Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is visiting Atlanta to rally support for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
The $1.2 trillion package — intended as a compromise to President Biden’s American Jobs Plan — is currently being debated in the Senate. Supporters — including President Biden and many centrist lawmakers — believe that the legislation will advance physical infrastructure programs in an economically efficient manner. Meanwhile, opponents include fiscal conservatives worried about budget implications and progressives who want the bill to include funding for education and healthcare.
In line with the Commander-in-Chief, Yellen asserted that the pending legislation — and the administration’s broader spending agenda — is crucial for American economic growth:
Remote work and study aren’t going away after the pandemic. The internet is now a crucial public utility, essential for success in American life, and an economy where fast-food chains are the most accessible providers of that utility is not a healthy economy. The government must step in and invest in this public good — and others.
That is the motivation behind the bipartisan infrastructure package that’s now moving through Congress, inching closer to the President’s desk. In the same way that ambitious fiscal policy is accelerating our recovery from the pandemic, it can start unwinding some of these destructive trends and spur growth.
Yellen also argued that federal spending is necessary to fight “inequality” in the economy:
Economists search for lessons in our history, and the last six months have provided a crucial one. Bold fiscal policy matters. A government that can execute it well matters. Together, they can improve American lives on a mass scale, and shift our economic trajectory in a better direction.
In healthy economies, we see wage growth across the distribution. But over the past several decades, that has not been the case in America. While the highest earners have seen their incomes grow, families at the bottom end of the distribution have seen their pay stagnate. It’s a drag on household finances, and it also depresses our consumer base.
Climate change adds a fresh layer of crisis on top of all this. Left unchecked, it will undermine every aspect of our economy from supply chains to the financial system.
As The Daily Wire reported last week, the Biden administration oversaw year-over-year inflation rates balloon from 1.7% to 5.3% in the first half of 2020. Wage growth — which is rising at a 3.6% year-over-year clip — is outpaced by increasing price levels, leading to diminishing inflation-adjusted wages in the United States.