Childcare As proposed, this sweeping piece of legislation can be divided into three loose categories — childcare, education and paid family leave. It also includes a variety of tax cuts, along with support for nutrition. Many economists — and parents, if they had time to weigh in — would argue that childcare is one of the biggest economic issues of the day. Parents of children too young to care for themselves need childcare in order to work. But childcare is expensive and often unavailable, as the pandemic brought into stark relief. A sizeable percentage of the population is limited in its ability to work because they lack someone to watch their kids or the money to pay them. Parents, particularly women, end up leaving the workforce.
The far-reaching Jobs Plan includes many items that don’t qualify as infrastructure in the traditional sense. Those range from $213 billion earmarked for affordable housing to $100 billion set aside for workforce development among underserved groups. The plan also looks to increase pay for caregivers who tend to the elderly and disabled. Each of these efforts would mean more money for those affected. On a broader scale, the plan also has the potential to create many jobs across a wide swath of the economy. Spending would be spread out over eight years. The American Jobs Plan was announced a few weeks later. The companion bill to the American Families Plan is worth about $2.3 trillion in its current form. It aims to rebuild roads, repair bridges, do away with lead pipes, extend broadband, and modernize the country’s electric grid, among other things. While restoring the country’s infrastructure, the plan also seeks to create jobs and a climate-friendly future.
The Families Plan could have a more direct and noticeable effect on households and bank accounts than the Jobs Plan. Spread over 10 years, it includes investments worth approximately $1 trillion and tax cuts worth about $800 billion. Many of its key components address issues that affect household budgets on a month-to-month basis. READ MORE: Stimulus Check Update: Is A Fourth Relief Payment Coming Your Way?
READ MORE: Child Tax Credit: How Much Money Will Parents Receive Each Month? According to the fact sheet, “investing in education is a down payment on the future of America.” The Families Plan sets aside $200 billion to establish universal preschool programs for three and four-year olds and another $109 billion to ensure two years of free community college. An additional $85 billion would be used to strengthen the Pell grant program, which awards money to financially needy undergraduate students. Another $62 billion will be devoted to improving retention and completion rates at schools enrolling lower-income students. And another $39 billion will be dedicated to helping pay tuition for students at historically black colleges whose families take home less than $125,000 per year. The Plan looks to address inadequacies in the education system, including access early-childhood and post-secondary programs. Evidence shows that a strong foundation of early education sets up students for more success throughout their school career. But in many parts of the country, only wealthier parents can afford to provide that education. Likewise, college is becoming increasingly unaffordable with each passing year. A less educated populace leads to a less educated workforce.
Education The American Families Plan seeks to invest $225 billion in childcare over the coming decade. The money would be used to cap childcare expenses for low and middle-income families. Those earning up to 1.5 times a state’s median income would spend no more seven percent of their income on childcare for kids under five years old. Expenses would be determined on a sliding scale. Childcare workers and providers are also part of the equation, with a minimum wage of $15 per hour for early-childhood staff and what the fact sheet describes as “job-embedded coaching and professional development.”
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