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10 Challenges Biden Faces in Righting the Economy

  • January 20, 2021

Twelve years ago, President Barack Obama inherited an economy in free fall. Mr. Biden has better luck: The economy has rebounded significantly from the collapse last spring, in large part because of trillions of dollars in federal aid. Progress has slowed in recent months, however, and in December, it went into reverse as employers cut jobs in the face of the resurgent pandemic.

Mr. Biden’s first job will be to right the ship, something he proposes to do via a $1.9 trillion spending plan he announced last week. Once the immediate crisis passes, Mr. Biden will face a perhaps even more difficult set of challenges: healing the scars that the pandemic has left on families and communities, and addressing the deep-seated issues of inequality that have existed for decades but that the pandemic laid bare.

Ben Casselman

The recent decisions by Facebook, Twitter and other technology companies to cut off President Trump and right-wing groups sharply escalated the debate over online speech and the influence of Silicon Valley.

At the center of the debate is a law known as Section 230, which absolved websites of legal responsibility for the content they host. Republicans and some Democrats are calling to revise or revoke the law, while the powerful tech companies will probably resist major changes. The Biden administration also inherits the federal government’s antitrust lawsuits against Google and Facebook, and a Congress that continues to scrutinize the industry’s might.

Cecilia Kang

Mr. Biden has repeatedly declared that the federal tax code favors the rich and large corporations, and has proposed several measures to make them pay more, to finance spending on clean energy, infrastructure, education and other parts of his domestic agenda. He wants to roll back some of Mr. Trump’s 2017 tax cuts for people earning more than $400,000, and to raise rates on companies, high-earning investors and heirs to large fortunes. Mr. Biden will need to overcome resistance from business lobbyists and square his proposals with competing plans from top congressional Democrats, who also want to raise taxes on corporations and the rich, but often differ with Mr. Biden on how.

Jim Tankersley

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