Friday Edition

Is the future of climate in China's hands? Plus: Biden's New Deal is bigger than the original.

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1. Biden Makes the New Deal Look Small

The Biden administration is throwing so much government cash around, we can’t even spend it all. (Politico)

Chart: Politico

A new Politico analysis of four signature Biden laws found less than 17% of the $1.1 trillion appropriated from these bills had actually been spent as of April.

  • Inflation Reduction Act: $60 billion out of $145 billion.

  • CHIPS and Science Act: $700 million out of $54 billion.

  • The American Rescue Plan plus the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: $125 billion out of a combined $884 billion.

Let’s compare Biden’s climate and infrastructure agenda to FDR’s New Deal, one of the most ambitious and transformative examples of government intervention.

The Congressional Budget Office projects that over the course of Biden’s presidency, $7.9 trillion will be added to the national debt.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Although it’s easy to get numb to all the figures that get thrown around when talking about government programs, these numbers are absolutely massive. That’s why it’s helpful to contextualize Biden’s spending alongside the New Deal, which fundamentally altered the U.S. government and economy. The Biden agenda dwarfs FDR’s plan.

2. When Push Comes to Shove on Immigration

The latest: Denver migrants won't leave their tent encampments for taxpayer-funded shelters unless the city meets their 13 demands. (New York Post)

  • A 13-point list submitted to the city of Denver earlier this week includes fresh, culturally appropriate food ingredients, unrestricted shower access, regular medical care, consistent housing support, a fair process for shelter exits, employment aid, legal consultations, privacy, transportation for children, and meetings for program improvements.

  • Denver has already spent $35 million between December 2023 and March to support migrants.

  • Over 40,000 migrants have arrived in Denver (population 713,000) since last year, the most per capita of any U.S. city.

Migrants are straining resources, even in liberal, Democratic-controlled areas like Denver where you’d expect residents to be sympathetic to immigrants.

  • In January, parents in Brooklyn, New York were outraged when their children were forced into remote learning so asylum-seekers could be housed at their high school.

  • Last year, Chicago reopened a shuttered elementary school as a shelter for migrants, sparking frustration among local black residents who feel their needs have been ignored.

  • In fiscal year 2023, Chicago, New York and Denver spent a combined $1.77 billion on migrant services.

Bubba’s Two Cents: The immigration crisis shows what happens when unlimited compassion and finite resources collide. You can support immigrants while recognizing that sometimes a country must put its citizens' needs first.

3. America Untethered

What happened to the sense of community in America? (Pew Research Center)

The U.S. ranked dead last in a new survey of 24 nations gauging how close citizens feel to other people in their country.

  • The median percentage of adults who feel close to people in their country is 83%, but only 66% of U.S. adults share this sentiment,

  • Only 54% of Americans feel close to people in their local community, compared to a median of 78% in the surveyed countries.

Certain demographic groups are more likely to lack closeness with their communities:

  • Young people: Only 42% of U.S. adults under 30 feel close to their community.

  • Non-religious: Religiously unaffiliated Americans (51%) feel less connected than their affiliated counterparts (73%).

  • Democrats: 60% of Dems, compared to 75% of Republicans, feel close to other Americans.

Sociologists have been chronicling the decline of American community for decades, perhaps most famously in Robert Putnam’s 2000 book, “Bowling Alone.”

  • 12% of Americans in 2022 reported having no close friendships, up from 3% in 1990.

  • Nearly 50% of Americans lost contact with friends during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • A Harvard survey found 61% of adults aged 18 to 25 reported feeling serious loneliness in 2020.

Bubba’s Two Cents: The reasons we're losing our sense of community in America? It could be technology, a weak national identity or the economy. More than likely, it's a bit of everything.

4. The Green Future’s in China’s Hands

China is key to reaching climate advocates’ clean energy goals. (AP)

Chart: Associated Press

In 2023, 30% of global electricity was produced from clean energy sources, according to a new report from the think tank Ember.

  • China was the main driver of this growth, adding 51% of new solar power and 60% of new wind power around the world.

Chart: Associated Press

But as China giveth, China also taketh away: According to Ember, the East Asian nation was responsible for 55% of global coal generation.

China plays a massive role in contributing to global emissions and pollution.

Bubba’s Two Cents: This shows that our Western-focused view of the clean energy transition needs adjusting. While the U.S. often leads global policy, in this instance, China’s taking the reigns, both expanding solar and wind power and leading in coal emissions. Could it be that the fate of our climate is in China's hands?

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