Bidenomics 101: Inside the White House’s Plans to Bring Jobs Back

February 11, 2021 ☼ bideneconomy

Source: The New York Times - Link

Anyone searching for an economic road map to the Biden presidency might find hints of one in a 40-page research paper written, appropriately enough, by the United Automobile Workers union. The document, originally published in 2018 and titled “Taking the High Road: Strategies for a Fair E.V. Future,” argued that even in the face of foreign competition, the American automobile industry could continue to provide well-paying manufacturing jobs — but only if the government invested huge sums in electric vehicles. The technology highlighted in the report, like prismatic cells for storing electrical charges, was cutting-edge, but the economic thinking behind it was decidedly old-school. Some passages, in their America First-ness, read as if they could have appeared in a Ross Perot ad from 1992 — or, for that matter, a Trump ad from 2016. The U.A.W.’s researchers insisted, for example, that critical parts like batteries must be produced at home, not by rival industrial powers. “The economic potential of E.V.s will be lost if their components are imported,” they wrote. “Advanced vehicle technology should be treated as a strategic sector to be protected and built in the U.S.”

This is a very interesting read. It seems to me that the government has a role in reducing business risk by seeding investment in technologies deemed vital to national security. Of course, mistakes will be made here, like SynFuels. But there are also successes like the Manhattan Project and almost all other defense-related R&D. This is probably one thing that Trump got right when talking about it with steel. Not that he did enough in that area though.