- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 9, 2020

Joseph R. Biden on Thursday is rolling out a sweeping economic plan that would spend $300 billion on high-tech, $400 billion on a federal “Buy American” project and empower unions.

The proposal, which he will announce at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania, is the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee’s stab at President Trump’s biggest strength in the race: voter confidence in Mr. Trump’s ability to spur economic growth.

The former vice president leads in most polls but still needs to beat back Mr. Trump’s claims to a roaring economy that was undermined by forced government shutdowns and that Mr. Trump promises to rebuild once the coronavirus crisis ends.

Mr. Biden’s plan hits every issue where Mr. Trump has dominated, including promises to boost U.S. manufacturing. The Democrat’s strategy promises to put a particular focus on smaller manufacturers and those owned by women and people of color by providing federal resources and financing tools.

Mr. Biden would pour $300 billion into research and development of high-tech, including electric vehicle technology, lightweight materials, 5G telecommunications and artificial intelligence.

The Biden campaign said it would “unleash high-quality job creation in high-value manufacturing and technology.”

By spending another $400 billion of federal procurement, Mr. Biden said he would make his buy-American strategy “real.”

Mr. Trump ran on “Buy American” and made it a hallmark of his administration.

The new Biden economic formula continues his tack to the left following a “unity platform” that he devised with Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont, a democratic socialist and far-left champion who challenged him for the nomination.

“Biden’s bold moves recently seem less like a political hat tip to progressives and more him rising to this moment we’re living in,” Adam Green, co-founder of left-leaning Progressive Change Campaign Committee, told The Los Angeles Times.

The wave of spending, which would be on top of a $1.7 trillion clean energy and infrastructure plan, would aim to fuel new demand for American products, materials, and services and ensure that they are shipped on U.S.-flagged cargo carriers, according to the campaign.

Mr. Biden also promises another round of coronavirus spending on top of the nearly $3 trillion Congress already put on the federal credit card in response to the crisis.

Much of Mr. Biden’s spending would be paid for with roughly $4 trillion in new taxes, mostly from rolling by the Trump tax cuts.

Mr. Biden also promised legislation to expand unions, including delivering on the union’s longtime dream of “card check,” which makes it easier to unionize workplaces by doing away with secret ballots when workers vote on unionizing.

The support of union leadership has been a cornerstone of Mr. Biden’s run and his bid to win back blue-collar workers that Mr. Trump peeled away from the Democratic Party in 2016.

The Biden campaign said his union agenda would crack down on employers interfering in union organizing, expand union rights for public service workers and institute a broad definition of “employee” and tough enforcement to end the misclassification of workers as independent contractors.

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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