Amid these times when the country is economically suffering from massive unemployment, Biden has taken over the presidency. However, Joe Biden is not the only one who has assumed the White House under these circumstances.
Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR) also became the Commander in Chief during the times when the Great Depression shattered the social and economic fabric of the United States. The circumstances in which both Joe Biden and FDR assumed the presidency resemble each other greatly.
How are the eras of Joe Biden and FDR similar? What lessons can Joe Biden take from FDR, and how can he learn from FDR’s failure? Let’s have a look.
President Joe Biden and FDR – How both presidents assumed charge in similar times
The case of Joe Biden and FDR resembles each other to a great extent. The following are the common things between both presidents.
- Like Joe Biden, the popular progressive movements also helped FDR to win the presidency.
- The Civilian Conservation Corps established by FDR can be compared in many ways to the nationwide testing team that Biden plans to establish.
- FDR exercised executive powers in big numbers. He signed nearly 3,721 executive orders during his twelve years tenure. Nevertheless, his most important policies of the New Deal came from the legislature. Donald Trump signed almost 220 executive orders during his one-term presidency, while Barack Obama signed 276 during his two terms. Joe Biden has already made a flying start as he signed 24 executive orders during his first week in the office. He is committed to using these powers even further, considering the bipartisan nature of the Congress.
- The Biden administration will now use the wartime production act established by FDR in its efforts against COVID-19 to revive the economy. Joe Biden will also create an office of climate mobilization to counter the existential crisis being faced by the whole planet.
- There are many similarities between the Congress of Joe Biden and FDR. Just like FDR, Biden holds a majority in both the House and the Senate, yet Biden will struggle to pass progressive agendas due to the highly divided Senate.
- Back in the time of President Roosevelt, politicians had a sense of responsibility and a sense of affection for one another. Most of them came on the united agenda to defeat the Great Depression crisis. In recent times, Donald Trump destroyed American unity during his devastating four years in office. Now, President Joe Biden has to do much to reconcile the politicians again. For this purpose, Biden often crosses the limits to seek unity with Republicans.
- When FDR took the oath, he had nothing to build on; there was no federal system of economic security or market regulation. Biden is a lot better than FDR in that realm, as the government has several institutions that have been perfected with time. Biden is lucky to have a regulated market and federal institutions of economic security.
How Biden can walk the path of FDR to save America
President Joe Biden inherited a deeply polarized country with several economic and social challenges.
The first 100 days of Biden will be the most significant, as they will set the course of his whole tenure. In this regard, the former president FDR can serve as a perfect role model for Biden. Experts believe that Joe Biden has two options right now; either he can follow the path of Barack Obama or FDR.
The circumstances in which Biden is leading the country right now evince that he must follow the footsteps of FDR and not Barack Obama.
As the global markets crashed in the 1930s, the need for that hour was a capable leader taking over the presidency.
Nearly a quarter of Americans did not have any job back then. Almost 2 million people were homeless. People were seen filtering through trash cans to find things to eat.
FDR introduced the concept of 100 days to bring radical policy measures to tackle the crisis. which is now being employed by many other countries globally.
The first 100 days of FDR began with a session of Congress that started to pass legislation that very day. In 100 days, FDR sent fifteen bills to Congress, and all of them came back for his signature. Those bills served as the foundation of transformative new deals, often termed as Roosevelt’s New Deal.
These bills put the economy back on track and provided people with funding to establish the public’s confidence in the government, a concept that was not present before.
FDR invested billions of dollars in public works programs and created collective bargaining powers that would eventually secure minimum wages for workers.
Roosevelt also introduced the concept of Social Security for the unemployed. The White House initiated large-scale infrastructure programs to rebuild the country.
FDR recognized the responsibility of the government to help the people who cannot help themselves. The reforms introduced by President Roosevelt and his governments dramatically reduced unemployment, creating 18 million jobs.
Thirteen years of Roosevelt’s administration brought the country back to life. Even today, FDR is seen as a progressive and liberal icon.
Almost a century after FDR, the United States is again in a crisis. Unemployment has reached its peak, and the pandemic has taken more lives than World War I, Vietnam War, and Korean War collectively.
