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How can working parents confront the issue of Child-Care situation?

By Catarina SaraivaReade Pickert, and Olivia Rockeman January 29, 2021, 

When the pandemic broke out, significant help arrived quickly for working parents in many rich countries, with one notable exception: the United States.

Now, nearly a year later, President Joe Biden aims to address what has become one of the most daunting obstacles to a full economic recovery, with policy proposals such as more money for child care and families.

If people don’t have care, then they can’t get to work,” said Heather Boushey, a member of Biden’s Council of Economic Advisers, in an interview.

Bigger changes to the system “are urgent,” she said, to help families during the pandemic and beyond. “They are core to how we need to be thinking about the economic recovery.”

Biden’s fix may come too late.

The pandemic crippled the already fragile U.S. child-care system, exacerbating inequalities for women and the poor that economists warn will hold back the world’s largest economy.

The pandemic is crippling America’s already fragile child-care system. Jerletha McDonald has no kids enrolled at her day care in Arlington, Texas.

The pandemic is crippling America’s already fragile child-care system. Jerletha McDonald has no kids enrolled at her daycare in Arlington, Texas. Photographer: Laura Buckman/Bloomberg

Child Care Woes

Women have left the labor force to care for their children amid Covid-19

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

More than 2 million women have dropped out of the workforce since the virus hit. More than one-third of parents — mostly women — have yet to return to jobs they lost, largely because there’s no one to look after their kids, according to a December report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

Lawmakers provided some help for the problem last year in two rounds of stimulus.

Biden’s plan goes further but faces a divided Congress. His massive $1.9 trillion stimulus plan includes billions of dollars to help reopen schools and provide additional paid leave to struggling parents.

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He wants an additional $25 billion to help stabilize the industry and also aims to expand tax credits to help families cover child-care costs, which, with other changes, could help cut child poverty in half, according to Columbia University. That’s separate from broader reforms he campaigned on, such as universal pre-school and better pay for early educators, which face even more political hurdles.

Unlike the U.S., governments in Australia and across Europe were quick to provide robust aid to address the problems posed by schools and day-care closures shortly after the pandemic broke out.

There’s evidence it helped.

Women in U.S. Leave Jobs to Care for Kids

Change since January 2020 in male-female labor-force participation gap

Source: Peterson Institute for International Economics, using a 3-month moving average for each country.

Australia provided free care and funding to child-care centers, and since then female labor-force participation has come back stronger than it has for men, according to a study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

The gender gap also narrowed in the U.K. and Norway, where leave or other programs were swiftly implemented, the report found.

“Anything that negatively affects workforce participation — and productivity of workers — has a huge effect on our global competitiveness,” said Robert Kaplan, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, in an interview earlier this month. “We need to find ways to grow faster.”

Susan Cano, a 32-year-old single mom, tried everything to keep her job at a bank when her daughters’ schools closed. She flew her mother out to her California home, relied on her teenager to home-school her then-six-year-old, used vacation days and took advantage of a government leave program that quickly expired.

“It was just overwhelming,” Cano said. “I was struggling, then I was depending on my 13-year-old to basically become an instructor for the younger one.”

She eventually quit her job and moved to Texas to be closer to family. It took her three months and more than 50 applications to land a new job.

Payrolls Plummet

Only half of the child care jobs lost to the pandemic have returned so far

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

Economists call the pandemic’s disproportionate impact on women the first female recession. Making it even worse is the child-care industry itself — a patchwork of private centers, smaller in-home operations, after-school programs, nannies and the friends, neighbors and grandparents who pitch in — is unraveling.

One out of three child-care jobs, held mostly by women, disappeared by mid-April, and only half of those jobs have returned, according to government data. Most care is offered by small businesses — some 700,000 of them — a majority of which are also female-owned.

Even at Bright Horizons Family Solutions Inc., one of the largest chains, enrollment is averaging 35% to 40% at centers that are open.

relates to The Economic Recovery Has a Child-Care Problem
Jerletha McDonald in Arlington, on Jan. 23.Photographer: Laura Buckman/Bloomberg

There’s not one kid enrolled at the day care Jerletha McDonald, 41, runs out of her house in Arlington, Texas. She’s got space for 12. She said parents aren’t sending their kids because they’re scared they might get sick; others can’t afford it right now.

“It’s really, really rough right now for a lot of providers,” said McDonald, who can stay open because she has other income sources. “Where is the essential funding for this essential work that we do?”

The cost of child care is overwhelmingly borne by parents — and, at a price for infant care that in 21 states exceeds 20% of the median household income — it’s not cheap.

Sacrifices and Uncertainty

A November survey of child care providers paints a bleak picture of the industry

Source: National Association for the Education of Young Children

Note: Survey completed Nov. 13-29

Care also isn’t guaranteed in most of the U.S., unlike in other rich countries, for kids who aren’t school-aged. Many Americans live in child-care deserts, primarily in low-income and rural areas, where demand far exceeds capacity. For others, school closures during the pandemic removed a system of both education and care.

