The inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr. marks the start of a new era in the United States, one full of challenges and opportunities. As Biden takes the helm of the country, analysts are carefully reviewing the issues that lie ahead, from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy to racial inequality and climate change. This is a rare and difficult hour, but with the right leadership, the United States can rise to the challenges and become a stronger, more equitable, and more unified nation.
With Biden’s inauguration as starting line, analysts probe the challenges ahead, issue by issue, in this ‘rare and difficult hour’
Joe Biden was sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on January 20, 2021. He promised a new, post-Trump era of unity and hope for a better future, after a tumultuous four-year term under the Trump administration marred by issues of pandemic response, socioeconomic inequality and divisive rhetoric. Biden’s inauguration was unique in that several of his first orders in office directly reversed those taken by his predecessor—ending US involvement in the Paris climate accord and reinstating some Obama-era policies such as DACA.
As he works to unify the country, he will face challenges both internal (such as addressing Covid-19) and external (such as relations with Iran). The Biden administration has outlined four key goals to guide their initiatives:
- Restoring trust through an ethical White House;
- Rebuilding an economy that works for everyone and targets racial equity;
- Leading with science to combat Covid-19; and
- Promoting American leadership abroad.
These goals will provide the direction for legislative initiatives during his presidency. The Biden administration hopes to make quick progress on some of these key issues through executive actions alone—like extending judicial watch orders designed to protect immigrant children and family reunification.
In addition to reversing some policies put forth by his predecessor, Joe Biden has proposed policy initiatives such as establishing climate action task forces, increasing transparency around healthcare laws like Medicaid expansion or affordable healthcare premiums, providing relief funds during Covid-19 aid packages and implementing criminal justice reform measures like reinstating voting rights for former felons. By balancing these policy changes with restoring public confidence in government institutions at home and enhancing America’s presence on global stages abroad , Joe Biden’s election victories bring optimism that he can successfully bring about meaningful change during his tenure as president.
Analysing the Challenges Ahead
The Biden Administration enters office amidst a turbulent political division, an ongoing global pandemic, and immense economic hardship for millions of Americans. President Biden and his team are faced with the challenge of finding effective solutions to these issues while navigating through a fragmented public opinion landscape, affording each effort its unique strategic approach.
In analysing the current state of affairs, President Biden has identified multiple challenges that require urgent attention and response. These include:
- Addressing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic
- Rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure
- Promoting job creation and access to higher wages and education opportunities
- Taking action on climate change and racial injustice
- Reforming health care policies
- Enhancing national security measures
Each challenge calls for comprehensive evaluation to create lasting policy decisions that effectively address each issue.
The level of complexity in supporting the nation through these challenges requires both short-term solutions as well as long-term goals for maximum impact. This entails assessing existing programs from different angles— not only the perspectives from health care reformers or rejoining Paris Climate Agreement proponents; but also consulting economists regarding labour support initiatives or economists regarding job growth opportunities when drafting policy objectives designed to tackle unemployment levels.
Overall, considerable effort may be required in meeting each challenge head on – in doing so could lead to rectifying existing disparities within our society while advancing progress across different aspects of our lives ahead into 2021 and beyond.
Analysts are looking to President Joe Biden’s inauguration as the starting line for many economic issues that his new administration must address. With millions of Americans facing unemployment, stimulus spending stalled and the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to ravage the global economy, the Biden administration will tackle these issues and more in the coming years.
Let’s explore the economy challenges ahead:
In the first quarter of 2021, the Biden administration will likely focus on economic stimulus and relief packages to mitigate the economic harm caused by the fallout from the global COVID-19 pandemic. This could include providing additional aid to households, small businesses, and other hard-hit sectors of the U.S. economy; introducing payroll tax credits for employers that retain workers; and/or providing funding for states and localities affected by dramatic revenue losses due to pandemic lockdowns.
The Biden Administration has also indicated that it is looking carefully at ways to further expand government spending programs to create jobs and provide benefits for citizens out of work due to decisions made by COVID-19. This will likely take the form of:
- Infrastructure investment on roads, bridges, broadband internet expansion, public housing construction/repairs and other public works projects.
- Proposing new social safety modes like extended unemployment insurance benefits or rental assistance programs.
If these packages can be effectively implemented they will not only provide short term stimulus but could result in long lasting improvements in overall economic competitiveness once dependent businesses begin operating again leading to an overall positive impact on employment levels over time. Ultimately these measures need to be taken with caution as increases in taxes could have a detrimental effect on an already struggling economy. Still, with correctly targeted benevolent fiscal policy these moves could generate a rejuvenation across key sectors such as tourism and hospitality and spur innovation which translates into long term job creation essential for a sustained recovery from this ongoing pandemic version affecting people around the world.
