President Joe Biden swept into Pittsburgh last week to begin the next phase of his campaign to, as he puts it, “change the paradigm.”
Huh? The what?
The president is not just trying to cram his agenda into his first year or two in office, in case he loses the Congress like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama did. He is trying to do something much bigger: He wants to turn the guiding precept of the federal government from Reaganism back to Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal.
The current paradigm is that government is not the solution, it is the problem. Those are Ronald Reagan’s own words, repeated many times over many years. This was his political philosophy in a bumper sticker phrase, his mantra.
Presidents Obama and Clinton accepted the paradigm just as Dwight Eisenhower accepted the Rooseveltian paradigm.
Ike did not, for example, attempt to roll back Social Security, as many hard-right Republicans hoped he would.
Clinton even declared, “The era of big government is over.”
Biden disagrees. He clearly thinks there is a central role for government, at least at this moment.
He and his economic advisers came up with an almost $2 trillion economic rescue program, and the president somehow got it through Congress and did so quickly.
Biden now proposes an additional $2 trillion infrastructure rebuilding, broadband expansion, research and development, and green retrofitting plan, to be paid out over eight years and paid for over 15.