Biden infrastructure plans could cost a projected $225,000 per job created through 2031

Based on a Moody's analysis, Biden's full agenda, combined with the bipartisan infrastructure deal, would cost roughly $4.5 trillion and create 20 million jobs over a 10-year period.

Published: July 21, 2021 11:48am

Updated: July 24, 2021 10:18am

The White House and Democratic leaders are touting a Moody's Analytics report on President Biden's Build Back Better agenda and the bipartisan infrastructure framework, which the organization estimates will "contribute to the creation of 14.4 million more jobs during his term and 20.1 million through the end of 2031."

"According to a new report from Moody’s this morning, the president's bipartisan infrastructure framework and Build Back Better agenda will add almost 2 million jobs per year on average across the whole decade, while accelerating America's path to full employment and increasing labor force participation," read a White House press release on Wednesday. 

Democratic congressional leaders are working on a $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that includes policies in Biden's Build Back Better agenda such as universal pre-K, tuition-free community college and financial support for childcare. The reconciliation bill is separate from the bipartisan physical infrastructure framework that Biden has endorsed, which is estimated to cost about $1-$1.2 trillion.

Biden's proposed policies can be expected to "contribute to the creation of 14.4 million more jobs during his term and 20.1 million through the end of 2031," Moody's projects. "Under the infrastructure deal and reconciliation package, employment increases by 12.9 million during his term and 19.1 million by year-end 2031."

Marc Goldwein, senior vice president and senior policy director for the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, said there are multiple ways to interpret the job growth projections in the Moody's report. The sum of jobs added through 2031 is one way, and the other is to look at the projected job growth for each individual year through 2031.

"People think of jobs in different ways," he said. "How many year jobs are they creating is another way to think about it, right? How many jobs in each year? The 20.1 million is the total over 10 years. So it's basically per job years created. You could divide that." 

During speeches promoting his infrastructure proposals, Biden has promised the plans will create "good-paying union jobs" for more Americans.

Based on the projections in the report, Biden's full agenda, combined with the spending in the bipartisan infrastructure deal, would cost $225,000 per job added over a 10-year period ($4.5 trillion divided by 20 million jobs).

Goldwein said dividing the total infrastructure spending package by the total number of projected jobs created is "a reasonable way to think about it, but that's not the only thing the money does."

"The money has a lot of goals besides just job creation, but it is one thing it does," he said.

The bipartisan framework and the Build Back Better reconciliation bill have not been drafted into formal legislation yet. The bipartisan framework failed during a procedural vote on Wednesday. 

"Around here, we typically write the bills before we vote on them," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said. "That's the custom. Of course, here in the Senate, a failed cloture vote does not mean no forever."

Just the News reached out to the authors of the Moody's report and asked if their projections would change once the formal legislative language of the proposals is available for review. Just the News also asked if Moody's has estimated total job growth through 2031 without the reconciliation bill and bipartisan framework factored into the projection. We did not receive a response before publication. 

Goldwein said he has some issues with the Moody's report.

"The report seems to be based on, sort of, an idealized version of what's happening," he said. "They count all sorts of offsets for the bipartisan infrastructure framework that aren't actually going to save any money. We'll see what negotiators come up with. I'm optimistic that on Monday they're going to come out with better offsets, but right now they're counting stuff like unemployment savings from states cancelling benefits that already happens as if it's new savings." 

Goldwein said the bipartisan framework estimates that the government will reduce unemployment fraud so much that unemployment insurance spending will be 45% lower in 2031 than it otherwise would be.

"There's no way that half of the program is fraud," he said. "Some of these assumptions don't hold up when you actually look at the legislation."

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said on Wednesday that he wants to pass both proposals by the start of the August recess. 

"I have every intention of passing both major infrastructure packages — the bipartisan infrastructure framework and a budget resolution with reconciliation instructions — before we leave for the August recess," he said. "That’s the schedule I laid out at the end of June. That’s the schedule I intend to stick to."

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden said on Tuesday that he expects a final filibuster-proof budget reconciliation bill to pass out of Congress by the fall. 

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