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Batavick: While imperfect, Biden is what we need as president | COMMENTARY

Tuesday marks the most consequential presidential election in decades, and Americans could have no starker choice. Last Saturday I saw a truck caravan, Trump flags flying, on Md. 140, so I know there’s little chance of influencing his base, but here’s something for middle-of-the-road Republicans and independents to consider.

I fear the country is on the verge of a virtual nervous breakdown that may lead to civil unrest. We simply can’t continue to live under the barrage of nasty tweets, disinformation, and incoherent rants that shadows every day. They are exhausting, have created distrust in government and elections, tarnished our image on the world stage, and diminished the presidency. Who can ever forget the cringe-worthy first debate?

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But why Joe Biden? Because he is a calm, respectable, considerate, and self-effacing man of integrity. He will trust scientists and not Internet quacks and talk show hosts to lead us through the pandemic. An impressive 81 U.S. Nobel Prize winners in chemistry, physics and medicine have endorsed him.

Last Friday saw a record 80,000 new coronavirus cases. We are not “rounding the final turn,” as Trump says. Biden promises to bring national leadership to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak by providing free testing for all and hiring 100,000 people to run a contact-tracing program. The only way to reopen the economy and our schools is to control the pandemic, not let it play itself out, as Trump now suggests. More people die with his approach.

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Biden will also issue national pandemic guidelines and coordinate the distribution of medical supplies to states, not make them compete with each other, and he’ll urge governors to mandate mask wearing because it works.

Too, Biden has promised to restore and expand the Affordable Care Act and give enrollees a public health insurance option, like Medicare. His goal is to insure 97% of Americans and continue protections for those with pre-existing conditions, including COVID-19 survivors.

Biden understands that the increased number of wildfires and hurricanes, not to mention our quirky weather of late, are all signs of climate change. He will have the U.S. become a model to the world again by lowering carbon emissions and investing $2 trillion in green energy in all its forms. He sees this as a way of creating new manufacturing jobs while the fading coal and petroleum industries shed theirs.

Biden has pledged $400 billion in federal dollars to “Buy American.” Those solar panels, windmills, and new modes of powering cars and trucks should not be made in China or Mexico.

To turbocharge the economy, Biden will raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour, provide a “comeback package” to Main Street businesses and entrepreneurs, allow $10,000 of forgiveness for government student loans, and increase direct payments to families and businesses still suffering from the impact of COVID-19.

Where will the money come from? The Biden plan will prime the pump of the middle class, so it spends more across the economy, increasing tax revenue. Too, since we’ve learned once again that trickle-down economics doesn’t work, Biden will rescind the huge tax cuts Trump gave the wealthy and corporate America in 2017. He will raise income taxes on those who make over $400,000 yearly and increase taxes on capital gains, payroll, and corporate income.

The GOP will scream about any tax increase but just remember that during the last four years they’ve added $7 trillion to the federal debt and ballooned the budget deficit to a record $3.1 trillion without batting an eye.

You can learn more about Biden’s platform at joebiden.com, including his planks on criminal justice reform, education, and immigration.

Joe Biden is far from a perfect candidate, and one can find flaws in his 47-year record in public service. However, despite right-wing smearing, he is far from a socialist. Over the years, the GOP has stamped the same, tired label on Social Security, the FDIC, price supports for farmers, Medicare, Medicaid, the ACA, and even polio vaccinations.

Biden’s also not a radical leftist or Marxist. Granted, the Democratic Party harbors a few extremists, as does the GOP, but Biden beat the fringe candidates in the primaries and is simply running as himself.

Biden stumbles at times in speaking but is not addled or suffering from dementia. How many 77-year-olds can do a 90-minute town meeting on national TV?

Despite numerous investigations, no one has proven Biden’s entanglement in his son’s business dealings in the Ukraine or China. And as for those infamous, uncorroborated laptop files, consider the source, Rudy Giuliani, though he is currently indisposed trying to explain his compromising behavior in the latest “Borat” movie.

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Lastly, I know abortion is the hot button issue for many. As a Catholic, Biden sees it as sinful, but also understands that matters of conscience can’t be legislated and that this wrenching decision should rest solely with the women affected. He also knows that no president or high court can ever stop abortion. It’s been practiced since primordial times, and if it doesn’t happen in a hospital, it’ll move to back-alleys with much greater risks for women.

Given the arc of Biden’s career and his family-friendly platform, which candidate really respects life more?

Frank Batavick writes from Westminster. His column appears every other Friday. Email him at fjbatavick@gmail.com.

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