Policymakers Used to Ignore Youngster Care. Then Got here the Pandemic.

It changes. The Biden government and its allies believe that caring for children – as well as the sick and the elderly – is as important to a functioning economy as any street, grid, or building. They argue that it is human infrastructure that reflects a train of thought that has long been articulated (and often ignored) by feminist economists.

President Biden has raised funds for home care for the elderly and disabled under the infrastructure roof as part of a $ 2 trillion package he proposed in March. Over the next month, he proposed more funding for paid family vacation, universal pre-K, and $ 225 billion for childcare.

The ambitious legislation will face major hurdles in Congress, but Dr. Folbre, now 68, is cautiously optimistic and encouraged about cultural change: “I often tell myself, I’m glad I lived this long, so maybe I can say I was right. “

Mariel Mendez and her husband David, each of the first in their immigrant families to graduate and find rewarding careers, assumed they would rely on quality childcare to make everything work. She holds a Masters in Public Health from Columbia University and works for a nonprofit based near Kent, Washington, where they live. He has a master’s degree in educational policy and works as a coach for primary school teachers.

Now, however, they are discussing whether any of them should stop working altogether.

Over the past year, the Mendezes have gone through four different childcare interventions for Milea, their two-and-a-half-year-old daughter, from a crowded center they felt was unsafe to a back and forth with a home daycare struggling to survive the pandemic , and a stressful home marathon managing remote work and infinite infant service.

“We’re starting to think about our sanity and our family relationships. Does it make more sense for any of us to step down and move to part-time?” said Ms. Mendez, 28, who is expecting another baby in June. The prospect of having a child, a full-time job and childcare that is still uncertain is overwhelming. “I never thought I would be here. That we would all be here, ”she said.

But, in a sense, it was inevitable that it would be as they were heading for a cliff – with no bridge spanning them.

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