Lawmakers implemented some changes last year that have helped, including $10 billion in subsidies to the industry. Parents and providers are also counting on the Covid-19 vaccine. In some places, teachers are already being inoculated.

Covid has opened the eyes of corporate America to the need for more parental support. Bank of America Corp. is reimbursing employees for some costs. Intel Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. are providing some financial support for back-up care. Google and Facebook Inc. have extended paid leave programs.

Economists say more permanent changes are still needed. Better pay is one thing that could help: Early educators, two out of every five of which are women of color, earn just $12.12 an hour on average, and about half rely on public assistance, according to the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment at the University of California, Berkeley.

“We did not have a robust child-care system coming into this crisis, and it has really just been upended,” said Lea Austin, the center’s director. It’s “harming working mothers, it’s harming the women who are doing this work and really, potentially, causing everyone all around to face greater economic hardship.”

— With assistance by Ian King

BAE agrees price on Typhoon jet deal with Saudi Arabia government

British defence firm announces deal on 72 Eurofighter aircraft (Typhoon jets) during Prince Charles visit to Saudi royals and deputy PM
Saudi Arabia initially agreed on a £4.4 bn price-tag for the aircraft in 2007, but BAE tried to extract more money after the Saudis requested advanced weaponry and equipment for the jets, which are being built in Warton, Lancashire.
The Guardian published this February 19, 2014

Prince Charles in Riyadh with Prince al-Waleed bin Tala

Prince Charles on Wednesday with the Saudi billionaire Prince al-Waleed bin Talal. Photograph: Fayez Nureldine/AFP/Getty Images

The so-called Salam deal (Peace deal?), negotiated between the Saudi and UK governments, was announced on Wednesday during Prince Charles‘s visit to the country. The prince’s spokeswoman said that BAE  “did not come up in any of his conversations” with the Saudi royal family and politicians, including the deputy prime minister, Muqrin bin Abdulaziz.

The Typhoon deal became politically sensitive when it was revealed that Tony Blair, as prime minister, put pressure on the attorney general to drop a fraud inquiry into BAE’s previous sale of Tornado combat jets to Saudi Arabia.

BAE refused to state how much Saudi Arabia had now agreed to pay for the jets, but said it expected a “cash settlement” in the next few months. More than 30 of the jets have already been handed over.

Ian King, BAE’s chief executive, said: “This is an equitable outcome for all parties. I am pleased that we have been able to conclude this negotiation which builds on our long-standing relationship with this much valued customer.”

BAE had warned that any further delays with the deal would knock about 15% off its earnings per share.

The Saudi deal conclusion comes 3 months after BAE lost a proposed £6 bn agreement to sell 60 of the jets to the United Arab Emirates, despite the personal intervention of David Cameron.

The prime minister made two trips to try to persuade the UAE to sign the deal and pleaded the company’s case with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi.

The signing of the Saudi deal was welcomed by analysts who said it could help BAE make further inroads in the region. “There is considerable relief that this long-running problem has been resolved,” said Howard Wheeldon, an independent defence analyst.

“It does open up some very interesting doors, not only in Saudi Arabia, but across the Arabian peninsula.”

Bahrain, Qatar and Malaysia are also considering buying the Typhoon rather than competitors such as the Lockheed Martin F-35 made in the US, France’s Dassault Aviation Rafale fighter, and the Gripen from Sweden’s Saab. Oman agreed in 2012 to buy 12 of the jets.

Robert Stallard, analyst at RBC Capital, said:

“With Salam cash coming in, this should give BAE more flexibility for cash deployment moving forward. It also allows the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to move on to other potential agreements.”

The money from the Saudi Typhoons will help BAE complete its pledge to return cash to shareholders by buying up £1bn of its shares.

BAE’s shares spiked in early trading at the announcement but later dropped back, to end the day down 0.8p to 436.8p.

The company, which has been affected by governments around the world cutting back on defence spending, is on Thursday expected to report a 9% increase in annual profits to £1.8bn, according to analysts at the investment bank Deutsche Bank.

Rolls-Royce, a rival, shocked investors last week when it warned that there would be a “pause in revenue and profit growth” after cuts in defence spending.

More than £3bn was wiped off the Rolls-Royce company’s share price after it called an end to a decade of revenue growth.

BAE builds the Eurofighter alongside the European aerospace group Airbus and Italian defence contractor Finmeccanica“. End of article.

Apparently, what Europe has to export to the Middle-East is military hardware.

France got $3 bn from Saudi Arabia in order to export military hardware to the Lebanese army. The army has yet to find out what kinds of weapons France is willing to deliver that would be acceptable to Israel. (to be used against whom?)

Egypt’s Al Sisi struck a $3 bn deal with Russia for arms shipment, particularly fighter jets and tanks. To be used against whom?

Iraq wants fighter jets from the US. To bomb whom?

Mind you that Israel receive for free all the most sophisticated weapons from the US and Europe, including Patriot air defenses and half a dozen nuclear submarines from Germany (to be used against whom?)




March 2023

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