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A Pro-Family Agenda for America Starts in California

Summary:
While policies to support families and address climate risks remain blocked at the federal level, California continues to forge ahead with these broadly popular agenda items. Should the Biden administration's signature Build Back Better Act fail to pass, America will need a progressive policy beacon more than ever. BERKELEY – As of early 2022, the fate of US President Joe Biden’s ambitious plan for delivering an equitable and sustainable economic recovery is uncertain. Failure to pass the .75 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) Act would be a major lost opportunity. The legislation would boost the economy at a time of heightened COVID-19 risk. Without it, Goldman Sachs projects that first-quarter GDP growth in the

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While policies to support families and address climate risks remain blocked at the federal level, California continues to forge ahead with these broadly popular agenda items. Should the Biden administration's signature Build Back Better Act fail to pass, America will need a progressive policy beacon more than ever.

BERKELEY – As of early 2022, the fate of US President Joe Biden’s ambitious plan for delivering an equitable and sustainable economic recovery is uncertain. Failure to pass the $1.75 trillion Build Back Better (BBB) Act would be a major lost opportunity. The legislation would boost the economy at a time of heightened COVID-19 risk. Without it, Goldman Sachs projects that first-quarter GDP growth in the United States could be a full percentage point lower than it would have been.

Even more important, BBB investments would reduce childhood poverty; provide support for working families struggling to balance care and work responsibilities; and address climate risks, providing a sound foundation for sustainable and equitable prosperity over the coming decade. These forms of public spending are broadly popular, and not just among Democratic voters.

For now, however, Senate Republicans and two Democrats from Republican-leaning states are standing in the way of meaningful federal action. Meanwhile, California, which has generated a historic budget surplus from its strong economy and record capital-gains tax revenues, is now making significant investments to support children, working families, and climate mitigation and adaptation efforts, providing a model for policymakers in other states and at the national level.

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022 budget proposal includes earned-income and young-child tax credits, paid family leave, subsidized childcare, two free meals and afterschool and summer programs for K-12 students, and a full year of free pre-kindergarten. Were BBB to pass, it would add critical support to California’s efforts by increasing and broadening the federal child tax credit, by ensuring that no working family earning under $300,000 would spend more than 7% of their income on childcare, and by providing up to four weeks of paid parental leave for both employed and self-employed workers. The US currently stands alone as the only wealthy country without paid parental leave at the...

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