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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Saturday, April 20, 2024

Judge Biden based on his accomplishments, not his age

Despite his age, President Joe Biden has made many significant legislative accomplishments.

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President Joe Biden is pictured in 2021.

We are three years into Joe Biden’s presidency, and Americans are not exactly happy about his performance so far as a chief executive. His approval rating has been consistently poor with an average of 39.8% in his third year in office, the second lowest only to Jimmy Carter for first-term presidents in the same period. A key reason for this unpopularity is that many voters believe he is too old for the job. Yet, Biden has been one of the most legislatively active presidents, passing several important bills to ensure the success of America. With the media so focused on his age, it is imperative that we go back and examine his legislative accomplishments.

When Biden was inaugurated in January 2021 during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, he immediately set out to help everyday Americans combat the effects of the virus. Just 1 ½ months into his presidency, Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, which implemented a $1.9 trillion relief package. While many have claimed that this act caused inflation and worsened the supply chain crisis, it is necessary to remember the millions of Americans in need at the time. During the pandemic, more than 9.5 million Americans lost their jobs and four million had been unemployed for more than six months. As much as conservatives criticize Biden for his reckless spending, the American Rescue Plan was key in helping millions of lower and middle-income Americans through a difficult time.

In addition to the American Rescue Plan, Biden has also passed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This was a return to New Deal Democrat policymaking which focused primarily on benefiting lower and middle-income Americans. It provided more than $550 billion of funding to rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure, which has never received a grade higher than a D+ from the American Society of Civil Engineers’ annual reports beginning in 1998. So far, the IIJA has funded 375 programs, 125 of which are brand new. Unemployment in the construction and utilities sectors was some of the lowest we’ve ever seen, and wages for those jobs are only likely to increase. Biden also got Congress to pass the Inflation Reduction Act and the CHIPS and Science Act in August 2022.

These policies have tangible impacts. American job growth has seen its highest levels since the 1960s with 2.5 million more jobs than its pre-pandemic peak. Biden has cracked down on junk fees, worked on overtime pay for millions, invested in small farmers of rural America and become the first sitting president to join a union picket line.

Biden’s foreign policy achievements are no less impressive. He has been able to form a united response to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of a sovereign Ukraine. He also aligned with America’s Asian allies against the growing threat from Xi Jinping, strengthening ties between Japan and South Korea.

All of this is not to say that the Biden presidency doesn’t have its problems; one just has to look at his controversial pullout in Afghanistan or the crisis on the southern border to see the administration’s shortcomings. However, the discourse that surrounds Biden is too focused on his age and is riddled with misinformation. We have to give Biden the credit that he deserves for passing so many bills despite a present Republican-majority House and even split in the Senate.

We can sit here and debate whether Biden is too old for the presidency or we can judge him on what really matters: his policies and actions. Biden’s legislative record definitely puts him on par or above presidents in recent memory. Biden certainly appears to be doing much better than his likely opponent Donald Trump, whose major legislative successes during his presidency include cutting taxes for billionaires like himself.

Joe Biden has not been a popular president; however, all of his accomplishments have benefited Americans, and little evidence points to him being too old for the job. There is no point in continuing this debate over his age when, by all other metrics, he has been successful. It is time for Americans to stop being misled by the media over a topic that holds no significance for his work as president.