I’ve heard it so many times. “At least he’s not Trump.” It’s true that President Biden has better manners and more experience. But his presidency so far has relied on the kind of governance and economic assumptions that are the source of many of our worst problems. In nine months, Biden has made inexplicable foreign policy blunders, watered down or abandoned his commitments to social justice and the planet, and retained many of Trump’s worst policies. For example….
World Peace — Biden defended his botched withdrawl from Afghanistan by saying he wants to end “forever wars.” However, he is not on a path to end wars of any kind. Biden’s budget proposal for 2022 would actually increase US military spending of more than $700 billion dollars. https://www.thenation.com/article/politics/ndaa-defense-spending/ He has increased the US military presence in Syria and Iraq, and is presiding over the continued militarization of the world. Contrary to his policy of “relentless diplomacy,” Biden is moving ahead with Trump’s agreement to sell $23 billion of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, which will be used to kill insurgents and civilians in Yemen. https://www.timesofisrael.com/biden-administration-signs-its-first-military-deal-with-saudi-arabia/ He is sellling $750 million worth of arms to Taiwan, which will increase tensions with China. https://edition.cnn.com/2021/08/04/politics/biden-administration-taiwan-arms-sales/index.html Like Trump, Biden has defended Israel’s systematic murder and oppression of innocent Palestinians. He is making war more politically viable by sending drones instead of humans to kill people in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Like Trump, Biden imposed harsh sanctions on Cuba for its offense of suffering during an economic collapse — caused in part by the US blockade. These are not the policies of someone who wants to end wars.
Social Justice — Biden claims the US is not racist. The problem, he says, was Jim Crow and slavery, which imposed a “cost” that hasn’t been addressed. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jackbrewster/2021/04/30/biden-says-he-doesnt-think-america-is-racist-but-slavery-jim-crow-had-a-cost/?sh=582d66dc5d1d. This is nonsense on so many levels. Jim Crow laws were enacted in the South — racism is a problem in all 50 states and toward people who weren’t targets of Jim Crow laws. Perhaps because Biden doesn’t understand racism in America and its effects on real people, he has failed to show any meaningful leadership in addressing police brutality, gun control, environmental justice, homelessness, poverty, or the unjust incarceration of black men. His infrastructure bill anticipates some support for low income communities, but most of it relies on the type of “trickle down” economics that has enriched the few at the expense of the many. For example, Biden wrongly assumes that subsidizing large corporations to invest in broadband infrastructure will somehow make internet service affordable and available to low income households. https://www.abc10.com/article/news/nation-world/broadband-service-plan-infrastructure-bill/507-84bb9e72-ccde-48bb-bee4-07c95bd868eb It wrongly assumes that funding care for the elderly will increase wages in jobs that are held mostly by women of color (maybe women of color would like the kind of support that would allow them to go to law school or own a small business?). If we’ve learned one thing in the last 40 years, it’s that giving money to large corporations mostly enriches large corporations.
Climate Crisis — Biden acknowledges that we have “ten years” to combat climate change, but his climate strategy is unlikely to make a dent in the coming ten years. Like Trump, Biden has been a reliable friend of the oil industry. Like Trump, he has deployed armed agents to threaten unarmed people protesting the construction of Line 3, an oil pipeline traversing Native American land in Minnesota.https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/feb/19/line-3-pipeline-ojibwe-tribal-lands Like Trump, he supports the Willow Arctic Drilling Project and the Dakota Access Pipeline. https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/joe-biden-infrastructure-bill-climate-change-joe-manchin-1208743/ After promising to overturn Trump policies granting new oil and gas drilling permits, the number of permits issued by the Biden Administration has increased in 2021. https://www.audubon.org/news/despite-pledge-ban-it-oil-and-gas-permitting-under-biden. He’s opposed a gasoline tax and an emissions tax to fund climate projects. Rather than supporting aggressive improvements to the nation’s terrible public transportation system, which could get people out of their cars (and could benefit low income communities and working class families), Biden proposes subsidies for electric cars, which will require additional construction of power plants (and would benefit the affluent and large corporations). Stopping climate change is going to require more than baby steps, tax credits, and the continued support of the oil and gas industry.
Border policies — Contrary to his campaign promises, Biden has adopted most of Trump’s cruel border policies, some in violation of international law protecting the rights of asylum seekers. Children are still in cages.https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2021/2/24/us-to-allow-migrants-from-mexico-as-critics-slam-kids-in-cages Asylum seekers are still being pushed back into dangerous Mexican border towns. Biden is defending some of Trump’s worst policies in the courts. This week, the Biden administration deployed white men on horseback to herd Haitians like cattle back into Mexico. Government agencies don’t commit such atrocities in a vacuum or where the leader’s message is “We treat people with dignity.” And while the Biden Administration says it’s permitting displaced Afghans to come to the US (with few exceptions, it isn’t), it’s putting Haitians on airplanes only a few months after Biden himself referred to Haiti as a “dangerous” country. https://theintercept.com/2021/09/20/biden-haiti-deportations-texas-del-rio/
Public Health. Although Biden has said his highest priority is to eliminate Covid, during his presidency the number of Covid deaths in the US has risen from 300 a day to 2,000 a day. Biden acknowledges ending the pandemic will require the nation to “go big” but https://www.whitehouse.gov/covidplan/ his “Path Out of the Pandemic” is mostly a list of ideas that haven’t been implemented or won’t end the pandemic. Among the highlights are (1) forgiving corporations for repayment of PPP loans; (2) making at-home tests more afforable, and (3) sending children back to school. Besides Covid, Biden has no plan to provide health care to 30 million uninsured Americans, or protect the millions more who, in spite of being “insured,” would face bankruptcy to pay for treatment of a serious medical condition. https://thegrio.com/2021/09/23/gofundme-medical-bills-health-care-system/ https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2021/jul/as-pandemic-eases-what-is-state-coverage-affordability-survey
To be fair, Biden’s done some good things, there’s a lot to unravel, and he’s been stifled by Congress. But does Biden even have a vision that would move us in the direction of a world we want our kids to inherit?
Our president might be a nice man, but he doesn’t have the courage, the strength, or the intellect to be President of the United States at a time like this. While Biden is defending the fillibuster, Trump’s tariffs, and his son’s right to sell his artwork at inflated prices, the downward spiral continues.