Tax reform is a major economic policy focus for many governments around the world. It involves major changes to the current structure of taxation. It is typically used to simplify or improve taxation efficiency, stimulate economic growth and equity, and raise additional government revenue. Tax reform can take many forms, from introducing new taxes and adjusting existing ones, to changing how tax rates are determined.
In general, most tax reforms aim to reduce taxes on businesses and individuals by making changes that offset increases in public spending and reduce public debt. However, tax reform can also involve broadening the tax base by eliminating exemptions or deductions that favour certain groups and changing eligibility rules for credits or deductions that can affect taxpayers of all income levels. In some cases, these reforms may also address global issues such as environmental sustainability.
The impact of tax reforms on economic growth depends heavily on their features and design. For example, a reduction in corporate taxes could lead to greater investment in business activities by encouraging long-term business planning; however, if personal income taxes are lowered at a rate higher than the rate at which businesses pay taxes this could undermine economic growth due to an over-expansionary fiscal policy resulting in inflationary pressures. Therefore, governments must address equity implications (fairness) and efficiency when designing their tax reforms if they wish to maximise any potential benefits.
Job creation is a domestic and international issue for the Biden administration. This includes creating good jobs that pay a living wage, provide:
- Social protection, and build collective bargaining power.
- Improving quality and security of work.
- Reducing working hours.
- Raising the minimum wage.
The Biden administration is committed to helping those most adversely affected by the pandemic—black, brown, indigenous, women, the young and the old. Expansion of apprenticeships and employment centres are needed if youth unemployment is to be fought against effectively. In addition, policies like immigration reform will play an important role in expanding opportunities for jobseekers as well as employers in search of employees with particular skills sets.
REACH (Reconstruction of Economy After Covid-19 Hits) is an economic relief program created by President Biden which would inject $2 trillion into the economy to help create jobs for workers hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic. The plan includes:
- Extending unemployment benefits
- Providing coronavirus stimulus checks
- Creating an emergency tax credit structure for businesses affected by closures or reduced business due to COVID-19 restrictions
- Increasing direct cash assistance for families in poverty levels impacted by lost wages or other financial losses due to COVID-19 restrictions
- Passing a major infrastructure investment plan which will create thousands of jobs across multiple industries such as construction, engineering and healthcare sectors.
This policy package seeks to promote job growth from all angles:
- Government support initiatives
- Additional training opportunities
- Reduced taxes (especially payroll taxes)
- More public investment in infrastructure projects
- Workforce development programs aimed at young people who are entering or reentering the labour force
- Increased resources for small businesses with loans/grants/tax incentives/etc.
- Incentivizing relocation costs+training expenses tied to job relocation
- Modernization of safety standards + enforcement mechanisms across industry sectors
Together these policy elements will help strengthen economic recovery efforts while protecting vulnerable groups from being left behind.
As President Joe Biden’s inauguration marks the starting line of his four-year term, there are many challenges that lie ahead. One of the biggest challenges that the Biden Administration will face is healthcare.
Access to good health care is an issue that affects people across the country and a top priority for the Biden Administration. In addition, with the ongoing pandemic, there is an urgent need to work towards providing quality affordable healthcare for everyone.
In this ‘rare and difficult hour’, let us take a look at the issues and challenges that lie ahead for the Biden Administration when it comes to healthcare:
Affordable Care Act
The Affordable Care Act (ACA), enacted in 2010 and heavily modified under the Trump Administration, has had a major impact on healthcare in the United States. The ACA was designed to expand access to healthcare coverage by providing government subsidies for individuals and families with lower incomes and tax credits for businesses that offer healthcare. However, despite its initial success, the ACA’s future remains uncertain under the Biden Administration.
In addition to addressing existing gaps in insurance coverage, the Biden administration must also consider how to improve quality of care and reduce high healthcare costs. This includes reforming existing drug policy and privatisation of certain services which have resulted in higher out-of-pocket expenses for patients due to increasing monopolies on health care service providers.
The Biden Administration must create equitable policies that are more inclusive and accessible to all populations, particularly those who experience disparities due to systemic inequities such as race or disability status. Additionally, they will need to look into ways to improve back office operations like claims management, which can ultimately lead to reduced administrative costs while increasing information transparency. Finally, they will need to consider ways of leveraging advances in technological innovation like machine learning and artificial intelligence which present innovative solutions across various areas of healthcare provision including diagnostics and reimbursements.
Throughout the 2020 election and in the early weeks of President Biden’s term, his administration has highlighted the importance of lowering prescription drug prices. Unfortunately, drug prices have been significantly increasing yearly despite efforts from multiple previous administrations to curb them. This has left many Americans unable to afford essential medicines.
