The Amp

July 7, 2021

Amplify Values In These Emerging Issues

Infrastructure Divide Opens Door for Economic Opportunity Narratives

When President Biden walked back press remarks on the critical importance of pairing infrastructure improvements with broader legislation to expand universal childcare, the “care economy,” or paid family leave, his about-face laid bare a fundamental narrative divide: are investments in families’ wellbeing equally essential to economic recovery as bridges, roads and broadband? 

While the White House managed to reach an agreement with Republican lawmakers over the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, the Democratic party is divided on whether to treat “human infrastructure” as parallel or central to economic recovery legislation aimed at rebuilding “physical infrastructure.”  

Group of people opening the border wall to welcome in a family under text saying, "We Can Thrive Together"

Behind this political posturing lies an opportunity to center the active role government should play to guarantee that everyone has access to a basic standard of living and can care for themselves and their families, without experiencing financial harm. The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced both how interconnected we all are and how disparate health and economic outcomes — based on race, class or gender — are a result of deliberate policies that benefit some over others. 

Our recommendation: point to systemic solutions to overcome systemic injustice. Doing so will reframe the conversation in a way that frees us from narrow discussions of whether only concrete and steel constitute infrastructure. A systemic framework will widen the lens to make space for human solutions which will result in equal opportunity for all.

Most people would intuitively understand that our values — security, equality, and opportunity — don’t come from only bricks and mortar. Human solutions would enable us to move forward together because everyone benefits when our public policies and programs allow all of our communities to thrive.

Messaging from The Opportunity Agenda:

Additional resources from our partners:

Hashtags: #WeCanThriveTogether; #WeEarnedit; #PaidLeave4All; #CareEconomy

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