The cost of high-quality child care can exceed food or housing in the budgets of some working families, which can be a major factor in a parent’s decision- usually the mother – to stay home. While these decisions are personal for each family, they also affect the larger economy, as labor force participation is 19% lower for women with children. Politicians are taking notice, and most of the 2020 presidential candidates have announced plans to make child care more affordable. From universal child care to a new federal grant competition, Bryce Covert at the New York Times comments:
Investing in universal care can pay off. Quebec instituted low-cost, universal child care in 1996. Since then, the share of working women aged 26 to 44 in the province has come close to 85 percent, the highest in the world. It increased 16 percent for mothers of children 5 or younger, compared with just 4 percent in the rest of the country. We also have experience here at home. During World War II, when the government ran a nationwide network of day care centers so that women could work in factories, those who used them were more likely to work and to work longer. In a smaller-scale experiment, Washington, D.C., began offering parents free, universal preschool in 2009; the program increased the share of women in the city’s labor force by 10 percentage points.
Racist federal farm policy destroys black farming
When President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the U.S. Department of Agriculture had a longstanding, well-earned reputation for discriminating against African-American farmers, including a backlog of more than 14,000 civil rights complaints. Popular lore says those problems were largely resolved during the Obama years. But a two-year investigation by Nathan Rosenberg and Bryce Stucki for The New Food Economy reveals that little changed:
That narrative became received wisdom in policy circles. “The number of black farmers in the United States is suddenly growing again,” reported Civil Eats in 2016, citing census numbers in an article titled, “The Resurgence of Black Farmers.” Other mainstream media outlets—including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and USA Today—also reported the increase. “Under Secretary Vilsack, President Obama’s USDA made encouraging progress toward righting many of the wrongs of the past and provided meaningful support to black farmers,” wrote the authors of a 2019 report for the liberal public policy organization Center for American Progress. But nearly all of Vilsack’s claims—echoed by high-ranking USDA officials and taken at face value by the press—are extremely misleading or false. For over two years, we have investigated USDA’s treatment of black farmers under the Obama administration and found a disturbing pattern: Though USDA came to enjoy a reputation among policymakers and the press as a steady force for good in the lives of historically marginalized farmers, Vilsack and others in the department made cosmetic changes, and little else.
The ‘sailmaker strategy’
Governments around the country and the world are preparing for an economy that is almost certain to change drastically to account for the damaging effects of climate change. But here in Louisiana – where the oil and gas industry has been in slow decline for decades – politicians are clinging to a 20th century model while ignoring research from the state’s own Coastal Master Plan. Bob Marshall, writing for Nola.com/The Times-Picayune, warns that Louisiana’s strategy could:
Not only are they continuing to ignore or disparage the proven facts about climate change and its causes – they are actively fighting any attempts to legally address those causes. Meanwhile, most of the rest of the world is moving in the opposite direction — not just accepting reality but embracing its changes. This includes the world’s biggest carbon polluters and some of the major producers of fossil fuels. For example, India has ruled that by 2030 all new cars sold there must be electric. China has begun programs to reduce its emissions 60-65 percent by 2030. The biggest of Big Oil — Exxon-Mobil, BP and Chevron — have heavy investments in battery storage development, a key to making renewable energies like solar viable.
Voices from hell
The voices of incarcerated Louisianans unveil the trauma and brutal conditions they experienced in solitary confinement in Louisiana. A new Louisiana on Lockdown by Solitary Watch and local partners including the ACLU of Louisiana and the Jesuit Social Research Institute surveyed over 709 men and women to hear what they experienced. More than 75% of Louisianans surveyed reported that they had experienced solitary confinement for over a year, with 30% being held for over five years. Yet, the Louisiana Department of Public Safety and Corrections refutes this evidence, while acknowledging the agency does not keep records of its own. Kaylee Poche from The Gambit reports:
Nearly one in five men in Louisiana state prisons had been in solitary confinement for more than two weeks, according to a fall 2017 count from the LADOC and the study released by the Vera Institute of Justice — a rate about four times the national average. In 2011, the United Nations (U.N.) called on countries to ban solitary confinement in almost all cases — with exceptions to protect an inmate from being targeted — along with a total end to isolation for more than 15 days and for juveniles and people with mental disabilities.
Invest in Louisiana!: A conference to jumpstart positive policy change
The Louisiana Budget Project, working with the Power Coalition for Equity and Justice, the United Way of Southeast Louisiana and other partners, is hosting its first policy conference on Aug. 16 in Baton Rouge. Learn more about the Invest in Louisiana Policy Conference here or buy tickets at this link. The price goes up on July 1..
Number of the Day
173,000 – Louisiana children from low-income families whose could qualify for subsidized child-care services if their parents applied. The state already has a waiting list of more than 3,000 kids (Source: The Advocate)