The Pharmaceutical Industry is one of the most profitable industries in the United States. It continually works to increase patent exclusivity and lobby government officials on their behalf to ensure their profits remain steady. With a pro-regulation approach during his campaign, President Biden has promised legislation that will address rising drug prices by curbing profit margins or renegotiating drug pricing agreements between pharmaceutical companies, insurance companies and healthcare providers.
Some potential legislation that could come forward includes:
- Allowing importation of drugs from foreign countries and requiring transparency around drug pricing makes it easier to determine reasonable prices for particular drugs.
- Expanded use of generics.
- Giving federal negotiators more power in negotiations with pharmaceutical companies over Medicare Part D drug plans for seniors.
The administration is also exploring ideas for capping out-of-pocket costs for families with high prescription costs, lowering rebate rates and marketing spending by pharmaceutical companies, as well as changes to patent law that would allow generics access to patented medications sooner than currently allowed by law.
The challenge ahead becomes how much push back the Biden Administration will receive from Pharmaceutical corporations while looking at measures aimed at achieving lower prices while still fostering innovation in terms of treatment modalities and improved patient care outcomes within America’s healthcare system.
Mental health is increasingly becoming an issue of concern in America and the Biden Administration will face a challenging landscape in regards to it. Mental health encompasses both psychological and emotional wellbeing, and numerous issues hamper access to appropriate care. These include:
- Lack of coordination between psychiatric and primary care
- Fragmentation of services among agencies
- A shortage of mental health professionals
- Inequalities in access to services due to financial or geographic factors
- Cost barriers to accessing the mental healthcare system
- The complexities of addressing mental health needs for people with multiple chronic conditions.
The Biden Administration has prioritised improving access to mental healthcare services for citizens by implementing long-term strategies such as increasing funding for community-based mental health programs and increasing public awareness about mental health. Additionally, proposed reforms include standards for mental healthcare providers, insurance coverage reforms that would eliminate administrative hurdles for those seeking care, allowing individuals with substance abuse disorders to use Medicare benefits for residential treatment settings such as rural settings or long term care centres outside of hospitals, providing support for broader integration between physical and behavioural health systems under telehealth providers coverage rules, developing interventions promoting early identification and proactive management of depression in primary care settings.
Ultimately these reforms could help ensure better delivery systems focusing on providing comprehensive team-based support with well established links between specialty psychiatry services & primary care, improved collaboration & communication between providers within different disciplines & practices.
With these strategies put into action, the Biden Administration is taking positive steps towards providing accessible quality healthcare that meets everyone’s needs including those with mental illnesses.
One of the top policy issues on the Biden Administration’s agenda is immigration reform. With Biden’s inauguration as the starting point, analysts are already probing the challenges ahead regarding immigration policy.
Throughout his election campaign, Biden promised to make comprehensive immigration reform a priority. He has committed to protecting Dreamers, restoring the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and reuniting separated families. However, the path ahead is still fraught with difficulty, and more work needs to be done to ensure that immigration reform is successful.
The construction of the southern border wall between the United States and Mexico is one of the most controversial issues facing the new Biden administration. Although President Biden has vowed to undo much of his predecessor’s policies and end the construction on “invisible walls” that prevent immigrants from seeking refuge in our country, it is unclear what steps he will take to address existing border walls.
Hurdles to reversing existing wall construction include:
- Financial costs associated with tearing down already existing border barriers;
- How the demolition would be handled;
- Logistical challenges between federal and state governments;
- Potential disruptions to nearby ecosystems and homeowners living near the U.S.-Mexico Border;
- As well as potential legal ramifications.
Although there are several politically charged arguments regarding immigration policies that have risen under successive presidential administrations, certain questions remain: will current or additional wall construction impede cross-border migration by deterring or banning asylum seekers? What path may be taken to encourage safe, legal migration while ensuring national security?
How can a new immigration policy balance national security with compassion? As President Biden faces this monumental task of addressing illegal immigration without alienating millions of potential voters, it remains to be seen precisely how this situation will play out in the coming months.
The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is a key priority for the Biden administration. This program provides temporary relief from deportation and work authorization to Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. The Trump administration had sought to end DACA but were blocked by two Supreme Court rulings. However, the Biden administration has taken several steps towards supporting Dreamers and has already extended the deadline for DACA renewals.
Biden has also called on Congress to pass legislation granting legal status and a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, supported by 79% of Americans in a recent survey and is part of his larger immigration reform plan. Biden’s plan also includes:
- Increasing personnel at legal points of entry
- Extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) programs
- Protecting vulnerable families from deportation
He has promised to implement these changes within his first 100 days in office and his proposed $4 billion budget includes funding for these new initiatives. However, as the Biden administration moves forward with implementing its immigration agenda, many questions remain about what is next for Dreamers, as well as all other immigrant communities living in the United States.
