A look at Biden’s first year in office

A look at Biden’s first year in office
US President Joe Biden and his COVID-19 Response Team hold their regular call with the National Governors Association to discuss his Administration’s response to the Omicron variant and to hear from the Governors on the needs in their States, in the South Court Auditorium at the White House, in Washington, U.S., December 27, 2021. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein
While more Americans have gotten vaccinated since Biden took office, it hasn’t been enough to stop the problems that come with new variants, which in some cases may be more viral or deadly.

COVID-19 pandemic

  • It’s no secret that Biden inherited some of the good and some of the bad when it comes to the pandemic.
  • He was inaugurated right as the vaccine was being distributed. Since his inauguration in January, the percentage of people in the United States with at least one shot has gone from around 6% to more than 73%.
  • But he also came in during the pandemic’s big winter wave last year and has also been forced to deal with both the delta and the omicron variants.
  • So, while more Americans have gotten vaccinated since Biden took office, it hasn’t been enough to stop the problems that come with new variants, which in some cases may be more viral or deadly.

The economy

  • Biden’s economic performance during the first year has some mixed statistics.
  • Average hourly earnings have also gone up by an above-average amount, with the average hourly worker making about US$1.12 more than they did at the end of last year.
  • But there are some ugly economic figures that the US is battling too, with inflation going from 1.4% in January to 6.8% in February – well over the recommended 2%. This, in essence, this means things cost more, from groceries at the store to gas at the pump.

Foreign policy

  • Biden’s most significant foreign policy move this year was the pullout from Afghanistan, which drew the criticism of many on both sides of the aisle over the summer.
  • But he has defended the pullout, saying that staying in the country would have resulted in worse outcomes than leaving.
  • In terms of China, Biden seems to have upheld his original approach: to confront China on some subjects, compete on others and work with China where mutual interests are available.
  • There have been several rough patches with some countries, probably one of the most notorious situations being the AUKUS submarine deal in September, which royally infuriated the French.
  • All told, though, world leaders seem to have broadly welcomed Biden back into a world of more traditional international diplomacy than might have been exercised under the previous administration.

Domestic policies

  • Right after the inauguration, Biden got a quick win with the American Rescue Plan, a COVID-19 relief package that gave economic relief nationwide, including US$1,400 checks to many Americans.
  • That US$1 trillion infrastructure bill did pass, though, and it passed across party lines, something that seems even rarer now than in years past. That bill was signed into law in November.
  • The BBB hasn’t been so lucky, though, and recently it’s run into even more issues in the negotiating process, meaning it either is going to see some pretty drastic changes or won’t pass at all.

Anything else?

  • But he still hasn’t canceled student loan debt, something he committed to as President-elect and something progressives are still waiting to see him do.
  • In October, he managed to enact the child tax credit, which kept a reported 3.6 million children out of poverty in October 2021. But if he can’t pass the BBB plan, that tax credit will end, which will risk sending many of those children back under the poverty line.

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