In about a month, U.S. President Joe Biden will complete his first year in the White House. The campaign was charged-up and polarizing. With 2021 drawing to a close, let’s analyze what Biden has accomplished in the past year and where he struggled.
First, when Biden assumed the presidency, the U.S. economy and the stock markets were on an upswing and recovering from the blows of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, it wasn’t going to be an easy year for any president.
Biden’s performance on the economy has been satisfactory.
The U.S. economy has continued to recover under Biden and the unemployment rate fell to 4.2 percent in November. The timely intervention on the stimulus has helped the economy recover. Now, we are in a situation where the Fed is gradually ending the bond purchases and we might even see rate hikes in the back half of 2022.
Biden delivered on the climate change promise.
Biden delivered on the climate change promise and rejoined the Paris Climate deal. The administration made several other decisions to promote the adoption of green energy and also mandated converting the federal fleet to zero-emission vehicles.
The infrastructure bill finally passed.
The $1.2 trillion bipartisan bill also finally passed under Biden. Notably, while former President Donald Trump delivered on several of his promises, his infrastructure plans never saw the light of day. The infrastructure bill has also proposed a massive outlay for EV (electric vehicle) charging stations, which would help increase the adoption of electric cars.
The administration’s performance on COVID-19 vaccinations has also been satisfactory even though the country continues to grapple with vaccine hesitancy.
Biden has been working on foreign policy.
As Biden pledged, he has been working towards restoring trust among allies. The administration waived the Section 232 tariffs on Europe, which were a major bone of contention between the two sides. Also, Biden’s stance on China has been strong. While you might miss the frequent tweets from Trump, Biden has also been strong on China.
Another notable achievement of Biden’s foreign and strategic policy is the strengthening of QUAD, which includes the U.S., India, Australia, and Japan. Biden also invited Taiwan to the recently concluded Democracy Summit, even at the cost of China’s angst. He has been trying to reach out to Russia but warned President Vladimir Putin of severe consequences if he invades Ukraine.
What are Biden's notable achievements?
Biden’s cabinet has been diverse racially, which is an achievement. The administration revamped the PSLF (Public Service Loan Forgiveness), which was long overdue. The administration also stepped in to ease the supply chain issues.
U.S. stock markets have performed well under Biden and the S&P 500 looks set for double-digit returns in his first year.
The Afghanistan pull-out was the biggest flop for Biden.
Meanwhile, the botched exit from Afghanistan has been the biggest flop for Biden. The images of chaos in Kabul might remain entrenched in our memories for quite some time. The handling of the border crisis has also been disappointing. Many people wonder if Biden’s approach is any better than Trump's.
Biden hasn’t been able to do much about rising inflation. He tried cajoling OPEC+ to increase output but wasn’t successful. The administration hasn’t been able to move forward on the Iran Nuclear Deal, which could help add more barrels of oil to global markets.
Overall, Biden’s first year as president has been the proverbial "glass half full, half empty." Whether you find the glass half empty or half full depends on which side of the political divide you belong.