The Build Back Better Framework: A Transformative Plan for 21st-Century America

Marc Stier |

President Biden’s Build Back Better framework is an unprecedented and transformative plan to better the lives of all Americans—Black, brown, and white; those with low, moderate, or high incomes; the youngest children and the oldest seniors. It will help families care for children while making quality pre-K available to all 3- and 4-year-olds. It will create hundreds of thousands of good jobs, many in unionized trades and clean manufacturing while drastically cutting greenhouse gases and reducing energy costs for every household. It will reduce the cost of health care and housing for millions. And it will make college education more affordable, boosting the future prospects of our young people and our economy as a whole. It will be paid for by new taxes on the largest, most profitable corporations and the wealthiest Americans while cutting taxes for working people—all while reducing the deficit.

The legislative process in America is always slow, especially when we try to tackle big problems. And this legislative package doesn’t include every proposal that can contribute to expanding opportunity and prosperity for the middle class. But the measure of political achievement is how far we have come, not how much farther we want to go. By that standard, enacting President Biden’s Build Back Better plan and the bipartisan infrastructure package will be the most substantial achievement on behalf of the American people in many decades.

Among other things, the Build Back Better plan will

  • provide universal and free preschool for all 3- and 4-year-olds, the largest expansion of universal and free education in more than 100 years.
  • reduce greenhouse gas pollution by well over one gigaton by 2030 while reducing consumer energy costs and creating thousands of high-quality jobs.
  • reduce the cost of child care for American families of four earning less than $300,000.
  • deliver affordable, high-quality care for older Americans and people with disabilities in their homes while raising wages for the workers who provide this care.
  • provide more than 35 million households up to $3,600 (or $300 per month) in tax cuts per child by extending the American Rescue Plan’s expanded Child Tax Credit,  benefiting 90% of American children.
  • expand access to health care for 4 million Americans who have not yet benefited from the expansion of Medicaid, reduce health care costs for more than 9 million who purchase health insurance on the health care marketplaces, and help older Americans access affordable hearing care by expanding Medicare.
  • make a huge new investment in affordable housing that will lead to the construction, rehabilitation, and improvement of more than 1 million affordable homes while reducing housing prices for renters and homeowners.

The plan will be paid for entirely by the richest Americans and the largest, most profitable corporations (while taxes are cut for families with the lowest incomes) through

  • a 15% percent minimum tax on the reported profits of large corporations, a separate 15% minimum tax on profits earned by U.S. companies abroad, and tax penalties for companies that have their headquarters in global tax havens.
  • an additional 5% tax on incomes exceeding $10 million per year and another 3% tax on incomes above $25 million.
  • increased enforcement to ensure that large corporations and the wealthy pay what they owe under existing tax laws.
  • an extension of the expanded Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) for around 17 million low-wage workers so that low-wage workers without children are not taxed into poverty.