Do you think rebuilding better is expensive? Wait until you hear the US defense budget.


Last month, the House voted to pass a one-year defense policy to the tune of nearly $ 778 billion …more than double the annual cost of the Build Back Better plan.

More than 300,000 women left the workforce last month – the second time in the pandemic that the start of a new school year and the loss of child care services have resulted in a significant drop in the number of women in the workforce. the work market. (Pxfuel / Creative Commons)

The most prominent argument on Capitol Hill these days concerns President Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) ​​plan to fund a robust “care infrastructure”. If passed, the government will spend $ 3.5 trillion over the next decade on national programs, including creating a universal preschool, subsidizing child care, extending credit to Expanded children’s tax, subsidizing a free community college, providing 12 weeks of paid medical and family leave, helping low-wage workers in home care and closing the coverage gap. Medicaid insurance.

The main objection to BBB by Republicans and so-called “moderate” Democrats is the price tag – $ 3.5 trillion over 10 years. Broken down, it’s $ 350 billion a year. If that sounds like a lot of money it is, until you compare it to the boys and their toys.

Last month, the House voted 316-113 to pass a $ 777.9 billion defense policy bill for 2022 that would increase military salaries by 2.7% and fund 13 additional combat ships. That’s more than double the annual cost of the Build Better plan. And know this: The Pentagon asks (and gets) more money every year, while BBB is a fixed amount over 10 years.

It goes without saying that the BBB disproportionately benefits women, who left the workforce en masse during the COVID-19 pandemic because it disrupted school and childcare arrangements. The numbers are grim: Overall, the US economy created 194,000 new jobs in September, the second consecutive month of weak growth after a summer when we averaged about 1 million additional jobs per month. All of the September earnings went to the men – the women in fact lost 26,000 jobs.

Unemployment rates continue to be significantly higher for black women, at 7.3 percent, and Latinas, at 5.6 percent. The unemployment rate for white women is now 3.7%, almost the same as in March 2020, when it was 3.6%.

We don’t need the proverbial rocket scientist to tell us why women’s jobs are not recovering. The lack of child care and universal preschool is one of the main reasons, along with the lack of paid family leave, which means women have to quit their jobs when they call caregivers. The BBB would go a long way in solving this problem.

We don’t need a rocket scientist to tell us why women’s jobs aren’t picking up: a lack of child care and universal preschool, a lack of paid family leave. The Build Back Better Act would go a long way to solving this problem.

Within 10 years, Biden’s plan would guarantee workers 12 weeks of paid leave, which could be used “to bond with a new child, care for a critically ill loved one, cope with military deployment. ‘a loved one, to protect themselves from sexual assault, criminal harassment. , or domestic violence, to cure their own serious illness or take the time to cope with the death of a loved one, ”according to a plan released by the White House.

Considering only part of the plan, the national paid family and medical leave program would cost an estimated $ 225 billion over a decade. It would mainly be paid by raising taxes for the rich, like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk Warren Buffett, George Soros and Michael Bloomberg, who pay no taxes in some years.

Another huge boost from BBB that would primarily benefit women is home care and early childhood care support. Home care and early childhood occupations together account for 2.2 percent of employment in the United States. The proposed investments would create jobs in these caregiving sectors so that ultimately occupations would account for nearly three percent of total employment. (In contrast, construction workers represent 0.66% of total employment.)

As might be expected, the early childhood and home care occupations are predominantly occupied by women. And an estimated 54 percent of home helpers are women of color, with black women making up more than half of women of color in these jobs. This is largely due to the long-standing occupational segregation in the United States and its history of discrimination based on gender and race.

The military budget has grown by almost $ 100 billion a year since 2015 and there is no indication that it will slow down. (Creative Commons)

According to new analysis from the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Center for American Progress. These would be paid jobs to live with the ability for workers to join a union, while expanding access to care for people with disabilities and aging adults. And it finally offers a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants who inhabit our nation.

All good stuff, but will we get it? Right now, the haggling on Capitol Hill centers on what could be cut, not how to fully fund the proposal. I’m all for exploiting tax evasion guys (and notice they are all guys), but maybe we should take a closer look at these toys for boys as well. Military budget increased by nearly $ 100 billion per year since 2015 and there is no indication that it will slow down.

Gee, as the country with the most expensive military in the world, could we consider making do with fewer ships, guns and bombs to boost America’s lowest paid workers? ie women?

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