Joe Biden and his team have worked hard to put America’s diversity on display.
Masks are mandatory in Biden's White House. Bloomberg.
While there is continuity between the Trump and Biden administrations on some things, like maintaining pressure on China over the Uighur Muslims, retaining recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and continuing for now the tariff war, much is being dismantled.
As it was for each of those men, Biden assumes the presidency during a phase of change that will profoundly reshape America’s politics and economy.
An Economist/YouGov Poll taken this week found that around 76 per cent of people aged 44 years and under believe Biden won the election fair and square against the 49 per cent of 65s and over who believe he didn't.
Regardless of that gap, Biden – ironically the oldest person to ever take up the office – isn’t looking back, and the same sense of resisting a return to the past is already driving Biden’s decision-making on key economic and business issues.
President Biden revokes a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline that would have carried Canadian crude oil to the US. Bloomberg.
The immediate decision to banish the controversial Keystone XL pipeline is another example, halting a project that was derided by progressives and climate activists as retrograde.
First proposed almost 13 years ago, the pipeline project would have increased supply of high-emissions tar sand oil from Canada’s boreal forests in Alberta to the Gulf Coast of Texas by more than 830,000 barrels a day.
But perhaps the biggest realm where Democrats and the Biden administration will seek to banish "old thinking" may be on debt and deficit.
While Janet Yellen – the former Federal Reserve chair who Biden nominated to be his Treasury Secretary and who is now awaiting Senate confirmation – maintains America’s gargantuan federal debt needs to eventually be put on a “sustainable” path, she’s no longer sounding like a fiscal conservative of old.
Biden and his economic brains trust seem unlikely to embrace some of the more trendy ideas, like so-called Modern Monetary Policy, but they’re not rushing back to austerity either, not least because the party’s left flank will maintain pressure to go bold.
"Failure to adequately respond to the economic desperation in America today will undermine the Biden administration and likely lead Democrats to lose their thin majorities in the US House of Representatives and US Senate in 2022.".
Such internal pressure means Biden will probably take his time addressing the debt burden, and raises the likelihood his promised tax hikes will be a priority only after the mid-terms just under two years from now.
"The high likelihood of passing such a stimulus even as the economy recovers highlights the sea change in US fiscal policy.".
Whether it's on fiscal policy, climate change, immigration or pipelines full of crude, or the purported power and influence of Trumpism, there's been an unmistakable sense that the spell has broken this week
None feel that more than Washington's residents, for whom the last four years has been like hosting a malignant blob, distorting every minute of the day