A New Era, A Large Struggle

By Bella Watts, Editor-in-Chief

In the wake of an administration mudded by mendacity, congratulatory combativeness and slight sparks of progress attempting to offset the remains, the announcement from GOP officials with the president to allow for transition of powers has installed the long known public reality of a democratic Biden tenure to take place for the next four years. Finally, internalized individuals of international breadth as crowds grew into the streets, it seemed as if the days of fear over uncertainty and lack of trust in the face of responsibility were over. America has jovially and definitively concluded the need for a golden duck, a millennia novelty of a one termed incumbent candidate, an inactionable actor and colloquially, a lame duck. On the night after a historic Inauguration, it is important to obtain a firm grasp of the political actions and attitudes that will contour the future in a rapidly reconstructing, reinvigorating and repurposing America. 

But if the last four years have taught the American people anything beyond the woes of isolation, the prize of the mundane, and the gravity of science, it is to never assume anything is impossible, and to always be weary of the unexpected. In the term of weeks leading up to January 20, the inauguration of Joe Biden into office, President Trump still held executive authority over domestic and foreign policy, enabling the grime megalomaniacal promise to “shake things up” greatly plausible and in spite of large republican gains in the House even while Democrats have a majority in the Senate, a leader and his base all but discouraged and a now blue country to pay for it. Within the last few months, Trump has made executive orders a large breath of topics, including immigration and China policy, as well as a series of pardons, notably including Michael Flynn, Trump’s former National Security Advisor that had pleaded guilty to the Federal Bureau of Investigation . The latter is particularly damning for the apparatus of the administration and by proxy, Trump’s willingness to adhere to precedent. 

Just recently, 26 more individuals were pardoned, including Roger Stone, longtime aid and former campaign chairman Paul Manfont and Charles Kusher, his son-in-law’s, Jared Kusher’s, father, totaling 60 out of 65 total administration pardons as of December 23th  to have been done for individuals closely associated with the Trump administration and or campaign, even though the use of the clemency power was a fraction of Obama’s eight year number. Just yesterday, Steven Bannon, former White House strategist who faced charges of bribery and fraud from the border wall construction, was pardoned along with rapper Lil Wayne on firearm charges.

Profoundly stated in the Time, Biden will still have to govern in Trump’s America. This is no time for fixation on the wings and for webbed feet to stop paddling. Biden and Harris will enter the White House amidst a trilateral conflict of Coronavirus, economic crisis and racial injustice awakening, and while those events remain the most immediate and highly important, they only are the tip of the iceberg of U.S. politics, both internally and externally, unchanged and changed over the last four years. Having previously stated that a new administration would allow one month for a multivariate stimulus and recovery bill to be deployed into law, after having stalled new policies such as the Democratic Party’s Heroes Act once the Cares Act was enacted. Though many policy points on recovery are bipartisan, such as revitalization and renewal of the Payment Protection Program for small businesses and increased testing funding, the mechanisms, scope and cost of these measures remains controversial. Still, Biden has developed a cohort of medical providers and health care officials to serve on a board of advisement and direction on national COVID handling. Its three co-chairs are Marcella Nunez-Smith, a Yale University Physician and researcher, Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. Surgeon General and David Kessler, a former FDA Commissioner. 

Virtually connecting with each governor in a move to navigate around haphazard state communication and standards implicated by federalism as “the lack of testing preparation and the uneven messaging out of Washington probably hindered” recovery strategy”, he has also voiced support for a national mask mandate and the utilization of the Defense Production’s Act to embolden the capacity for PPE production. Cautiously optimistic of the future of the virus, Biden rejects the politicization of the notice of promising vaccines, and vows to deploy it as free. With the Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna mRNA vaccine in phase two and three of utility in practice, the prospect of recovery becomes brighter.

On economic recovery, Biden ensures that better data are ahead for constituents, notwithstanding the strong dips of growth and presence of decline throughout the pandemic. Firstly, in order to relinquish a portion of debt accumulated since the economic shutdown, Biden strives to reduce the tax breaks afforded under the Cares Act deemed as “Excess Business Losses”. Beyond the here and now, Biden’s strong push for public spending in the Education, Health and Infrastructure sectors will be predicated on tax reform to generate investiture revenue. This includes increasing the corporate tax rate from 21% to 28%, as well as shifting the GILTI tax from its 2017 base at 10.5 to 21 to disincentive profit shifting on large scale foreign business ventures. He pledges to use “carrot and stick” incentive and coercion, to tackle supply chain operation, U.S. job growth and environmentalism in industry. Individuals taxation on capital gains and incomes can raise to 39.6% and estate policy may return to its Obama era state, both of which are aimed at providing relief through benefits to lower socioeconomic brackets in the form of things such as the Affordable Care Act. Financial strategy will be largely governed around strengthening equal opportunity to capital, and financial services, and oversight. With Janet Yellen, former president of the Federal Reserve, as Treasury Secretary, she will be afforded more leverage to influence economic policy. The Biden Teams hope that she will charter the lift America out of the current economic downturn and build back better”. Consumer protection, fair and transparent lending, and mitigating widening wealth gaps are likely to be top priorities. 

