President Biden After One Year: What’s Good and What’s Bad?

Illustrated by Robert Crohan

Written by Robert Crohan/ Staff Writer

After one year in office, President Biden has much to be proud of but must own up to atrocious failures. 

Americans are always tempted to make a scene out of our leaders’ every move. After Donald Trump’s controversial presidency brought politics to our attention, we now have our eye on his successor and his administration.

Of the people who took PantherNOW’s Instagram poll, less than 30% approved of his presidency. Detractors cited his Afghanistan withdrawal and perceived partisanship.

Graph created by Julia Gomez

Biden played a large role in passing two bills that helped our economy recover from 2020’s slump. 

The American Rescue Plan and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act seek to create a resilient and innovative economy that supports hardworking families. Because of these bills, 6.4 million jobs were created in 2021 alone, breaking the previous 21st-century record of 3 million in 2014. America is building itself back up better. 

The child tax credit sliced child poverty by 25%. More financial stability helps parents buy more for their children while experiencing less stress. According to a study, babies’ brains are becoming more active, which improves their brain health. 

Unemployment fell by 2.5% in 2021 despite the ongoing “Great Resignation,” the phenomenon of workers leaving their unsatisfying jobs in droves. President Biden also banned surprise medical bills, and insurance coverage is higher than ever.

Moving to health issues, COVID-19 has become highly unpredictable. The president has strongly addressed it with vaccine rollouts and expanded testing and mask availability. But, Biden must expand testing to lower the odds of the virus staying one step ahead of us.

Unfortunately, many wages are not climbing at the rate needed to counteract severe inflation. My grandmother says that the cost of her chicken wings almost doubled. Gas prices aren’t low either. 

Biden can ease the pain of inflation, caused by global supply chain disruptions, inflicted on Americans by canceling student loan debt and reaffirming support for a $15 minimum wage. These measures could relieve financial worries and increase purchasing power. Some economists blame federal spending for inflation, but that only increased spending power.

America appears poised for more global leadership, political dominance in resolving global problems, after the war with Afghanistan ended. Militarization is curbed in favor of a rational approach to global conflicts. Our adversaries are testing America, but Biden is determined to avoid unnecessary wars. 

In fighting climate change on a global scale, we rejoined the Paris Climate Accord and prioritized improving livelihoods in Central America to limit the need to migrate.

The administration also invested in a climate-friendly future by deploying wind and solar energy and prioritizing unionized job growth in these areas. Had Biden’s Build Back Better bill passed, we would have seen an expansion of similar efforts.

Now, the larger failures come into question. The White House did not complete a smooth withdrawal, despite its pledges to do so. Leaving Americans trapped in Afghanistan is inexcusable. With the U.S. agreement with the Taliban setting a May deadline for the departure of U.S. troops and top-notch military technology, Biden should have extended the withdrawal process to locate and rescue every American and Afghan ally.

Despite how most Republicans have demonized the administration for an alleged policy of “open borders,” the situation is not that bad. I am proud of Biden for accepting more migrants and refugees. But the administration was wrong to brush off the problems that do exist, like a rise in unaccompanied minors. 

Biden’s team also reinstated Title 42, which restricts the avenues of entry to migrants, and the Remain in Mexico policy, which keeps migrants in Mexico until their asylum hearings in the US. Biden inherited weakened infrastructure for immigration from Trump, but this moment requires larger mobilization.

Instead of turning people away to prevent COVID-19 infections, the administration should invest in proper border facilities, masking, testing and keeping people properly fed and hydrated. The administration should also inform people about the immigration process and provide a pathway to citizenship, which would relieve the worker shortage America is facing.

Biden’s failure to make the border more secure has enraged conservative Latinos, who seem concerned about job losses and the humanitarian disaster of long-distance migration.

His failure to give millions a pathway to citizenship has upset Latinos on the left as well, as Latinos have shared with me their desire to make immigration easier for others. 

FIU, a Latino-majority campus full of conservative and liberal voters, deserves better.

I appreciate Biden’s bipartisan efforts, but was relieved to see him criticize the GOP’s anti-democratic behavior of rigging elections. 

Despite the astronomical flaws in his administration, Biden is right to prioritize voting rights and the pandemic. Republican state legislatures, including ours, are limiting access to the ballot by closing ballot drop-off locations, shortening voting times, and making it harder to vote by mail. Biden must keep working with Congressmen to embolden activists fighting to overcome these laws.

It was unwise to promise so much, but he is still working in a difficult situation, with Republicans obstructing his every move and moderate Democrats killing popular bills.

Some aspects of the Biden administration are impressive, while others disappoint. The President is running out of time to make our lives better, so the time to act is now.

DISCLAIMER:

The opinions presented within this page do not represent the views of the PantherNOW Editorial Board. These views are separate from editorials and reflect individual perspectives of contributing writers and/or members of the University community

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