Wednesday, February 8, 2023
Cameron Hood, Newsletter EditorCameron Hood
Newsletter Editor
Welcome to a special morning edition of Grid Today, bringing you the important stories our newsroom is covering after President Joe Biden’s State of the Union. 

Policy Reporter Maggie Severns writes how Biden used last night to
set the tone for 2024. Also in this newsletter:

Was this newsletter forwarded to you? Sign up for it here
Soaring to new heights, stronger than ever before

At Delta Air Lines our 90,000 people are our most worthy investment. That’s why we are proud to be ranked No. 6 on Forbes’ list of World’s Best Employers for 2022. We provide industry leading benefits, because caring for our people empowers them to take care of you. Learn more.


How Biden used the State of the Union to set the tone for 2024

Cameron Hood, Newsletter EditorMaggie Severns
Policy Reporter

For the last year, President Joe Biden has felt your pain – your pain at the pump, your pain at the grocery store. On Tuesday night, he had a different message: Things have gotten better because of me.  

“Jobs are coming back, pride is coming back, because of the choices we made in the last two years,” Biden said. 

Biden isn’t officially running for a second term, but
his speech hinted at the pitch he’d make if he decides to do it.  

pushed an economic message early, pointing to employment numbers, returning to the theme with his bipartisan package that will invest in new infrastructure and technology to fight climate change. He threw some red meat to the Democratic base, calling Congress to pass tax hikes on the wealthy, enact an assault weapons ban and protect the right to abortion, all policies with no real chance of passing a Republican-controlled House.  

The address was also an opportunity for Biden to show his party and the public that he’s got the energy for the job. While he emphasized bipartisanship, a signature of his political career, he also
confronted Republican hecklers in the crowd, seeming to revel in the confrontation.  

Here are a few of our top takeaways from Biden’s State of the Union: 

Biden makes a call to tax the rich 

When it came to wealth during his 2020 presidential run, Biden said there was no need to “demonize” the rich and pledged not to raise taxes on households making more than $400,000. 

On Tuesday, the president was
far more critical of wealthy individuals and corporations. He blasted corporations and billionaires, oil executives, big tech and pharmaceutical companies, slamming corporate greed and asking for tax hikes on the wealthy, including quadrupling the tax on stock buybacks.  

“Reward work, not just wealth,” Biden said.  

Polling has found it’s a popular issue: 57 percent of Americans believe billionaires are taxed too little in the U.S.,
one poll found last year. In another poll, more than half of Americans said they support redistributing wealth “by heavy taxes on the rich.” 

Biden doesn’t yet know who his opponent in 2024 will be, but Donald Trump, who has already announced, has a record of cutting taxes for the wealthy.
Biden clearly sees an opening.  

Biden is on your side  

Biden has had it with “junk” fees. (Who hasn’t?) He said he wants to end overdraft and late fees on credit cards, ban “resort fees” at hotels, cap service fees on concert tickets and even prohibit airlines from charging families to sit together on flights. 

The president seemed to make
several policy promises with an eye toward helping voters with the nuts and bolts of everyday life: The new infrastructure law will help restore American manufacturing, get rid of lead pipes and expand high-speed internet access, he said. 

The strategy combats one of Biden’s major weaknesses as he heads into reelection: That many people don’t seem to be experiencing the Biden administration’s policy wins — at least not yet. Americans have repeatedly
said in polls that they aren’t aware of major legislation, like the 2021 infrastructure law, that’s been passed during the Biden administration or aren’t feeling the impact of his policies. 

Biden wants moderate Republicans 

Raising the debt ceiling is one of the most daunting tasks ahead this year for Biden and congressional leaders. But during Biden’s speech, he seemed to inch forward in gathering support from at least some of the GOP conference. 

After saying that “some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” Biden was met with audible boos and a disappointing headshake from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, who was seated behind him.  After a back-and-forth with the audience, Biden encouraged them to “contact my office,” insisting that it is being proposed by individuals who he “politely not naming.”  

Those unnamed members are members of the
House Freedom Caucus, whose interests often part ways with those of mainstream Republicans like McCarthy. Following additional shouting from the crowd, Biden eventually went on to say: “So folks, as we apparently all agree, Social Security and Medicare is off the books now. 

Biden’s comments about
protecting entitlement spending were met with standing ovations not only from Democrats, but many Republicans and McCarthy, too. Even Biden looked surprised. 

“If anyone tries to cut Social Security, I will stop them. And if anyone tries to cut Medicare, I will stop them. I will not allow them to be taken away,” Biden said.  

Then he added: “Apparently, it’s not going to be a problem." 

Politics Reporter Sophie Tatum contributed to this piece.


The context on what you need to know from last night:


Biden’s next step is to actually announce his reelection bid. He still has plenty of time – Trump’s announcement came significantly earlier than usual for presidential candidates.  

Biden also seemed to exploit the divide in the Republican Party. The
House Freedom Caucus had already gotten plenty of concessions from the speaker fight, but with a debt ceiling fight on the horizon, the far-right members could go even further. 

Biden’s speech
was also notable for what wasn’t mentioned – like much of the rest of the world, Tom Nagorski writes. “In the 80 minutes of Biden’s address, his only references to other countries involved the war in Ukraine and U.S. competition with China.” (I noted last night how the word “Russia” wasn’t included in his prepared remarks.) We’ll be watching for how other countries respond to his address – and what he did or didn’t include. 


The most popular articles for Grid readers:
Soaring to new heights, stronger than ever before

This year we are continuing our commitment to the total wellbeing of Delta people by expanding family building, parental leave, caregiving, and financial wellness benefits. Delta’s success continues to be driven by our people-focused culture of safety and service. Recognition by Forbes as one of the World’s Best Employers is meaningful affirmation of the ways Delta listens – and acts – when our people share with us their unique needs and goals. Learn more.

👋 Thanks for reading this special edition. I’ll be back with the regular newsletter this afternoon. –Cameron

📩 Email me your thoughts, tips and questions. I love to hear from readers, and it helps me make this newsletter better for you with every edition.

💌  If you like Grid Today, share it! It’s the best way to help us reach new readers and grow our audience. Did someone forward you this newsletter? Sign up here

📲 Follow Grid on Telegram and Reddit for daily news, stories and updates.

How would you describe this special morning edition? 
Tell us what you think.
Thanks to Leah Askarinam for contributing to and Lillian Barkley for copy editing this special edition of Grid Today.
Follow us on Twitter
Like us on Facebook
Follow us on Instagram
Copyright © 2023 Media Investment Projects OpCo LLC. All rights reserved.
You are receiving this email because you opted in via our website.

Our mailing address is:
Suite 890 of the South Tower at 400/444 North Capitol Street, N.W
Washington, DC 20003-3758

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.