AFTER the hardship of the Great Depression, the United States showed the world how to rise from the rubbles, reinventing itself by using the challenges as opportunities to become the global leader in progress and economy.
This was made possible by the boldness and vision of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the New Deal, the domestic program implemented between 1933 and 1939, which brought about immediate economic relief to the American people, and instituted reforms in industry, agriculture, finance, waterpower, labor, and housing, Britannica reported.
“The New Deal also created new agencies to fund projects across the country that both improved communities and provided jobs at a time when unemployment was high”, the History Channel chronicled. The expanded government-funded projects to build and improve the country’s infrastructure, including roads, dams, schools, airports and parks.
As a result, the labor force that powered the new deal grew in number and protection under the law, paved the way to expand and empower the middle class.
Dream homes for these hard-working Americans rose in the suburbs, strong communities were built that offered free excellent public school education, and affordable public universities provided avenues for upward economic mobility.
From the era of the New Deal came safety nets that invested in the empowered people. President Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, providing pensions to the workers in their old age. After the war and despite conflicting interests, Medicare was passed in 1965, providing hospital insurance for the aged, physicians’ insurance for the elderly, and expanded federal assistance to supplement state medical payments for the poor.
However, the White House reported that “Public domestic investment as a share of the economy has fallen by more than 40% since the 1960s.”
“The United States of America is the wealthiest country in the world, yet we rank 13th when it comes to the overall quality of our infrastructure. After decades of disinvestment, our roads, bridges, and water systems are crumbling. Our electric grid is vulnerable to catastrophic outages. Too many lack access to affordable, high-speed Internet and to quality housing.
The past year has led to job losses and threatened economic security, eroding more than 30 years of progress in women’s labor force participation. It has unmasked the fragility of our caregiving infrastructure. And, our nation is falling behind its biggest competitors on research and development (R&D), manufacturing, and training. It has never been more important for us to invest in strengthening our infrastructure and competitiveness, and in creating the good-paying, union jobs of the future.”
This is now our reality as the nation and the people’s problems became exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.
We cannot allow America to continue to rest in its laurels, ignoring the fact that we have been descending from our leadership position in progress. Worse, we cannot anymore turn a blind eye to the reality that the government has been neglecting the needs of the very people that powered America’s ascent to greatness and prosperity, because it has been catering more to the needs and interests of the billionaires and millionaires for decades.
The challenge is now being met head-on by President Joe Biden through the American Jobs Plan, which, according to the White House, “will invest in America in a way we have not invested since we built the interstate highways and won the Space Race.”
Let me excite you with possibilities and the hope for a bigger, brighter, stronger future for us, ordinary hardworking Americans about The American Jobs Plan from whitehouse.gov:
The American Jobs Plan
This is the moment to reimagine and rebuild a new economy. The American Jobs Plan is an investment in America that will create millions of good jobs, rebuild our country’s infrastructure, and position the United States to out-compete China.
Like great projects of the past, the President’s plan will unify and mobilize the country to meet the great challenges of our time: the climate crisis and the ambitions of an autocratic China.
It will invest in Americans and deliver the jobs and opportunities they deserve. But unlike past major investments, the plan prioritizes addressing long-standing and persistent racial injustice.
The plan targets 40 percent of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities. And, the plan invests in rural communities and communities impacted by the market-based transition to clean energy.
Specifically, President Biden’s plan will:
• Fix highways, rebuild bridges, upgrade ports, airports and transit systems
• Deliver clean drinking water, a renewed electric grid, and high-speed broadband to all Americans
• Build, preserve, and retrofit more than two million homes and commercial buildings, modernize our nation’s schools and child care facilities, and upgrade veterans’ hospitals and federal buildings.
• Solidify the infrastructure of our care economy by creating jobs and raising wages and benefits for essential home care workers.
• Revitalize manufacturing, secure U.S. supply chains, invest in Research and Development (R&D), and train Americans for the jobs of the future.
• Create good-quality jobs that pay prevailing wages in safe and healthy workplaces while ensuring workers have a free and fair choice to organize, join a union, and bargain collectively with their employers.
It is time! It is OUR time to rise from the ashes after the coronavirus pandemic!
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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.
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Gel Santos Relos has been in news, talk, public service and educational broadcasting since 1989 with ABS-CBN and is now serving the Filipino audience using different platforms, including digital broadcasting, and print, and is working on a new public service program for the community. You may contact her through email at email@example.com, or send her a message via Facebook at Facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos.