Bidens First 100 Days

Pablo Charriez, Columnist

For the first time in modern politics, progressive liberals have a President who works for them. Kind of. And to almost everyone’s surprise, it’s Joseph R. Biden, a career politician with a largely moderate view. His career in politics has spanned 49 years, with several substantial accomplishments under his belt. From a democrat’s eyes (and maybe moderates too), he has done significantly more good than bad. With all this being said, his political agendas have not always been so well received. In 1975, Biden opposed the integration of the School Bussing System, which was a point he was attacked by Senator Kamala Harris on during his 2020 presidential campaign. Much like Biden’s career, his first 100 days have had their ups and downs. Though, there are arguably more ups than downs.

As I’ve found people usually like to hear the bad news before the good news, let’s stick with that format for this biased analysis. First off, let’s start with Biden’s handling of the border crisis, an issue he heavily criticized Donald Trump on, but then imposed a mix of Trump and Obama level policies. Disregarding his total flop of a press conference on March 25th, where his only rebuttals to questions about the border were attacks on the Trump administration; citing a reason for the surge was, “…because I’m the nice guy”. A bold take, especially when the subject matter could involve some 351,000 people apprehended on the border from January 1st to April 3.(US customs and Border Protection, [2021]). This mishandling of a very dangerous situation is represented in the polls, with around 56% of voters disapproving of his handling of the crisis (AP-NORC, [4/5/21]). It falls in line with a statement from Ryan Wood, GPJ Teacher, when he says, “I think he has botched immigrant, with kids in cages, very much like what Trump did”.

Another criticism is Biden’s staunch opposition to recreational marijuana legalization, a topic that transcends party lines and has the popular vote by around 59% (Pew Research Center, [2019]). Even while Americans’ opinions have shifted towards legalization, 40-year-old Nixon anti-legalization policies have endured; and it seems like they will continue. Under the current administration. s For example, the disunion in the democratic party after Biden’s ideals around marijuana being put on full blast following the successful passing of a $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill. A report had come out that White House staffers were being told to stay home, even to resign, after the White House found past recreational smoking. 

While there are other issues that I think Biden should address, including the power vacuum left in Afghanistan following US forces leaving, or Israel’s treatment of Palestine, he has had a pretty good run thus far. Lots of voters and WFS students are satisfied with his handling of the COVID pandemic and vaccine rollouts. As of May 10, a poll by Associated Press found that 71% of voters approved Biden’s COVID response. Both Tauson Biggs, ’24, and John Ursamarso, ’24, agreed. His $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, aka the COVID relief package, was signed and distributed to the public with a 54% approval rating, despite highlighting the deep partisan divide, passing through congress without any Republican support. 

While this bill is one of the most expensive to be passed, it is nothing compared to the sweeping American Jobs Plan, coming in at a hefty $2.3 trillion price tag; and the American Families plan, an additional $1.8 trillion.  Funding for both is coming from raising taxes on the rich, an idea that most Republicans are opposed to, as they mainly prefer trickle down economics. 

The actual benefits of both these plans could be immense, although some progressives say they are not enough. For example, the money allocated to housing in Biden’s infrastructure plan is $212 billion but it would cost $31.8 billion over the next five years to fix New York City’s public housing alone. Another huge change is the electric vehicle incentives. One would get the sense Biden’s administration sees renewable energy as a profit and seems to be looking to establish the US as a predominant leader in a new sustainable world; a stark change from Trump’s policies, as he invested roughly $7.6 billion in the fossil fuel industry annually, and spent $72 billion on fossil fuels at the beginning of the pandemic.

To say I’m personally looking forward to the next four years would be an understatement. But saying I’m nervous for the next four years also wouldn’t be a stretch either. If the Biden administration can overcome party divides, it may set the US on a sustainable and progressive path. If not, the next administration may inherit even more of a divided political landscape with even more terrible consequences for failure.