Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen termed the Biden administration’s two-track legislative push for major spending bills on infrastructure and social programs as “the most important economic project in recent history,” countering objections that the bills will amount to “overinvesting.”
In an opinion piece published by Yahoo Finance, Yellen said the Senate’s votes this month in favor of a $550 billion infrastructure bill and a $3.5 trillion budget resolution that opens the way for expanded outlays on social programs, would help reverse decades of underinvestment in priorities like infrastructure, education and childcare. The House of Representatives is set to take up the measures this fall.
While Republicans joined Democrats in advancing the infrastructure bill, they have opposed the social-spending package, citing concerns about record U.S. debt levels and a surge in inflation they say has already been fueled by fiscal transfers to American households.
Yellen countered that Biden’s economic agenda “will bolster our economic growth and productivity, while bringing down some of the largest cost drivers for American families.”
A decline in public investment since the 1970s has contributed to a shrinking work force and inequality, Yellen said. She also argued that current low borrowing costs, along with the administration’s aim to pay for the investments through tax hikes on corporations and high earners, make the initiatives “fiscally responsible.”
“The crucial question isn’t, ‘What if we make these big investments?’ It is: ‘What if we don’t?’” she wrote.
© Copyright 2021 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.