Last week I was invited to WNYC to speak on a panel about about the women’s issues that are at stake in the presidential election and what the presidential candidates aren’t talking about, like caregiving.
The panel was hosted by Daily Beast columnist Keli Goff and included Vanessa De Luca, editor-in-chief at Essence, Emily Shire, politics editor of Bustle.com, Penny Nance, president at Concerned Women for America, and Cosmo Latina founding editor Michelle Mulligan. You can watch the entire conversation HERE.
I’ve been disappointed that caregiving hasn’t been one of the top issues for the 2016 election. With 44 million unpaid, family caregivers in this country, and 10,000 people turning 65 every day, you would think it might be. But to date, only Secretary Clinton has even raised the issue proposing a 20 percent tax credit to help family members offset up to $6,000 in caregiving costs for their elderly family members, to offer caregivers a credit toward their Social Security benefits when they are out of the paid workforce because they are acting as caregivers, and to build on the Caregiver Respite program.
I understand why caregiving hasn’t been a focus. 1. The election has been rather circus-like, don’t you think? 2. This isn’t the kind of issue that necessarily comes up in the primary race when candidates in the same party are likely to agree on issues (although I hold no hope we’ll hear about it in the general election). 3. Caregivers are not a voting block like women are considered to be.
And that third point needs to change. There are 44 million of us and there are issues that matter to all of us:
- We need to talk about family leave, not just parenting leave.
- We need to protect and strengthen Medicare and Social Security
- We need more involvement in hospital discharge decisions
- We need to re-examine filial laws
- We don’t just need affordable childcare. We need affordable eldercare.
We need a more caregiving-friendly country. Who’s with me?