One year of Biden


Carey Wooley

The year seemingly had multiple events that required the Biden administration to make decisions.

Carey Wooley, Politics Editor

Biden’s economic, climate and COVID-19 policies call for reflection

As the United States looks at 2021 in the rear-view mirror, citizens find themselves reminiscing on the year that was and the official end of Joe Biden’s first year in office. The year seemingly had multiple events that required the Biden administration to make decisions.

During Biden’s presidential inauguration, he described that the country has much to heal and build on, specifically in regards to the pandemic, jobs, the economy, and climate change. In this speech, he discussed these specific items and explained how he would strive to address them.

“I remember watching the whole week of the election and just remembering how exciting it was to have Biden as president because I was nervous for another four years of Trump,” junior Holly Cummings said.

One of Biden’s first goals when he entered the presidential office was to control the Coronavirus. He addressed this by continuing the vaccine roll-out and introducing other policies that received a mixed response; many individuals had a negative reaction to these executive orders.

“His attempted vaccine mandate was a gross overreach of federal power because he’s had mixed messages on masking, he encourages masking kids, as well as mask and vaccine mandates, which have proven to not do much, so overall it hasn’t been great,” senior Austin Dalbey said.

In recent months, Biden has been pushing for kids and younger generations to get vaccinated. He has tried to connect with these generations by inviting popular individuals among Generation Z to the White House. Over the summer, he spoke with Olivia Rodrigo to encourage the public to get vaccinated, later he spoke with the Jonas Brothers, and then just this month he met with Billie Eilish.

“I’m so glad Biden connected with kids the way he did and tried to encourage younger people to get the vaccine,” junior Nadia Petru said. “I am so glad that not only I can get the vaccine now, but also my younger brother who is in elementary school can be vaccinated too.”

Another major goal for Biden was to create and pass his major infrastructure plan. The US Senate is divided by a 50/50 margin, which makes it difficult to know what bills will make it into law. After much back and forth from both sides of the aisle, the infrastructure bill was passed with changes from both parties.

“I think that often, we as Americans, believe that the President can or should deliver,” AP US history teacher Carlen Floyd said. “We live in a Constitutional system of checks and balances that is sometimes a very challenging reality.”

Biden has discussed ways he wants to get America back on its feet by improving unemployment and getting a handle on the current pandemic. During his first year the unemployment rate dropped from 6.2% to 3.9%.

“I think unemployment rates have been pretty good, especially considering COVID,” Cummings said. “I think because of COVID and many people losing their jobs the unemployment rates right now are a good sign. I think COVID affects everybody in the workplace so Biden helping to get jobs back has been a pretty good sign.”

Inflation has risen over the past year and currently sits at 7.5%, which is the highest it’s been since 1982. Consumer prices have risen throughout the country and can most prominently be seen in gas prices.

“Inflation has been overwhelming and I hope Biden has builds a plan that can help combat it,” Petru said. “I’ve seen gas prices and prices at regular stores rise which has been overwhelming, especially for people who’ve just started driving and getting their own gas like me, but I am hopeful for the future.”

From the very beginning Biden made it clear he wanted to introduce plans and actions to try and combat climate change. He introduced his plan to reduce greenhouse gas pollution by 2030 and very soon after Biden entered office the US rejoined the Paris Climate Accords.

“I realize Biden had a lot of ambitions regarding climate change and plans to address it, but not all of them were successful,” Petru said. “We aren’t making as much progress as I think we should, but I think he’s had a better plan and has actually tried to address this crisis compared to some of our previous presidents.”

Biden’s next goal is to get his Supreme Court nominee passed, but with the 50/50 Senate split, it is undecided what the outcome might be and if Biden can even get his nominee approved. Floyd adheres to Biden’s concerns with the anticipation for getting the nomination passed, and believes that although not perfect, his job is definitely difficult.

“If I take myself out of this place in time, I can also be grateful for checks and balances,” Floyd said. “So I can only imagine the frustration at feeling like you’re elected to do something and then not being able to get the support sometimes within people from your own party.”