Business and Economy Politics

Biden Advisors Fear Infrastructure Funds May Help White Working-Class Men

The Grind:
The Washington Post is reporting that “people close to the White House” expressed concerns that investing in “major physical infrastructure investments” may help the “White working-class male worker.”

Rather than focus on building bridges, roads and physical infrastructure, Biden’s advisors instead told him to focus on “major caregiving investments,” such as child care and public health care, even if they don’t “normally fall into [the] definition of infrastructure,” because caregiving investments will disproportionately help “minorities and women.”

Some people close to the White House said they feel that the emphasis on major physical infrastructure investments reflects a dated nostalgia for a kind of White working-class male worker. In private discussions with the White House National Economic Council, the Council of Economic Advisers and the Domestic Policy Council, SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry urged the administration to follow through on its promise to approve major investments in the care economy.

The Details:
Henry said she reminded the White House of promises Biden had made in person to low-wage service workers — disproportionately minorities and women who also helped elect him in the fall.

On National Equal Pay Day, Council of Economic Advisers economists Cecilia Rouse and Heather Boushey talked at the White House media briefing about the need for major caregiving investments.

On a private Zoom call earlier this month, economists Heidi Shierholz, Darrick Hamilton and Larry Katz presented Rouse, Boushey and other senior Biden officials with evidence that federal investments in care work would do more to generate jobs and economic growth than physical infrastructure, Shierholz said.

“We’re up against a gender and racial bias that this work is not worth as much as the rubber, steel and auto work of the past century,” Henry said. Read more…

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