These Interconnected Insurance policies Would Maintain Households, Help Ladies, and Develop the Financial system
The 12 Best Solutions to Poverty Reduction in the United States
A list of solutions that would help alleviate poverty across the country
Individuals and families need a range of support in order to be successful, lead healthy and productive lives, and participate fully in economic life. A linked package of policy interventions that address economic stability and family care needs – from job quality measures to paid vacation to childcare and tax breaks for low-income families – is not only for the economic well-being of families, but also for the growth of essential and driving a strong economy. These policy interventions can go a long way towards eliminating the inequalities in US work and family policies that have placed too many families in precarious positions and forcing them to choose between work and care, or between rent and groceries.
The good news is that such a series of interventions is already available as part of the Biden government’s Build Back Better agenda. These policies can help get millions of Americans back to work and on their way to financial stability. By adopting these guidelines through reconciliation or otherwise, federal lawmakers can invest heavily not only in the country’s economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic, but also in the most affected individuals and communities, including families, women and individuals with disabilities and color communities.
It is important to note that implementing one or two of these interventions alone is not enough to meet the needs of American families facing complex challenges that require multiple interconnected solutions. Consider how a series of family interventions could help workers avoid the difficult choice of keeping a job to support their families or providing necessary care for their loved ones. Affordable and high quality childcare ensures that parents, and especially mothers, can go to work knowing that their children are in a safe place and that they can get a quality start to their young lives. Parents should also have the opportunity to take time off from their job if their child or loved one is ill without losing their job or livelihood. However, the responsibility for care extends over the entire life span, not just over the first few years. Measures such as paid family and sick leave would give workers the flexibility to take time off work to care for sick relatives or aging family members who depend on them. While some nursing needs can be met by paid vacation, meeting other nursing needs requires professional home nursing. Offering families both options and helping them build their economic security through good jobs and monthly child tax breaks would really change people’s lives.
The Build Back Better agenda would make the following major investments.
Creation of jobs that pay living wages and benefits
To fairly rebuild the US economy, policymakers must invest in creating millions of well-paying jobs in major industries; It is important that these jobs must offer considerable worker protection. The Build Back Better agenda would invest $ 2.3 trillion in jobs in the green energy sector, developing key nursing and manufacturing jobs, and ensuring that jobs for parents, especially women, have decent wages and benefits so that they can return to work. Such an investment could reform and rebuild the economy by helping to reclaim a significant portion of the 7.6 million jobs lost since February 2020, and by empowering women to build financial security and work towards their American dream.
For more information from the Center for American Progress on Labor Market Reform, please visit:
Make the child tax credit permanent
The recently expanded and reimbursable Child Tax Credit (CTC), which has been pouring into the pockets of millions of parents since July 15, 2021, provides parents with a reliable source of monthly income so that they can not only support their families instantly and daily-daily needs, but can also make plans for the future. Researchers estimate that just one year of expansion of the CTC would bring more than 4 million children above the poverty line. Policy makers should therefore make the CTC permanent and as widely accessible as possible, including by opening it up to immigrant families.
Further information from CAP on the child tax credit can be found at:
Access for parents to high quality and affordable childcare and early childhood education
With most of the available parents in employment, quality childcare environments provide young children with the support they need at a time when they are experiencing explosive neural and socio-emotional growth and life-cycle benefits. Yet more than half of Americans currently live in a childcare desert where the lack of childcare leads to waiting lists, work stoppages, and fewer employed people. Childcare in the United States is unaffordable, and as a result, low-income families can spend more than a third of their income on childcare alone.
President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better agenda is making significant investments in early care and education, capping childcare costs for low and middle income families to 7 percent of household income, and creating preschools for 3- and 4-year-olds. The Build Back Better agenda also includes the Childcare for Working Families Act (CCWFA), which would ensure that 76 percent of working families with children under 6 have access to free or affordable high quality care. Congress needs to invest in affordable, high quality childcare and early education to give families the flexibility to make meaningful decisions about their labor force participation and to build strong economic security.
For more information from CAP on the importance of childcare and early childhood education, please visit:
Granting of paid family and sick leave to all employees
The United States is the only developed nation that does not guarantee its employees paid vacation. As of March 2020, 4 out of 5 private sector workers were not entitled to paid family leave and almost 3 in 5 private sector workers were not entitled to short-term disability leave because of their own serious health condition. Low-wage, black and Hispanic workers are less likely to have access to paid family and sick leave. The millions of workers who do not have access to full paid family and sick leave are forced to make the impossible choice of staying in their jobs – and thus keeping their paychecks – or taking time to shelter themselves from a serious illness recovering or caring for a new child or sick family member. Workers and their families lose an estimated $ 22.5 billion annually in wages because they are not entitled to paid family and sick leave.
Several proposals – including the American Families Plan in the “Build Back Better” agenda, the Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee Richard E. Neal (D-MA) Building an Economy for Families Act and the Family and Medical Insurance Leave (FAMILY) Act – would create an ongoing national paid family and sick leave program for all workers in the United States, granting them up to 12 weeks of paid vacation for these extensive purposes. Congress must give priority to the passage of a law on paid family and sick leave, particularly to help workers on the lowest incomes.
You can find more information from CAP on paid family and sick leave at:
Home and community care funding to support elderly and disabled Americans
Home and community services help provide the support they need to older adults and people with disabilities who need help with medical problems or in daily life, and empower millions of caregivers, especially women, to return to work and to build economic security. President Biden’s Build Back Better agenda includes a significant investment in expanding access to Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) for older adults and people with disabilities. This would not only enable more older adults and people with disabilities to stay in their homes and lead independent lives, but also provide caring support to their family members.
Additionally, according to the American Community Survey, nearly 90 percent of home nurses are women. The creation of quality and family-sustaining jobs in home care would recognize the value of these services and is of vital importance not only for families but also for the growing economic security of women and the US economy. To ensure better paid wages and benefits, legislation must require states to meet certain benchmarks in order to receive further increased funding for HCBS. One of these benchmarks must require states to demonstrate that the majority of home care workers receive competitive wages and benefits. The Biden government has proposed requiring states to submit individualized plans to improve HCBS infrastructure and obtain approval from the secretary.
For more information on investing in home and community services, visit:
Federal politicians can help millions of Americans get back to work by supporting economic recovery through a range of policies that include accessible and affordable childcare, permanent and comprehensive paid family and sick leave, investment in home and community services, and Highly qualified, high-quality, well-paid jobs and permanent child tax deduction. These actions would go a long way in helping individuals, families, women, and communities of color manage work and care, and ensure that all families thrive. The interventions should build on one another and must not be replaced or played off against one another. Congress must act immediately to find support that will both reduce economic stress for families and have tremendous positive effects on them. By increasing investment in this set of interconnected policy solutions included in the Better Construction Agenda, policymakers would invest in the country’s economic recovery and long-term security.
Arohi Pathak is the Policy Director of the Poverty to Prosperity program at the Center for American Progress. Diana Boesch is a political analyst on women’s economic security for the centre’s women’s initiative. Laura Dallas McSorley is the Center’s Senior Director of Early Childhood Policy.