“The depth of economic devastation our nation is experiencing is not an act of God, it’s a failure of presidential leadership,” the presumptive Democratic nominee for president said in a statement released by his campaign. “Had President Trump taken immediate and decisive action, tens of thousands of lives and millions of jobs would never have been lost.”
Data released by the Department of Commerce earlier in the day showed that U.S. gross domestic product plunged 32.9% between April and June on an annualized basis, the sharpest drop on record. GDP is a broad measure of all the goods and services produced in a country.
A separate Labor Department report showed that more than 1.4 million Americans filed initial jobless claims last week, rising for a second week and marking the 19th consecutive week with initial claims greater than 1 million.
Biden has been making everything about his platform all about rebuilding the economy. Like his climate change plan:
As the coronavirus pandemic has devastated the US economy and forced millions into unemployment, it has also cleared the way for the next president to rebuild greener.
The Biden message: vote to put Americans back to work installing millions of solar panels and tens of thousands of wind turbines, making the steel for those projects, manufacturing electric vehicles for the world and shipping them from US ports.
But Biden’s plan, while significant and historic, would be just the beginning of a brutal slog to transform the way the nation operates. That’s even without calling for an end to fossil fuels, which science demands but Biden has been careful to avoid overtly doing.
On Central America, expect a President Biden to build much stronger cooperation, including with Mexico, in a major investment to help address the economic and social problems that spur illegal migration, including widespread corruption. It is worth recalling that the same week that Donald Trump announced his presidential campaign in 2015 by calling Mexicans “rapists,” Joe Biden was preparing for a meeting with members of the Senate Appropriations Committee to negotiate bipartisan support for an ambitious strategy to address the root causes of migration from Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras. The initiative began as a June 2014 meeting on increased border enforcement with Mexico and the leaders of the Northern Triangle, but Vice President Biden invested countless hours over nine months to build consensus in favor of more comprehensive effort to tackle the poverty and insecurity driving migration to the United States. The plan was working until the Trump Administration took it apart.
Caribbean countries have been bludgeoned by unique challenges that span devastating natural events, economic dislocation and international crime. We share an interest in helping these countries respond successfully. As vice president, Biden rejected a long tradition of seeing the Caribbean countries as a set of countries to be episodically courted for votes at the United Nations or Organization of American States, and instead championed a series of specific and pragmatic efforts, linked to addressing pressing needs. A good example is the Caribbean Energy Security Initiative (CESI), launched in 2014 to promote energy security as Venezuela’s Petrocaribe oil financing scheme declined. Biden saw an opportunity to undermine Venezuela’s corrupting influence by offering the Caribbean viable alternatives that provided technical advice, brought together the international community, and leveraged the Overseas Private Investment Corporation to drive private investment. The Caribbean will remain a priority of a Biden Administration through initiatives like the Clean Energy Export and Climate Investment Initiative, whose initial focus will be to provide low-cost financing to small island states in the Pacific and the Caribbean that are ready to demonstrate leadership on climate change.
Colombia has no greater partner in the United States than Joe Biden, a country he regularly refers to as the “keystone” to the region. He was present at the creation of Plan Colombia, securing Senate support for the Clinton Administration’s efforts to fund the initiative. He also supported Colombia’s efforts to negotiate peace, trusted the country’s institutions to achieve an outcome supported by the Colombian people, and communicated any concerns in private to avoid distracting from a political debate that was ultimately up to Colombians to resolve. Whereas Trump has re-narcotized the bilateral relationship, Biden’s is a more ambitious vision. He seeks to parlay the decades of cooperation and billions invested into a strategic partnership with positive regional and global implications, and that can advance human rights as a common cause in both our countries. To help realize that vision, a President Biden would stand with Colombia as it manages the mass exodus of Venezuelans into the country, to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, and to address the country’s deteriorating security situation.
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