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Analysis: Worsening pandemic raises stakes for Biden's economic program

November 29, 2020. Summarized by summa-bot.

WILMINGTON, DELAWARE - NOVEMBER 16: U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers remarks about the U.S. economy during a press briefing at the Queen Theater on November 16, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. Mr. Biden and his advisors continue to work on the long term economic recovery plan his administration will try to put in place when he takes office. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Sitting in an Iowa diner a year ago, candidate Joe Biden aimed his economic agenda at the widening gap between America's rich and everyone else.

While higher-wage employment has risen back to pre-pandemic levels, the number of jobs paying $27,000 or less remains down 19%, according to Harvard's Opportunity Insights Economic Tracker.

Responding to all this won't require Biden to rewrite the economic plans he'd already developed, because of who they were always intended to help.

"The agenda was really crafted with the core insight in mind that a lot of people have been left behind for a long time," noted longtime Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein.

Workers cast off by suddenly declining industries face a more immediate need for the job training upgrades Biden has proposed.

The stalemate augurs poorly for passing a major new economic stimulus once Biden and the new Congress take office in 2021.

Mark Zandi, the chief economist for Moody's, calls a large infrastructure program, to help stave off a backslide into recession, the most potent single step the new president could take to reduce economic disparities.

"The middle-class and working-class people are being crushed," the President-elect told NBC last week.

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