We asked 18 academics what they would choose if they could only pick one, as Senator Manchin would have advised.
The backstop spending bill proposed by Democrats in Congress includes major benefits forfamilies: paid holidays, childcare, pre-K and family allowances. But as they negotiate the invoice amount, they may have to choose. Senator Joe Manchin, one of the two centrists the Democrats must persuade to vote with them, suggested that they choose just one, Axios reported . In a letter to colleagues On Monday evening, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote: "Much of the advice I get from members is to do less of good things.
We asked 18 academics who study family policy - researchers in sociology, economics, public policylaw, social work and law - which they would choose if they could only have one, based on research evidence in the US and other countries.
Everyone said this was a choice they wouldn't want to make - supporters of more generous family policies say they are all working together. "People need resources to coordinate family and lifelong employment," said Joanna Pepin, sociologist at the University. in Buffalo. "Choosing a single policy is like putting out a fire in a room in a house in a flaming house and stopping.
Democrats are considering other ways to spend less but keep all four programs, such as giving family allowances only to low-income people, offering less than 12 weeks of paid time off, or expiring policies after several years. But theThe exercise of choosing one requires a closer look beyond politics and the policies themselves - who would be helped by each program, and where there is most need.
Preschool audience for children aged 3 and 4 a was the winner of our panel, with half of the experts choosing him.
They said he was most likely to achieve the multiple objectives of family policy. Making child care free for toddlers could help reduce poverty and make family life easier. By allowing mothers to work , it could increase gender equality. By giving children from different backgrounds the same preparationration for kindergarten, it could reduce inequalities in the long run.
"When my colleagues and I have explored different outcomes - jobs, wages, poverty - in a series of rich countries the policy that has had the most powerful effect has been universal early childhood education, ”said Joya Misra, sociologist at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Some states and cities, including Georgia, Oklahoma, New York and Washington, DC, already offer it, and a majority of preschool children attend it.
Many other rich countries offer it, notably France, Germany and Spain, where public school actually starts at 3 . In the United States, about a third of children enter kindergarten without a preschool, and they are more likely to have single parents or to be from Hispanic or low-income families.
"Pre-K would improve educational outcomes and the potential for economic mobility of future generations," said Mohamad Alkadry, who heads the Department of Public Policy at the University of Connecticut.
Others said states and cities have already successfully started public kindergarten without federal help. Some feared an unexpected consequence : It costs more for daycares to care for infants and toddlers. earn enough from tuition to stay in business.
Reasons given for choosing kindergarten Image Pascall Jean-Jacques, pre-K teacher at the Sunnyside Community Program in Queens, and a student practicing counting. Among the family policies considered by Democrats, the Universal Pre-K was the most popular with pundits. Credit ... James Estrin / The Hfrance.fr
Extension of credit for Child tax - with checks of up to $ 300 per child now mailed to almost all American families - was the second most popular. Biden administration extended the childrens credit until the end of this year and included all families except the richest. Previously, parents who were not working or had very low incomes were excluded.
In July, three million 'fewer children lived in poverty, according to g at Columbia's Center on Poverty and Social Policy. Research from other countries shows that cash transfers reduce child poverty, especially in places with income inequality. is high.
Monthly checks also allow parents to choose how to spend the money. It can be used for rent, food, child care. 'children or to subsidize a stay-at-home parent, for example. And, according to several researchers, this is the policy that states or employers are least likely to provide themselves.
"The child tax credit is elegant in that it is something for all low- and middle-income families," said H. Luke Shaefer, Professor of Justice social and social policy at the University of Michigan. "If we are going to do just one, I think the best for most people is the right principle to use to takethis decision. "
But others said they would prefer the money go straight to daycare or kindergarten because it would help mothers work. "I am always very sensitive to policies that even unintentionally discourage mothers 'participation in the workforce," said Barbara Risman, a sociologist at the University of Illinois at Chicago. ' "In the long run, these families will have fewer resources if mothers have lower income potential.
Reasons given for the choice of child credit
Three of the experts chose this as the most important. The envisaged plan would be the target make childcare gratuite for the most modest. And it would cost no more than 7% of income for others, up to a certain income.
"It would probably attract more women to the market of work, so the overall earnings for the family would be more than the mere reduced cost of childcare, "said Jill Yavorsky, a sociologist at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
This would also help bridge the racial gaps, as black and Hispanic women have become disproportionately unemployed during pandemic , said Fatima Suarez, a sociologist at Stanford . "Childcare subsidies are not just a family issue, but a race, class and gender equality issue," she said.
Others said the grants alone would not be enough. To address other childcare issues , like downtime, weak provider salaries and varying quality levels. And some preferred a universal service rather than a conditional version - this would make the program more popular and improve quality ity , they said, and child custody is unaffordable for many middle class families.
Reasons invoked to choose subsidized childcare
Paid family leave
The United States is the only wealthy country without a federal mandate to provide paid leave for new parents or for medical emergencies. Democrats' plan would give American workers up to 12 weeks. Research has shown that this would particularly benefit people with the lowest incomes and those in precarious jobs, who are now at risk of falling into poverty if they do.don 't need care or are sick.
"This provides a necessary safety net for low income families as they go through major life events" said Youngjoo Cha, a sociologist at the University of Indiana at Bloomington. “It has a strong implication for gender equality at work and at home. It will also generate a lasting effect of gender equality at home. "
She was the only expert who chose her as the most important. Others said they strongly supported it, but believed it could indeed be offered through payroll taxes, as several states do, or by employers. Also, they said, the other policies would help families for much longer periods of time.
Reason invoked to choose thefamily leave payment