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Intelligence Squared U.S.: Should Congress Spend Trillions to Build Back Better?

Illustration of US Capitol President Biden and dollar bills

President Biden wants to spend big. The administration is calling for some $4.5 trillion in increased government spending and tax credits over the next decade. The “Build Back Better" agenda includes hefty investments in infrastructure and unprecedented spending on the labor force, not to mention funding a host of Democratic policy priorities from child and elder care to paid family and medical leave. Its champions see an unjust and unstable economy in need of major government intervention. They argue that bold investments are necessary to combat economic inequality, build the next generation of American business, and help the nation regain its economic footing in the post-pandemic world. But opponents are sounding the alarm: Trillions in new spending could balloon the national deficit and drive inflation. Further, they say, Biden’s swath of new big government social programs would only create more bureaucracy, drive up prices on everything from education to childcare, undermine business, and ultimately harm American consumers and workers. As Washington takes up this historic plan, we ask: Should Congress spend trillions to “Build Back Better”?

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