On race and the prevalence of vitriolic discrimination, Biden has a deeper past. Having a history of controversial remarks, opposition to busing, stalled desegregation in schools in his state in the 1970s, the 1994 Crime Bill and allowing republican senators to prevent the testimony of another Black women in the trail of Anita Hill against Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas in his career, he pledges to make historic progress in mitigating racial injustice. Altering the successful foundation of co-sponsoring the Civil Rights Act of 1990 to protect against employment discrimination and reauthorization to strengthen the power of the Voter Rights Act, Biden aims to strengthen the economic mobility of African American, tackle racial inequity in the federal education system, ending health disparities, equal protection in the justice system and ensuring suffrage. This can be seen through a variety of different measures, such as investing in African American entrepreneurs and ensuring equal access to capital and credit, as through 3% of the population, only 4% of small businesses are owned by African Americans, and receive funding at a rate 30% lower compared to white Americans. 

Since 2016, foreign policy has undergone a shift of strategy, attitude and ideology. New phenomena will need to be considered, and it will not be enough or correct to resurrect Obama’s methodology, and many events spurred in that era were the stain on his political career. Having served as chair of the Committee on Foreign Relations beginning in 2001 and touring throughout his tenure as vice president, he has substantial experience, but with such an extent if time, comes misdirected support and incorrect decisions. China, within the last four years, has grown from a questionable actor to a large-scale threat, hosting a national infrastructure capable of damaging the strength of security of the United States. From personal and corporate data surveillance, routine deception, intellectual property theft, flagrant human rights abuses and expansion of territoriality and control, Biden has recognized that his initial China strategy, almost standardized since Nixon, needs to shift to become more interrogative and combative. With the country threatening many allies, such as Australia, which historically buys one-third of its exports, the call for intergovernmental unity to front the People’s Republic of China will need to manifest itself more than its words. While remaining firm on its domestic and expansion practices, Biden must also bring China the table over shared national interest in the denuclearization of North Korea, potentially harboring an extensional threat somewhat likewise to climate change, anyone issue of joint concern. President Xi Jinping’s congratulatory tweet on the Biden Harris victory can be seen as a step towards constructive discussion with the nation in the future, but many believe that it’s calls for a non-combative relation going forward mirrors the coercion it has principled throughout its interest to claim greater geopolitical power. A want of “win-win diplomacy” can be a satirical allusion to it wanting a double win for itself rather than mutually beneficial cooperation. But while China policy, led by newly appointed Secretary of State Anthony Blinkin and National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, Biden pledges to work diligently to restore, reinvigorate and strengthen alliances with international Democracies. The Summit for Democracy intergovernmental idea expresses this objective, and the willingness of partnership through engagement on mutual issues and diplomatic channels will substantiate these calls. These states include members of the Indo-Pacific Region, Latin America, the EU and the NATO coalition. As the momentum aboard is of dire need, the immediate economic interests will be overshadowed. The budget if the state department is intended to increase. Upending the risk of an opaque deal, Biden wants to amend the Foreign Agent Registration Act to ban lobbying by foreign governments and of private entities associated with foreign governments. On foreign policy, Biden faces a difficult road ahead, mired by the complicated international legacy of the Obama Administration, in which he took responsibility for these changing relations, and the challenge of facing a world different from the one he left four years ago. Dealing with waning alliances, impending conflict, documented progress on Arab peace with shortsighted actions in the middle east and the cementation of China as a threat with poor Russian engagement, strategy will be a matter of balancing historical understandings and deviation from what precedes his administration. While lightened by Biden’s willingness to seek repair, experts worry of a longer mission in effect of domestic troubles that could compromise the plausibility of progress.  As they stand, the top issues Biden will face are the rise of China’s regional assertiveness and global power, disabusing Russian aggression digitally and abroad, North Korean and Iranian nuclearization, southern migration, and tactical reduction of warfare. With deals expiring, strong shifts in Europe and a slide of millions across the global into poverty, talks must move quickly and correctly.

As the environment deteriorates more and the climate rapidly changes, Biden pledges to foster a cleaner future through commitment to larger scale, multinational operations to drive down pollution and create a high caliber infrastructure of energy science and other clean engineering. The new administration simultaneously understands the consequentialism of environmental deconstruction and the significance of altering the state of industries to achieve his ambition of reaching a 100% clean energy economy by 2050, meaning that he will work diligently to build through and sustainable policy, rather than hammering solutions to benefit one over the other. Completing the work will be a lofty investment, yet the act of not doing so may prove to pose a larger cost that can not be buoyed by governmental action. Accordingly, Biden’s climate and environmental justice proposal intended to make a federal  federal investment of $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years, coalescing public and private strengths to total a $5 trillion devolution to the issue . The tenets of this plan are in regulation, risk management strategies, empowerment of research and development, development of modern, climate resilient infrastructure in cities and rural areas, diplomacy, and emphasis on job training and transition programs for environmentally harmful industries like coal. In a time where instability and the effect of global warming align, the administration understands the “Threat Multiplier” in ignorance towards the environment and refusal to take strong action. Thus, the state of the environment becomes the state of national security.

Such will be a trend in all realms of policy through the next four years, as restoration, like the state of the environment and foreign conflict, is not guaranteed. With a coalition of experienced advisors and a democratic house and senate, it is more likely than not to see strong legislative and mannerist changes both domestic and abroad.

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