A Bright Economic Future for Asian Americans
Joe Biden is perhaps the most qualified candidate to run for president in decades — as a former Vice President, a long-time Senator, statesman, and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations and Judiciary Committees, his political repertoire is as extensive as his opponent’s is barren. But above that, his resume is especially well-suited to the current economic crisis.
We are currently living through one of the worst economic crises in recent history. Unemployment reached 14.7 percent in April, the highest it has been since the Great Depression. For Biden, the demand for national renewal in a time of economic crisis is not a new challenge: while Vice President, he oversaw the government’s response to the 2008–2009 Financial Crisis through the Recovery Act. The Recovery Act was a jobs program responsible for restoring millions of jobs after the Great Recession. It not only prevented another Great Depression, but it was also one of the most effective and efficient economic programs in American history. If elected, we can expect Biden to deliver again.
Meanwhile, the COVID-19 crisis has highlighted Trump’s obsession with the stock market and the health of big corporations above the average American family and small businesses. During the pandemic, Trump has failed to observe the undeniable link between public health and the market, frequently chasing the mirage of a revived economy at the cost of public safety. Through a strategy that combines strong leadership with a robust public health response, Biden’s new policies will provide immediate relief to state, local, and tribal governments. The goals of the policy are to prevent laying off essential workers, expand the COVID-19 crisis insurance, and create a package for helping small businesses bounce back from losses.
Biden’s plan to ‘Build Back Better’ will give all Americans employment options at a higher rate of pay than usual in order to stabilize the economy, prioritize the skills of American workers, and create a united future. Furthermore, within the ‘Build Back Better’ plan, Biden discusses the importance of eliminating racial inequality and confronting the racial wealth gap by investing in communities, including small businesses owned by racial minorities. Overall, Biden does not want to return to the pre-pandemic version of normality. Once the country recovers, he wants to create a better economic future for all its citizens — regardless of social status, race, gender, or wealth.
Small businesses are at the heart of the American dream. In an initial response to COVID-19, congressional democrats secured $60 billion for small businesses affected by losses. The funds were to be funneled through small community lenders who are best positioned to distribute these resources to small and vulnerable businesses struggling to get loans from big banks. Though one-third of small businesses have fewer than 20 employees, Trump only delegated 20% of the funds for these small businesses. Amid numerous calls for transparency, much of them by Biden, the process involved in the disbursement of these funds has remained unclear.
As states open and close in response to COVID-19, small business owners find themselves in a precarious cycle of economic insecurity. Trump’s lackluster leadership has exacerbated the problem, as well-to-do business owners are able to access more funding than their actual revenue losses indicate. By contrast, Biden’s plan for recovery will ensure that small business funds actually reach small businesses. Under his plan, small business funds will be distributed evenly across all types of small businesses, and especially to those owned by minorities. Finally, Biden believes that small non-profit organizations such as places of worship should be able to request funding to aid in their own recovery efforts so as to ensure that small organizations do not have to close their doors due to economic factors.
The war against unions and workers has ramped up under Trump’s administration. As a result, there has been a rise in income disparity, loss of pensions, and an increase in exploitation of an already beleaguered workforce. Joe Biden believes in strong trade unions, and has backed them since the start of his career. To empower workers, Biden plans to ensure that workers are treated with the respect they deserve and that their voices are amplified through union representation. Currently, unions are weakened by restrictive legislation in more than half of the states; Biden will repeal these provisions and hold selfish executives responsible. He rightly believes that unions ultimately benefit the economy. Furthermore, he would like to see that the additional $15 billion that employers make annually (by paying employees less than the minimum wage) actually goes back into the pockets of hard-working Americans. As part of the effort to improve livelihoods, Biden wants to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour, almost double its current rate. America was built by devoted, hard-working citizens, reaching for their idea of the American Dream, not by greedy CEOs.
Since the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year and the new posture on China, there has been an influx of vitriol towards the Asian-American community. Trump has flagrantly and publicly encouraged this bias sentiment with flippant remarks such as the ‘Chinese Virus’ and the ‘Kung Flu.’ There is no doubt that a Joe Biden presidency will look drastically different. Under Biden, Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) citizens are not casualties in a new Cold War but integral parts of the American story, both past and future. As such, Biden has laid out a plan that will invigorate the growth of small businesses and entrepreneurship within AAPI communities. Approximately two million businesses in the United States are AAPI-owned, contributing to the American economy through taxes, job creation, and advancements in innovation and technology. Biden intends to double the small business fund and delegate a large percentage to minority-owned businesses, including AAPI businesses. Furthermore, Biden plans to increase funding for the Minority Business Development Agency budget, so nobody is left behind.
On top of the benefits for AAPI businesses, Biden will invest an additional $640 billion over ten years, so that AAPI families can obtain stable housing near excellent schools and businesses with employment opportunities. Furthermore, he will aid families who are ready to buy their first homes through different housing plans such as offering refundable and advanceable tax credit of up to $15,000.
Roughly 38% of Americans are people of color, yet they account for only 10% of elected officials. More AAPI representation is needed so that our economic needs are heard and addressed. Biden plans to make the government representative of how America looks, and that includes employing AAPI individuals into federal agencies so that the issues pertinent to our communities are dealt with effectively. A vote for Joe Biden is a vote for a brighter economic future for AAPI families and for all of America. Say YAAS to Biden!
Young Asian Americans for Biden (YAAS Biden)
Peter Torres is completing his Ph.D. in Linguistics at UC Davis. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics and Anthropology from UCLA. Visit his website and follow him on Twitter @ petertorres