And now, less than three weeks after Biden signed the COVID-19 relief package, his administration has proposed an infrastructure plan that would cost something on the order of $2.3 trillion over the next 10 years. The “American Jobs Plan” is about far more than improving the nation’s roads, bridges, trains, and electrical grid. It’s also the opening bid of an ambitious policy initiative on climate. It proposes $400 billion for elder care (including higher wages for those who work in that sector). It contains money for broadband internet and affordable housing and public school upgrades and community college expansion and R&D investments and supply-chain upgrades and what appears to be the rudiments of an industrial policy in the manufacturing sector and much, much else besides.
Bill Clinton and Barack Obama never came close to attempting anything on such a scale.
What are Republicans proposing as an alternative, beyond grumbling about opposing the plan because it raises taxes? A memo released earlier this week by Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana talks about Trump’s remarkable success at delivering the working class into the arms of the GOP and insists that the party needs to keep it there. But how? The ideas amount to little more than fighting Biden on immigration, continuing to insist on tough-minded trade policies, and talking a lot about the culture war, including a commitment to mocking the Democrats for their elitism.