Have the industrial policies behind “Bidenomics” been worthwhile? Sure, but the work is by no means finished.
It’s almost July of 2023, and buddy you better believe the 2024 campaign season has begun already. President Biden, in fact, just delivered what amounted to a campaign speech in Chicago on Wednesday, in which he defined the performance of the national economy during his first term, and highlighted many of the industrial policies he has signed into law.
“I came into office determined to change the economic direction of the country, to move from trickle-down economics to what everyone in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times began to call ‘Bidenomics,’” the president said. “I didn’t come up with the name. But I’m happy to call it Bidenomics.
“Bidenomics is working. When I took office, the pandemic was raging and our economy was reeling. Supply chains were broken, millions of people were unemployed. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses were on the verge of closing. Today, the U.S. has the highest economic growth rate in the world.”
The economy is performing well, Biden argued, because of the enormous investment bills Congress has passed since he became president: the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act. These are industrial policies run through with Buy America rules that have led to significant industrial investment across the country, and Biden is eager to talk them up.
And look: The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is eager to talk those achievements up, too. And if you follow us on social media, listen to our podcast, or regularly read our website – you are well aware we do, and know just how tied in we are to matters of domestic manufacturing policy.
We want more production taking place in the United States because it promotes a healthy economy and national security.
But this is a goal that’s still largely unaccomplished. Has there been a manufacturing boom in the United States during Biden’s first term? Yes. Factory construction by dollars spent has more than doubled and there has been a surge of jobs in the sector. But “it would be a mistake for the administration to view the industrial policy achievements as ‘mission accomplished,’” argues AAM President Scott Paul:
“Only a fraction of the investments and new incentives have been fully implemented. Special interests are seeking to weaken Biden’s ‘Made in America’ requirements. The data shows ‘nearshoring’ and ‘friendshoring’ may crowd out efforts to bring production all the way back to the United States. Our nation still faces dangerous dependencies for medicine, rare earth minerals, and other critical goods.
“The Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the CHIPS and Science Act must be viewed as first steps, and not the last word.
The upshot, as we see it: Sure, talk up these industrial policies for the obvious achievements that they are. But, continue the work that’s unfinished! Fully implement the Buy America rules that pass with them. Fully reshore critical supply chains so that the most powerful economy in the world isn’t crippled by shortages the next time a black swan event like a pandemic hits. Push the reshoring of manufacturing further.
You can find the full AAM quote here, and watch President Biden’s entire Bidenomics speech below: