BERKELEY – As of early 2022, the fate of US President Joe Biden’s ambitious plan for delivering an equitable and sustainable economic recovery is uncertain. Failure to pass the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) Act would be a major lost opportunity. The legislation would boost the economy at a time of heightened COVID-19 risk. Without it, Goldman Sachs projects that first-quarter GDP growth in the United States could be a full percentage point lower than it would have been.
Even more important, BBB investments would reduce childhood poverty; provide support for working families struggling to balance care and work responsibilities; and address climate risks, providing a sound foundation for sustainable and equitable prosperity over the coming decade. These forms of public spending are broadly popular, and not just among Democratic voters.
For now, however, Senate Republicans and two Democrats from Republican-leaning states are standing in the way of meaningful federal action. Meanwhile, California, which has generated a historic budget surplus from its strong economy and record capital-gains tax revenues, is now making significant investments to support children, working families, and climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, providing a model for policymakers in other states and at the national level.
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