Harris and Yellen Personally Advocate for Child Care Redress | News, Sports, Jobs
The U.S. Treasury Department on Wednesday released a report detailing the high price and low wages of child care, an issue that makes parents’ jobs harder and that the Biden administration aims to address with its budget proposal.
Vice President Kamala Harris and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen presented the findings in remarks based on personal experiences. Harris recalled spending weekdays with Regina Shelton, who ran a daycare from her home while the vice president’s mother was in the lab researching breast cancer.
“She became a second mother to my sister and me”, Harris said. “My mom used to say this often, but for Miss Shelton, she couldn’t have done the job she did.”
Yellen recalled posting a classified ad for a babysitter as she returned to work 40 years ago as an economics teacher after giving birth. Yellen and her husband, economist George Akerlof, decided to pay wages above market rates in order to receive better care.
“It’s a perfectly rational reason to pay someone more, especially if work is one of the most intimate jobs there is, taking care of children.” Yellen said. “Our assumption has proven to be correct, at least in our own home.”
But Yellen stressed that his experience is far from normal in the United States. The Treasury report draws attention to a troubling paradox in childcare: it costs families too much money, but workers in the sector receive chronically low wages that undermine the quality of care.
“Childcare is a textbook case of a broken market”, Yellen said.
An average family with a single child under 5 should spend 13% of their income on child care. This is more than the average family spends on food and the report concludes that it is unaffordable.
Child care workers earn an average of $ 24,230. More than 15% of workers in industry live below the poverty line in 41 states, and half of them need government assistance. As a result, the sector has high turnover rates with 26% to 40% leaving their jobs each year. They also have little room for maneuver among daycares, which tend to operate with profits of 1% or less.
The result is stressed parents, lower levels of employed women, and increasing levels of inequality.
The Biden administration says it can solve these problems through a substantial increase in investments in young children. It would cap child care costs at 7% of a family’s income. A universal nursery school for 3 and 4 year olds would be planned. Families with children under 13 could receive dependent tax credits of $ 4,000 per child or $ 8,000 for two or more children.
The government would also fund child care centers to ensure that workers can receive a living wage.
Another key component would be the expanded Child Tax Credit, which provides families with children under the age of 6 $ 300 per month per child and $ 250 per month for older children.
But some lawmakers are reluctant to provide the comparatively robust benefits offered by the administration.
The president’s plan would remove work requirements for families receiving the child tax credit, something West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a key Democratic vote for the pass, opposes.
“Tax credits are based on people who have tax debts”, Manchin told a reporter from Insider, a news outlet. “I’m even ready to go as long as they have a W-2 and show they work.”
Copyright 2021 The Associated Press.