BIDEN TELLS AMERICANS: $2 TRILLION INFRA NEEDED TO BEAT BACK CHINA
Pushing for trillions of dollars in development spending, President Joe Biden and Democratic lawmakers are directing Americans’ eyes to the rear-view mirror, pointing to a booming, ambitious China they say is threatening to quickly overtake the United States in global clout and capacity, Ellen Knickmeyer and Lisa Mascaro reported for the Associated Press (AP).
It’s a national security pitch for a domestic spending program: that the $2 trillion proposal for investments in U.S. transport and energy, manufacturing, internet and other sectors will make the United States more competitive in the face of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s massive infrastructure-building campaign.
The argument is that competition today with China is more about economic and technological gains than arms — and its outcome will impact the United States’ financial growth and influence, its ability to defend U.S. security alliances and interests abroad, and the daily lives of Americans.
China under Xi has “an overall goal to become the leading country in the world, the wealthiest country in the world, and the most powerful country in the world,” Biden said before launching his proposal last week.
“That’s not going to happen on my watch because the United States is going to continue to grow and expand.” That pitch hasn’t won over Republicans. They say his proposal has been loaded down with unnecessary spending projects and that raising taxes will ultimately hurt the US economy.
Using urgent warnings of a rival’s advances to press for more infrastructure and research spending is a Cold War-tested technique. Past American presidents pointed to the Soviet Union while building up the US highway system, space program and arms stockpiles.
And in the case of infrastructure, Biden’s repeated warnings that China and other countries are “eating our lunch” are borne out by many crucial metrics, and by the observations of almost anyone who’s traveled abroad much.
In Congress, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is pushing legislation intended to pour technology research and development funding into the National Science Foundation and Commerce Department, to build U.S. semiconductor production, and strengthen domestic technology supply chains. Schumer’s aim, he says: “Bolster American competitiveness and counter the growing economic threats we face across the globe, especially from the Chinese Communist Party.”