Former Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said President Joe Biden’s plans to bolster the nation’s economy could help the U.S. compete with China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative. However, he also said that the U.S. and China could work together on several issues, like climate change, health care, and challenges with Iran and North Korea, to make a better future. While Senator Bernie Sanders agrees that the nation has its share of structural crises, he says fixing these issues should not fall on the shoulders of working Americans who already pay the bulk of this nation’s taxes.


CNBC/Yen Nee Lee
Biden’s economic plans will help the U.S. compete with China, says former Treasury secretary

President Joe Biden’s plans to bolster the U.S. economy will help the country compete with China’s massive Belt and Road Initiative, former Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said on Wednesday.

The Belt and Road Initiative is China’s ambitious program to build physical and digital infrastructure that connects hundreds of countries from Asia to the Middle East, Africa and Europe. Many critics consider it Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature foreign policy to expand his country’s global influence.

Lew, who was Treasury secretary from 2013 to 2017 under former President Barack Obama, pointed out that China’s Belt and Road Initiative has gained traction in the last few years. At the same time, the U.S. under former President Donald Trump retreated from the world stage, he said.

“The challenge we have is to look at our domestic challenges and to look at the places where we are very strong and should be stronger,” Lew told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.” He added that the U.S. is strong in technology and innovation, education, and remaining open to talent from around the world.

“We then look ahead to the challenges of the future … we have to engage in the world, we have to engage with other countries, working together. And you can’t say we’re not going to be there and then object when someone else shows up,” said Lew.

Lew’s comments came as Biden has held meetings with Democratic and Republican members of Congress to discuss his proposed $2 trillion infrastructure and economic recovery package.

The plan aims to rebuild U.S. infrastructure including roads, broadband and utilities, as well as invest in jobs training and research and development.

Read the full story, here.


CNN Business/Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders: We need to fix America. And the wealthy should help pay for it

The United States of America faces several enormous structural crises that we must address.

We need to fund infrastructure projects and build affordable housing while transitioning our energy system away from fossil fuels toward energy efficiency and renewable energy. We also need to guarantee health care to Americans as a human right, while also expanding Social Security to ensure that 20% of our senior citizens are no longer forced to survive on an income of less than $14,352 a year. Finally, if we are going to be able to compete in a global economy, we need to have the best educated workforce in the world. That means we must make public colleges and universities tuition free and debt free for working families.

These are expensive propositions, no question about it. But paying to fix these problems should not fall on the shoulders of working Americans who already pay the bulk of this nation’s taxes.

The good news is that we are living in the wealthiest country in the history of the world. By demanding that the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in this country begin to pay their fair share of taxes, we can raise more than enough revenue to create a society that works for all of us.

Click here to see how Sanders says we can raise trillions in new revenue and save the federal government hundreds of billions of dollars, without asking the middle class or working families to pay a nickel more in federal taxes.


CNN Business/Samantha Subin
The new U.S. plan to rival China and end cornering of market in rare earth metals

The United States has made previous attempts to reemerge as a dominant player in a rare earths supply chain that is responsible for some of the most important materials involved in electric vehicle production, battery making, renewable energy systems and technology manufacturing. Under the Biden administration, the effort is receiving renewed focus, with massive investments planned in climate change technology and a hard line being taken on geopolitical rivalries and the national security threat posed by China.

In 2019, China was responsible for 80% of rare earths imports, according to the U.S. Geological Survey, although exports fell last year in part due to Covid-19.

President Biden’s sweeping $2 trillion infrastructure legislation seeks to remake the power and transportation markets in the U.S. and rebuild the country’s semiconductor industry. It follows Biden signing an executive order in February designed to review gaps in the domestic supply chains for rare earths, medical devices, chips and other key resources, and in March the Department of Energy announcing a $30 million initiative that will tap into researching and securing the U.S. domestic supply chain for rare earths and other important minerals in battery-making such as cobalt and lithium.

“It’s absolutely correct there is a cornering of the market with lithium and other rare earths,” Biden climate envoy John Kerry recently said at a CNBC Evolve summit on the future of energy innovation.

But efforts in the recent past to rival China in the rare earths market and rebuild a domestic industry have been stymied.

“It’s technically possible to try and rebuild the entire supply chain because we once had it,” says Jane Nakano, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic International Studies’ Energy Security and Climate Change Program. “It’s not that we’re not experienced, it’s not that we have no idea of what the domestic supply chain may look like,” Nakano said, but she added that business, environmental and political factors may make the effort difficult to achieve, especially over a short-time frame.

Continue reading the story, here.

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