The Big Picture brings together a range of PS commentaries to give readers a comprehensive understanding of topics in the news – and the deeper issues driving the news. The Big Question features concise contributor analysis and predictions on timely topics.
Are the Democrats Bouncing Back?
The recent enactment of the CHIPS and Science Act, which will support US semiconductor production and research, and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a far-reaching tax, health, and climate bill, has put a spring in President Joe Biden and the Democrats’ step. But while the new legislation’s effects will become apparent only over time, former President Donald Trump and his Republican supporters pose an immediate threat to the Democrats’ prospects – and arguably to American democracy itself.
In this Big Picture, J. Bradford DeLong of the University of California, Berkeley, thinks the Biden administration’s success in shepherding the CHIPS Act and the IRA through Congress means that its legislative achievements have suddenly gone from “disappointing” to “exceeding expectations.” Likewise, Columbia University’s Joseph E. Stiglitz argues that the IRA will not only curtail inflation but also bolster America’s long-term competitiveness.
Christiana Figueres, a former executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, and May Boeve of 350.org think that the IRA will accelerate US and international efforts to tackle global warming. But Stanford University’s Michael J. Boskin disagrees, and sees little reason to believe that the law will do the many other things its proponents claim – particularly when it comes to its titular purpose: reducing inflation.
The Democrats must also contend with the Trump factor. Nina L. Khrushcheva of The New School argues that the recent landslide defeat suffered by US congresswoman Liz Cheney – one of Trump’s most prominent Republican critics – in Wyoming’s party primary shows that many voters remain in thrall to the ex-president and his false claim that the 2020 presidential election was “stolen.” And former senior CIA analyst Kent Harrington notes that, while Trump’s attempt to stash away classified documents underscores the direct threat to US national security were he to win the presidency again in 2024, prosecuting him carries its own risks.