Biden gives NYT’s Brooks interview on why he’s gone big with progressive policies

President Biden views the country as being at an “inflection point” that has spurred his support for bigger spending and more progressive policies, but he doesn’t view himself as a true progressive, according to an interview Biden gave to New York Times columnist David Brooks.

Biden, in his first print interview since taking office, explained to Brooks his evolution in views over time and how he’s come to support trillions of dollars in spending in his first few months as president. 

“I think circumstances have changed drastically. We’re at a genuine inflection point in history,” Biden told Brooks, describing the current period as a “fourth industrial revolution” that has given rise to China and increased global competition.

“We’ve gotten to a point where I think our economic competence has a gigantic impact on our international influence and capacity,” he said.

Brooks noted that the Obama administration’s plans and legislation Biden supported as a senator were typically in the millions or low billions in terms of costs. But Biden signed a $1.9 trillion economic relief law in March, and he has since proposed another $4 trillion in spending on infrastructure and domestic priorities like health care and education.

“The risk is not trying to go big,” Biden said. “If we stay small, I don’t know how we change our international status and competitive capacity.”

The president said the government should play a role to ensure Americans have the opportunity to be competitive in the current economy.

But Biden told Brooks he doesn’t view himself as a progressive, even as he’s earned praise from that wing of the Democratic Party.

“The progressives don’t like me because I’m not prepared to take on what I would say and they would say is a socialist agenda,” he said, specifically pointing to calls from progressives to forgive $70,000 in student debt.

Biden has now given two interviews to New York Times columnists since winning the 2020 election. He first spoke to Thomas Freidman in December during the transition, and has given broadcast interviews to ABC News and CBS News as president.

Tags Infrastructure Joe Biden progressive policies The New York Times

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