-down phrase to include the outsourcing of jobs and factories to foreign shores.

Mr. Trump’s signed 2017 tax-cut law included deep cuts to corporate and individual tax rates, but it also included a location-based program: a tax-based incentive called Opportunity Zones, which allows investors to park money in designated low-income Used to try to tempt him to apply. Area. The program has continued under Mr. Biden, even as his aides have debated whether efforts should be made to replace it. Asked in an interview before the speech whether the administration considered the program a success, Ms. Brainard did not answer directly.

“I am very focused on making sure that the President’s policies are implemented and making an impact in lifting up these communities,” Ms. Brainard said. “That’s been my focus.”

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