To carry out his $3 trillion infrastructure plan and ensure its success, President Joe Biden needs to embrace his inner Franklin D. Roosevelt and forge a 21st-century New Deal.
Biden’s desire to establish a consequential legacy is setting the stage for federal investments in public infrastructure that have not been seen since the 1930s. In a March 2 meeting with academic historians, Biden quipped about comparing himself to Franklin D. Roosevelt — the 32nd president who oversaw massive policy interventions and public investments in response to the Great Depression of 1929.
Roosevelt introduced a bold set of policies to stave devastation and prompt an economic recovery. The New Deal policies of the 1930s ranged from establishing Social Security, federal housing, work relief and infrastructure development programs to guaranteeing fair labor standards and collective bargaining rights. People received good-paying jobs building our nation’s highways. Homes in rural areas received electricity for the first time.