The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted both the severe inadequacy and major inequities in our country's caregiving infrastructure, including the high out-of-pocket costs of long-term services and supports (LTSS). For many families, care demands may become unmanageable, or manageable only at significant cost to family members’ health, well-being, income, and careers.
Emphasizing stakeholder voices and new partnerships The Academy’s 33rd annual policy conference, Pathways to Economic Security: Bringing All Voices to the Table, was held virtually on March 2-4, 2021. Stakeholders' perspectives led policy conversations around economic security throughout the keynotes, panel dialogues, and workshops. (While we are all stakeholders in economic security
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted both severe inadequacy and major inequalities in our country's caregiving infrastructure. Prior to the pandemic, needs for child care, as well as long-term services and supports (LTSS) for older adults and adults living with disabilities, were already growing.
For many families, care demands may become unmanageable, or manageable only at significant cost to family members’ health, well-being, income, and careers. This is especially true for women — especially women of color — who face stark disadvantages in terms of financial security and labor force attachment when meaningful access to affordable early child care and education (ECCE), and to paid family and medical leave (PFML), are lacking.
In last evening’s State of the Union speech, President Trump highlighted paid family leave as one of his Administration’s priorities.
In June 2019, the National Academy of Social Insurance issued an in-depth report, Designing Universal Family Care, in partnership with Caring Across Generations. The report was developed over a year of deliberations by a Study Panel of 29 experts in care policy from a variety of perspectives. Academy members Marc Cohen, Co-Director of the LeadingAge LTSS Center @UMass Boston, and Heidi Hartmann, former President and CEO of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, served as Study Panel Co-Chairs.
The political air is charged these days with claims that various policy ideas, like Medicare-For-All and the Green New Deal, are “socialistic.” Such charges have been made in American history since the late 19th century, often in response to bold new policy concepts put forward to address gaps in income and health care security. This leads us to revisit a fundamental question – what differentiates Socialism from Social Insurance?
Social Insurance as Collective Action
In the words of Robert M. Ball, Founding Chair of our Academy: “Social insurance derives its unique strength from the principle that the best form of self-protection is mutual aid on a universal scale; when everyone contributes, everyone can be protected.” Academy Member and historian Edward D. Berkowitz also quotes Bob Ball:
With most Americans focused on taxes this month, it’s a good time to take a look at the relationship between federal income taxes and social insurance contributions.
Overview of Federal Taxes and Distributional Effects
The latest report by the Joint Committee on Taxation, Overview of the Federal Tax System As In Effect for 2019, provides a comprehensive starting point. This report breaks out the current federal tax system into four elements:
The Academy’s 31st annual policy conference – Regenerating Social Insurance for Millennials and the Millennium – was by all measures a success. It represented a different approach to one of the Academy’s signature events in both style and substance.
At some point in our lives, almost everyone faces the challenge of either needing to receive care or provide care to others. This could be due to the birth or adoption of child, caring for a family member, affording early childhood care and education, stopping work due to your own serious health condition, or either you or a loved one needing long-term services and supports. For many individuals and families, these caregiving responsibilities and expenses can be a tremendous financial burden.
For all of us who are dedicated to the Academy’s mission – “increasing public understanding of how social insurance contributes to economic security” – 2019 has the makings of a challenging year.
One of the top challenges facing us as we begin a new year is to develop and refine a common language that connects with the public at large. When distraction, detraction, and discord seem so prevalent in the nation’s political discourse, we need new ways to refocus the conversation on unifying issues that matter most to many. When it comes to providing greater economic security and reducing inequality in our nation, we need to reframe how we discuss social insurance, so that its enduring value as shared protection will be communicated more effectively.
If we were to measure the American people’s current understanding of social insurance, what might we find?
We know the clichés for Millennials. And, for that matter, younger adults of any generation.
Or maybe they’re more assumptions, images we conjure in our heads: a younger person getting out of school, hopefully entering the workforce, and enjoying a nice social life of friends and possibly dating, pastimes (exercise, ballgames, music, etc.), maybe even some trips to exciting destinations.
Life is simple as a young adult. Life is mostly about “me.”