The Guardian view on the US infrastructure plan: Joe Biden’s bold bet | Editorial

The president is trying to show America – and the world – that government is still capable of doing big things

President Joe Biden is governing like a man in a hurry. Three weeks ago, he persuaded the US Congress to pass his $1.9tn Covid stimulus package. This week, he began the task of building congressional support for an even larger jobs and infrastructure renewal plan. The package is worth at least another $2tn. It involves massive investment in transport, housing and commercial buildings, green jobs, social care and much else besides. Further spending plans on “human infrastructure” – in the shape of aid to the poor, to parents and to women – are expected in a few weeks’ time. The total cost may end up close to £4tn.

This week’s package involves several bold bets whose outcomes should be closely watched in America and beyond. Mr Biden’s central proposition is that the federal government can resume the activist role in economic growth that it played in the mid-20th century under leaders from Franklin Roosevelt to Richard Nixon. This comes with a second twist, that the activist role can deliver tens of thousands of well-paid and unionised climate change and clean-technology jobs, rather than those that involve pouring concrete or boosting fossil fuel consumption. Wrapped into this is a third gamble, that the United States can take on and defeat China and other Asian economies to become a global leader in the semiconductor, electric battery and electric vehicle industries.

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