Top White House Economist Defends ‘Care Economy’ as Infrastructure

Top White House economist Cecilia Rouse on Tuesday defended President Joe Biden’s plan to spend $400 billion on the “care economy” as a legitimate infrastructure investment and key part of his drive to address persistent economic inequities.

Republicans have blasted Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure package as riddled with liberal spending priorities, and want to strip out funding for home- and community-based jobs taking care of kids and seniors.

Rouse told an online event that was faulty thinking.

“So many people said, ‘Oh, the $400 billion that are being proposed for the home care workers or the home care sector, that’s not really infrastructure,'” she said. “Well I beg to differ. I can’t go to work, if I don’t have someone who’s taking care of my parents or my children.”

Biden’s infrastructure plan, his second major legislative initiative, appears unlikely to draw more bipartisan support than his first, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package that passed with only Democratic support last month.

The infrastructure package includes $25 billion to upgrade child-care facilities and increase the number of sites in areas with few child-care options, and the Biden administration is working on another package with more funding to be unveiled in coming weeks.

Together with tax credits for children and child care in the relief bill, the measures aim to provide better jobs for essential care workers, who are disproportionately women of color, and one in six of whom live in poverty.

Rouse told the event, hosted by the Washington Center for Equitable Growth and Groundwork Collaborative, the changes were urgently needed.

LeadingAge, which represents service providers in the sector, estimates that half of all Americans will need long-term services and support after turning 65, and that by 2040, a quarter of the U.S. population will be 65 or older.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Christian Schmollinger)

Responses

  1. Any bill that has to be “defended” by trying to convince We the People it’s a good thing, is probably not.
    Nancy Pelosi’s husband is due to make millions if the infrastructure bill passes.
    Her husband bought between $500,000 and 1 million dollars of stock in Tesla.
    Tesla will be a large beneficiary of this bill.
    But she didn’t know anything about it.
    Yea, right.
    Aren’t you rich enough, Nancy?
    You think you’re going to take it with you?

  2. Another “dismal scientist” who calls herself an economist. The great thing about economists is that you can pretty well get them to say anything.

  3. This is typical liberal logic. They change the meaning of words to get what they want. How ever important home care may be it still is not infrastructure.

  4. We have been waiting for an explanation of the $400 Billion for “Caregiving.” Well, there it is.
    Uncertain that it changes anyone’s mind that it belongs in an infrastructure bill.

    Do R’s really want to claim they do not support the bill because they don’t support child and elderly care? Keep in mind that for over a year they have voiced objection to money to keep law enforcement and fire fighters on the job.

    1. I mean…. I’m not happy about non infrastructure related stuff in the bill. Are you?

      Maybe gaining support for things wouldn’t be so hard if they kept bills to specific topics. That way, parties could actually compromise on a subject without putting their name a random list of other things they are not comfortable with.