By Erik Cabrera
Earlier this month, Joseph R. Biden Jr. took the inaugural oath and officially became the
46th President of the United States. He gave a powerful speech at the west front of the Capitol, addressing the issues that face America while calling for unity. Joe Biden has taken swift action to deliver on his campaign promises, working to get the country moving forward from this economic despair. In just one week, Biden has drastically changed the direction of our nation, and here’s just a few of the major examples.
Re-engaging with the World
In June of 2017, Former President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of American involvement in the Paris Climate Accords, made effective a day after the 2020 Presidential Election. Donald Trump attributed this decision to potential job loss and a minimal positive impact towards the environment. Throughout Joe Biden’s Presidential campaign, he vowed to rejoin this global effort to combat limit the increase of the average global temperature. Rejoining this agreement is Biden’s first step to undertake one of the greatest challenges facing mankind, the destruction of our planet.
Joe Biden has also renewed his support for the World Health Organization, planning to fund the organization once again. The WHO was fiercely criticized by Trump for their slow response to the pandemic. Now, Biden’s funding for the WHO will assist the organization with its budget and public health goals, which includes vaccination distribution and tackling new Covid-19 strains. This is just the beginning of Biden’s plan to re-engage with the world to combat Covid-19 and global warming.
Labor and Workers’ Rights
The pandemic has left many Americans in despair, leaving many unemployed and poor. According to Forbes, poverty in America increased from 9.3 to 11.7% from June to November of 2020. Joe Biden ran on a platform that was phrased as ‘Build Back Better,’ and his recent executive orders are targeting at doing just that. On January 23, Joe Biden signed an executive order that guarantees insurance for unemployed workers who refuse to work because of Covid-19. This means that someone with pre-existing conditions can refuse to work due to health precautions. Joe Biden has also ordered the Department of Labor to work with employers to reevaluate health and safety guidelines for workers. Lastly, Biden passed a landmark economic initiative called the ‘Buy American Agenda.’ This initiative directs the Federal Government to favor American goods instead of foreign ones. Also, this agenda would tackle loopholes that allow corporations to send production overseas while receiving domestic treatment. Biden has received criticism mainly due to the lack of correlation between purchasing domestic products and increased employment.
Joe Biden has taken a vastly different approach to many key social issues than the former president. On day one, Joe Biden ended the construction of the Keystone pipeline. Many sources estimated that tens of thousands of jobs were lost, but First Coast News factually states that only 1,000 temporary jobs were lost. This is one of the many tough decisions a president must make. With the construction of the southern border also coming to an end, a new vision for immigration and the environment will set a new precedent for American politics.
One policy change that has been gaining attention is the termination of the federal government’s dependency on private prisons. The influence of private prisons is correlated to an increase in the time inmates spend in prison, more dangerous environments, and sometimes more costly than public prisons. One thing to note is that states can continue to have contracts with private prisons. The long-term implications are being debated today, but whether this executive order shifts the needle will have to be determined.
Joe Biden has taken swift action to bolster the nation’s economy and health crisis. One of the policies everyone will be eyeing is stimulus, one of the main agendas left unchecked thus far. With qualified cabinet nominees such as Yellen and Blinken, Biden has the chance to unite the country and restore the great economy Obama and Trump sustained.