With President Joe Biden in the White House and Democrats holding the House and Senate, the country is finally ready to move into the 21st Century.
Donald Trump tried mightily to roll back the country socially to the 1950s and ever further, to the 1930s, politically with his white supremacist “America First” policies.
But the first two years of the Biden administration should see a raft of sweeping legislation that will finally move this country forward.
Here are the directions the country needs to move.
Clean Energy: The nation will finally get back on track toward a clean energy future and a cleaner environment. Legislation will encourage alternative sources of energy, such as geothermal, wind and sea generation by windmills and oceangoing turbines.
Coal will continue to be phased out as it has been for the past 30 years and clean natural gas will continue to be the interim energy choice.
Electric cars will finally gain a foothold based on improved battery technology. As more car companies enter the market, prices will fall.
Healthcare for all: The nation will finally achieve the goal of health care for all for free or at a reasonable cost, like the rest of the world’s industrial nations.
This will be accomplished through reforms to the Affordable Care Act, or full-on Medicare for all. The benefits will be immense.
No more medical bankruptcies; no more emergency rooms flooded with very sick people with the costs passed to taxpayers.
A free and unfettered labor market. workers will no longer feel imprisoned by their jobs for fear of losing their health insurance.
Economic expansion: Look for an explosion of new small businesses and better wages for workers who will be free to change jobs, join unions and receive a minimum $15 a hour wage from large employers like Walmart, Amazon and others. A large infrastructure spending plan will pay huge dividends going forward, creating jobs and improving productivity.
Election reform: Sweeping legislation will be passed that finally overturns Citizen’s United and ends the role of dark money in political campaigns.
Gerrymandering of congressional districts will be outlawed and ballot box security will be improved with paper ballots to avoid election fraud, but end practices designed to suppress votes.
It will be easier to register to vote by mail and absentee ballot. Limits will be placed on corporate campaign contributions just as they are on individuals.
Tax Reform: Legislation will be passed that will roll back Trump’s $1.4 billion tax giveaway to the richest 1% of the nation.
Marginal tax rates on income over $1 million a year will be raised, while taxes on lower brackets will be cut.
Corporations will have to pay a minimum tax on gross profits to prevent corporations like Amazon from using loopholes to avoid all taxes.
Corporations will be taxed on overseas profits or pay a fine for off-shoring profits in tax havens.
Tax loopholes for major industries will be closed. Hopefully, the tax code will also be simplified. Deficits will be reduced and the national debt will be on its way back down.
Infrastructure: Tax reform will raise revenues to make it possible to begin a nationwide infrastructure program to repair our roads, bridges, waterways and electrical grid and create a nationwide high-speed Internet service open to all, restoring net neutrality.
This will provide a tremendous boost to productivity and create vitally important jobs and open up economic development in mostly inner city and rural communities.
Defense: Legislation leading to more rational defense spending, focusing on threats of the 21st century, like cyber warfare and low-intensity conflicts, rather than trying to fight the last war with expensive weapons systems.
Veterans Affairs reform that finally puts veterans first and honors those who served their country with real benefits, including hospital care. Rollback of Trump’s ban on transgender and gay service to our country.
Immigration reform: An end to Trump’s costly, misguided and inhumane treatment of immigrants at our southern border.
Hopefully, broader reform that rationally balances our need for security with a recognition that immigration is the backbone and strength of our nation.
Criminal Justice reform: The administration must restore the integrity of the Department of Justice and follow through on reforms that end systemic racism in the military and police departments.
In the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection, the Justice Department, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security must continue to take seriously the threat of right-wing extremism, domestic terrorism, anti-Semitism and white supremacy.
It must combat all forms of violence and discrimination against women, minorities and the LGBTQ community.
Education reform: An end to Trump’s destructive policies against public education under Secretary Betsy DeVos.
Finally a recognition of the value public education plays in providing opportunities for students.
More funding should be devoted to schools and teacher salaries, including free or reduced tuition for public colleges and universities with an emphasis on the skills that will be needed in the 21st century and a return of arts and music education.
Ending the pandemic: The Biden administration has already moved quickly and efficiently to distribute vaccines that are key to ending the COVID-19 pandemic. There can’t be a full economic recovery until the pandemic is under control.
The administration is finally listening to scientists and health experts.
Largely Republican states that are opening bars, restaurants and other public gathering places need to encouraged to show restraint.
Health experts say it’s too early to do that without running the risk of another spike in infections.
The opportunity is there to vastly improve the future for our nation and children. But it all begins in Washington, D.C.