Transforming America: The American Jobs Plan: Part 1

The American Jobs Plan will ambitiously “reimagine and rebuild a new economy”. Jim Hannley LLC is presenting a series of posts to highlight some parts of this plan as presented in this White House link. It will bring tens of millions of workers who are under employed or long term unemployed into the workforce by attracting them to jobs with high pay and benefits. Many of these workers have been discouraged from applying for jobs because they have not been employed in a very long time and/or believe that their skillsets and education make their prospects for employment very dim. Some of these are working but are not being paid. Part 1:

SOLIDIFY THE INFRASTRUCTURE OF OUR CARE ECONOMY BY CREATING JOBS AND RAISING WAGES AND BENEFITS FOR ESSENTIAL HOME CARE WORKERS

One very great objection Republicans have to the plan is the budgeted $400B to compensate American care givers “…toward expanding access to quality, affordable home- or community-based care for aging relatives and people with disabilities.” This link to the Caregiver Action Network shows that “…The value of the services family caregivers provide for “free,” when caring for older adults, is estimated to be $375 billion a year.” Some of the other statistics show that millions of children care for elderly in their homes; women make up the vast majority of care givers; that most care givers are employed outside the home and that (their) employers estimate that some $34B in productivity is lost annually due to this obligation of their employees.

Caregiver Action Network points out that the $375B value of this work is more than twice ($158B) what is currently spent on nursing home and homecare services. Not only are the estimated 65 million care givers providing an uncompensated service to society through their labor but in 2007 they also spent, out of pocket $5,531 (10% of their household income). Without the compassionate care America’s elderly and disabled people receive, typically in their own home, from family members, they would be dying sooner or living lives of lonely desperation. It is easy to imagine the added burden without this care that our hospitals and medical clinics would be bearing to address the resultant acute medical conditions of these people; likely at a cost to society of tens of billions of dollars.

Women care givers are more than 2.5 times as likely to live in poverty and five times as likely to be receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Households that have at least one disabled member have 15% lower incomes than those without this burden. Logic dictates that this poverty is closely related if not a result of this burden. So, the billions of dollars of compensation that these care givers and those who will be employed in more formal care settings will significantly ramp up consumer demand; creating a snowball effect for secondary employment. Next: Part II, Roads and Bridges