Skeptics have warned about the government’s reach and the risk that deficit spending could ignite inflation, but Mr. Biden and his team of financial advisors have nonetheless taken that approach.
“It’s time to grow the economy from the bottom up,” Biden said in a speech to a joint session of Congress last week, referring to the idea that prosperity does not seep down from the wealthy, but flows out of a well educated and well paid middle class.
He stressed the point by designating workers as the dynamo driving the middle class.
“Wall Street did not build this country,”
Of course, the economy that lifted millions of post-war families into the middle class differed greatly from the current one. Manufacturing, construction and mining, formerly considered the backbone of the workforce, fell – as did the unions that aggressively fought for better wages and benefits. Now only one in 10 workers is a union member, while approx. 80 percent of the jobs in the United States are in the service sector.
And it is these types of jobs in health care, education, childcare, disability and senior care that are expected to continue to expand at the fastest pace.
Most of them, however, have to pay middle-income wages. It does not necessarily reflect their value in an open market. Salaries for teachers, hospital workers, laboratory technicians, childcare providers, and nursing home caregivers are largely determined by the government, which collects tax dollars to pay their salaries and sets reimbursement rates for Medicare and other programs.
They are also jobs occupied by a significant number of women, African Americans, Latinos and Asians.