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Biden infrastructure plan could be big boost for blue-collar America

CommoditiesMar 31, 2021 12:30PM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. Work crews continue to work on the construction of a freeway overpass in Encinitas 2/2

By Nandita Bose

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Joe Biden's massive infrastructure plan would create millions of jobs, undoing some of the economic damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic, economists said, with lower middle-income workers and minorities possibly benefiting the most.

Biden will unveil the first stage of his $2 trillion plan on Wednesday at an event in Pittsburgh. It will include hundreds of billions of dollars devoted to building and repairing roads, bridges, mass transit, schools and other infrastructure, according to details released by the White House earlier on Wednesday.

About 75% of the infrastructure jobs created would go to workers with no more than a high school diploma, while the rest would require an associate's degree or higher, Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW) in Washington said in a report.

The report, issued before the White House released the details of the infrastructure plan, analyzed jobs that would be created by a $1.5 trillion investment.

CEW estimates the investment would create 8 million jobs for workers with a high school diploma or less and 4.8 million jobs for those with more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor's degree.

"What's interesting is that this plan really gives them a chance to create opportunity for people who have a high school degree or less," Nicole Smith, research professor and chief economist at Georgetown's CEW, told Reuters.

Smith said the pandemic had exacerbated a trend that has seen the United States continue to bleed blue-collar jobs over the past 10 years.

Biden, a Democrat, has constantly positioned himself as a pro-labor president and advocated for policies such as raising the minimum wage and those that make it easier for workers to unionize.

His infrastructure plan also takes square aim at racial inequalities. "Unlike past major investments, the plan prioritizes addressing long-standing and persistent racial injustice," according to a fact sheet with details of the plan shared by the White House.

For example, new investments in transportation addresses highways that physically divided communities. The new plan includes $20 billion for a new program that reconnects neighborhoods and promotes access.

There is also a $213 billion investment to produce, and retrofit more than 2 million affordable homes for low-income homebuyers and a plan to target 40% of the benefits of climate and clean infrastructure investments to disadvantaged communities.

It also offers a tax credit to communities of color and low-to-middle-income families and businesses to invest in disaster resilience and relocation assistance.

POLITICAL PLAY

Voters without a college degree have increasingly sided with Republicans in recent years. The infrastructure plan, which is expected to be contentious in a Congress narrowly controlled by Democrats, could give Biden's party a chance to reverse that trend, economists said.

Dean Baker, senior economist for the Washington-based Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), said at least 20% of Republican voters in the 2020 U.S. election are focused on changes in the economy, jobs and wages.

"There is a chance this plan can help move a large share of that (group) and protect the Democrats from ... midterm losses if they pull this off and things go reasonable well," Baker said, referring to the 2022 congressional elections.

Many Republicans are wary of Biden's infrastructure plan, especially if it is financed with tax increases that they argue would kill jobs. Biden has indicated he will put corporate America on the hook for the tab.

Biden infrastructure plan could be big boost for blue-collar America
 

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Comments (14)
James Pattison
James Pattison Mar 31, 2021 2:03PM ET
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Who loses when you have a flood of unskilled labor into the country? The lowest wage earners
joe balone
joe balone Mar 31, 2021 1:54PM ET
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Just replace Biden with Obama and 2009 with 2021. " Solyndra received a $535 million U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantee, the first recipient of a loan guarantee under President Barack Obama's economic stimulus program, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009."
joe balone
joe balone Mar 31, 2021 1:49PM ET
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Big Boost of taxes and the price we pay for goods and services they meant to say.
caleb rowe
caleb rowe Mar 31, 2021 1:05PM ET
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that guy sees the future better than anyone i have ever seen sit in that chair. this is no longer trf or blue people, its a sime survival of the species. the only waybthat happens is way he is doing it
ben sc
ben sc Mar 31, 2021 12:53PM ET
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blue collar jobs for Ch$na! they will be building the solar panels and wind turbines. Seems like we have heard this before fr Biden, GM bailout was to save American jobs then GM built plants in Ch$na.
Connecticut Yankee
A_Jaundiced_Eye Mar 31, 2021 11:58AM ET
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It's "shovel ready." First project: Widen the bridges over the Rio Grande to allow more illegal immigrants in.
Cal Lowe
Cal Lowe Mar 31, 2021 11:39AM ET
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Tax the corporate and the corporate pass the taxes on to consumers. Who suffers?
sal galeano
sal galeano Mar 31, 2021 9:58AM ET
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conservatives are thoughtless beings.
Casador Del Oso
Casador Del Oso Mar 31, 2021 9:55AM ET
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Millions of jobs lost in oil and gas replaced by construction labor jobs. Billions in tax dollars just to break even.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Mar 31, 2021 9:43AM ET
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If These econ people use “could,would,forcast” they r full of #. Those words allow them to be wrong, cant be held accountable.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Mar 31, 2021 9:41AM ET
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Coulda, woulda, can they say sure?
Jokers R Us
Jokers R Us Mar 31, 2021 9:40AM ET
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Kill the Keystone pipeline but push for a trillion dollar infrastructure bill...this government needs to be absolved.
Eudon Hickey
Eudon Hickey Mar 31, 2021 9:38AM ET
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How much corruption in this plan?
Jokers R Us
Jokers R Us Mar 31, 2021 9:38AM ET
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The whole thing is corruption
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Mar 31, 2021 9:38AM ET
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Last time all the money went to lazy unions and no “shovel ready jobs” were created. Expect this to chbe the same.
Roger Miller
Roger Miller Mar 31, 2021 9:37AM ET
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How did the big infrastucture spending plan of Obama/Biden work out?
Elvis Durant
Elvis Durant Mar 31, 2021 9:37AM ET
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infrastructure scam been in the words over the past 20yrs.............And here we are still waiting............
Catholic Man
CatholicMan Mar 31, 2021 9:37AM ET
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No jobs created and it was welfare to unions.
 
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