As Biden fights inflation and builds a green economy for the US, Britain is left behind | Carys Roberts

OOver the weekend, US Democrats overcame a months-long political struggle to pass the Anti-Inflation Act in the Senate, marking a major victory for President Joe Biden and for “bidenomics” ahead of the US midterm elections.

The law represents the largest climate investment in US history at $369 billion for climate and clean energy. It is expected to allow the US to go two-thirds of the way towards meeting its Paris Agreement commitments while reducing energy costs to lower. It lowers healthcare costs for millions of Americans. It seeks to fight inflation by directly lowering costs for individuals and reducing the deficit by closing tax loopholes and raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.

The plot is far from perfect. It’s the diminished descendant of the failed Build Back Better Act, a $2 trillion package that would have radically expanded child care, free community college, and subsidized health insurance, but ultimately failed to secure the support of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin (a necessity given). the evenly distributed Senate). Winning political support for the law required cutting back on climate ambition and embarking on broader plans to reduce costs to families. Permitting further drilling for fossil fuels; and carve-outs to protect private equity gains from the corporate tax element of the law. For this reason, the law is and has been heavily criticized by activists and climate groups.

Despite bitter political opposition, however, this is a major – even landmark – achievement. It’s also a win for the activists and economists who have persistently pushed and provided ideas for the Biden administration to pursue an alternative approach to business and the environment: a market-shaping green industrial strategy to create good, green jobs; social investment; Worker power and employer incentives to offer decent pay, apprenticeships and profit-sharing with communities; Higher taxes on the rich to reduce inflation and help pay for it, including through a new tax on share buybacks designed solely to boost investor income. These ideas no longer stay on the bench.

Historically, the US and UK have shared leadership roles in the intellectual development and political implementation of new ideas and political paradigms. Whether we think of the post-war Keynesian consensus, the neoliberal revolution of Thatcher and Reagan, or the Third Way policies of Clinton and Blair, both countries tended to move in lockstep. But right now, in the context of the US Inflation Reduction Act and the Conservative Party leadership race in Britain, our political paths are diverging.

The US needs to go further than Britain when it comes to reducing climate emissions and delivering economic justice. The US has significantly higher emissions (absolute and per capita) than the UK and the US is also the world’s largest producer of fossil fuels. Similarly, inequality is greater in the US and poverty greater than in the UK. Put simply, the Land of Opportunity doesn’t offer anything to too many American citizens.

But Democratic leaders are pushing through a bold agenda to break deep political polarization and redefine the shape and direction of US economic success. The irony compared to Great Britain is that here the conditions for action appropriate to the scale of the climate and natural crisis, an economic strategy that puts people and everyday places above wealth and profit, and for an expansion of collective provision are far more favorable Things and services we all rely on. We have a head start on the social-democratic foundations. In sharp contrast to the US, there is more consensus between the parties that the government needs to take action on the climate and natural crises. Action taken now would be far less likely to be undone by an opposition victory than by the fragile progressive gains in the US.

The Conservatives, who have been in power for more than a decade, have flirted with some of these ideas in recent years — from May’s mission-driven industrial strategy to Johnson’s net-zero and raise promises — and recognized the electoral upside. But right now, Conservatives are plunging in the opposite direction to their US counterparts, debating — amid soaring inflation and a cost-of-living emergency — measures favorable to Tory membership, such as high schools and corporate tax cuts, rather than the world or the evidence of how the pressing problems of our time can be addressed. Truss, widely regarded as the frontrunner, has retreated to outdated tropes of handout financial support and has virtually nothing to say about how she would reach net zero, both for her own sake and in response to the cost-of-living crisis. Nothing substantial is proposed to tackle the creeping, real privatization of the NHS, as those who can go private rather than languish on a waiting list.

It would be wrong to point to the United States and claim that they have their house in order or that the teachings can be read in a simplified way. But Biden and the activists and researchers around him are ambitiously forging a new kind of economic policy that seeks rapid decarbonization, relieves pressure on family coffers through collective provision, and taxes wealth and profits to fund it and quell inflationary pressures. The UK government – whoever is in charge – should take notice of the new economic policies rather than be left behind.

About Nina Snider

Check Also

Biggest economic crime in British history? – OpEd – Eurasia Review

So it’s official then. On Wednesday, on her first full day in office – just …