Last week President Joe Biden started selling his $2 trillion American Jobs Plan, which aims to address a legacy of underinvestment in the nation’s roads, bridges and pipes; create a new and competitive model for things like 5G and electric vehicles and also looks at the crucial role of human infrastructure — our workforce — to ensure that we can collectively and sustainably carry out this massive effort.
And, while there is no denying that the proposal offers a deeply transformational glimpse at our nation’s future, what many noticed during Biden’s speech last week was that he didn’t say the word “infrastructure” much at all. Instead, he focused on the idea that equity is inextricably tied to our nation’s legacy of infrastructural shortcomings. If it passes, it could usher in a new era of governance in an incredibly polarized political climate.
Listen: What could Biden’s big new plan for infrastructure mean for all of us in the months ahead?
Jeanna Smialek is a Federal Reserve and economy reporter at The New York Times where she has been writing about Biden’s $2 trillion American Jobs Plan and how it’s spurring debate over what infrastructure really means. ”It’s really sort of this broad, sweeping proposal that touches a lot of different buckets,” says Smialek of Biden’s plan.
As much as this plan is being approached through a lens of equity, Smialek says it’s indicative of a larger systemic change in how we understand and address issues as a society. “I think there is this growing recognition that you can’t have a growing economy if you’re not bringing people along.”