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Will Donald Trump or Joe Biden be better for the US economy?
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Joe Biden will invoke the Defense Production Act

Joe Biden will invoke the Defense Production Act to curtail the scale of devastation caused by the coronavirus upon the US economy.
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The Argument

Biden has committed to use the Defense Protection Act (DPA) to manufacture critical products, such as “those immediately needed to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic”.[1] The DPA grants the executive branch powers to intervene in industrial production to prioritise certain products and supply chains. If elected, Biden will use the DPA to direct manufacturing businesses towards certain products, such as masks, which are crucial to efforts to manage the coronavirus crisis. He has accused the Trump administration of “dragging its feet on using the DPA to produce urgently-needed supplies to combat the Covid-19 pandemic.” Trump’s failure to manage the pandemic is the reason for the historic economic downturn, and wider availability of PPE, ventilators and medicines would benefit efforts to reopen sections of the economy. Without enough protective equipment, businesses will struggle to reopen and public confidence will not recover. Biden’s plan to use the DPA to “its fullest extent” is essential to post-Covid recovery as it will strengthen resilience against subsequent waves of the pandemic.

Counter arguments

Trump has already used presidential powers to direct sections of the economy - he instructed General Motors to prioritise ventilator production and intervened to improve the supply of raw materials for respirators.[2] He has also intervened to prevent PPE or other scares materials from being exported to other nations or being hoarded[3] - these measures have been crucial to the economic recovery seen in the summer months. Trump has rejected making further interventions since many businesses have voluntarily decided to prioritise the production of PPE and other essential products, and so compelling them to do so is both unnecessary and is tantamount to a socialist policy of nationalisation.[4]


[P1] The coronavirus pandemic has triggered a substantial economic downturn [P2] Better management of the public health crisis will lead to a swifter economic recovery [P3] Invoking the Defense Protection Act will help manage the public health crisis [P4] Only Biden wants to invoke the Act to its "fullest extent" [P5] Therefore Biden, in invoking the Act, will restore the US economy more effectively than Trump

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Invoking the Defense Protection Act is not necessary for managing the health crisis more comprehensively, as businesses have voluntarily focused on the production of essential materials


This page was last edited on Friday, 2 Oct 2020 at 10:39 UTC

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