Build Back Better is probably done for good, but President Joe Biden still has a chance to salvage his agenda. Beneath the accounting gimmicks and corporate pork was the kernel of a fine idea: restoring economic prosperity through policy-induced productivity boosts. This can be a winner for the Left, just as it was a generation ago for the Right. It’s time for a concerted push for supply-side liberalism.

Supply-side economics is usually associated with a conservative approach to tax policy: Sometimes cutting tax rates results in greater tax revenue. But we shouldn’t reduce supply-side economics to a public finance quirk. Its true message is much broader and more powerful. Supply-side economics is about economic growth, which means increasing the pie for everyone.

The wealth and poverty of nations depend on productivity. In the long run, the only way to increase income per person is to get more output from given inputs. Improvements in physical and human capital are crucial. These general productive conditions are what economists mean when they talk about the “supply side.” Pinning down the sources of economic growth is the Holy Grail of economics. “Once you start thinking about growth,” said Nobel laureate Robert Lucas, “it’s hard to think about anything else.”

Putting growth front-and-center isn’t just for poor countries looking to become rich. It’s also important for rich countries looking to become richer. Interpreted charitably, Build Back Better was an ambitious attempt at supply-side liberalism. Investments in universal pre-K, childcare, and health services arguably make us all more productive, and hence wealthier. The problem is where the rubber hits the road. Political investments are too often squandered on interest groups’ pet projects, resulting in unimpressive yield. The means chosen by Biden and his advisers were excessive. But the end was worthwhile and may yet be achievable.

Politics is the art of the possible. Given the almost-certain shellacking Democrats will take in this year’s midterm elections, Biden needs to get on the right side of these issues soon. This means working with congressional Republicans to pass bills that raise productivity while satisfying both sides of the aisle. There’s an obvious political exchange here: Republicans accept a pared-down spending bill on targeted priorities, such as childcare, and Democrats accept modest yet broad-based deregulation. Tailoring public expenditures works better than endless funnels of cash, and repealing efficiency-killing directives helps us get more bang for our buck in general.

Supply-side liberalism can also help the president sidestep the political landmine of inflation. With price hikes reaching levels not seen in 40 years, the administration is under serious pressure to find a solution. While presidents have minimal control over inflation, Biden reaps what he sows: Having embraced the archetype of a transformative executive in the spirit of FDR or LBJ, he can’t now hide behind the Fed or supply-chain issues. The only way forward is through. Thankfully, a supply-side liberal agenda can bring inflation down. Inflation results from too much money chasing too few goods. Productivity boosts can’t do anything about the money supply, but they can bolster the goods supply. This would be a relief to millions of households.

Like all good things, supply-side economics can go too far. Productivity isn’t everything. Nevertheless, presidents are primarily judged on the economy, meaning Biden has strong incentives to revive prosperity by adopting supply-side liberalism. It’s true man does not live by bread alone, but this wise saying implicitly recognizes man needs bread. Democrats, especially the progressive wing, are known for divvying up bread instead of baking more. It’s time for them to focus more on the latter.

Biden has a short window to discover there are better ways to build than Build Back Better. Supply-side liberalism is good economics, and right now, it’s good politics.

Alexander William Salter is an associate professor of economics in the Rawls College of Business at Texas Tech University, a research fellow at TTU’s Free Market Institute, and a senior fellow with AIER’s Sound Money Project.