Looking Back on Biden's First Year: A Promise Turned Disaster

With just a couple of months left before the midterm elections, hundreds of American households are now looking back at the events of the past two years before they cast their vote.

Politics, economics, and social upheaval are all complex issues. The impact of each new policy or measure can only truly be assessed from a distance. As a result, despite being close to the two-year mark, we are only now beginning to see the effects of Biden's first 12 months.

Granted, President Biden did not have an easy task. This was clear (or should have been) from the moment he chose to run. His electoral victory was hailed as a new era of progress by one-half of the country – and overall, every corner of the country was eager to leave 2020 behind.

But what happened in 2021?

5 Places Where Biden's Actions Took A Wrong Turn

Unfortunately, after 18 months of broken promises and unclear decisions, the overall results are far from positive. The economic revival that could have followed the pandemic has now turned to deprivation. Meanwhile, political experts predict a "red wave" in November that will shelve many attempted reforms.

The lack of confidence in the United States' leader was cemented at five critical points of Biden's inaugural year.

1.  Backtracking on COVID-19 Policies

For better or worse, the pandemic was one of the defining issues of the 2020 election. Biden's campaign relied heavily on criticizing Trump's handling of the emergency and followed up with a promise to do the exact opposite.

However, despite vowing to "shut down the virus," 2021 brought a new strain and higher-than-ever infection rates. Despite the availability of the vaccine, the year was still shaped by recurrent shortages of PPE, testing kits, and treatment supplies. Furthermore, the heavy-handed approach he took to small businesses deepened economic uncertainty for many struggling families but failed to lower transmission rates.

Naturally, the opposition was quick to question these costly measures. His proposed vaccine mandate didn't pass. Eventually, he was forced to acknowledge that a "federal solution" for localized outbreaks was impossible.

2.  Deepening the healthcare worker shortages

One particular public health measure will likely continue bleeding America's healthcare system for years to come. Although the country has been ailing from a nursing shortage for about a decade, Biden's polarization in the industry refueled the ongoing embers.

Following his initial vaccine mandates, mass resignations quickly left hospitals around the country understaffed. Rather than engage in meaningful dialogue with nurses and doctors who did not wish for the vaccine or hear their reasoning, his policy brought many hospitals to wartime staffing levels.

3.  Letting inflation loose

A combination of geopolitical conflicts, worldwide supply chain disruptions, and flawed economic decisions pushed beyond the 8% threshold. The country's debt ceiling was raised repeatedly, and interest rates increased the prices of consumer goods across the board.

Then, the final nail in the coffin of middle-class stability came from widely acclaimed "green" initiatives. The country's hard-earned energy independence was jeopardized due to strict regulations, which closed pipelines and oil drilling operations. As a result, commuters around the country are now forced to redesign their routes, or even reconsider their employment, as prices at the pump have eaten any promised cash incentive or salary raise.

4.  Widening the country's internal divide

The unexpected results of many of Biden's policies have deepened the disagreements between the different sectors of the American public. Each side of the political arena is now seeing its voters disenfranchised, disempowered, and with less money to spend. Yet, according to Gallup, despite the generalized dissatisfaction, voters from red and blue states now have even less common ground.

5.  Eroded confidence in our Armed Forces

In September 2021, American forces left Afghanistan amidst a disorganized "retreat," which, at points, looked more like an escape. The lack of foresight and poor planning by high command left American soldiers and civilians unprotected, and it was poor payment for years of sacrifice.

Many of the images shown in the media – especially those from Kabul's airport – severely undermined the reputation of the United States military. With its image weakened, foreign leaders felt the door was now open to bully neighboring countries. The resulting geopolitical instability will play a significant role in food prices for years.

Biden's first year began promising a fairer, safer future. So far, it has achieved the opposite – but it may not be too late to salvage the situation.

Often known as the “BBB,” Biden’s Build Back Better Plan was a cornerstone of his electoral promises in 2020. It was an ambitious social spending package meant to transform the country’s social fabric following the widespread distress brought by the COVID-19 pandemic and its related closures. However, some of the reforms BBB proposed have now entered the mainstream political discussion and still have the potential to harm our delicate economy.


Grassroots Pulse covers public policy and political issues aimed at engaging highly-active policy makers, donors, and grassroots leaders at the forefront of the political process in America today.

Image Credit: Photo by Gage Skidmore on Flickr Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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