Joe Biden hasn’t even been president for five months. But some in the media are already beginning to think about the 46th president’s legacy.
“Whether Joe Biden’s presidency will be as transformative as many are hoping remains to be seen,” Smith wrote. “But if it does turn out to be one of those pivot-of-history kind of presidencies, like that of Ronald Reagan or Franklin D. Roosevelt, what will be the big economic policy idea that comes out of it? For Reagan, it was tax cuts. For Biden, it will probably be cash benefits.”
It isn’t just the $1,400 stimulus checks either. The expanded child tax credit could prove just as important.
“Cash benefits have several advantages on top of being far more convenient and simple than America’s traditional approach to welfare. Instead of telling people what to spend their money on, cash lets people decide for themselves,” Smith wrote.
“Though there are some exceptions, in general people know what they need better than government policymakers do. Some people might need to pay to get their car out of the tow lot; others might spend the money on night classes; still others might cover an emergency medical expense, or pay for child care or help out an ailing family member. Government can’t anticipate all of these needs; cash covers them all.”
"If there’s one enduring idea to come out of Bidenomics, it’s a good bet that cash benefits will be it,” Smith concluded.
Meanwhile, a Washington Post column, also published this week, questioned whether Biden’s “bold first 100 days were a mirage.”
Perry Bacon, Jr., pointed to the passage of the Rescue Plan in the first three months of Biden’s presidency while noting there have been fewer victories in the months since. He also laid out several reasons why the Democrats may have been more timid, from what he sees as an overemphasis on bipartisanship to too much concentration on polling to what he calls “a mistaken view of the electorate.”
“It’s still early, and no president is ever fully unfettered in our system. It will always be hard to tell the difference between a Biden constrained by forces beyond his control and one hemmed in by the self-imposed limits of outdated thinking and old norms. And maybe there are aggressive moves coming soon. But after seeing the past 50 days of the Biden administration, I am much less confident that this will be a presidency of bold action than I was after the first 100.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.