President Joe Biden and his program are a fitting inspiration comparisons to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the New Deal. Biden himself praised the comparisons, even traveling to Warm Springs, Ga., FDR’s famous getaway, to deliver a speech just a week before the 2020 election.
Biden is on the verge of proving that these comparisons are correct – if he, like FDR, stands firmly against rich vested interests. If Biden succeeds in adopting a bold Build Back Better package, it will cement his place in history. Future historians will explain that Biden effectively built on Roosevelt’s legacy in important and ambitious ways.
Like FDR, Biden is committed to expanding our economic security. Among many other improvements, it plans to expand social security, health insurance, supplementary security income, and home and community services, as well as adding paid family and medical leave, a universal preschool. and a free community college.
Like FDR, Biden seeks to ensure that the wealthiest pay their fair share to fund these crucial improvements. Congress is undertaking a broad tax reform to offset the cost of the Build Back Better program. Even apart from the significant improvements in benefits, meaningful tax reform is long overdue. Too many multinational corporations and billionaires pay little or nothing for the common good. It is high time for Congress to curb tax giveaways to fund essential programs that will benefit everyone.
Some of those on welfare are not only not paying their fair share; they actively harm us all. They exacerbate destructive climate change, undermine well-paying jobs, engage in the fight against unions, ship jobs overseas and more. Fortunately, one key proposal simultaneously extends economic security and cuts profits for giant corporations: Biden’s plan to lower drug prices for everyone.
Americans currently pay the highest drug prices in the world, even though they fund the development of these life-saving drugs with their tax dollars. Among other important reforms, the plan allows Medicare to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs, not only for its tens of millions of beneficiaries, but also for all those who have health insurance from private companies and d employers.
Affordable prices for medicines are essential for economic and health security. No one should exploit this fact for exorbitant profit. Insulin, essential in the treatment of diabetes, illustrates what the Build Back Better program needs to correct.
The three researchers who discovered insulin in 1923 refused to take advantage of health others. One of them refused to put his name on the patent. The other two sold the patent to the University of Toronto, where they worked, for just $ 1. Unfortunately, the pharmaceutical companies that produce insulin today have no such qualms.
They have a huge captive market: More than one in ten Americans has diabetes. One in three is pre-diabetic. And they take full advantage of it. Unlike other countries, where the price of a vial of insulin remains affordable, the price of a vial in the United States has increased 1000 percent over the past two decades! Too often we read stories of deceased people because they couldn’t afford their insulin.
No one should have to pay hundreds of dollars for just one vial of insulin. No one should have to pay thousands of dollars every month to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Biden understands this. He and his siblings had to help pay their own mother’s shockingly high prescription drug bills.
Congress must include strong proposals to control drug prices in the reconciliation package. But this will not happen without a fight.
Between 2000 and 2018, thirty-five pharmaceutical companies achieved a cumulative turnover of $ 11.5 trillion. And Big Pharma is ready to do whatever it takes to keep those profits. Between 1999 and 2018, the pharmaceutical and health products industry spent more than any other industry to put pressure on the federal government, as well as huge sums on campaign contributions. And they are now in effect.
FDR understood that we must stand up for what we believe in and not be afraid to anger powerful vested interests. In a speech he gave shortly before the 1936 elections, he explained what he had accomplished during his first term and the work that remained to be done:
“For almost four years you have had an administration that… had to fight against the old enemies of peace – commercial and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profit. They had begun to view the government of the United States as just an appendage of their own affairs. We now know that government by organized money is just as dangerous as government by organized mob.
Never before in all of our history have these forces been so united against a single candidate as they present themselves today. They are unanimous in their hatred for me – and I salute their hatred. “
These are words President BidenJoe BidenHouse Endorses Bill to Provide Veterans with Cost of Living Adjustment should proudly repeat today as he takes on Big Pharma and other rich and powerful special interests. And when Biden signs his Build Back Better package into law, he can paraphrase FDR who, after welcoming their hatred, stated his goal:
“I would like people to say about my first administration [in Biden’s case, first year], that in her the forces of selfishness and thirst for power have met their match. I would like it to be said of my second administration [in Biden’s case, the second year and beyond], that these forces met their master there.
Nancy Altman is president of Social Security Works.