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Virginia Tech professor provides deeper look at Biden-Harris economic plan

Published: Jan. 22, 2021 at 12:11 AM EST
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - One of the biggest challenges facing the new president is boosting the economy.

We caught up with an economic recovery expert at Virginia Tech for insight on the Biden-Harris administration’s plan.

Predicting the future of the economy is a hard task to be done, given the COVID-19 pandemic, political divides and now transitioning from a Republican-led government to Democratic control.

“We have yet to see the full effects of what the pandemic has done,” said Associate Professor of Public Policy and Economics David Bieri. “In some ways the brave people who are developing the vaccines have had an easier job than economists, because what they can do is run controlled experiments.”

Comparing this government transition to that of Hoover and FDR, Bieri said President Joe Biden needs to provide immediate relief to both help the economy recover and reform aspects and elements of it that haven’t seen reform in the last generation. It’s kind of like FDR’s New Deal.

“We will pay for this at some point,” he said. “The question is how far down the road?”

Biden has plans for a $1.9 trillion stimulus package, but Bieri said we need to pay attention to the administration’s medium- to long-term plans.

“The nature of the previous presidential campaign was such that all the current president really needed to do was show up,” Bieri said. “He hasn’t necessarily been picked apart in terms of demerits of his proposed programs.”

Those are programs Bieri said need to include economic reforms.

“If the Biden-Harris administration is serious about America’s future prosperity, then it must be willing to tackle some important reforms,” he said.

Bieri said the New Deal was huge and nearly 40% of the economy at the time. This stimulus package is roughly eight to 10%, but would only happen immediately and not over four terms like with FDR.

The New Deal also brought cashflow, jobs and public infrastructure, which are things Bieri said we will need to work toward, especially because we will one day have to pay all of this off down the road.

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