Commentary: American Jobs Plan — Moving Forward

April 01, 2021

Much of the public policy and governmental spending focus to date regarding COVID recovery has been just that: recovery. The infrastructure proposal, the America Jobs Plan (AJP), President Biden unveiled this week represents his proposal to start moving forward.  In remarks about the proposal, he described it as “not a plan that tinkers around the edges,” a “once-in-a-generation investment” that will lead to “transformational progress.”

The breadth of the plan and its heavy focus on science, technology, innovation and manufacturing should excite SSTI Weekly Digest readers. Issues that we’ve covered for more than two decades (e.g., digital divide, increasing our R&D investment, regional disparities) are addressed in a scale we have never seen a president propose before.

There are a lot of details still to be sorted out. The initial public document outlining the AJP is similar to the executive summary of the annual federal budget: plenty of big numbers wrapped around carefully selected words but short on details or even many breakdowns below the top line figures.    

The AJP might not pass in any shape resembling the proposal offered by President Biden yesterday in Pittsburgh — the political publications are filled with analysis about objections to the plan from all sides — but perhaps it will finally trigger a deeper national policy discussion about our country’s future. It has been painfully absent in the bitter partisanship that has dominated most of American politics for far too long.

policy, tbed