welfare coverage

Max Sawicky sawicky at epinet.org
Tue Apr 27 13:17:28 PDT 1999

> . . . I realize that this a labor market issue and that the
answers are in restructuring the labor to remunerate women on par with men (in terms of their skills and tenure) and to recognize that if we want everyone to work, the labor market must be flexible enough to accommodate the fact that people have to care for their children. I just see that these are so far off in the future that to hold out for them when families need assistance now is now moral or just -- and is terribly unfair to women with children who are not treated fairly in the labor market and now have nothing else to fall back. >

I agree with everything you said. The question is what sort of improvements can come soonest. Brutally simplifying, we could imagine three types of changes: an ungendered labor market, wages for housework/childcare, or social-democratic work-based welfare system. I would say the third is the most far advanced at this point in time, though clearly less so in the U.S. than in Europe. One could instead argue that in an era of increasing budget tightness, regulation (ungendering employment) is more promising. Nothing prevents us from working all three channels at once, but that begs the question of the best focus and the best allocation of our energies. Maybe there need not be a focus. As anyone can see, EPI is founded on the third of the strategies, a choice with which I am comfortable.


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