President Biden’s $ 2 trillion American job plan proposes a credible down payment to meet the nation’s long-neglected need for physical infrastructure – $ 621 billion for roads, bridges, public transportation, rail, ports, waterways, airports, and electric vehicles – and nods in some ways to that climate concerns raised by activists for a more ambitious Green New Deal. The plan, which the president outlined on Wednesday, also includes major investments in safe drinking water, housing and high-speed broadband internet services. But the boldest component on the President’s agenda is the $ 400 billion pledge to fund the care infrastructure of a just and humane society.
“This plan is historic, transformative,” says Ai-jen Poo, co-founder and CEO of the National Domestic Workers Alliancewho has worked for years to convince policy makers that improving the lives of carers for the elderly and people with disabilities must be viewed as a critical infrastructure investment.
Biden’s proposal takes up this idea of the “care infrastructure” and adopts the language of the proponents, since it “wants to consolidate the infrastructure of our care industry by creating jobs and increasing wages and services for important home care workers”. By calling on Congress to “allocate $ 400 billion to expand access to quality, affordable home or community care for aging relatives and people with disabilities,” Biden is pushing an agenda that enables this says his team “Will help hundreds of thousands of Americans finally get the long-term services and support they need while creating new jobs and providing caregivers with an overdue raise, better benefits, and the ability to unionize or join a union and bargain collectively to lead. ”
After generations of political neglect from Democratic and Republican governments, caregivers are finally getting a measure of the recognition and support they deserve. This is a remarkable step forward, says Poo The nation“When you invest in home and community services and caregivers, for the first time those jobs become good jobs and safe services for people who rely on them. The fact that one of the groups of workers excluded from the original New Deal labor laws is at the forefront of this New Deal moment says so much. It’s incredibly hopeful. ”
Biden’s plan foresees this radical shift in thinking about infrastructure for two reasons. First, advocacy groups and unions have worked for years to improve the lives of caregivers as a priority for economic and social justice. Second, the coronavirus pandemic has made the need for this type of investment all the more evident. Poo, the author of The Age of Dignity: Preparing for the Elderly Boom in a Changing Americaand Heather McCulloch, Founder and General Manager of Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap, have had compelling results case In the past few months, as the country emerged from a pandemic year that was especially meaningful to the women who have cared for so many Americans in the past, “the time has come to reflect on the definition of infrastructure investment and to ask who will benefit from it. ”