The Biden Administration has indicated a strong commitment to re-establishing the United States’ commitment to refugee protection, which was eroded in the prior Administration. President Biden is expected to take several actions over his first 100 days in office to accomplish this goal.
- Increase the annual refugee admissions cap to at least 125,000 for Fiscal Year 2021 and raise it yearly until a more permanent policy can be implemented.
- Direct U.S embassies and consulates abroad to more actively resettle refugees from other countries.
Although these proposed changes signal a shift away from current policies, they do not alter existing restrictions on asylum seekers and those fleeing persecution due to their race, religion or political beliefs or nationality-based restrictions implemented by executive order by the prior Administration.
Advocates hope that when crafting his Administration’s solution for those fleeing persecution abroad and those seeking entry into the U.S., President Biden will keep in mind that humanitarian and national security imperatives require an approach that balances access and fairness alongside rigorous background checks and other safeguards.
One of the key challenges that President Biden and his administration will face in the coming years is climate change. The effects of climate change have been long felt, and the Biden administration will have to take rapid action to tackle the issue and secure a sustainable future.
This section will delve into the various challenges that the Biden administration will have to face to address the effects of climate change:
The Biden administration is committed to make climate change a priority. To do this, they plan to focus on transitioning the US economy from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and geothermal. To achieve this goal, the Biden team plans to invest in research and development projects, provide renewables tax credits, eliminate fossil fuel subsidies, and establish an international Clean Energy Standard. This new standard sets an ambitious target of producing 100 percent of the nation’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2050.
In addition to reducing emissions from power plants, the Biden plan focuses on emissions from vehicles. The President has vowed that by 2035 all new cars sold in the United States will be electric powered vehicles. Additionally, State governments are expected to adopt higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars which are estimated to save American drivers up to $4 trillion in costs over time.
To ensure that low-income Americans are not left behind during this transition period, the President plans to create job programs centred around providing access to IT training and education related to renewable energy career paths such as solar installation technicians or wind turbine operators. As more jobs become available in renewable sectors these initiatives aim to provide equitable economic opportunities while contributing toward America’s growing green economy.
The Biden administration has the monumental task of addressing some of the most pressing environmental challenges that humankind has ever faced. A dramatic reduction in carbon emissions is necessary to limit further climate change and mitigate many other environmental damages. The team will need to shape policy around mitigating carbon emissions from land, air and sea, which includes decisions about energy sources, transportation, agriculture and industry standards.
Within these strategies for reducing carbon emissions are numerous opportunities for innovation and creativity, such as market incentives and regulations designed to encourage clean or renewable energy sources over fossil fuels. Other policy directives may focus on efficiency upgrades or improved standards aimed at decreasing gasoline or diesel fuel consumption by freight companies, automobiles and aeroplanes.
The agricultural sector also presents an opportunity for major improvements – transitioning towards more sustainable practices that minimise synthetic fertilizers and chemicals used on farmland can stimulate more efficient production yields while improving soil health. Possible tools in this area could include targeted investments in low-input agriculture methods and educational initiatives.
Increasing awareness about the importance of minimising our impact on global climate change is essential for fostering a collective movement toward a healthier planet; citizens everywhere must be included in these efforts to make lasting progress toward solving this crisis.
Environmental regulations are critical in combating climate change and the Biden administration has committed to taking action. Regulations establish the rules of the road regarding how consumers, corporations, and other entities interact with natural resources and play an essential role in ensuring a safe and prosperous future. While regulations can be costly, when done correctly, they can simultaneously foster innovation and an improved quality of life.
Regulations will vary based on the jurisdiction in which they are settled. Still, most environmental regulations attempt to limit or reserve certain natural resources and mitigate or prevent adverse impacts on human health or ecosystems due to resource extraction or utilisation activities. Examples may include setting limits on air pollutant emissions, regulating disposal of hazardous waste materials and creating restrictions on water use for nations or states with limited supplies.
Additionally, governments have implemented regulations that incentivize businesses to pursue green solutions that minimise their environmental impacts such as promoting green energy sources like solar or wind power instead of traditional fossil fuels. Such incentives can come in the form of tax credits for companies that develop new technology solutions or fund conservation efforts such as reforestation projects in affected areas. Lastly, governments often implement renewable portfolio standards that create targets for renewable energy utilisation to decrease reliance on fossil fuels.
The Biden administration has already taken steps towards increasing regulations, but exponential progress will be necessary to significantly decrease global emissions levels to impact world temperatures meaningfully over time. It is a challenge that only collective effort worldwide will rise to meet.
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