Joe Biden’s recent policy proposal to address the country’s crisis of care didn’t garner major headlines. There were no haphazardly capitalized Trump tweets in response, nor congressional Republicans denouncing it as socialism. But make no mistake: His plan is quietly radical in both its comprehensiveness and its framing.
Mr. Biden’s plan incorporates a lot of ideas that are not his own. His pledge to give all 3- and 4-year-olds access to preschool? President Barack Obama initiated an effort to ensure universal preschool in 2013. His promise to help parents afford child care? It piggybacks on Senator Patty Murray and Representative Bobby Scott’s Child Care for Working Families Act. His argument that caregivers deserve better pay and more rights? To get there, he says he’d sign the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights bill put forward by Senator Kamala Harris and Representative Pramila Jayapal in 2018.
But by bringing all of these pieces together in one place and by talking about them in the same breath with his other economic policies, he is pushing this conversation into new territory. No longer is the struggle to care for our families while earning a living something relegated to kitchen tables and curtained-off hospital beds. These challenges affect all of us, rippling throughout the entire economy. And Mr. Biden is the first presidential candidate to drag them out of the shadows and into the public conversation in such a sweeping way.