The care financial system as an infrastructure funding

Infrastructure investments is high on the agenda of the new administration and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle as this is a proven strategy for creating jobs while meeting a public need amid a deep recession. Few policy makers question the fact that our country’s physical infrastructure – roads, rails, bridges, and water systems – is in place in need of repair After decades of divestment and investment in these systems, jobs are being created, if only temporarily, while improving the systems we need to keep the economy running.

However, our nation faces another equally pressing infrastructure priority that can no longer be ignored. We need a functioning “Care infrastructure”- paid family and sick leave, access to affordable, quality childcare, long-term care – especially at home and in the community – and better wages and benefits for caregivers who provide the services we all need.

Before the recession began, women played a key role in the strength of the economy and the economic security of families. In December 2019 They were the majority of the civil non-agricultural workforce and they were more willing to bring in all or part of the family income than ever before. This was especially true for black mothers, four out of five of which were the sole or primary source of their family’s income.

Last year, the COVID-induced recession was a “you relinquishment”. Women lost jobs at a higher rate than men because they worked in customer-facing areas of the service economy – restaurants, retail, education, and healthcare – that were hit first and hardest. Indeed, two in five Of the 12.1 million jobs women lost between February and April, they hadn’t returned by the end of 2020 All 156,000 jobs were lost in December were held by women. Black and Latinx women were disproportionately affected through job loss.

In addition to job losses, women were completely excluded from the labor force at four times the rate of men, mainly due to the fact that the responsibility for care fell disproportionately on women. Between January and December 2020 more than two million Women left the workforce entirely, including 564,000 black women and 317,000 Latina women.

So let’s review our reasons for investing in infrastructure as a strategy against the recession. First, infrastructure investments create jobs. Granted, investing deeply in our physical infrastructure will generate large numbers of construction jobs, but those jobs tend to go to men, partly due to a long history of gender discrimination in the construction industry. In fact, women hold up less than 10 percent of construction jobs and most of them are low paid administrative positions.

The second reason: Infrastructure investments are aimed at a public need. It is true, our nation desperately needs investments in physical infrastructure. But we also need to invest in our systems to support human capital – workers – so that our economy can function. About 4 million each year children are born and 4 million people live to be 65 years old. Despite the growing demand for systems to care for children, people with disabilities, and older adults so that parents and adult family members can work and support their families, the United States has one of the systems weakest systems COVID has brought our patchwork systems to a breaking point.

Policy makers stand by today as women are being pushed out of the workforce, which is detrimental to families, communities and our economies. If comprehensive paid family and sick leave, childcare and home care are or are not available pricelessIt is predominantly women who take on the role of unpaid carers for children, parents and other needy family members. As a result, they are forced to leave their jobs and lose income, health benefits, and career opportunities along with other important benefits such as retirement savings.

So it is time to start thinking about the definition of infrastructure investments and asking who will benefit from it. While we are excited to see President Biden Infrastructure plan design in a way that focuses on climate change and aims to fund the communities that need it most. We also need to invest in systems that support women as workers and caregivers, especially women with the color of skin disproportionate burden of responsibility for care in America.

A wide range of advocates come together to call for deep public investment in our country’s care infrastructure – to expand paid family and medical leave and make it permanently available to all workers; invest in childcare providers, businesses and nonprofits to meet growing demand in the country; Invest in home and community long-term care support and services so that older adults and people with disabilities can stay safe and live independently in the community; and appreciate all caregivers through public support for living wage jobs with benefits and a union so that they can provide the quality of care our families need while ensuring the economic security of their own.

Studies show that investments in care systems produce twice as many Jobs per dollar invested as investments in physical infrastructure. By building better systems to support American workers, they can return to work, generate income for their families, spend more in their communities, and contribute to the recovery of our nation.

Ensuring that caregiving jobs are paid a living wage, perform well, and are unionized ensures that workers have power, security and dignity. And the jobs created will be accessible to all workers, including migrant workers and especially women of color, who are disproportionately represented in the nursing profession and most affected by layoffs during the recession.

We have long called for a better caregiver deal and now is the time to take bold steps forward. There is growing support for investing in women and better support for their unpaid work by the public, stakeholders, and from leading women in entertainment, activism, entrepreneurship and more.

We can already see that the Biden government has bold, equity-driven policies. It is time to build on this approach by ensuring that women – particularly women of skin color – and their families have access to care assistance, and it is time to increase the number of well-paid, unionized caring jobs increase.

If we invest in care infrastructure, we will create much-needed jobs, provide much-needed care, and get one step closer to building a just economy that works for everyone.

Heather McCulloch is the founder and managing director of Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap. Ai-jen Poo is the director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Caring Across Generations. She received the MacArthur Genius Award in 2014 and is the author of the 2015 book, The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elder Boom in a Changing America.

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