Joe Biden is the 46th president of the United States. We welcome him, and recognize that he enters the White House facing challenges as daunting, or nearly so, as any president who has come before him.
Even before he settles into his Oval Office seat, his desk is piled high with pressing challenges that must be immediately addressed. COVID-19, a flagging economy and disunity among the American people all demand his urgent attention.
The new president must focus almost entirely on those issues; most other matters on his priority list can wait until the health of Americans is secure and they are back to work.
This is not the time to rush through an agenda to radically reshape the nation.
On the pandemic, Biden must quickly figure out how to encourage the production of more vaccines and get then in the supply line, and then into arms. Roll-out of this vital, life-saving initiative has been too slow and disorganized.
Much of the fault rests with the states, which have proved ill-equipped to manage the logistics of mass vaccinations. While the states are still the best administrators of inoculation scheduling and delivery, the federal government must rush them help as needed.
Speeding America toward a vaccination rate that will result in herd immunity — estimated at above 70 percent — is the most important thing the president can do.
It is also the only sure path toward reviving the economy.
It is worrisome that Biden’s first pandemic action was to offer a $1.9 trillion package that repeats many of the mistakes of the previous $3.5 trillion in COVID relief and stimulus, most notably sending checks to people who don’t need them, and because of virus restrictions, can’t spend them to stimulate local economies.
Biden also included a $15 federal minimum wage, a top item on the far left wish list and one that risks adding inflation to the economic ills facing the nation.
The new president should not be afraid to embrace successful economic policies of the old one. Prior to the pandemic, President Donald Trump’s tax and regulatory policies had the economy cooking. They will continue to do so if left in place once the COVID restrictions are lifted.
Unifying America may be the toughest task on the near-term to-do list. Rarely has there been so much distance between right and left in this country, nor so little desire on both sides to close the gap.
Biden pledged to be the president for those who voted for him, and for those who didn’t. That has to be more than a slogan.
He should start by listening to those who voted against him in hopes of gaining an honest understanding of what they want from their government.
His actions will speak louder than his words. Policy-making in this country has for too long been an all-or-nothing enterprise. Consensus and compromise have fell to hard partisanship.
Biden, like any new president, wants to put his stamp on the country. He should begin with incremental changes he can make with bipartisan support. That would serve to calm those who fear total control of Washington by Democrats will lead to a disregard for the desires and concerns of half the nation.
We sincerely hope for Biden’s success. Our commitment to him, as it has been to every president, is to support him when he’s right and oppose him when he’s wrong, but to not let partisan leanings or ideology turn us away from pragmatic solutions.
— DETROIT NEWS