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NASH COLUMN: Nation is ready for fresh start

NASH COLUMN: Nation is ready for fresh start

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It’s a new year and hope for a renewed unity among Americans is growing. After the election, President-elect Joe Biden announced on his website, joebiden.com, “And to those who voted for President Trump, I understand your disappointment tonight.

I’ve lost a couple of elections myself. But now, let’s give each other a chance. It’s time to put away the harsh rhetoric. To lower the temperature. To see each other again. To listen to each other again. To make progress, we must stop treating our opponents as our enemy. We are not enemies. We are Americans.”

President-elect Biden sees an ideal America as a nation in which all people are respected for who they are, and not judged by the color of their skin, race, sexual orientation, disability, political party or how much money they make. He knows that hourly workers should be highly valued and are just as important to the nation’s success as corporate bigwigs, bankers and investors.

If nothing else, the pandemic and its devasting effects on businesses and their employees have shown us that the stock market’s performance has little to do with many Americans. While more than 330,000 have died, many millions have lost their jobs and hundreds of thousands of restaurants, bars and other small businesses have closed, the stock market has hit record highs. If that isn’t a reality check, I don’t know what is.

To help those workers and small businesses, as well as to increase manufacturing jobs, the new administration has a big job ahead. An Oct. 1, 2019, article in “Finance and Commerce” stated that back then, before the pandemic, there was, “… the lowest level of manufacturing activity since June 2009, the last month of the Great Recession.” It adds, “The nearly 15-month trade spat with China and tariffs on steel, aluminum and other products may have been intended to help U.S. manufacturers. But it appears to be having the opposite effect.” In other words, the Trump tariffs hurt manufacturers as much as they did farmers.

As for how Biden will most likely fare when it comes to the economy, I urge readers to look up this year’s Oct. 25 article in the “Intelligencer” by Jonathan Chait. He reported, “Moody’s Analytics, an economic-research firm, has published an economic forecast weighing the effects of Joe Biden’s and Donald Trump’s proposals. It finds Biden’s plan would produce dramatically faster job growth and higher wages for most workers.”

It continues, “Biden’s proposals would lead to 18.6 million new jobs during his first term, and the average American’s income (after taxes) would increase by $4,800. Trump’s policies would lead to an increase of 11.2 million new jobs by 2025, with minimal real income gain for average households.”

Biden is in favor of raising the pathetic minimum wage and wants fair taxation. That the lowest paid worker in America paid more in federal taxes last year than Amazon and other huge, profitable businesses is a disgrace, and he will work to change the tax laws that made that possible.

He also knows the “trickle-down” theory is a myth. Money trickles up. It goes from workers’ pockets to their communities and to the nation as a whole, thereby helping the entire economy. Biden knows if people earn more, they’re able to buy more. They can also afford a plumber, electrician and other technical and personal services. And because those small businesses can then afford to hire people, and buy equipment, tools and other supplies, it also helps manufacturers.

But to accomplish these positive results, the Biden-Harris Administration will need the cooperation of Congress. That’s where Biden’s ability, reputation and willingness to work with both sides to get things done will help all of us.

And then there’s COVID-19. Although no president could have avoided the pandemic, Biden will pick up the pieces left by a president who poo-pooed science and medical experts and who discouraged mask wearing and other safety precautions. He’ll be a role model and not hold parties and large rallies where people are mask-less and shoulder-to-shoulder. He’ll read daily briefs and attend task-force meetings instead of going golfing, tweeting and watching television. It will be a huge relief to once again have a president who genuinely cares for people other than just himself, and whose policies will help, rather than hurt, the majority of Americans.

This new year could be a great year. Vaccines and smart practices will help slow the spread of COVID-19, but only cooperation, determination and hard work by all of us can mend divisions and heal the economy. Our country has faced huge obstacles before, and Americans have overcome them. If we all work together, we can all prosper and again be a true United States.

Pat Nash has lived in the Baraboo area, off and on, for more than 35 years. Contact her at patnash5149@gmail.com.

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