It’s about families and the economy

Editor’s Note: Here is a guest column submitted to the USA Today Network by Louisiana Democratic Party President Katie Bernardt de Lafayette.

The rising cost of basic necessities like food and gasoline worries families. I am the mother of four children. I understand. We have seen our grocery bill go up as our economy struggles to come out of this COVID crisis.

Fortunately, we are starting to see strong signs of economic recovery. We created 531,000 jobs in October and unemployment fell to 4.6%, the lowest point since the start of the pandemic. But maybe the best news came at the end of last week.

Louisiana Congressman Troy Carter and his fellow Democrats passed the largest infrastructure bill in 65 years. This bill sends more than $ 7 billion in guaranteed funds to Louisiana to modernize our roads, bridges, water infrastructure, public transit and ports.

It also ensures that every Louisianan has access to affordable broadband. And all of this will create tons of high paying jobs. These investments will also make Louisiana more competitive and attract more jobs to our state.

Things are improving, but there is still work to be done. We need to put this pandemic behind us and revive our economy, which requires leaders on both sides to work together. We need solutions and actions, not demagogy and political theater.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about President Biden’s Build Back Better program. But we haven’t talked much about the content of the bill or how it affects you.

President Joe Biden speaks to students during a visit to East End Primary School to promote his "Rebuild better" agenda, Monday, October 25, 2021, in North Plainfield, NJ

Build Back Better is truly a plan for jobs and families designed to get our country and our economy back on track. It’s a targeted investment in American families that makes child care more affordable, expands access to kindergarten, cuts health care costs, and cuts taxes for working-class Americans .

According to Moody’s Analytics, the bill is paid in full by forcing big corporations and the super-rich to pay their fair share, but that doesn’t raise taxes for people earning less than $ 400,000 a year.

As a result, the plan earned praise from top America’s economists, including Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz. In a letter calling on Congress to adopt Build Back Better, Stiglitz and 60 other economists said the bill “will reduce the costs of essential spending for American families” and “counteract decades of underinvestment in our communities.”

What’s more, 15 Nobel Prize-winning economists believe the legislation will reduce inflation, which is the No.1 priority for families across the country.

The average cost of caring for a toddler is just over $ 8,000 per year, which means the average Louisiana family with two children spends almost a fifth of their income on child care. child care.

These high costs prevent parents from re-entering the workforce, resulting in labor shortages and financial insecurity for families. President Biden’s plan gives access to child care to more than 300,000 Louisiana children and ensures that their families will not spend more than 7% of their income on child care. These savings will get families back to work and help keep gasoline in the car and food on the table.

In addition, the plan provides access to quality kindergarten to 60,000 children aged 3 and 4 in Louisiana. Universal Pre-K is not only helping parents get back to work, it will dramatically improve test scores, school attendance, and literacy rates in our state. It is an investment in our families and our future that will pay dividends.

Over the past four months, we’ve seen child poverty cut in half thanks to the expanded child tax credit passed by President Biden and the Democrats. This child tax credit is helping Louisiana families get through this difficult time by providing them $ 250 to $ 300 per month to spend on food, utilities, school supplies, and other basic needs.

The Build Back Better program continues the fight against child poverty by extending this tax credit for families with more than one million Louisiana children.

There is so much in this package that helps Louisiana. It cuts health care costs for 68,000 Louisianans and extends coverage to 87,000 other uninsured people in our state. The Build Back Better plan is making historic investments to mitigate the effects of climate change, which is behind the more frequent and intense storms that devastate southern Louisiana. The package also invests in care for the elderly, cuts housing costs and makes higher education more affordable.

Sadly, Republican Senator John Kennedy engages in partisan politics with the needs of Louisiana families. He voted against the historic infrastructure bill that improves our roads, bridges, water systems, ports and extends broadband across rural Louisiana.

Now Kennedy says child care, preschool, lower health care costs and tax cuts for working families are “dumb stuff” and “wasteful spending.” Senator Kennedy puts DC politics and corporate interests ahead of the needs of Louisiana families.

It’s clear: The Build Back Better program is an investment in American families like yours and mine that will cut costs and help make things a little easier. The plan is funded by forcing corporations and the super-rich to pay their fair share, and that will lower inflation.

Coupled with the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which creates tons of well-paying jobs, we see an emerging economy that rewards work rather than wealth. Build Back Better responds to the urgency of this moment and ensures that we are better prepared for the next moment of crisis. He better rebuilds America and Louisiana.

Katie Bernhardt is president of the Louisiana Democratic Party.

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