Economist Paul Krugman explains why Biden's ambitious 'family plan' offers 'big returns' for the US

Economist Paul Krugman explains why Biden's ambitious 'family plan' offers 'big returns' for the US
Economist Paul Krugman: The ‘situation remains dire’ for America’s ‘hardest hit workers’

For decades, far-right social conservatives in the Republican Party have been declaring the GOP to be the party of "family values" and claiming that Democrats are anti-family. Liberal economist and long-time New York Times columnist Paul Krugman vehemently disagrees, and in his May 3 column, he lays out some reasons why he considers President Joe Biden's emphasis on families to be a vitally important part of his economic recovery program for the United States.

"Like many progressives, I like the Biden Administration's plan to invest in infrastructure but really love its plans to invest more in people," the 68-year-old economist explains. "There's a good case for doing more to improve physical assets like roads, water supplies and broadband networks. There's an overwhelming case for doing more to help families with children."

Krugman adds, however, that Republican "attacks" on Biden's "family plan" have "been truly venomous." According to Krugman, "Republicans seem really upset about proposals to spend more on child care and education."

But despite that GOP opposition, Krugman emphasizes, the evidence shows that helping families economically benefits the U.S. economy on the whole.

"How do we know that we should be spending more on families?," Krugman writes. "There is, it turns out, a lot of evidence that there are big returns to helping children and their parents — stronger evidence, if truth be told, than there is for high returns to improved physical infrastructure. For example, researchers have looked into the long-term effects of the food stamp program, which was rolled out gradually across the country in the 1960s and 1970s."

Krugman continues, "Children who had early access to food stamps, the Washington Center for Equitable Growth concluded, 'grew up to be better educated and have healthier, longer and more productive lives.' Researchers have found similar effects for children whose families received access to the earned-income tax credit and Medicaid. So, there are good reasons to believe that providing more aid to families with children would, in addition to helping Americans in need, make our economy stronger in the long run."

The economist goes on to describe some of the unhinged, over-the-top rhetoric coming from far-right Republicans who oppose the economic Biden family values agenda.

"The GOP stridently opposes increased aid to families," Krugman observes. "Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee issued a statement denouncing 'Democrats' top-down socialist agenda.' During Biden's address to Congress last week, Sen. Marsha Blackburn tweeted, 'You know who else liked universal day care,' with a link to a decades-old Times report on day care in the Soviet Union. You know who has universally available day care right now? That socialist hellhole Denmark."

Krugman, of course, is being facetious and mocking Republicans when he refers to Denmark as a "socialist hellhole." The Scandinavian country, which is more capitalist than it is socialist, has a high standard of living overall. Denmark, like its neighbors Sweden and Norway, is, all things considered, a liberal/progressive economic success story.

"We could and possibly should have a debate about whether parents who choose not to put their children in day care should receive cash instead," Krugman argues. "But that's the way to think about it. And I guarantee you that Republicans won't engage in that debate; they come to bury aid to families, not to improve it."

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