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MAGA 2.0

President Biden's speech in Ohio on Thursday captured his own take on "Make America Great Again" — a populist appeal, minus the racial dog whistle, for the U.S. to reclaim its post-World War II glory.

The big picture: Biden invoked long-ago works projects, as well as China's rise on the world stage, to make the case for tax increases and deficit spending that would, he argued, reset the balance between the wealthy and the working class.


"There's a new bargain," Biden told the audience at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland. "Everyone is going to be in on the deal this time."

  • "We're going to take back some of that 1% money and make 'em pay for it," he said — a reference to Trump-era tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations.
  • "This time...we have to bring everybody along, regardless of their background, regardless of their religion, regardless of their race."

Why it matters: Rallying more Americans around this argument is Biden's best chance to enact elements of a $6 trillion budget plan he's unveiling today and keep pressure on Republicans to commit to at least $1 trillion in infrastructure spending. "We have to start investing in ourselves again," he said.

  • He recalled the U.S. bringing electricity to the masses in the 1930s and connecting the interstate highway system in the 1950s.
  • He said the pandemic exposed how "we've neglected that kind of public investment for much too long."
  • Over three decades, he said, the U.S. slipped from the top to No. 9 for research and development spending worldwide, while China rose from No. 8 to No. 2. "We're in a race to see who wins the 21st century," he said. "We must be No. 1 in the world to lead the world."

Between the lines: The president is using the early success of his COVID stimulus as evidence that he knows what he's doing, despite critics' serious concerns about inflation and the mounting national debt.

  • Republicans are "bragging about" the American Rescue Plan after voting against it, the president said, displaying a list of offenders for comic effect. "Some people have no shame, but I'm happy. I'm happy they know that it benefitted their constituents."

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

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Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

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Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

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Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

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"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

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What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

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