The present condition of the country demands Joe Biden to become the most progressive president in history. Moderate Joe Biden will have to accept help from the progressives like Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to help the country get out of the prevalent crisis.
The 100-day formula – Biden’s strategy by walking on FDR’s path
Biden is adopting the same approach as FDR to pursue the 100 days agenda. For this purpose, there are three main areas where Biden will have to focus and learn from FDR to save the country from the crisis.
COVID-19: The Imminent Health Crisis:
Undoubtedly, the most serious issue being faced by the country right now is COVID-19. The first thing that President Joe Biden plans to do is establish a nationwide testing campaign.
This requires a collective effort from 100,000 healthcare workers. Biden will have to establish a force like FDR did to plant trees with the help of the Civilian Conservation Corps.
A sum of $25 billion is required for vaccine distribution now. Using the Wartime Powers Act to enable the production of equipment draws inspiration from FDR. How Biden handles the pandemic in his first 100 days will prove his worth as a president.
Biden himself acknowledged that FDR’s plan was practical and not ideological. He also acknowledged that he needs a practical approach to curbing the biggest challenge faced by the country. COVID-19 also demands reforms in the healthcare sector of the country, improving the Affordable Care Act, providing millions of uninsured American people with health insurance amid the pandemic.
Economy: The Overhanging Sword on the USA:
The economic plan of Joe Biden includes an investment of $799 billion in the manufacturing industry that will create millions of new jobs.
Once again, he is idealizing FDR by building the United States infrastructure as FDR did. FDR established the Civilian Conservative Corps that put 2.5 million Americans to work in ten years. Additionally, the Civil Work Administration created 7 million jobs for jobless people.
Biden needs to have such an approach that will evaluate the number of jobless people and find adequate jobs for them that fit their qualifications. Of course, this will require federal funding, and the Biden administration will have to cooperate if they want to see every American earning their livelihood through proper jobs.
Similarly, free college tuition for the middle and lower class will equip the younger generation with the skills needed to get the proper livelihood.
The Biden administration will have to ensure that every child in America receives a quality education.
They can get help by studying the FDR administration’s educational programs, such as free public schooling and land grant colleges, as they placed a high school education within reach of every American.
The most significant progress in the economy by FDR was achieved through cooperation at the expense of competition. Biden will have to apply a similar strategy that will decrease competition, eventually rising prices along with wages.
The cartels formed under FDR’s New deal helped raise wages by allowing collective bargaining agreements with workers. Biden could achieve this by strengthening unions, which would allow collective bargaining.
Unions helped to raise employment by about 20 percent in 1939. The most important thing is the continuity of strategies. Democrats will have to hold the White House and Congress for two consecutive terms to ensure continuity in all of these policies.
Systemic racism: A Hard Nut to Crack
Systemic racism is one of those issues that have been eating the country from inside like a parasite. Ending systemic racism will be an achievement that would bring Biden in competition with FDR regarding the progressive policies.
The Biden administration plans to spend $30 billion to support minority groups and minority-owned businesses, helping them to compete in the mainstream market.
Not only this, but $70 billion will be given to historically black educational institutions to help them in raising their educational standards.
Police reforms are issues that are directly linked with systemic racism. Biden is expected to introduce a national police oversight commission that will identify the problems and suggest their solutions.
People are also expecting a nationwide ban on chokeholds and an investment of $300 million in community policing measures to establish a better relationship between police and the community.
FDR was more interested in social welfare than creating a macroeconomic stimulus package. Biden will have to employ a strategy that will ensure the equal distribution of resources.
While doing all of this, he may get a label of promoting socialism in the country, but he must pursue his vision with full force.
The primary concern should not be the increase of production or economic activity, but rather on increased social spending.
Developing humans rather than the industry was a primary concern of FDR, and Biden should follow the exact same thing to tackle systemic racism.
Biden learning from FDR’s mistakes
The tenure of President Roosevelt was legendary, but it could not be termed as perfect for certain reasons.
Joe Biden needs to take only the positives of FDR’s presidency while learning the lessons from his failures.
Much of Roosevelt’s New Deal was passed through compromises with racist Southern Democrats, and eventually, several policies preserved and furthered racial segregation.
Biden should look forward to identifying such compromises that in any way may undermine the war against systemic racism or any other agenda.