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Biden infrastructure plan would boost jobs; Georgia voter law tensions

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics:

What specifics do you expect to be in Biden's "build back better" infrastructure plan?

Well, this is really a two-part plan. The first part Biden's rolling out this week, and it's focused mainly on infrastructure. Bridges, roads, tunnels, transit, the whole infrastructure smorgasbord, including on broadband deployment, as well as investing in things like rural hospitals, schools and upgrading buildings to be more energy efficient. Biden's proposed between $2 and $2.5 trillion depending on how you do the math, paid for by tax increases primarily falling on the corporate sector that actually spread out over 15 years, as opposed to the bill's spending, which spreads out over 10. That means the bill will be mildly stimulative to the economy on top of creating potentially new jobs through the direct spending that's going to happen.

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No, Joe Biden, America is not back. It will take time.

Ian Bremmer's Quick Take:

Hi everybody, Ian Bremmer here, kicking off the week as we head into spring. And I thought I'd talk a little bit about where US foreign policy is and is not heading.

We keep hearing from President Biden and the Biden administration that the United States is back. And certainly when you talk about the fact that the United States is rejoining and recommitting to a lot of institutions like the nuclear agreement on START, five-year extension, trying to get back into the Iranian nuclear deal, Paris Climate Accord, World Health Organization, where there's been a lot of criticism of late from Secretary of State Blinken saying the Chinese are all over that, and were writing basically the report that came out from the WHO, my God, that's a hit, but they're still engaging with WHO as they should. Internationally, that means that the level of diplomacy looks a little bit more normal than it did under the Trump administration, but that's not the United States is back.

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Biden's massive, historic stimulus relief bill passes

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his perspective on the historic American Relief Act:

The American Relief Act just passed. Joe Biden's big $1.9 trillion stimulus has now passed the Senate and the House of Representatives and is on its way to the president's desk to be signed into law. This is a massive, historic piece of legislation on top of already $3 trillion in stimulus that Congress has provided to respond to the novel coronavirus. Here's another almost $2 trillion, that two thirds of which will be spent in this calendar year.

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Minimum wage won't go up for now; Texas sets reopening example

Jon Lieber, Managing Director of the United States for the Eurasia Group, shares his insights on US politics in Washington, DC:

Another stimulus bill is about to pass the Senate. Why won't the minimum wage be going up?

Well, the problem with the minimum wage is it didn't have the 50 votes it needed to overcome the procedural hurdles that prevent the minimum wage when traveling with the stimulus bill. Clearly support for $15 an hour minimum wage in the House of Representatives, but there's probably somewhere between 41 and 45 votes for it in the Senate. There may be a compromise level that emerges later in the year as some Republicans have indicated, they'd be willing to support a lower-level minimum wage increase. But typically, those proposals come along with policies that Democrats find unacceptable, such as an employment verification program for any new hire in the country. Labor unions have been really, really fixated on getting a $15 an hour minimum wage. They may not be up for a compromise. So, we'll see what happens.

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Texas grid shows need to fix infrastructure in US; RIP Rush Limbaugh

Ian Bremmer discusses the World In (more than) 60 Seconds:

What's happening in Texas?

Speaking of weird weather, my goodness yeah, I didn't know this was coming up here. Yeah, it's cold, right? There's snow. It looks horrible and millions of people without energy and of course that is because the level of infrastructure investment into the Texas grid is well below what it needs to be. There's a lack of integration. Texas' grid largely stands by itself. It is not under the authority of or coordinated multilaterally with broader energy infrastructure. And there has been a lot of investment into renewables in Texas. It is certainly true. They've been very interested in that. Sped up under former Governor Perry but still the vast majority of electricity is coming from fossil fuels. It's coming from coal and mostly oil and gas.

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Republican Congresswoman Nancy Mace on the chances for bipartisanship in Congress

Freshman Republican Representative Nancy Mace has only been in Congress for a few weeks, but she already has big plans. "It's my hope, because I've been such a strong voice, a new voice for the Republican party over the last few weeks, that I can use some of that capital to find ways to work together. And I think that there are small ways that we can make a big difference in this country for everybody." The South Carolina former businesswoman spoke to Ian Bremmer on GZERO World in the days leading up to a Senate impeachment trial of former President Donald Trump. This episode of GZERO World also features an interview with Senate Democrat Chris Murphy of Connecticut.

Is a second great depression coming? Adam Tooze on international economic crisis

Many of us experienced the major economic impact of the Great Recession from 2008-2010. The definition of a "depression" is harder to articulate, even for economists, because the US hasn't had one since the 1930s. But as unemployment rises and lockdowns to limit the spread of the coronavirus threaten the existence of businesses here in the US and around the world, we ask the question: Is another depression a possibility, and what would that look like today?

On this episode of GZERO World, Ian Bremmer poses this question to Columbia professor, economic historian, and author Adam Tooze. The two discuss the strength of the US and global economies before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, and realistic timeframes for when the financial outlook will improve.

Coronavirus Politics Daily: Polio eyes a comeback in Africa, Malawi's corona mess, America's economic bounce back

Polio eyes a comeback in Africa: The public health impacts of COVID-19 will go far beyond the number of people that the disease kills directly, especially in developing countries that are still struggling to contain other infectious diseases at the same time. The West African nation of Niger, for example, has now become the 15th country on the continent to report a fresh outbreak of polio, as mass immunization programs against the disease are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic. Polio was largely eradicated in industrialized countries by the 1960s, but as recently as the late 1990s, it still affected as many as 75,000 people annually in Africa. Since then, immunization has virtually eliminated wild strains of the virus on the continent, but isolated outbreaks can still occur when recently vaccinated children transmit the virus to the unvaccinated. The challenge of keeping polio in check during the coronavirus pandemic comes alongside the potential resurgence of measles. As at least 24 countries have suspended their vaccination programs against that disease due to social distancing requirements.
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