Alliance For a Caring Economy

Questions For the Candidates

Throughout the remaining weeks of the 2012 campaign season, the Presidential, Congressional, and local candidates of all political parties will be speaking with voters throughout the country.  There are many critical issues on the minds of voters today, but probably none is more central to their lives than the economy.  The answers that candidates give us will demonstrate their priorities – and the answers provided below reflect an economy that highlights the value of caring and caregiving for both prosperity and well-being.


1. Question: More American children die before age five and more children live in poverty than children in other developed countries. In addition to the terrible suffering this causes, it decreases our ability as a nation to compete in the global economy. What will you do to make sure our nation has a competitive a 21st century workforce by investing in the health and development of American children?


  • increased funding for adequate nutrition for children and pregnant women

  • preventive health care
  • programs that help parents better care for their children
  • affordable, accessible high quality childcare and pre-school programs.


2. Question: U.S. Department of Labor statistics show that child care and other direct care workers are among the lowest paid and least protected workers in our nation, even though these are the people to whom we entrust our children and our seniors with the care that they need.  What policies to improve support for those who provide this necessary care will you advance to change this situation?


  • quality training programs and certification for care workers

  • better pay including and beyond minimum wage for care workers

  • basic job protections such as overtime pay and breaks for these essential workers


3. Question: Because of women's lower wages, fewer years of employment due to time spent doing care work, and workplace discrimination, women workers make only 38 percent of what men earn over their working years.  What policies will you support to address this huge earning gap between men and women? 


  • pay equity
  • flexible workplace policies
  • part-time worker parity

  • enforcement of policies prohibiting discrimination against pregnant women, workers with family responsibilities, and women in general
  • Tax and social security credits for care work
  • Comprehensive healthcare


4. Question: Data from the U.S. Census show that women over the age of 65 are significantly more likely to be poor than men over 65. A major reason for this is that women spend many more years out of the workforce caring for children, elderly, ill, or disabled family members. What policies do you support that will prevent the suffering and poverty that penalizes women for caring for their family members?


  • pay equity
  • paid family leave

  • paid parental leave for both mothers and fathers
  • refundable caregiver tax credits
  • social security credits for the first five to seven years of caring for a child at home.


5. Question:  Studies show that public investment in children results in healthier and wealthier communities. States with caring economic policies such as more generous nutrition assistance programs, higher per-pupil spending in education, and greater access to Medicaid for children, have lower rates of crime and incarceration, and greater economic security. Will you change the political focus to the need for policies that invest in our families and our economic success now and in the future?


more caring economic policies including food assistance, education, health care, early childhood care and education, and other investments in America’s human infrastructure to ensure economic success and a high quality of life for our people.

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6. Question: Current economic measures such as GDP and employment rates do not take into account the huge economic contributions made by those who care for children, the elderly, or the disabled in households – work mostly performed by women.  If these caregivers did not do this work, the cost to taxpayers would skyrocket in terms of healthcare, crime rates, and other public costs.  Will you require the development of new economic measurements like the Social Wealth Indicators now being developed to accurately reflect the large economic contributions generated by the work of caring for people in households?


I will work to require that the new U.S. Key National Indicator System include measures such as the Social Wealth Indicators being developed by the Center for Partnership Studies, the Urban Institute, and leading scholars that include the unpaid economic contributions of care work in homes.