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How Trump set up Biden for success

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By U.S. President Joe Biden’s own admission, defeating Donald Trump was the main motivating force of his campaign. As his administration clarifies its economic agenda, however, it’s becoming clear that Biden’s true legacy lies not in rolling back Trump’s policies but in refining them.

Of course there are many differences, in both style and substance, between Biden and Trump. Yet the underlying message of Biden’s Build Back Better program is not that far removed from Trump’s Make America Great Again mantra. Rhetoric aside, the policy rationale is even more similar.

Biden’s ambitions for clean energy, for example, are far greener than anything envisioned by Trump. Crucially, however, the underlying goal — U.S. “energy dominance,” as Trump called it — remains the same. If anything, Biden’s agenda pushes the United States further into the frontiers of global energy production.

This “pivot and expand” maneuver has a precedent in American politics. The last big paradigmatic change in economic policy, which is attributed to former President Ronald Reagan, actually began under former President Jimmy Carter. In his first official State of the Union address, Carter promised to simplify the tax code, reduce government regulation and bring down inflation.

By the end of that year he had signed into law a bill that cut the number of tax brackets from 25 to 15 and eased taxes on capital gains. He had also signed the........

© The Japan Times

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