United States President Joe Biden speaks on the March job report in the State Dining Room of the White House on April 2, 2021 in Washington, DC.
President Joe Biden unveiled a $ 2 trillion infrastructure program in Pittsburgh Thursday, aimed at urban planning that will drive blacks from their communities and other economic disparities, according to the New York Times.
The be-all and end-all of the plan is to repair derelict roads, bridges, railroad lines, and other aspects of the economy to redefine the way government builds communities. Basically, Biden says the way we built communities back then was really racist, and to make up for that, we’re pouring billions of dollars into people with colored neighborhoods.
An example that illustrates how the infrastructure was built with racist intent is that of an elevated road built through the center of Claiborne Avenue in New Orleans in the late 1960s. It ended dozens of black-owned businesses and destroyed tree-lined streets full of blacks trying in vain to stop the project.
More than 60 years later, Biden’s plan is working to reverse this by replacing lead pipes in cities that have suffered from water poisoning and the removal of environmental hazards in Latinx communities and tribal communities. It would also fund worker training programs for underserved communities and money for homeworkers, usually women of skin color and severely underpaid. That’s in the first phase of the plan.
The second phase will fill gaps related to racial opportunities in universal preschool and affordable higher education. Since this is a new initiative, the details will likely change as they make the rounds of Congress.
The story goes on
The plan includes a corporate tax hike, which Republicans have raised concerns. But liberal economists praise the plan, according to the Times:
“This is a promising start,” said Trevon Logan, an economist at Ohio State University whose work includes studies of how government spending projects, like the one that built the freeway system, have excluded or hurt Americans who are not white .
Most of the Plan’s Racial Justice effort is not a transportation or environmental project, but rather a $ 400 billion investment in home care for elderly and disabled Americans. This would increase the wages of nurses who are mostly poorly paid, female and not white.
Another proponent of the plan agrees:
“It is the first job program to focus primarily on the work of women of skin color,” said Mary Kay Henry, president of the Service Employees International Union. “It will change the lives of blacks, browns and Asians and entire communities.”
Compared to its European and Asian counterparts, the American infrastructure is in terrible shape. While countries like France, England, China, and Japan provide access to bullet trains, Americans are stuck with Amtrak railroads collapsing like hoopties. Our airports lag behind those in other developed nations, and our over-reliance on cars and lack of public transportation are causing health problems in the United States
If this bill is to see the light of day, Biden must act quickly. Democrats have a small majority in Congress, and halftime is next year. If they don’t play their cards properly and quickly, the Democrats could lose both houses, and this promising infrastructure bill will not be signed into law.