Biden talks nutrition, cover crops but not tax increases
In his address to Congress this week, President Biden talked about increases in nutrition programs and the importance of cover crops in fighting climate change, but did not emphasize the importance of tax increases on farmers and ranchers.
In the speech, Biden started off by noting that after he promised 100 million COVID-19 vaccine shots in 100 days, “we will have provided over 220 million COVID shots in 100 days,” including those that have been delivered to nearly 40,000 pharmacies and over 700 community health centers and from mobile units in hard-to-reach areas.
When he was sworn in, Biden noted, less than 1% of seniors were fully vaccinated against COVID-19; 100 days later, nearly 70% of seniors are fully protected.
But he noted that “one of the defining images of this crisis has been cars lined up for miles waiting for a box of food to be put in the trunk.”
“Did you ever think you’d see that in America?” Biden asked. “That’s why the American Rescue Plan is delivering food and nutrition assistance to millions of Americans facing hunger – and hunger is down sharply already.”
The American Jobs Plan, he said, “creates jobs connecting every American with high-speed Internet, including 35% of rural Americans who still don’t have it.”
“Nearly 90% of the infrastructure jobs created in the American Jobs Plan do not require a college degree,” he said. “75% do not require an associate’s degree. The American Jobs Plan is a blue-collar blueprint to build America.”
In talking about his proposals to pay for his proposals, Biden said, “We take the top tax bracket for the wealthiest 1% of Americans – those making $400,000 or more – back up to 39.6%. That’s where it was when George W. Bush became president. We’re going to get rid of the loopholes that allow Americans who make more than $1 million a year pay a lower rate on their capital gains than working Americans pay on their work.”
But Biden did not discuss his proposals to eliminate the stepped-up basis in estate taxes that would have an impact on farmers and ranchers.
Shifting to the international situation, Biden said, “We’re in a competition with China and other countries to win the 21st century.”
“We have to do more than just build back. We have to build back better,” he said.
“Throughout our history, public investments and infrastructure have transformed America.
“The transcontinental railroad and interstate highways united two oceans and brought us into a totally new age of progress.
“Universal public school and college aid opened wide the doors of opportunity.
“Scientific breakthroughs took us to the moon and now to Mars, discovered vaccines, and gave us the Internet and so much more.
“These are the investments we make together, as one country, and that only government can make.
“Time and again, they propel us into the future.
“That’s why I proposed The American Jobs Plan — a once-in-a-generation investment in America itself.”
Biden continued, “Decades ago we used to invest 2% of our GDP on research and development. Today, we spend less than 1%. China and other countries are closing in fast.
“We have to develop and dominate the products and technologies of the future: advanced batteries, biotechnology, computer chips, and clean energy.”
Returning to domestic policy, Biden said, “Let’s reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, an issue of great importance on Indian reservations.
“It will close the so-called ‘boyfriend’ loophole to keep guns out of the hands of abusers,” Biden said.
“It’s estimated that more than 50 women are shot and killed by an intimate partner – every month in America.”
The American Jobs Plan will include “farmers planting cover crops, so they can reduce carbon dioxide in the air and get paid for doing it,” Biden said.
“There’s no reason the blades for wind turbines can’t be built in Pittsburgh instead of Beijing,” he added.
Near the end of his speech, Biden said, “We need a ban on assault weapons and high-capacity magazines again. Don’t tell me it can’t be done. We’ve done it before … and it worked.
“Talk to most responsible gun owners, most hunters – they’ll tell you there’s no possible justification for having 100 rounds – 100 bullets – in a weapon.
“They will tell you that there are too many people today who are able to buy a gun, but who shouldn’t be able to.
“These kinds of reasonable reforms have the overwhelming support of the American people – including many gun owners.
“The country supports reform, and the Congress should act.”
–The Hagstrom Report
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