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President Biden told business leaders of the Western Hemisphere Thursday that conservative “trickle-down” economic policies are a failure, as he called for more spending by governments and businesses despite high inflation and other headwinds.

“It’s time to put a nail in the coffin, in my view, of trickle-down economics. It doesn’t work,” Mr. Biden said at the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles.

The policy of tax cuts for wealthier individuals and corporations, combined with lower regulation, produced a booming economy during the Trump administration prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Mr. Biden wants to raise taxes and spend trillions more on infrastructure and safety net programs, even as inflation has climbed to a 40-year high in the U.S.

The president said the past few years have “exposed the weakness of prioritizing short-term profits and working exclusively to maximize efficiency.”

“We learned first-hand the pain that happens when just-in-time supply chains break down or hit a bottleneck,” Mr. Biden said. “The COVID-19 pandemic triggered a global economic crisis that we’re still digging out of.”

The president said he is working to bring supply chains closer to the U.S. He also said he is “kicking our action on climate change into high gear,” although he didn’t mention the cost of gasoline hitting record highs in the U.S. this summer.

The U.S. is hosting the summit for the first time since 1994. Mr. Biden is scheduled to meet Thursday with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, while Vice President Kamala Harris is meeting with Caribbean leaders to talk about clean energy.

Several leaders are boycotting the event, most notably Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who objected to the U.S. not inviting Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela because of their records of human-rights violations. The leaders of Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Bolivia also stayed home.

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