The Vice President’s response to women exiting the workforce will waste money

Zach Murphy, Staff Writer

The economic impact of the pandemic may be as severe as its impacts on public health. Since the number of cases began to rise a year ago, millions of people lost their jobs and countless industries faced disruption. The fallout from this event carries over into the public sector as well, since millions of schools moved to online or hybrid learning for safety reasons. The impact of this pandemic on women is particularly pronounced; according to NPR, women are leaving the workforce at a rate four times higher than men. Some of this can be attributed to online learning amongst students – many schools still remain closed, and parents must stay home to care for their children. Recently, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris addressed this problem with a group of women leaders, arguing that U.S. President Joe Biden’s relief plan will return more women to the workforce. Though the idea of Biden’s plan getting women back to work is appealing, it includes monetary compensation that will do little to help women reenter the workforce and the plan will put the country into further debt.

Biden’s plan has many laudable goals. Its focus on vaccination and safely reopening schools will allow people the freedom and ability to reenter the workforce and participate in the economy. However, there is a third, and potentially much less successful, aspect to the plan that Harris mentioned recently – the plan will give $1,400 checks and a $3,000 tax credit to families with children, supplementing childcare expenditures with the ostensible goal of helping women re-enter the workforce. It’s safe to say that even though this money can be helpful, it will not achieve its intended goal anytime soon. The economy is still in a deep rut, and there are simply not enough jobs open for every woman looking for a job to return to work. This represents a structural problem with Harris’ reasoning for throwing money at the situation; before women can return to work, the economy will need to rebound and new jobs will need to be created.

Giving every person $4,400 will not solve the problem she aims to address. This money would be better used for more aggressive vaccination rollouts and other public health services. The $4,400 could perhaps cover a couple months worth of expenses, but it will certainly not free up the economy to the point that women will return to work. Some will argue that any support is better than no support, but one must also consider the future consequences of these checks. It’s estimated that these checks will cost the government over a trillion dollars and have relatively little impact on economic growth. America already has a massive debt; making it worse will not help anybody and could even stymie a potentially strong rebound.

I’m not an economist and I do not have all the answers, but what I do know is that spending money you don’t have on things that do not solve the problem will only serve to worsen the situation. Vaccinations are good and the effort to reopen schools is also a strong step towards a solution, but cutting checks that will only come back to haunt the people is not going to help.

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