Skeptics have warned of government overreach and the risk that deficit spending could trigger inflation, but Mr Biden and his team of economic advisors have adopted the approach nonetheless.
“It’s time for the economy to grow from the bottom towards the middle,” Biden said in his speech to a joint congressional session last week, an indication of the idea that wealth does not flow down from the rich, but flows away from an educated and well-educated person paid middle class.
He underscored the point by highlighting workers as the dynamo that drives the middle class.
“Wall Street didn’t build this country,” he said. “The middle class built the country up. And the unions built the middle class. “
Of course, the economy that pushed millions of post-war families into the middle class was very different from the present one. Manufacturing, construction and mining jobs, formerly seen as the backbone of the workforce, have declined – as have unions, which fought aggressively for better wages and benefits. Currently, only 1 in 10 workers are union members, while around 80 percent of jobs in the US are in the service sector.
And it is expected that these types of jobs in healthcare, education, childcare, disabled and elderly care will continue to grow at the fastest pace.
However, most of them do not pay middle-income wages. That doesn’t necessarily reflect their worth in an open market. Salaries for teachers, hospital workers, lab technicians, child minders, and nursing home workers are largely set by the government, which collects taxpayers’ money to pay their salaries and sets reimbursement rates for Medicare and other programs.
They are also jobs that are held by significant numbers of women, African Americans, Latinos, and Asians.