Biden: It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out

Big government is back

President Biden made clear tonight the era of big government is back, and he wants the wealthiest Americans to pay for it.

Why it matters: As he moves beyond his first 100 days, the president has to find a way to sell a more aggressive part of his agenda.

  • In poll-tested language, he talked about expanded health care, education and tax credits, but he promised the middle class wouldn’t have to pay the bill.

He said the rich would pick up the tab, because the middle class is “already paying enough.”

  • “Twenty million Americanslost their jobs in the pandemic — working- and middle-class Americans,” Biden said. “At the same time, roughly 650 billionaires in America saw their net worth increase by more than $1 trillion.”
  • “My fellow Americans, trickle-down economics has never worked. It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up and the middle out.”

Between the lines: Biden was surrounded by historic firsts. He opened by noting he was backed by Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

  • “Madam Speaker, Madam Vice President,”he said, “no president has ever said those words from this podium. No president has ever said those words, and it’s about time.”

In front of him, he saw a COVID-limited audience of just 200 members of Congress, his Cabinet, the Supreme Court and diplomatic corps.

  • And above, another first:Second gentleman Douglas Emhoff.

He added whole sections to his prepared text, a deviation from his stick-to-the-script approach to the first 100 days.

  • In one noteworthy moment,he thanked Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for leading the effort to name a cancer bill after the president’s late son, Beau Biden.
  • In another, he warned China is “deadly earnest on becoming the most significant, consequential nation in the world.”

The bottom line: Biden pitched most of his non-COVID proposals with a common refrain: jobs, jobs, jobs.

Info photo: President Biden during a joint session of Congress, with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi behind him. Photo: Melina Mara/The Washington Post/Bloomberg via Getty Images


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